Wendy Rogers embraces Trump’s stolen election lie and watches her star soar

Wendy Rogers spent 10 years in Arizona trying to get elected to various state and federal offices.

He eventually won a state Senate race—and immediately launched a crusade to invalidate those results.

Republicans, acknowledging former President Donald Trump’s lie that the 2020 presidential election was stolen with almost unmatched enthusiasm, have repeatedly called for the jailing of public officials who oversaw the vote. he is visited the country, falsely declaring that the election could be canceled in Arizona and elsewhere. Trump and key aides in turn praised and promoted her, and among the pro-Trump, election-denial movement, she became a major attraction.

“There is a clear attempt to find [the] The truth from 2020 before we move on to 2022,” she said while cheering loudly for Kari Lake, the Trump-backed Republican candidate for governor in Arizona, at an event earlier this month.

At the same event, Rogers called on the state’s Republican Attorney General, Mark Branovich, “to go on par and arrest those who have shamed us,” and insisted with zero evidence that Virginia’s recent elections There was a widespread fraud attempt that saw Republicans reclaim the governor’s mansion and majority in the state’s House of Representatives.

Though Rogers’ efforts are in vain, his relentless campaigning of Trump’s baseless claims has catapulted him from perennially unsuccessful candidate to leading voice in the far-right attempt to legitimize President Joe Biden’s victory. His National Tour Program – Stumping for Conservative Candidates and Advocating an election inquiry And a ballot review in Arizona that found no evidence of fraud—unusual for the state’s first lawmaker, although in the Trump era, has become several breakout figures that echo his lines.

At an event for Republican Senate contender Josh Mandel in Rogers, Ohio Received Standing Ovation and “We love you!” Eric Grettens, the Republican Senate candidate in Missouri, brought Rogers for his state To rally supporters and hold joint interviews in right-wing outlets. And in Pennsylvania, his appearance at the “Audit the Vote” rally – organized by the same group that arranged the “Stop the Steel” rally on January 6, before the pro-Trump mob attack on the US Capitol – more billing received Compared to the running house and governor candidates in the state.

Steve Bannon, Trump’s former White House chief of staff and far-flung radio host who hosted Rogers on his schedule several times, told NBC News that the state senator is a “breakout star” who is “on the cutting edge” of the MAGA movement.

“I think if you don’t see him running for high office, you’re going to see him in the next Trump administration,” Bannon, who had just been charged Said, by a federal grand jury for contempt of Congress, to reprimand the committee investigating the January 6 attack. “Rogers will have a big role to play. I think people are looking to her for the future. People are looking for fighters and she’s clearly separating herself from the pack because there’s no back-down.”

Rogers rises as the Republican Party faces uncertainty about how closely the winning candidates must stick with Trump in the upcoming elections and split Should the party focus on the 2020 presidential election Or instead focus on future contests and criticism of the Biden administration.

Her 2020 victory followed Congress and state Senate defeats spanning from 2010 to 2010. in many districts, Last fall, Rogers, a longtime Tempe resident, moved to a more conservative district and ran, besting a longtime Republican incumbent in the primary before winning the general election.

According to a campaign finance report, she raised more than $1.16 million for her campaign last year, more than $300,000 more than any other Statehouse candidate in Arizona. Originally a supporter of former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush in the 2016 primary, Rogers increasingly embraced Trump as he defeated GOP opponents. Her recent campaigns have focused on supporting Trump, gun rights, and building a wall along the border with Mexico. Questioning the 2020 results has become his calling card since then, the election issues were not listed part of his campaign published forum.

“The Trump presidency has tipped and tipped a lot of things politically in their direction,” said Stan Barnes, an Arizona Republican political adviser. “And so she fits right in.”

“There is no filter now when there could have been a filter before,” he said. “And it seems to be working for her. So I don’t expect that she’s ever going to be filtering herself again.”

Rogers, who declined to comment, is aligned with the far right on more than just the 2020 election. A retired Air Force lieutenant colonel who often wears a flight jacket during political events, Rogers is proud of him. Membership in the Oath-Keeping Militia, Who members were convicted in relation to With the January 6 riots. Last month, Rogers was one of several lawmakers who voted for A. I talked QAnon conference, which he tried to reduce Tweet “Why what?” before the incident.

This summer, he Accused of giving signals to supporters “We are being replaced and invaded” when he tweeted about the white nationalist “Great Replacement” theory in response to a story about migrants caught at the US/Mexico border. and he is Frequently Including this month praised Confederate General Robert E. Lee When His message to Virginians ready to vote was “Make General Lee proud.”

“It was clear to me that she was going to be the most extreme right-wing elected official in our modern history,” said Lauren Kuby, a Democratic city councilwoman in Tempe who has known Rogers for nearly two decades, of Rogers’ election. said in. “I find his ascent disturbing and his reluctance to understand and understand the complexity of the world and his denial of history haunts the soul.”

“Quenon and radical Trumpism are just a few of the names where Wendy Rogers has always stood,” said former Democratic State Sen. David Shapira, who defeated Rogers in the 2010 state Senate race.

A first-term member of the state Senate who has served less than a year, Rogers has little ability to influence Arizona policy. one of his first gambles The idea was to try to get a state highway named after Trump in office.

His rise, however, coincides with the state Senate’s partisan review of the 2020 election results in Maricopa County, which he campaigned extensively on social media, in large numbers. Review, run by a firm that had no experience with Arizona elections and experts said did not amount to a valid audit, with Biden’s margin of victory exceeding the originally reported 300-plus votes. An Associated Press Fact Check “It sought to portray routine election practices in Maricopa County as errors, irregularities, or sinister attempts to deny Donald Trump another term,” the report said.

That didn’t stop Rogers, who has also called for a review like this. in her own Northern Arizona District. In recent weeks, he promoted A letter, signed by about 2 percent of all state legislators in the US, is calling for all 50 states to conduct these investigations and potentially skew the results, for which no state has any legal mechanism.

There is no evidence that widespread fraud affected the 2020 election results, and voter fraud in US elections is extremely rare. Since Biden’s victory, swing state votes have been counted, recounted and certified. Officials on both sides and the Trump administration said the election was safe and the courts said Dozens of cases brought dismissed Challenging the results by Trump and his allies.

Rogers has been accused by some, including on the right, being a “grifter” who is using Arizona’s partisan ballot review to gain national attention and raise money.

Maricopa County Supervisor Bill Gates, a Republican, said he believed Rogers’ statements were “very dangerous” and that she was misleading supporters by suggesting that the election could be scrapped.

“That’s never going to happen,” he said. “The election will never be canceled, no matter what Wendy Rogers does. That’s why she’s giving people false hope. And I think that’s very sad. She’s not honest with her constituents, with her voters. She’s killing them.”

Rogers has also called for Gates’ board members to go to jail, and in an August appearance on Bannon’s War Room podcast, warned Maricopa County officials: “We’re coming for you. You better hit your sixes. Check it out.”

Across the country, election workers and officials from both parties have been flooded with threats from those who deny that Trump lost the election.

“If it concerns the general threats of jailing us or threats of violence against us, she has been at the head of the pack,” Gates said, adding that there is zero basis for Rogers’ claims. “We have done nothing but actually follow the law.”

Now, with the Arizona ballot review increasingly in the rearview mirror, Rogers has used his large social media platform to reflect on the latest outrage in the news. This month, when Sesame Street character Big Bird tweeted a message aimed at children about the benefits of getting a COVID vaccination, Rogers tweeted “Kids Need to Hear Jesus, Not Big Bird” and “Big Bird” is a communist,

The negative reaction to those tweets encouraged Rogers, as he clarified in a follow-up.

“Apparently this has triggered many people,” he wrote, “Good.”