According to a report from CNN, high-ranking officials in the Arizona Republican Party fear any chance they might have had of reclaiming a U.S. Senate seat has been irreparably crippled by the highly-criticized audit of the 2020 presidential ballots in Maricopa country at the behest of former president Donald Trump.
With reports trickling out that the months-long controversial audit uncovered no evidence of widescale fraud that denied Trump the state's 11 electoral votes, Republican campaign consultants worry that a campaign against Sen. Mark Kelly (D-AZ) will fall flat because the eventual nominee will undoubtedly have to spend precious time explaining away the failed venture.
According to CNN's Alex Rogers and Michael Warren, "Former President Donald Trump's false claims of widespread voter fraud, including his promotion of a controversial, partisan audit of the vote in Maricopa County, has dominated the debate within the Arizona GOP for months, as it recovers from Trump's and Republican Sen. Martha McSally's close losses to Joe Biden and Kelly last year," with the journalists adding that focus on Trump's 2020 audit will hover like a dark cloud over 2022.
"But some Republicans are worried that embracing Trump's falsehoods could hurt their eventual nominee in the party's effort to take back the Senate in 2022 ," the report continues with Republican lawyer Chris DeRose summing up the GOP's dilemma by candidly admitting, "The audit is an albatross around the neck for every Republican running in the state of Arizona."
According to one campaign consultant, every candidate will also be scrutinized over their connection to the former president.
"The party apparatus is deeply entrenched in MAGA and it's the only litmus test that seems to matter at the moment," they explained.
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