By Kevin Stone
Democratic U.S. Sen. Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona praised Phoenix-area Republican officials who didn’t bend to GOP pressure on behalf of Donald Trump to prevent Joe Biden’s electoral victory.
“I’m grateful for the work that they did, which really showed how honorable and committed to democracy people of both political parties are,” Sinema told KTAR News 92.3 FM’s The Gaydos and Chad Show on Tuesday.
“I want to be sure that we are clear about this, that this isn’t about one party or the other. This is about some people who decided that their own interests were more important than the valid votes of the Arizona people.”
Last week, the Arizona Republic published text messages and voicemails obtained through public information requests that showed Trump and his surrogates mounting a pressure campaign on the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors, which is controlled 4-1 by Republicans and governs a region that includes Phoenix and 60% of Arizona’s voters.
Sinema, a moderate Democrat known for her bipartisan approach, said she was “concerned that any individual would behave in this type of behavior” when she first read the reports documenting the behind-the-scenes efforts on Trump’s behalf.
“But I also felt great, really, relief and comfort and pride that the men who represent us on the county board of supervisors continued to hold the truth and the principles of democracy as their highest duty,” she said.
On Nov. 13, when it had become clear that Biden would win Arizona’s 11 electoral votes, Arizona GOP Chairwoman Kelli Ward told then-Maricopa County Board of Supervisors Chairman Clint Hickman to expect a call from Trump.
Hickman, a lifelong Republican who is still a supervisor but isn’t the chair anymore, told KTAR News’ The Mike Broomhead Show on Tuesday he received two calls from the White House switchboard that he didn’t answer, on New Year’s Eve and Jan. 3.
In between those calls, and just few days before Congress was set to certify Biden’s victory, news broke that Trump had called Georgia’s Republican secretary of state and urged him “to find 11,780 votes” – the number that would swing that state’s tight race in favor of the incumbent.
“There were too many people having communications outside of our board’s presence, and our county attorney, and I felt if there’s a need that I would have to tape this to cover myself, I’m not going to do that. So I just didn’t take the call,” Hickman said.
The supervisors and other Maricopa County officials, including the newly elected Republican recorder, have continued to defend the integrity their elections in the face of unproven accusations. Multiple lawsuits pushing allegations of fraud or irregularities have been thrown out of court.
“I want to be clear that we shouldn’t paint a broad brush over all people of any political party by a few people’s bad actions,” Sinema said.
“And I want to commend the county board of supervisors who all engaged in what was very honorable and appropriate and, most importantly, legally appropriate behavior by not giving into these extralegal demands or pressure tactics.”