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Arizona GOP governor hopeful Karrin Taylor Robson: 2020 election 'wasn’t fair' to Trump

Karrin Taylor Robson, a Republican candidate for Arizona governor, doesn’t think Joe Biden was fairly elected president in 2020. 

It’s the most definitive statement she has made about the election during the course of her campaign, which launched nearly a year ago: “Joe Biden may be the president, but the election wasn’t fair.” 

Robson’s statement to The New York Times for a story about Republicans in Arizona centering their campaigns around bogus and debunked election fraud claims didn’t include any elaboration on what she thought was unfair about an election that officials across Arizona and the country have said was the most safe and secure election in history.

Robson’s campaign told the Arizona Mirror that the Times didn’t use the “entirety” of her statement. Matthew Benson, a campaign spokesman, provided the full statement to the Mirror

“Joe Biden may be the president, but the election wasn’t fair. States across the country changed their voting rules in the weeks and months before the election; the mainstream media generally refused to cover stories harmful to Joe Biden; and Big Tech actively suppressed conservative voices. No wonder a sizable percentage of Arizona Republicans still feel the way they do about 2020.”

Benson wouldn’t elaborate further on differentiating between media criticisms – presumably the Hunter Biden laptop story, which Robson had tweeted about previously – and critiquing how the actual election was handled. In response to questions seeking more specificity, Benson pointed generally to other states changing voting rules shortly before the election. He didn’t provide specifics, but some states enacted new voting procedures in 2020 to ensure that voters could vote safely in the middle of a deadly global pandemic. 

In some instances, those new procedures related to expanding early or absentee voting programs. But that wasn’t the case in Arizona, which has been a national leader on early voting. Voting by mail is incredibly popular here, and nearly 90% of Arizona voters cast an early ballot in 2020

But Republicans, led by twice-impeached former President Donald Trump, have falsely claimed that early voting is a vector for election fraud. 

Republicans in Arizona and in state legislatures across the nation are pushing hundreds of measures to add barriers to voting and make it easier for them to overturn results they don’t like, often under the guise of stopping the exceedingly rare election fraud that they falsely claim is the reason why Democrats won close races in 2018 and 2020.

Robson, a developer and former university regent, is locked in a three-way race for the GOP gubernatorial nomination with Kari Lake and Matt Salmon. Lake has made the Big Lie — the false notion that the 2020 election was “stolen” from Trump by widespread and coordinate fraud — a central theme of her campaign, and she was endorsed by Trump last year.

Robson’s comments come just one day after Maricopa County officials lambasted Republican Attorney General Mark Brnovich for his interim report on his office’s investigation into the “audit” that took place throughout 2021. They broke down point-by-point correcting the record of all the claims Brnovich and others have been pushing under the guise of “raising questions” for the sake of election integrity.

The board of supervisors (four of which are Republican) were joined by Stephen Richer, the Republican county recorder who defeated the incumbent Democrat in the 2020 election, airing their frustrations that have continued to build for well over a year. 

Richer told the Arizona Mirror his initial reaction to Robson’s printed quote is that he has no idea what she means by “wasn’t fair.” But hearing the full statement, he said there is some validity in her concerns over “legacy media” coverage of the Hunter Biden story and potentially others that could have been damaging to the now-president. 

But as far as her other remarks about how states across the country changed rules at the last minute, he said he could only speak to Arizona, which extended the voter registration deadline for 10 days after the 9th Circuit reversed a federal judge’s decision to extend it even longer. 

That, he said, is the only thing that caused a “disruption in the process in the name of COVID.” But he conceded that it likely benefited Republicans more than Democrats given the party registration numbers reported in that window. He said it was still probably a relatively small difference. 

Richer said the continued spreading of debunked theories by Robson and others as “myopic” in nature. 

The misinformation over the 2020 election led Richer to create his own political action committee called Pro-Democracy Republicans of Arizona which would boost campaign coffers of Republican candidates who reject the false and baseless claims that the last election was rigged. 

It was only meant to help legislative and county-wide candidates, not statewide. To date, none of the money raised has gone to the campaign of any candidates, according to campaign finance reports on the Secretary of State’s website.

This report was first published by the Arizona Mirror.


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Karrin Taylor Robson in September 2021.