Arizona’s Maricopa County Recorder Stephen Richer created a political action committee in 2021 to defeat Republican candidates who questioned the integrity of the 2020 presidential election, the Post Millennial revealed.
In November 2021, Richer admitted ownership of the PAC and spoke with the Arizona Mirror about why he started Pro-Democracy Republicans of Arizona. He said he hoped the committee would help elect Republicans who support “peaceful transitions of power.”
About the PAC
The PAC’s website, which includes little information, states that it is “fighting to keep our democratic institutions alive” by supporting “pro-democracy Arizona Republicans.”
The website says, “The Arizona election wasn’t stolen. We Republicans simply had a presidential candidate who lost, while we had many other candidates who won.”
“Candidates come and go,” it continues. “But our democratic institutions are long-lasting, and peaceful transitions of power are a hallmark of the United States. We should not abandon this history in favor of conspiracy theorists and demagoguery.”
According to Transparency USA, Richer’s Arizona political action committee received $88,443 in total contributions. The PAC received its largest donation of $20,000 from Francis Najafi, founder and CEO of the investment firm Pivotal Group.
Richer’s PAC had $69,761 in total expenditures, with $45,000 going to Defending Arizona Values, a campaign launched by Arizona Democrat Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick.
What are the details?
Richer was elected as Maricopa County recorder in 2020 and took office in January 2021.
Richer told the Arizona Mirror, “Obviously, there are some Republicans who have courageously stood up and acknowledged the truth, and there are others who haven’t. We would be supporting the former.”
“We know that there’s a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow if you indulge some of these fantasies and some of these lies, and I think, quite frankly, that has motivated some of these speakers to be especially loud about it because they get rewarded in either Twitter followers or financial contributions from across the country,” Richer added. “So, this is my effort to at least reward or incentivize people to do the right thing, the responsible thing.”
The 2021 article about Richer in the Arizona Mirror noted that it is rare for an election official to get involved in campaigning for elections that they will also be responsible for overseeing.
Former Maricopa County Recorder Helen Purcell, a Republican who held the position for 28 years, told the Arizona Mirror in 2021 that Richer launching a PAC will likely lead people to question election results, “particularly if a race is close.”
“People are too skeptical about our election process. So, stay above that fray so you don’t have any questions,” Purcell recommended.
Richer stated that he was not concerned and did not consider his involvement inappropriate.
— Meg Cunningham (@Meg Cunningham)
Meg Cunningham from the Kansas City Beacon posted on Twitter on November 17, 2021, that Richer was “launching a PAC to support Rs running for non-federal AZ offices who ‘acknowledge the validity of the 2020 election and condemn the events of Jan. 6, 2021 as a terrible result of the lies told about the November election.'”
The Post Millennial reported that in a now-deleted reply, Richer wrote Cunningham back, saying, “Thanks to a few generous donors this is now launching. Join me if you care about traditional Republican ‘stuff’ (free people, free markets, rule of law), but also don’t believe in conspiracies about the 2020 election or that Jan 6 was a tourist event.”