GOP Maricopa County Supervisor Bill Gates: Party may need to lose to ‘find itself again’
PHOENIX — Republican Maricopa County Supervisor Bill Gates said Thursday the party may need to lose in order to move away from candidates who deny election results.
“I fear that if we continue to nominate people who deny the truth, then what may have to happen is that we lose elections,” Gates told KTAR News 92.3 FM’s Gaydos and Chad Show. “I don’t want Republicans to lose elections, but I also don’t want candidates who stated that they’re not going to accept the wishes and the will of the voters to be serving in office.
“Sometimes it does take going through a difficult situation like that for a party to find itself again and to again nominate people who are focused more on all of the constituents and not just a few on one far extreme or the other.”
Gates told Politico on Wednesday the election was a “catastrophe for the Arizona Republican Party” and democracy itself as candidates endorsed by former President Donald Trump, who continue to push his baseless claims that the 2020 election was stolen, led or won in all primary races.
“I did say that because we have folks who are likely to be our nominees who are not supporting our democracy,” Gates said Thursday. “They’re still arguing that the 2020 election was stolen from Donald Trump, even though we’ve had numerous audits in Maricopa County, other independent examinations to show that that’s simply not the case.
“These folks continue to push this story and that is corrosive to our democracy. There’s no basis for it. And what it is doing is sewing doubt in our democracy.”
He also told Politico he doesn’t think Democrats are strong enough to cause a “humiliation at the ballot box” for the Republican party.
Gates said he’s disappointed in the party he has been a member of since the age of 18.
“I don’t know where my party went astray, but we’ve got to get back to focusing on the issues that we could beat the Democrats on, issues like free markets, about property tax cuts,” he said.
“When we’re talking about the past and basically dredging up conspiracy theories, then we’re doing a disservice to the voters.”
Gates hopes the Trump-backed candidates “see the light” and said Republicans who tell the truth can be elected, pointing to Supervisor Thomas Galvin who won his race and said President Joe Biden won Maricopa County in 2020.
He added there is pressure from certain candidates, particularly Republican gubernatorial candidate Kari Lake, regarding the speed of which votes are being counted.
“We’re on a clip to do it as fast as we’ve ever done it,” he said. “What we’ve got is folks that are not wanting to be serious candidates, not wanting to respect the electoral process. We need to do that. We need to let our people do the work to make sure that every valid vote is counted.”