- Rusty Bowers lost a state Senate primary against David Farnsworth, who was backed by Trump.
- Bowers, the outgoing Arizona House speaker, testified before the January 6 committee in June.
- He spoke about facing down a post-2020 pressure campaign from Trump. Now, he’s paid a political price for it.
Arizona House Speaker Rusty Bowers lost his state Senate primary race on Tuesday to David Farnsworth, a former state senator who had the backing of Donald Trump.
“I would be, in one way, okay. I’ve lost before,” Bowers told Insider ahead of the primary, in the event of a loss. “And in another way, I’m thinking ‘oh my gosh, right when we need adults the most, the thugs take over.'”
Bowers gained national notoriety when he testified before the January 6 committee in June about the pressure campaign that he faced from Trump and his associates in the wake of the 2020 election. Over the course of several months, Trump and his allies sought Bowers’ help in seeking to decertify the state’s election results after President Joe Biden won the state.
The out-going Speaker of the Arizona House was term-limited from serving further in that chamber, prompting him to run for a newly-drawn state Senate seat in his hometown of Mesa. But he soon earned a challenge from Farnsworth, who was encouraged to run by Trump-aligned Republicans in the state.
Bowers had also incensed conservatives by killing a so-called “election integrity” bill — which would have allowed Arizona’s state legislature to overturn the will of the state’s voters — by assigning it to all 12 of the chamber’s committees, which ensured the bill wouldn’t ever make it to the floor.
Trump boasted about Bowers’ loss on his Truth Social platform on Wednesday, pointing to the Mesa Republican’s testimony.
“David Farnsworth trounced RINO Rusty Bowers in Arizona,” he boasted. “It was a race that they said couldn’t be won, but it was, easily. People didn’t believe Rusty Bowers when he testified in front of the Unselect Committee.”
Following his testimony, Bowers faced criticism for saying that he would vote for Trump again, despite the harassment he received from Trump supporters following the 2020 election. He later reversed, telling Insider that he would much prefer a candidate like Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis or former Vice President Mike Pence.
“I think much of what he has done has been tyrannical, especially of late,” Bowers told Insider. “I think that there are elements of tyranny that anybody can practice on any given day, and I feel like I’ve seen a lot of it, a lot of bullying and name calling.”
Farnsworth, the victor in Tuesday’s primary, has indulged several conspiracy theories. In a lengthy interview with Insider last month, he spoke of his belief that Satan was behind Trump’s 2020 election loss and that some of what QAnon followers have said “seemed logical to me.”
He also said he has “no doubt” that the 2020 election was stolen, despite admitting that he has no evidence for that assertion.
“Everybody is scared to death of Dave Farnsworth because he doesn’t listen well,” Bowers previously told Insider. “I have no animosity, except that he called me a swamp rat.”