The bipartisan odd couple banding together to fight election deniers in Arizona


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‘The bromance only goes so far’

That’s not to suggest that they are best friends — on stage, Fontes noted that “the bromance only goes so far” — or that they don’t have deep, ideological disagreements over how elections should actually be administered.

Richer said that Beau Lane, a more “Main Street”-style Republican who lost to Finchem in last year’s GOP secretary of state primary, would have had his support in the general election against Fontes, had he won the party’s nomination. Richer added that he’s “happily” told Fontes as much.

And Fontes still bristles at the criticisms leveled in a 2019 “audit” Richer conducted for the state GOP following the 2018 midterms. (Broadly, Richer’s report didn’t allege that Fontes broke the law, but Richer argued at the time “it raises some serious questions” about the office.)

On stage, they told good-natured jokes about how close the 2020 election between the two was. They also disagreed on some of the recent proposals that Richer laid out to try to speed up the reporting of unofficial election results in Arizona, which typically takes days to resolve. The main sticking point was Richer’s proposal to move up the deadline for people to drop off mail ballots in person, a convenience for many voters that also adds processing time to actually count the votes. Voters can currently drop off mail ballots in person up to Election Day, but Richer proposed moving up the deadline to the Friday before an election.

But what has bound them, both say, is respect for the voters’ will in elections at the end of the day, and their staunch opposition to the lies of stolen elections in the state.

“I think it starts with the fact that we’re both attorneys, and we understand compartmentalizing political fights, or in our case legal fights, from personal relationships,” Fontes said. “A fool is a lawyer who stays angry after the gavel drops.”

Fontes also added that Richer was not the only Republican who crossed the aisle to back him in 2022 against Finchem, who did not respond to an interview request. In addition to Republican officeholders like Giles or Richer, the now-secretary of state said that he was also able to attract some “big, big Republican money people,” who are “trying to figure out a way to get rid of the crazy, or at least pull the crazy away from winning primaries.”

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( With inputs from : )


TheNewsCaravan News Desk

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