Emails show Ginni Thomas asked GOP lawmaker Shawnna Bolick for help overturning Biden’s Arizona win

By: - May 20, 2022 4:00 pm
Shawnna Bolick

New reporting shows that Ginni Thomas, the wife of U.S. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, sought help from state Rep. Shawnna Bolick in overturning Joe Biden's 2020 win in Arizona. Photo by Gage Skidmore | Flickr/CC BY-SA 2.0

The prominent wives of a U.S. Supreme Court justice and an Arizona Supreme Court justice were involved in an attempt to overturn the 2020 election. 

Ginni Thomas, the conservative activist and wife of U.S. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, tried in the days after the election to convince  two Republican state legislators to help her overturn Joe Biden’s victory in Arizona and instead award the state’s presidential electors to Donald Trump. 


One of the legislators Thomas emailed was state Rep. Shawnna Bolick, a Phoenix Republican who is now running for Arizona Secretary of State. The Bolicks and Thomases are close: Bolick’s husband, Arizona Supreme Court Justice Clint Bolick, is a longtime friend of Clarence Thomas, and the U.S. Supreme Court Justice is godfather to Bolick’s son.

Thomas also emailed House Speaker Rusty Bowers, who repeatedly told Trump and others in his orbit in the weeks after the 2020 election that he would not help in their efforts to overturn the results. Bolick, on the other hand, sponsored a bill just a few weeks later that would give state lawmakers the power to overrule the voters’ pick for president. 

The Bolick and Thomas connection was first reported by The Washington Post, which uncovered the emails through a public records request. Without said request this information would still be secret. 

“Article II of the United States Constitution gives you an awesome responsibility: to choose our state’s Electors,” Thomas wrote in a Nov. 9 email to Bolick, the Post reported. “Please take action to ensure that a clean slate of Electors is chosen.”

Records show Bolick responded by directing Thomas to refer any complaints of fraud to the attorney general. 

Less than two months later, Bolick sponsored House Bill 2720, a wide-ranging election bill that included a provision giving the state legislature sweeping authority to disregard voters’ choice for president. In a key provision, the measure would have given lawmakers the power to “revoke the secretary of state’s issuance or certification of a presidential elector’s certificate of election” by a majority vote at any point before the president is inaugurated. 

Bolick at the time protested that critics were twisting her bill’s intent, which she said was an effort to make the process more bipartisan and call the legislature into a special session. 

Bolick declined to comment for this story, but pointed the Arizona Mirror to a statement she posted to Twitter that attacks the media. 

“The dishonest media wants to distract attention from election fraud & our efforts to secure elections. Let’s cut through the conjecture & put this to bed,” she wrote. Bolick also singled out local journalists for sharing the Washington Post story or other stories on the emails. 

If Bolick wins her four-way Republican primary in August and then defeats her Democratic opponent, as the state’s chief elections official she would be tasked with certifying all election results for both the 2024 and 2026 elections. 

Bolick also was named as a chair for a working group created by the American Legislative Exchange Council, an organization that crafts model legislation for state legislatures to pass similar laws. The working group –– where Bolick served as chair leading up to the 2020 election –– partnered with GOP election attorneys, including Cleta Mitchell, one of the most prominent figures involved in Trump’s attempts to overturn the election results.

Their objective, according to reporting by Documented, was to start a letter campaign, emailing secretaries of state “questioning the validity of an election.” The effort sought to engage state legislators nationwide and allow them “to kind of exercise their political muscle” by raising unfounded questions about the election.

ALEC CEO Lisa Nelson told the group during one of its meetings, “obviously we all want President Trump to win and win the national vote. But it’s very clear from all the comments and all the suggestions up front that really when it comes down to is the states and the state legislators.”

Bolick told the Arizona Mirror she did not attend that meeting in question. 

In addition to Mitchell, the group worked alongside Hans Von Spakovsky, an attorney for the Heritage Foundation, which crafts election legislation for states and has bragged about its voter suppression efforts in the past. Trump named Von Spakovsky, who has for decades falsely claimed there is widespread voter fraud among Democrats, to the Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity.


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Dillon Rosenblatt
Dillon Rosenblatt

Dillon Rosenblatt is a Phoenix-based political reporter with previous bylines in Arizona Capitol Times and Phoenix New Times. When he’s not getting under the skin of politicians, he’s usually found at local coffee shops or the movie theater. He’s originally from New Jersey and graduated from Arizona State University.