Rusty Powers, not Carrie Lake, is the Senate candidate Arizona deserves


OPINION: Arizona Republicans need an alternative to Carrie Lake and Blake Masters if they want to regain a U.S. Senate seat. What about… Rusty Powers?

Blake Masters’ entry into the Republican race for U.S. Senate may one day give the grand old party its best chance yet to reclaim the Senate seat it once controlled for decades.

Oh, Masters will not be the party’s salvation. Nor will Curry Lake Combat, which has been stimulating jogging for months.

Certainly not Pinal County Mayor Mark Lamb, who entered the race months ago and immediately became a contender as well even though he wasn’t running against anyone yet.

These three are America First supporters, if they all run, they won’t be able to help themselves. Once they start their engines in next year’s Senate primary campaign, they will immediately do their best to dominate the hard right lane.

The rest of the way was left wide open.

Rusty Powers stood up to Trump

Which brings me to former Speaker of the House Rusty Powers.

Powers is what the best public officials aspire to be, a man guided by principles and conscience rather than cowardice or all-encompassing ambition that dictates their every move.

A lifelong Republican, he is a staunch conservative who endorsed Donald Trump’s re-election.

But once the voters spoke, he refused to go back down the rabbit hole where black is white and down is up, and the election was stolen, well… because it was.

No actual evidence needed.

He lost his position, not his principles

Powers did not yield to phone calls and meetings with Trump and his senior advisers, urging him to give in to their plan to steal the Arizona election.

He did not yield to the pleas of US Representatives Andy Biggs and Paul Gosar, who urged him to support fake voters in Arizona.

He did not bow, though he knew it would cost him his seat in the Arizona House of Representatives.

But for what price were they asking? It was simply too high.

“I don’t want to win by cheating,” Powers made clear last summer, when testifying before the House Select Committee investigating the events surrounding the attack on the Capitol on January 6, 2021. “I will not play by the laws to which I have sworn allegiance”

Are Republicans tired of losing elections?

It used to be the kind of people voters liked, the kind they wanted to put into positions of power.

I think a large number of voters, including Republicans, still do.

Either that or they’re tired of nominating MAGA candidates who have no hope of winning in November. (See: 2018 US Senate Race, 2020 US Senate Race, and 2020 Races for Governor, Secretary of State, and Attorney General.)

Lake vs. Masters: The political attacks have already begun

So, let’s find out.

Bowers should run for Senate.

Let the Masters, Lakes split the MAGA vote

Let Masters, Lake and Lamb split the MAGA vote as they try to prove who’s the most trump of all.

Leave it to them to run campaigns that focus on old grievances and any new anger emerging in their social media channels.

Powers could talk to the traditional Republicans and independents who care most about the way forward.

On Tuesday night, Powers was part of a panel at the start of the Arizona Conversations, a gathering of community leaders, both Republicans and Democrats, who came together to discuss public policy issues.

Powers spoke about the most important issue of all: integrity.

“There are things happening that are going to be difficult,” he told the audience. “But the challenge we all face is that it depends on you and your personal integrity. In the dark of the night, when you hold your toothbrush and look in the mirror – do I have my own integrity?

Arizona deserves Bowers in the Senate

It’s time to see if there are enough Republican primary voters ready to move on from stolen elections and injured presidential egos. Politicians who study these things say they don’t exist.

“The short answer is no,” pollster Mike Noble told me, noting that 75 percent of Republican voters in Arizona still view Trump favorably, so whoever gets the nod will be the nominee.

In other words, the Republican Party is doomed to fail in Arizona, a state that is key to who will control the US Senate.

Powers likely couldn’t win the Republican primary.

But he’s the kind of candidate Arizona deserves.

He must run.

Contact Roberts at laurie.roberts@arizonarepublic.com. Follow her on X, formerly known as Twitter, at @LoriRoberts.

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