Is House Speaker Rusty Bowers still a ‘real’ Republican?

The Republicans leading us in Arizona aren’t generally known these days for their bravery profiles.

We’re used to the likes of State Rep. Mark Finchem, who continues to push the fairy tale that Arizona’s 2020 election was stolen. And say Senator Wendy Rogers, who would probably hang her own grandmother on those public gallows she’d like to build if she thought it would net her a few extra Twitter followers and a campaign donation.

We reluctantly got used to Senate Speaker Karen Fann, a once-respected lawmaker who ordered an audit to “restore voter confidence” in an election she said she doesn’t believe was robbed — and in doing so, probably did more to kill voter confidence than anyone in the state.

We’re still working on getting used to Kari Lake, the Republican gubernatorial favorite whose increasingly bizarre outbursts of bravado don’t seem to be bringing her new supporters. (This week offer“Cartel drones that enter Arizona airspace when I’m governor will be shot down from the sky. Anyone ready for target practice?”)

Then there is the Speaker of the House, Rusty Bowers.

Bowers wouldn’t go down the election rabbit hole

Bowers is the state’s “other” top GOP legislative leader, the silent one who refused to give in to the collective psychosis that gripped Arizona after Joe Biden was elected president.

He is a staunch conservative who supported the re-election of Donald Trump. But once people spoke he refused to take a head down the rabbit hole where black is white and up is down and the election was stolen, well… because that was just the case.

No real proof needed.

Bowers did not give in to phone calls from Trump and his top advisers, urging him to void the election. He put an end to the projects of Finchem and then Rep. Kelly Townsend, who proposed legislation to overturn the election results.

While Fann rushed to please the Trump team by hiring an unqualified Trump supporter to conduct his “independent” election audit, Bowers maintained his dignity and agreed.

Even this year, he continues to kill the most goofy electoral “reform” bills, including Finchem’s ongoing quest to nullify the vote and Rep. John Fillmore’s proposal to allow the Legislature to nullify the votes. results of any election that she doesn’t like.

He was honored alongside Zelenskyy

For his principled stance, Bowers was targeted by a recall. Protesters roamed his Mesa neighborhood, using a loudspeaker to call him a pedophile as inside his home he cared for his dying daughter.

He is what many Republican officials once aspired to, guided by principle and conscience instead of cowardice or a cowardly abdication of honor.

On Thursday, Bowers won the John F. Kennedy Profile in Courage Award. It’s not a vanity prize, handed out on the chicken-dinner circuit. It is granted to civil servants who defend democracy at home or abroad, regardless of the personal consequences.

President Volodymyr Zelenskyy is one of five winners this year. The same goes for Rep. Liz Cheney. And Bower.

“There is no issue more important today than the fight for democracy,” notes the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library Foundation, in announcing this year’s winners. “These winners put their careers and lives on the line to protect democratic principles and free and fair elections. They embody what President Kennedy admired most in others: political courage.

A feature that, unfortunately, has gone out of fashion.

Bower is right. It is not a heroic act. Still …

It remains to be seen whether a Republican who thinks the 2020 election wasn’t stolen can win an election in Arizona. Bowers is running for the state senate against former senator David Farnsworth, who “100%” believes the 2020 election was stolen.

They will face off in a GOP primary on August 2 that should tell us a lot about the future of the Republican Party, whether it will remain nestled in the palm of Donald Trump’s hand or return to power. former Grand Old Party which coalesced around a wide range of conservative principles.

Bowers, for his part, seems intrigued by all that’s going on with the JFK award.

“Honoring my oath and the choices of the people at the ballot box are not heroic acts,” he said in a statement. “They are the least Arizonans should expect from people elected to serve them.”

He is right. They are.

And yet…

Contact Roberts at [email protected] Follow her on Twitter at @LaurieRoberts.

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Raymond I. Langston