Looking Towards July 30th: The County Recorder’s Race

Stephen Richer

Arizona’s primaries have traditionally been in the month of August, but recently local elections got bumped up to July 30th. With this deadline looming, we want to take a look at a few contentious primaries that are making waves and are worth your attention. As for this round, let’s look at the Republican primary for Maricopa County Recorder.

Incumbent Stephen Richer has been doing an admirable job or is a crook in the pockets of RINOs and Democrats, depending on who you ask. As he would not kowtow to the conspiracy theories related to recent elections, he has gained the ire of MAGA-land, but not without pushback. He fought back against salacious accusations by Kari Lake, leading to a tidy sum in the way of a settled lawsuit. If you want to get MAGA ticked off, that’s a good way to do it.

Those conspiracy theories have reached absurd levels, including running cover for an organ harvesting ring. At least he can have a sense of humor about it.

That said, this anger has led to a contested primary with two challengers: State Rep. Justin Heap and IT professional Don Hiatt. And ohhh my, have things gotten spicy as the claws have come out.

Previous tweets from Heap were exposed that stated that he was not MAGA-identifying nor did he vote for Donald Trump in 2016, a grave sin in today’s Republican party. His response was an extremely long-winded tweet where he categorically denies the visual evidence that was presented and touts his love for Trump, pointing fingers at others. But if you’re explaining, you’re losing.

Meanwhile, evidence has come up about Hiatt’s past as a Democrat. Hiatt’s response was that he registered as a Democrat to vote for the weaker of the candidates; a handy excuse that is impossible to disprove. Lucky for him, he left no tweet evidence.

The big winner from all of this? Stephen Richer, who undoubtedly is enjoying seeing his competitors rip each other apart.

Then, there’s the financial advantage. Richer ended Q1 with $238K cash on hand, with Heap at $51K and Hiatt with a sad $1,300. Between the financial advantage and split opponents, it’s hard to see a case where Richer doesn’t exit the primary with a plurality and head to the general election.