Last Updated on December 5, 2020
Representative Paul Gosar has publicly backed a recall petition set up against Arizona Governor Ducey as battle for a special legislative session rages.
Representative Andy Biggs, of Arizona’s 5th District, slammed Ducey on Twitter, after the Governor failed to clarify his position on mandatory vaccinations for COVID-19. “He was asked a direct question,” Biggs noted, that he failed to answer directly. “Like all freedom-loving Arizonans, I am left wondering if the Governor intends to coerce vaccinations, and whether the state legislature will let him,” Biggs concluded.
Like all freedom-loving Arizonans, I am left wondering if the Governor intends to coerce vaccinations, and whether the State Legislature will let him.
— Rep Andy Biggs (@RepAndyBiggsAZ) December 4, 2020
Biggs was then attacked by Daniel Scarpinato, Ducey’s Chief of Staff. “We always knew you were nuts, but you’ve now officially confirmed it for the whole world to see,” Scarpinato tweeted. “Congratulations. Enjoy your time as a permanent resident of Crazytown.”
The attacks on a fellow Arizona Representative from Ducey’s right hand man did not go unnoticed by Dr Gosar, who represents the neighbouring 4th District. “My brother [Andy Biggs] is a patriot,” Gosar replied. “He fights for liberty and common sense. It is a mistake to attack him and the rest of Arizona who have been watching the Governor flail and founder,” he continued. “We expected better. Enough.”
Gosar added a photo of a recall petition against Governor Kemp in his tweet, noting that “signatures are due in mid January,” in what is a seemingly clear endorsement of the petition. Gosar is the first elected Republican to directly come out now and encourage Ducey’s recall.
My brother @RepAndyBiggsAZ is a patriot. He fights for liberty and common sense. It is a mistake to attack him and the rest of Arizona who have been watching the Gov flail and founder. We expected better. Enough.
— Paul Gosar (@DrPaulGosar) December 5, 2020
The recall petition itself was started by a nonpartisan group called “Accountable Arizona,” and was filed in mid-November – the second recall petition started against Ducey this year. The petition was created in what was judged to be a failed response to the coronavirus pandemic by Ducey, with the petition arguing that Ducey’s “unwillingess to act during the COVID-19 pandemic has negatively impacted the state of Arizona”:
Governor Ducey’s indecision and inability to implement science-backed public safety measures has directly resulted in the illnesses and deaths of thousands of Arizonans. Governor Ducey’s decisions have significantly hurt our business community and state economy during the COVID-19 pandemic because his executive orders do not protect businesses and patrons. We seek to ensure the health and prosperity of all Arizonans with strong, decisive leadership that puts Arizonans first.
While the petitionists are generally more in favour of lockdowns and stringent measures, the endorsement of the petition by Gosar is not an endorsement of the aims of the group. Once a recall petition is started, multiple groups can coalesce around demanding the recall of the politician in question, despite having very different motives for doing so.
This is just the latest development in what seems to be a civil war brewing among Arizona Republicans, between supporters of President Trump, such as Gosar and Arizona GOP Chair Dr Kelli Ward, and the more McCain-style “conservatives” like Ducey. Ward told Governor Ducey to “shut the hell up” after he bragged about the supposed integrity of Arizona’s elections, to which Ducey said the feeling was mutual.
The divide is occurring as pressure mounts on Ducey and others in power in the legislature to act to secure the integrity of the elections. Ward has called for a special legislative hearing with subpoena power to fully hold people to account, as the previous election integrity hearing held in Arizona was not, and also therefore did not have the power to hold people under oath.
Gosar himself has suggested a special session of the legislature was needed to “evaluate the election process.” This is different to an official legislative hearing, which would only require a few members – a special session would re-open the entire legislature off of their current break.
It’s a good start if not a few weeks late. Also need: special session to evaluate election process and reinstate Election Day and eliminate mail voting; institute strict ID requirements and 60 day Pre registration so clerk has time to verify. #StopTheSteaI2020 https://t.co/QEc7ddZtve
— Paul Gosar (@DrPaulGosar) December 4, 2020
While a hearing can be called by legislature leaders itself, a special session cannot be called by them, as only a bipartisan supermajority can do so. The only person who can do so is Governor Ducey. A special session would not only permit an evaluation of the election process, but also give Arizona legislators the chance to take their back control of their Electoral College votes if they so wished.