Arizona Senate votes to censure Republican Sen. Wendy Rogers

Mar 1, 2022, 2:39 PM | Updated: 4:25 pm
(Facebook Photo/Wendy Rogers)...
(Facebook Photo/Wendy Rogers)
(Facebook Photo/Wendy Rogers)

PHOENIX — The Arizona Senate voted Tuesday to censure Republican Sen. Wendy Rogers, who has come under scrutiny recently for embracing white nationalist leaders and promoting violence.

The motion, introduced by GOP Sen. Rick Gray, passed 24-3 with three senators not voting.

The censure of Rogers, believed to be the first censure of an Arizona lawmaker in decades, was based formally on her threats to hang political opponents.

Rogers and fellow Republican Sens. Nancy Barto and Warren Petersen voted against censuring the senator from Legislative District 6 in northern Arizona.

“I do not apologize,” Rogers said while explaining her vote. “I will not back down and I am sorely disappointed in the leadership of this body for colluding with the Democrats to attempt to destroy my reputation.”

Rogers has long faced fierce opposition from Democrats and a handful of Republicans for offensive comments on social media.

Pressure mounted within the GOP this week after she said over the weekend that her political opponents should face a “newly built set of gallows.” She spoke in a video played at the America First Political Action Conference, a white nationalist gathering.

She argued that the censure was merely an attempt to limit her speech.

Other senators, including Senate President Karen Fann, a Republican, disagreed.

“We do support First Amendment freedom of speech. We absolutely support it. We fight battles over it,” Fann said.

“But what we do not condone is members threatening each other, to ruin each other, to incite violence, to call us communists. We don’t do that to each other.”

The state’s top Republican, Gov. Doug Ducey, said “anti-Semitic and hateful language has no place in Arizona.

“I believe the vote taken today by the Arizona Senate sends a clear message: rhetoric like this is unacceptable,” Ducey said.

GOP Sens. Paul Boyer and T.J. Shope took to Twitter a day before the vote to denounce Rogers’ words.

Shope said her “comments are bull—-,” while Boyer challenged her takes on executing opponents.

“You’re not a victim @WendyRogersAZ so quit pretending to be one,” Boyer said. “And stop using Christianity to justify race superiority and executing your political opponents.”

Two Republican Maricopa County Supervisors also denounced Rogers’ comments on Monday.

Chairman Bill Gates and Vice Chairman Clint Hickman said Rogers “baselessly declares that everyone who doesn’t support her conspiracy theories and beliefs is a Soros puppet, a traitor or a communist.”

Democrats said the censure was long overdue. Some said it was insufficient and called for expelling Rogers from the chamber.

“I don’t believe our action today will have any affect on this behavior,” said state Senate Minority Leader Rebecca Rios, the top Democrat. “But it must be done.”

Rogers has served as a state senator since 2021.

“I represent hundreds of thousands of people and the majority of them are with me,” she said. “They want me to be their voice. You are really censuring them.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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Arizona Senate votes to censure Republican Sen. Wendy Rogers