PHOENIX — State Senators Kelly Townsend and Wendy Rogers have a lot in common. They are staunchly pro-Trump and claim to believe that the 2020 election was stolen from him. Both have authored many of the election reform bills lawmakers are considering this session. But with a primary election looming in August, the senators find themselves competing for the same prize.
On Tuesday Townsend announced she will run for state senate in the newly redrawn LD 7. Rogers is the announced Republican candidate and has already received an endorsement from Donald Trump and amassed a considerable campaign war chest. Rogers has more than $1 million available to her now.
"It's two Republican heavyweights who are ideologically similar. Very much both on the Trump wing of the party. In a primary against each other that is quite rare," said ABC15 Data Analyst Garrett Archer.
Originally Townsend was going to run for Congress in the newly drawn congressional district 6. The senator was ready to move to Tombstone, so she'd be living in the district. But on Tuesday Townsend announced on Twitter she changed her mind after Rogers refused to back away from remarks she made praising white supremacist Nick Fuentes and publishing highly inflammatory and anti-Semitic social media posts. "Hanging out with white supremacists, endorsing them and declaring them the finest of patriots is all something Wendy Rogers has a constitutional right to do. But good and decent people are also free to find it repulsive and un-American," Townsend said in her announcement.
Rogers has maintained what she and others say is free speech, "I don't agree with guilt by association," she said from the Senate floor.
LD 7 extends from near Flagstaff east to the White Mountains then south to Pinal County. It's a district that encompasses a large portion of Rogers' current district. But it also includes a portion of LD 16 which is Townsend's district. "This district is very well suited to both of them," Archer said.
While Rogers has the money and Trump's support, Townsend is counting on Republican voters knowing who she is and her record as a legislature.