Arizona Republican Party Chairwoman Kelli Ward and state Sen. Wendy Rogers, two prominent boosters of election fraud lies and supporters of the Senate’s “audit.” Photo by Jerod MacDonald-Evoy | Arizona Mirror
The most impressive fundraising number in the 2022 election cycle belongs not to a gubernatorial candidate or U.S. Senate hopeful, but to a first-term state senator seeking re-election.
Sen. Wendy Rogers, a Flagstaff Republican who has made herself into a national figure by falsely claiming the 2020 election was rigged against former President Donald Trump, announced on Thursday that she raised nearly $2.5 million last year. According to online campaign finance records, which go back to 2002, the figure is a new legislative record, shattering the mark set by Rogers herself in 2020.
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The majority of Rogers’ contributions are under $100 and from out of state. Rogers tweeted that she received contributions from more than 40,000 people.
Rogers has spent nearly $900,000, and has nearly $1.6 million on hand going into the election year.
Since her election to the Senate in 2020, Rogers, a retired U.S. Air Force pilot who reached the rank of lieutenant colonel, has become a mainstay on the national pro-Trump circuit. She has become a leader in the movement touting bogus allegations that election fraud cost him his re-election and promoting the so-called “audit” that Senate President Karen Fann initiated of the 2020 election in Maricopa County.
She often draws attention to herself with her combative style and outlandish statements and actions, such as calling for a return of McCarthyism, attending a convention promoting the QAnon movement and warning of the “great replacement,” a conspiracy theory popular among white supremacists that claims white Americans are being intentionally replaced with non-white immigrants.
Rogers went on a nationwide tour last year to promote the baseless conspiracy theory, spread by Trump, that the 2020 election was stolen. Trump has endorsed her campaign.
After a decade of unsuccessful campaigns, Rogers finally won her first elective office in 2020, ousting incumbent Republican Sen. Sylvia Allen in the GOP primary and winning a hotly contested general election in her northern Arizona-based legislative district. She lost her first campaign for state Senate in 2010 and lost four consecutive congressional races over the subsequent eight years.
In her 2020 Senate campaign, Rogers became the first legislative candidate in Arizona history to raise $1 million, a mark she shattered in 2021. Few statewide candidates in Arizona have ever raised as much as Rogers has for her first Senate re-election campaign. Prior to the 2022 election cycle, only six state-level candidates in Arizona had ever raised as much for their entire campaigns.
This election cycle, Secretary of State Katie Hobbs, the frontrunner for the Democratic nomination in the governor’s race, raised $2.9 million, and Republican gubernatorial candidate Karrin Taylor Robson raised $3.7 million, half of which was her own money. Republican gubernatorial hopeful Steve Gaynor announced that he raised $5 million last year, but his campaign refused to say how much of that was from the wealthy businessman himself.
The Arizona Independent Redistricting Commission drew Rogers into the new District 7, which runs from southern Flagstaff through Gila County and into eastern Pinal County. She is now in the same district as fellow Republican Sen. Kelly Townsend, who lives in Apache Junction, setting up what could be the hottest legislative race of 2022.
Rogers may not have to face Townsend in the primary, however. Townsend filed paperwork with the Federal Election Commission to run in the new 6th Congressional District. Townsend has not yet filed a statement of interest with the Secretary of State’s Office, which she must do before collecting signatures to get her name on the ballot for the 6th District.
Townsend would not confirm which office she’s running for. She told the Arizona Mirror that she’ll have more information to share about her plans on Monday.
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