Maricopa County Supervisor Bill Gates reacts to GOP colleague’s comments
PHOENIX – Maricopa County Supervisor Bill Gates said Wednesday he was surprised by Steve Chucri’s resignation and disappointed with what Chucri was caught saying about his Republican colleagues in newly released audio.
Gates told KTAR News 92.3 FM’s Arizona’s Morning News on Wednesday that he agreed with Chucri on the point that the political environment has become toxic.
“It has been a tumultuous time on the Board of Supervisors since the election, not because of what’s going on at the board, but what’s going on around us with the audit out of the state Senate and so many distractions,” Gates said.
“But all of that has created a toxic environment, and I’m sad that that toxic environment has led to Steve Chucri leaving the Board of Supervisors.”
Chucri issued a statement Tuesday night saying he was stepping down from his District 2 seat on the board that governs Arizona’s largest county effective Nov. 5 after serving for nine years.
The announcement came after conservative website Gateway Pundit released secret recordings of Chucri from a March 22 meeting with leaders from a group called We the People AZ Alliance as well as a Jan. 22 phone call in which he discussed the then-proposed audit of Maricopa County’s 2020 election.
In the audio, Chucri suggested that Gates and fellow GOP Supervisor Jack Sellers were scared by the idea of an election audit because their own races were close.
“What would happen in those two races?” Chucri said. “And that is way too self-serving.”
Chucri also said another Republican supervisor, Clint Hickman, “just didn’t have the guts” for an election review.
“I was very disappointed to hear those words,” Gates said.
“I don’t believe that that’s what was in Steve’s heart. I truly believe that … what he was doing was, he was telling these people what they wanted to hear.”
Gates noted that Chucri has been united with the board in opposing the Cyber Ninjas-led audit authorized by Arizona Senate Republicans.
Chucri apologized for his comments in his resignation letter and said, “My colleagues have every right to be both angry and disappointed with me.”
Gates dismissed the notion that he or Sellers were worried about an audit potentially reversing their electoral victories.
“There’s absolutely no truth to that,” he said. “Jack and I both had close elections. But look, we are people that are focused on getting to the truth. That’s what we’ve been doing throughout our political careers. That’s what we’ve been doing for the last 10 months.
“If my opponent got more votes than me, she should be the supervisor from District 3.”
The state Senate audit started in April, and the results are expected to be released on Friday. Gates noted that only the races for president and U.S. senator were reviewed.
“So they haven’t even been looking at our races,” he said. “But our concerns with those audits relate to the fact that they’re being run by known partisans, they’re being funded by dark money, mainly from out of state.”
Republican Senate President Karen Fann has said the aim of the audit is to restore faith in the election system and find ways to improve Arizona’s voting laws, not to reverse the result of the election.
However, many Donald Trump supporters still see it as a step toward invalidating Joe Biden’s victory and somehow returning Trump to office.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.