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Karen Fann will retire from Arizona Legislature after 2022

On the heels of the so-called “audit” of the 2020 election in Maricopa County that elevated her to a level of prominence rarely seen among state legislators, Senate President Karen Fann will retire after next year rather than seek another term in the legislature.

“It has been a privilege to advocate on behalf of Arizona citizens in my twelve years at the State Legislature and the honor of a lifetime to serve as Senate President. I look forward to a successful session in 2022 advancing policies that benefit all Arizonans, and then enjoying the life my husband and I have built for ourselves in retirement with our family,” Fann said in a statement on Monday announcing her retirement. 

Fann, a Prescott Republican, was elected to the Arizona House of Representatives in 2010 and to the Senate in 2016. She was elected Senate president after the 2018 election and was re-elected to the position two years later. Prior to the legislature, she served as mayor of Chino Valley and as a city councilwoman in Prescott.

In response to the baseless and discredited claims of fraud that former President Donald Trump and many of his supporters spread after his defeat in the 2020 election, Fann took the unprecedented step of ordering a review of the election in Maricopa County, where Joe Biden’s victory paved the way for a Democratic presidential candidate’s rare win in Arizona.

The self-styled “audit” was plagued by problems before it even began, and became a constant source of blunders and controversy as it dragged on throughout much of 2021. The team she hired to conduct the review had no qualifications to audit an election and its leaders were overtly biased toward the false conspiracy theories that the election was rigged against Trump. In some cases, they participated in efforts to undermine or overturn the election results

Ultimately, the team found no proof of widespread fraud or other malfeasance that could have affected the election results, instead presenting a number of allegedly suspicious findings with the caveat that there may still be legitimate explanations. Maricopa County has since provided explanations for many of the alleged issues presented by Cyber Ninjas, the Florida-based cybersecurity company that led the “audit” team.

This report was first published by the Arizona Mirror.

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Jerod MacDonald-Evoy/Arizona Mirror

Senate President Karen Fann speaks to a crowd of Republicans who believe the 2020 election was rife with fraud after the Senate released results of its 'audit,' which found no evidence of fraud.