Arizona GOP election audit draws more Republican politicians

Maricopa County ballots cast in the 2020 general election are examined and recounted by contractors working for Florida-based company, Cyber Ninjas, Thursday, May 6, 2021 at Veterans Memorial Coliseum in Phoenix. The audit, ordered by the Arizona Senate, has the U.S. Department of Justice saying it is concerned about ballot security and potential voter intimidation arising from the unprecedented private recount of the 2020 presidential election results. /AP Photo/Matt York, Pool

By JONATHAN J. COOPER | Associated Press 

Three Pennsylvania lawmakers were in Arizona on Wednesday to check out the state Senate GOP’s partisan audit of the 2020 election.

They’re the latest Republicans to make a pilgrimage to Phoenix, ground zero in the “stop the steal” movement’s push to find support for conspiracy theories suggesting the election was stolen from former President Donald Trump.

Related: Arizona election audit a money windfall for state Republican Party: ‘It’s the grassroots in action’

U.S. Reps. Marjorie Taylor Greene and Matt Gaetz cheered the audit at a rally just outside Phoenix last month. The next day, several prominent Trump supporters and conspiracy promoters were advertised as speakers at a Phoenix megachurch. Enrique Tarrio, leader of the Proud Boys extremist group, recently posted a short video of himself at the Arizona Capitol.

Political pilgrimages are nothing new to Arizona, where Republican politicians have long enjoyed photo ops in front of the Mexico border wall. But now, the draw is the Arizona State Fairgrounds, site of a former basketball arena where a Trump supporter who has promoted election conspiracies is overseeing a hand recount of 2.1 million ballots from Maricopa County.

The latest visitors are Pennsylvania Sens. Doug Mastriano and Cris Dush, and Rep. Rob Kauffman. They met with Arizona legislators at the Capitol before traveling to the audit site to get a briefing from the auditors.

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