Partisan tension fractures Arizona’s delegation after the Capitol riot

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By Ronald J. Hansen and Yvonne Wingett Sanchez | Arizona Republic

On the 70th anniversary of a nuclear explosion in Nevada that exposed many Americans to radiation, Rep. Greg Stanton, a Democrat, announced he was seeking to add residents of Mohave County and southern Nevada to a federal fund to compensate its victims.

The next day, Rep. Paul Gosar, a Republican whose district includes Mohave County, introduced a bill that would effectively do the same thing.

Two years ago, Stanton and Gosar were both part of a bill to help the “downwinders.” But that was before Jan. 6.

The weeks since the deadly riot at the U.S. Capitol, which some blame specifically on Reps. Gosar and Andy Biggs, R-Ariz., have exposed deepening rifts within the state’s delegation as the historically red state has evolved into a purple battleground. 

All of Arizona’s Democratic House members are, at least for now, unwilling to work on some things with GOP colleagues they view as complicit in undermining public confidence in the presidential election and who, in varying ways, helped goad a mob into violent insurrection. 

There is bipartisan agreement among most of the state’s 11 congressional members: They are hesitant to discuss the post-insurrection dynamics publicly. 

“My focus is on getting results for Arizonans — and to move the needle on tough issues, you have to work with the right people,” Stanton said in a written statement to The Arizona Republic. “Many times that means reaching across the aisle to find bipartisan common ground, and there are circumstances when the wrong partners can jeopardize making progress.”

U.S. Representative Greg Stanton spoke at the groundbreaking of ASU’s Thunderbird School of Global Management, Oct. 7, 2019.

For his part, Gosar declined to comment.

Lara Brown, the director of the Graduate School of Political Management at George Washington University, said the Republican Party nationally is trapped in an ideological cul de sac and Democrats are not along for the ride.

“This is an existential moment,” she said. “We’re in a situation right now where there’s a substantial contingent of the Republican Party that wants to believe there was no pandemic, there was widespread election fraud and that President Trump should still be in office. There’s nowhere to go with that.”

The acrimony is out in the open.


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