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Ducey: GOP legislator with white nationalist ties ‘still better than’ a Democrat

Gov. Doug Ducey said he has no regrets about spending $500,000 to elect a Republican state senator with open ties to the white nationalist movement — saying it’s still better than having a Democrat in her seat.

“I’m proud of what we’ve been able to accomplish. And she’s still better than her opponent, Felicia French,” he said Thursday.

Ducey’s political action committee, Arizonans for Strong Leadership, spent millions in 2020 to help the GOP maintain control of the Legislature, including nearly $500,000 to help Republican Wendy Rogers win the race for the District 6 Senate seat in northern Arizona. Rogers won nearly 55% of the vote against Democrat Felicia French, a victory that kept the Senate in GOP hands by a single vote.

Since taking office, Rogers become known for openly embracing the white nationalist wing of the Republican Party, including the “groyper” movement. That movement emerged after the deadly “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville, Va., in 2017, with the goal of pushing the GOP further into the white nationalists orbit and making the movement’s far-right views more acceptable to the American mainstream. 

One of the leaders of the groyper movement is Nick Fuentes, a Holocaust denier with a history of making racist and anti-Semitic remarks. Rogers is openly supportive of Fuentes, and was listed as a speaker at his America First Political Action Conference III this weekend. 

Asked if he’s still happy with his decision to aid Rogers’ campaign, Ducey on Thursday emphasized to reporters that he needs a governing majority in the Legislature. Republicans have only a 16-14 majority in the Senate, which would have become a 15-15 split had Rogers lost her race.

Asked for his thoughts on the wing of the Republican Party that Rogers represents, Ducey reiterated, “She’s better than Felicia French.” 

French spent 32 years in the Army and Arizona National Guard, where she worked her way up from private to colonel. A registered nurse, she is a veteran of the war in Afghanistan and has worked as a medical evacuation helicopter pilot.

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Rogers tweeted her appreciation to Ducey after a video of the governor’s comments began circulating on Twitter. 

“Thank you, Governor,” she wrote.

Rogers served in the Air Force, and retired as a lieutenant colonel. She was one of the first 100 female Air Force pilots.

This report was first published by the Arizona Mirror.

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Governor Doug Ducey at the 2022 Converge Tech Summit at The Waste Management Phoenix Open on Feb. 9, 2022.


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