Arizona – Michmutters

More human remains found at Lake Mead as water levels drop in drought

National Park Service rangers found more human remains at the drought-hit Lake Mead National Recreation Area to the east of Las Vegas over the weekend.

Why it matters: It’s fourth such discovery in the nation’s largest reservoir by volume since May as a megadrought sinks Lake Mead’s water levels to the lowest since 1937, per AP.

Details: “National Park Service rangers received an emergency call reporting the discovery of human skeletal remains at Swim Beach in Lake Mead National Recreation Area,” Nevada, on Saturday morning, according to an NPS statement.

  • Park rangers worked to recover the remains with the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department’s dive team, the NPS said.
  • The Clark County Medical Examiner is investigating the cause of death.

Driving the news: The Southwest is in the grip of a megadrought lasting more than two decades and studies show it’s more severe than any in at least 1,200 years, which is being driven in large part by climate change, Axios’ Andrew Freedman notes.

The big pictures: Lake Mead spans Nevada and Arizona and is part of the vast Colorado River basin that provides water for agriculture and human consumption to seven states, while also generating electricity at the massive Hoover Dam.

Go deeper: New Colorado River drought discovery shows how bad things can get



Sinema gives her nod, and influence, to Democrats’ big bill

WASHINGTON (AP) — Sen. Joe Manchin sealed the deal reviving President Joe Biden’s big economic, health care and climate bill. But it was another Democratic senator, Kyrsten Sinema of Arizonawho intently, quietly and deliberately shaped the final product.

Democrats pushed ahead Friday on an estimated $730 billion package that in many ways reflects Sinema’s priorities and handiwork more than the other political figures who have played a key role in delivering on Biden’s signature domestic policy agenda.

It was Sinema early on who rejected Biden’s plan to raise the corporate tax rate from 21% to 28%, as she broke with the party’s primary goal of reversing the Trump-era tax break Republicans gave to corporate America.

Sinema also scaled back her party’s long-running plan to allow Medicare to negotiate lower drug prices with the pharmaceutical companies as a way to reduce overall costs to the government and consumers. She limited which drugs can be negotiated.

Her insistence on climate change provisions forced the coal-state Manchin to stay at the table to accept some $369 billion in renewable energy investments and tax breaks. She also is tucking in more money to fight Western droughts.

And it was Sinema who in one final stroke gave her blessing to the deal by extracting an ultimate demand — she forced Democrats to drop plans to close a tax loophole that benefits wealthy hedge fund managers and high-income earners, long a party priority. Instead, the final bill will keep the tax rate at 20% instead of hiking it to the typical 37%.

“Kyrsten Sinema’s proven herself to be a very effective legislator,” said Sen. Mark Warner, D-Va., who has negotiated extensively with his colleague over the past year, including on the tax loophole.

In a 50-50 Senate where every vote matters, the often inscrutable and politically undefinable Sinema puts hers to use in powerful ways. Her negotiating at the highest levels of power — she appears to have equal access to Biden, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and even Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell — has infuriated some, wowed others and left no doubt she is a powerful new political figure.

While other lawmakers bristle at the influence a single senator can wield in Congress, where each member represents thousands if not millions of voters, Sinema’s nod of approval late Thursday was the last hurdle Democrats needed to push the Inflation Reduction Act forward. A final round of grueling votes on the package is expected to begin this weekend.

“We had no choice,” Schumer told reporters Friday at the Capitol.

Getting what you want in Congress does not come without political costs, and Sinema is amassing a balance due.

Progressives are outraged at their behavior, which they view as beyond the norms of sausage-making during the legislative process and verging on an unsettling restacking of party priorities to a more centrist, if not conservative, lane.

Progressive Rep. Ruben Gallego is openly musing about challenging Sinema in the 2024 primary in Arizona, and an independent expenditure group, Change for Arizona 2024, says it will support grassroots organizations committed to defeating her in a Democratic primary.

“The new reconciliation bill will lower the cost of prescription drugs,” Gallego wrote on Twitter last weekend. “@SenatorSinema is holding it up to try to protect ultra rich hedge fund managers so they can pay a lower tax.”

In fact, on the left and the right, commentators lambasted her final act—saving the tax breaks for the wealthy. Some pointed to past legislative luminaries—the late Sen. Robert Byrd, for example, used his clout to leave his name on roads, buildings and civic institutions across the West Virginia hillsides. They scoff at Sinema establishing her legacy of her in such a way.

“Astonishing,” wrote conservative Hugh Hewitt on Twitter. “@SenatorSinema could have demanded anything she wanted — anything that spent money or changed taxes — and with that leverage for Arizona she choose … to protect the carry interest exemption for investors. …Not the border. Not the country. A tax break. wow.”

Democratic former Clinton-era Labor Secretary Robert Reich wrote, “The ‘carried interest’ loophole for billionaire hedge-fund and private-equity partners is now out of the Inflation Reduction Act, courtesy of Kyrsten Sinema.

“She’s up in 2024. Primary her and get her out of the Senate.”

But Sinema has never cared much about what others say about her, from the time she set foot in the Senate, breaking the rules with her whimsical fashion choices and her willingness to reach across the aisle to Republicans — literally joining them at times in the private Senate GOP cloakroom.

The Arizona senator seeks to emulate the maverick career of John McCain, drawing on his farewell address for her maiden Senate speech, and trying to adopt his renegade style alongside her own — a comparison that draws some eyerolls for its reach and scope.

Still, in her short time in the Senate, Sinema has come herself to be a serious study who understands intricacies of legislation and a hard-driving dealer who does not flinch. She has been instrumental in landmark legislation, including the bipartisan infrastructure bill Biden signed into law last summer.

“There’s not been a bipartisan group that she’s not been a part of,” Warner said.

In the end, the final package is slimmer than Biden first envisioned with his lofty Build Back Better initiative, but still a monumental undertaking and a bookend to a surprisingly productive if messy legislative session.

The bill would make health care gains for many Americans, capping pharmacy costs for seniors at $2,000 out of pocket and providing subsidies to help millions of people who buy health insurance on the private market. It includes what the Biden administration calls the largest investment in climate change ever, with money for renewable energy and consumer rebates for new and used electric cars. It would mostly be paid for by higher corporate taxes, with some $300 billion going to deficit reductions.

On the climate provisions, a priority for Democrats, Sinema may have played a role in keeping the sweeping provisions in the bill, when Manchin was less inclined to do so.

Environmental leaders, who have been involved in talks on the bill since last year, said Sinema has helped shape the bill all along. She was especially helpful last year when she made it clear she supports the climate and energy provisions, and her commitment to climate issues has remained steadfast, environmentalists said.

She tacked on her own priority, money to help Western states dealing with droughts, in the final push.

Jamal Raad, executive director of Evergreen Action, an environmental group that has pushed for the climate bill, said: “Senator Sinema needed money for drought relief to help her constituents stave off the worst effects of climate change. If that’s what was needed to gain her support from her, then good on her.

At home in Arizona, business allies that have been crucial to Sinema’s efforts to build an independent image have cheered on her willingness to resist party pressure over the tax increases.

The Arizona Chamber of Commerce and Industry and the National Association of Manufacturers ran ads against the deal, though they didn’t target Sinema by name, and bent her ear in a phone call this week.


Associated Press writers Matthew Daly in Washington and JJ Cooper in Phoenix contributed to this article.



First bus of migrants from Texas arrives in NYC, Abbott says

Just days after Mayor Eric Adams turned down Greg Abbott’s invitation to visit the southern border, the Texas governor sent a taste of the ongoing migrant emerging to NYC’s doorstep — with the first busload of border-crossers arriving in Manhattan Friday morning.

The Republican governor revealed in a statement that the migrant bus arrived at Gate 14 of the Port Authority Bus Terminal, but did not provide any additional details — such as how many people were on board or their countries of origin.

The arrival of the migrants comes as Abbott has dispatched dozens of buses to Washington DC since April, transporting more than 6,100 migrants to the nation’s capital in “response to the Biden administration’s open border policies overwhelming Texas communities.”

“Because of President Biden’s continued refusal to acknowledge the crisis caused by his open border policies, the State of Texas has had to take unprecedented action to keep our communities safe,” Abbott said in his Friday statement.

“In addition to Washington, DC, New York City is the ideal destination for these migrants, who can receive the abundance of city services and housing that Mayor Eric Adams has boasted about within the sanctuary city. I hope he follows through on his promise of welcoming all migrants with open arms so that our overrun and overwhelmed border towns can find relief,” he continued.

Texas Gov.  Greg Abbott announced the first bus full of migrants has arrived at the Port Authority Bus Terminal.
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott announced the first bus full of migrants has arrived at the Port Authority Bus Terminal.
Texas Gov.  Greg Abbott hopes Mayor Eric Adams will welcome the migrants arriving in the Big Apple.
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott hopes Mayor Eric Adams will welcome the migrants arriving in the Big Apple.
Texas Gov.  Greg Abbott accused Democrats of causing a “historic and preventable crisis.”
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott accused Democrats of causing a “historic and preventable crisis.”

In the governor’s announcement, his office pointed to New York City’s right to housing laws which require the local government to provide “emergency shelter for every unhoused person.”

Already, Adams has warned that the homeless shelters in the city are being overloaded with migrants. Previous reporting by The Post confirmed a Department of Homeless Service intake center in the Bronx as well as the Bellevue men’s shelter in Manhattan have seen a growing number of migrants arrive in recent days.

City Hall Press Secretary Fabien Levy later told The Post, “Governor Abbott is finally admitting to what we’ve known he’s been doing all along. His continued use of human beings as political pawns is disgusting, and an embarrassing stain on the state of Texas.”

“New York will continue to welcome asylum seekers with open arms, as we have always have, but we are asking for resources to help do so. We need Washington, DC’s assistance in dealing with the cruel political games being played by inept politicians like the governor of Texas,” Levy added.

Fox & friends interviews a migrant.
Fox & friends interviews a migrant.

Last month, Adams claimed Texas and Arizona had already been transporting migrants to the Big Apple, and called on President Biden to provide federal resources to handle the influx.

However, that assertion was rejected by both Abbott and Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey, who insisted it was the federal government sending migrants to New York.

In response, Abbott Adams invited to visit the southern border to “see firsthand the dire situation.”

The Post has previously reported that Manhattan shelters are experiencing a high volume of migrants seeking refuge.
The Post has previously reported that Manhattan shelters are experiencing a high volume of migrants seeking refuge.

“Your recent interest in this historic and preventable crisis is a welcomed development – ​​especially as the President and his Administration have shown no remorse for their actions nor desire to address the situation themselves,” Abbott said this week.

“As Governor, I invite you to visit our border region to see firsthand the fire situation that only grows more urgent with each passing day, and to meet with the local officials, who like yourselves, realize this matter deserves immediate federal action.”

Abbott reiterated his invitations to Adams and DC Mayor Muriel Bowser during an appearance on Fox News Thursday night.

“I really wish they would [come down] because public officials across the country, they do need to realize the magnitude of the chaos created by Biden’s open-border policies,” Abbott told host Jesse Watters. “They’re up in arms about a few thousand people coming into their communities over the past few months? Listen, in any one sector in the state of Texas, we have more than 5,000 people coming across [the border] in that sector every single day.”

“We’re full in the state of Texas,” Abbott added. “Our communities are overrun, and I start busing people to Washingon DC, when local officials could not handle the number of people that had come across our border.”

Texas Gov.  Greg Abbott claimed the migrants can find shelter thanks to New York City's housing laws.
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott claimed the migrants can find shelter thanks to New York City’s housing laws.

All of the migrants who have arrived in Washington and New York via the governor’s bus transportation have gone there voluntarily, since they are permitted to travel within the US after being processed by Customs and Border Protection.

Typically, when migrants are released from federal custody after crossing the border and evading expulsion, they are given paperwork allowing them to stay in the US as well as an order to appear in immigration court when their cases can be heard.

In July, Bowser requested help from the National Guard to address the influx of migrants arriving in the city.

Texas Gov.  Greg Abbott argued he had no choice but to send the migrants to New York after sending busloads to Washington, DC.
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott argued he had no choice but to send the migrants to New York after sending busloads to Washington, DC.
A migrant gives a thumbs up after arriving at the Port Authority Bus Terminal.
A migrant gives a thumbs up after arriving at the Port Authority Bus Terminal.

“Our collective response and service efforts have now become overwhelmed,” Bowser wrote in a July 19 request to Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin.

“[O]our homeless services system is already under great strain; and tragically, many families arrive in Washington, DC with nowhere to go, or they remain in limbo seeking onward destinations across the United States.

“With pledges from Texas and Arizona to continue these abhorrent operations indefinitely, the situation is dire,” the mayor added, “and we consider this a humanitarian crisis – one that could overwhelm our social support network without immediate and sustained federal intervention.”



Trump ally Kari Lake wins GOP primary for Arizona governor

PHOENIX (AP) — Kari Lake, a former news anchor who walked away from her journalism career and was embraced by Donald Trump and his staunch supporters, won the Republican primary for Arizona governor on Thursday.

Lake’s victory was a blow to the GOP establishment that lined up behind lawyer and businesswoman Karrin Taylor Robson in an attempt to push their party past the chaotic Trump era. Lake said she would not have certified President Joe Biden’s 2020 victory and put false claims of election fraud at the center of his campaign.

“Arizonans who have been forgotten by the establishment just delivered a political earthquake,” Lake said in a statement after the race was called.

Republicans now enter the general election sprint with a slate of nominees closely allied with Trump who deny that Biden was legitimately elected president. Lake will face Democratic Secretary of State Katie Hobbs in the November election.

“This race for governor isn’t about Democrats or Republicans. It’s a choice between sanity and chaos,” Hobbs said Thursday night in a statement on Lake’s victory.

Early election results showing only mail ballots received before Election Day gave Robson a solid lead, but that was whittled down as votes from polling places were added to the tally. Lake’s victory became clear Thursday when Maricopa County released results from thousands of mail ballots dropped off at the polls on Tuesday.

“The voters of Arizona have spoken,” Robson said in a statement conceding to Lake late Thursday. “I accept the results, I trust the process and the people who administer it.”

In a midterm primary season with mixed results for Trump’s favored candidates, the former president came out on top in Arizona, a state that has been central to his efforts to overturn the 2020 presidential election and cast doubt on Biden’s victory. In addition to Lake, Trump’s picks for US Senate, secretary of stateattorney general, US House and the state Legislature all won their GOP primaries.

If they win in November, Trump allies will hold sway over the administration of elections in a crucial battleground state as he considers another bid for the White House in 2024. The results also show that Trump remains a powerful figure in the GOP as longtime party stalwarts get increasingly bold in their efforts to reassert control ahead of the next presidential campaign.

Former Vice President Mike Pence, Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey and former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie all campaigned for Robson in the days before the election.

Robson, who is married to one of Arizona’s richest men, largely self-funded her campaign. She called the 2020 election “unfair” but stopped short of calling it fraudulent and pushed for the GOP to look toward the future.

Lake now faces the daunting task of uniting the Republican Party after a bruising primary. On Wednesday, as Lake declared victory prematurely, she attempted to reach out to Robson and others she fiercely criticized as RINOs, or Republicans in Name Only, who don’t align with Trump on key issues.

“Frankly, this party needs her to come together, and I welcome her,” Lake said of Robson. “And I hope that she will come over for this.”

Robson said she’s spent her life supporting Republicans, “and it is my hope that our Republican nominees are successful in November.”

Like Trump, Lake courts controversy and confrontation. She berates journalists and dodges questions. She burned masks during the COVID-19 surge in the summer of 2021 and attacked Republicans like Ducey who allowed restrictions on businesses, though as a news anchor she encouraged people to follow public health guidance.

Lake spent the days leading up to her own election claiming there were signs of fraud, but she refused to provide any evidence. Once her victory for her was assured, she said voters should trust her win for her is legitimate.

“We outvoted the fraud,” Lake said. She pointed to problems in Pinal County, which ran out of ballots in some precincts and had to print more, but she and her attorney, Tim La Sota, refused to provide evidence backing up her claims of fraud.

She said she has no plans to stop talking about election fraud even as she needs to broaden her appeal beyond the loyalists her powered her primary victory.

Federal and state election officials and Trump’s own attorney general have said there is no credible evidence the 2020 election was tainted. Trump’s allegations of fraud were also roundly rejected by courts, including by judges he appointed. A hand recount led by Trump supporters in Maricopa County, Arizona’s largest, found no proof of a stolen election and concluded Biden’s margin of victory was larger than the official count.

Hobbs, Lake’s opponent in November, went after the candidate over her opposition to abortion rights and gun control and a proposal she floated to put cameras in every classroom to keep an eye on teachers.

Republicans, moving toward November as a divided party in Arizona, need to make an appeal to the independent voters who decide to close races, said Chuck Coughlin, a longtime Republican strategist who left the party during the Trump era.

“I see it as a challenge the Republicans are going to have: How do they narrate to unaffiliated voters?” Coughlin said.



Kari Lake wins GOP nomination for Arizona governor

Kari Lake defeated Karrin Taylor Robson in Arizona’s Republican gubernatorial primary, AP reports, propelling the Trump-endorsed candidate into a general election where she’s favored to become the state’s 24th governor.

Driving the news: The former Fox 10 anchor took the race by storm last year, becoming the immediate frontrunner with a style and message that closely emulated former President Trump.

  • Lake’s campaign has been characterized by his combative style, anti-establishment rhetoric and unflinching support for Trump’s false claims that the 2020 election was rigged against him.

Flash back: Lake declared victory on Wednesday with about 186,000 votes left to count in the primary.

the battle between Lake and Robson became a proxy war between Trump and the establishment wing of the GOP.

Between the lines: Despite spending more than $20 million on her campaign, most of it self-funding, Robson was never able to overcome Lake’s advantage.

  • The developer and former regent gained momentum late in the race with a massive, sustained TV advertising blitz.
  • Robson also waged an unrelenting attack ad campaign against Lake, hitting her for contributing to Barack Obama in 2008, questioning her conservative credentials and dubbing her “Fake Lake.”
  • Nearly every poll of the race that was ever publicly released showed Lake leading, and despite her financial advantage she was never able to overcome that lead.

The intrigue: Lake and Ducey will now have to bury the hatchet as they pivot to the general election.

  • Ducey is the chairman of the Republican Governors Association, which has already reserved about $10.6 million worth of airtime for the general election.
  • Lake has been harshly critical of Ducey on his response to COVID-19 and other issues.
  • Still, Ducey’s job as RGA chair is to win gubernatorial races for the GOP, and it would reflect badly on him if the Democrats won the race in his own state.

What’s next: Lake will likely face Secretary of State Katie Hobbs in the general election. Many Democrats viewed Lake as the easiest opponent for Hobbs.

Yes but: This is still Arizona, which, despite Democratic gains during the past few elections, is still a predominantly red state, and this is still expected to be a Republican wave year.

Note: Hobbs, who’s served as Arizona’s top election official since 2019, gained national prominence after the 2020 election fighting the same bogus election fraud allegations that Lake has spent the past year spreading.



Kari Lake Cried Foul at Election Results. Then she She Started Winning

When the initial votes in Arizona started rolling in Tuesday night and Kari Lake was trailing, she and her fellow MAGA allies resorted to a familiar election-night tactic: They cried foul.

But overnight, Lake made up the ground she’d lost to Karrin Taylor Robson, her main rival for Arizona’s GOP nomination for governor. Now, on the cusp of winning the hotly contested primary, Lake and her allies de ella found themselves squirming to explain how the election she was on track to win was still, somehow, as corrupt and fraudulent as they’d already claimed it was.

“There is no path to victory for my opponent, and we won this race, period,” Lake proudly declared to a group of supporters, but that didn’t stop her from cautioning them that fraud was occurring.

“But there’s a ton of problems with the system,” the candidate warned, before immediately predicting victory again.

“We are going to win this when the votes are counted,” the candidate said. “We are not going to take our election systems being this messed up.”

Before Lake even spoke, MAGAworld pundits were already at work spreading rumours, without evidence, that election wrongdoing was underway.

The far-right blog, The Gateway Pundit wrote that something “suspicious” had occurred in the race, adding that it was “another [Brad] Raffensperger special.”

As Lake trailed Robson late into the evening, others resurrected a set of conspiracy theories from November 2020.

One involved an allegation that poll workers deliberately distributed Sharpies to voters that would render their ballots invalid. A second, alleged election officials printed ballots on thinner-than-usual paper leading to would-be MAGA faithful ballots being tossed out due to ink bleed-through. Both were debunked shortly after it was raised after the election in 2020 when Arizona’s Pima County tweeted: “No ballots will be discarded because of the method used to color in the ovals,” referring to “Sharpiegate.”

But that didn’t stop pro-Trump firebrand Charlie Kirk and Turning Point USA contributor Drew Hernandez from launching “Sharpiegate 2.0.”

“I had primal rage today when my family called me and said that they had to re-run their ballot through multiple times,” pro-Trump firebrand Charlie Kirk said, “because the Sharpie bled through the ballot.”

Similarly, far-right Real America Voice correspondent Ben Berquam, citing an alleged voter he spoke to, claimed that this time around, the ballots were printed on “thicker paper.”

“Sharpiegate 2.0, here we are!” echoed Turning Point USA contributor Drew Hernandez.

MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell, an early and outspoken supporter of Lake, attempted to square the ideas of voter fraud and the belief of a decisive Lake victory.

“She won, what are you talking about? Of course, there was election fraud,” he told The Daily Beast in an interview on Wednesday. “Ella She won in spite of the algorithm,” he added, attempting to reason obvious dissonance between the two ideas. “So much corruption in Arizona!”

The Lake campaign didn’t return The Daily Beast’s request for comment and the race still had not been called by Wednesday night.

In fitting fashion for one of the far right’s most high-profile culture warriors and 2020 election conspiracists, Lake is now one crucial step closer to the top office of a key battleground state.

In a contest that became an expensive and nasty proxy war between factions of the GOP, Lake’s victory amounts to a triumph for the MAGA wing—and a blow to Republicans who were growing optimistic that the party might move past Trump’s cult of personality and his 2020 choice obsession.

A well-known local news anchor turned political firebrand, Lake was endorsed by Trump and a number of Trumpworld luminaries and hangers-on. In turn, she endorsed baseless claims and narratives about the 2020 election, and amplified Arizona Republicans’ shambolic attempts to prove that Trump actually won the state.

Robson, meanwhile, had the backing of much of the state’s GOP establishment—including incumbent Gov. Doug Ducey, to Trump foe—along with former Vice President Mike Pence. Although she ran on hardline conservative positions on hot-button issues, Robson notably stayed away from Trump’s rhetoric on 2020 and said Republicans needed to move on.

Robson’s camp went all-in on a strategy to paint Lake as a phony, highlighting her previously liberal views and past support for Barack Obama. At one point, Robson’s allies ran an ad, narrated by a drag queen, attacking Lake for hanging out with drag queens before turning on them as part of the MAGA culture wars.

Although Lake led in initial polls of the race, Robson spent a staggering $15 million of her own money on her campaign, which funded an ad blitz that helped catapult her to within striking distance of Lake.

While some Arizona Republican voters were baffled that Trump endorsed Lake, given her history, some found her story—a member of the media turned anti-media crusader—compelling, not contradictory.

Beyond that, plenty of GOP voters in Arizona clearly still have an appetite for red meat about the 2020 election.

The stage is now set in Arizona for one of the most competitive and consequential governor races in recent memory. On Tuesday, Democrats nominated Katie Hobbs—the incumbent secretary of state who Lake called to throw in jail over baseless fraud allegations.



Sinema eyes changes to tax, climate portions of reconciliation bill

Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.) is eyeing changes to Democrats’ $740 billion reconciliation bill — specifically increasing climate funding and restructuring the tax provisions — as the Senate moves rapidly toward final passage before the August recess, Axios has learned.

Why it matters: Sinema is the one senator potentially standing in the way of Democrats clinching President Biden’s longtime goal of passing an ambitious package tackling climate change, health care and taxes — renamed the “Inflation Reduction Act of 2022.”

  • That position gives her a huge amount of leverage as Democrats await a verdict from the Senate parliamentarian on whether the bill complies with the “Byrd Rule,” which controls what provisions can be included in the budget reconciliation process.
  • The fact the negotiations were conducted entirely in secret between Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (DN.Y.) and Sen. Joe Manchin (DW.V.) — catching Sinema by surprise — has left her space for an 11th hour intervention.
  • Sinema has so far refused to weigh in on whether or not she will support the bill until the parliamentarian renders her judgment on the measure.

What we’re hearing: Sinema is looking at significantly beefing up the reconciliation bill’s funding for droughts and water security in the Southwest, sources familiar with her thought process tell Axios.

  • She views the current $369 billion climate and energy portion of the bill as insufficient for addressing threat resilience funding.

On taxes, Sinema has concerns with the structure of the 15% corporate minimum “book tax” and whether the burden could get passed down to employees, the sources said.

  • Sinema supports cracking down on tax avoidance, but has long voiced her opposition to closing the carried interest loophole.
  • She’s concerned that the provision, which would contribute $14 billion toward paying down the bill’s $740 billion total, could undermine economic competitiveness, the sources said.

Behind-the-scenes: Sinema has been meeting privately, both virtually and in-person, with key stakeholders in Arizona as she continues to work through her assessment of the bill.

  • Sinema last week visited Flagstaff, Arizona, where she met with local officials who are still reeling from recent flooding and a wildfire that ravaged the state.
  • Arizona is one of the fastest-warming states in the US, and the state’s largest county, Maricopa County, has already hit a record for heat-related deaths this year.
  • “There are some who were surprised to learn Kyrsten was enthusiastic about the climate provisions last year, because they rightly consider her a centrist. But she’s a Senator from Arizona, first and foremost,” John LaBombard, Sinema’s former communications director and SVP at ROKK Solutions tells Axios.

in to phone call tuesday with Arizona’s Chamber of Commerce, local business leaders and manufacturers discussed with Sinema what the proposed 15% corporate minimum tax and closure of the carried interest loophole would mean for Arizona.

  • The private equity industry, which has contributed heavily to Sinema, is lobbying her heavily on shooting down the carried interest portion.
  • “I remember last year, she was hearing feedback from small business owners, concerned about the potential implications of any tax policy changes, and how it might affect their capital investment streams,'” LaBombard said.
  • “She is somebody who errs on the side of caution when it comes to changing tax policies. … obviously, I think [their input] shaped where she is on the economic parts of this bill.”

What they’re saying: “What’s clear from our conversation is she’s taking a thoughtful and diligent approach as she considers her position on this legislation,” Danny Seiden, CEO of the Arizona Chamber, told Axios’ Hans Nichols.

  • “She was very interested in learning what specific impacts the tax provisions will have on Arizona manufacturers — and we believe she will consider these implications seriously as negotiations continue over the coming days.”



Arizona House Speaker Rusty Bowers loses state Senate bid

PHOENIX — Republican Arizona House Speaker Rusty Bowers lost his bid for a state Senate seat after refusing then-President Donald Trump’s pleas to help overturn the 2020 election results and testifying before Congress about the efforts.

Bowers tried to move to the state Senate because of term limits. He lost to former state Sen. David Farnsworth, who criticized him for refusing to help Trump or go along with a contentious 2021 “audit” that Republican leaders in the Senate commissioned.

Farnsworth will automatically win the Senate seat because no Democrat is running in the heavily Republican district.

Bowers faced an uphill battle in the eastern Phoenix suburb of Mesa, especially after the state Republican Party censored him following his June testimony before the panel investigating the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on Congress and Trump endorsed Farnsworth.

“I’m well aware that I’m highly distrusted,” Bowers told The Associated Press before the election. “My district is a very Trump district, and who knows how this is all going to work out.

“And if it doesn’t work out, great, I’d do it all again the same way,” Bowers said.

Trump pressured Bowers to help with a plan to replace electors committed to now-President Joe Biden during a phone call weeks after Trump lost the 2020 election. Bowers refused.

Former Republican Arizona state Sen.  David Farnsworth waves to a cheering crowd as he is introduced by former President Donald Trump as Trump speaks at a Save America rally Friday, July 22, 2022, in Prescott, Ariz.
Former Republican Arizona state Sen. David Farnsworth beat out his opponent in Tuesday night’s race.
AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin

Bowers insisted on seeing Trump’s evidence of voter fraud, which he said Trump’s team never produced beyond vague allegations. He recalled Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani later told him, “We’ve got lots of theories, we just don’t have the evidence.”

Bowers is a conservative Republican, but Farnsworth said he’s not conservative enough and has become less so since becoming speaker following the 2018 elections.

“Of course, the big issue, I think, for everybody is the fact that I strongly believe that there was fraud in the 2020 election,” Farnsworth said in an interview last week. “And I feel like Rusty failed… to take responsibility as speaker of the House and look into that election.”

The Farnsworth-Bowers battle was one of several brewings that involved current or former Arizona lawmakers.

A where to vote sign points voters in the direction of the polling station as the sun beats down as Arizona voters go the polls to cast their ballots, Tuesday, Aug. 2, 2022, in Phoenix.  (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)
Election fraud was a major topic of discussion in several primaries, but especially in Arizona.
AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin

In another eastern suburban district, GOP Sen. Tyler Pace was trailing his challenger after an outside group targeted him and Bowers.

Redistricting put two Trump-supporting state senators, Kelly Townsend and Wendy Rogers, into the same district. Rogers was leading in early returns, but the race was too early to call.

It featured bitter recriminations as Rogers has faced repeated ethical charges for her inflammatory rhetoric, support for white supremacists and conspiracy-theory laden tweets.

Townsend said she felt compelled to run against Rogers when she refused to refute white nationalism after speaking at a conference in Florida in February.

“If I don’t run against her and make that statement, win, lose or drawn then her actions become our own,” Townsend said Monday. “It sort of spoils the whole (Republican) party.”

Rogers has earned a national following, raising a whopping $3 million from donors across the country since taking office in early 2021. Townsend had raised about $15,000, much more typical for a state legislative race.

A voter heads into a polling stating as Arizona voters go the polls to cast their ballots, Tuesday, Aug. 2, 2022, in Tempe, Ariz.  (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)
A voter heads into a polling station as Arizona voters go to the polls to cast their ballots on Tuesday, Aug. 2, 2022.
AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin

In the west Phoenix suburbs, former Rep. Anthony Kern, who attended Trump’s Jan. 6 rally that led to the attack on Congress and unsuccessfully sued Democrats who asked the Department of Justice to investigate him, was leading in his effort to return to the Legislature . He was defeated in his 2020 House primary and is now aiming for a Senate seat. If his solid lead holds, he’ll get it, since no Democrat is running.

Also trying for a political comeback is former Rep. Steve Montenegro, whose 2018 run for Congress was upended by a sexting scandal. He was leading among four Republicans running in a west Phoenix House district for two open House seats.

Democratic Reps. Diego Espinoza and Richard Andrade are facing off after being drawn into the same district in the western Phoenix suburbs, with Andrade holding a slight lead in a race too close to call. And Sen. Lela Alston, considered the most experienced lawmaker in the Legislature, was well ahead of two challengers in her central Phoenix district. One of them, political unknown Al Jones, has sought attention by buying billboards across the city.



Eric Schmitt wins GOP primary for Senate in Missouri, defeating former governor Eric Greitens

Signs are displayed by a road in Lenexa, Kansas, on Monday.
Signs are displayed by a road in Lenexa, Kansas, on Monday. (Kyle Rivas/Getty Images)

Kansas on Tuesday became the first state in the nation to let voters weigh in on abortion since the US Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade.

The closely watched vote offers the first popular look at voter sentiment in the wake of the decision striking down Roe, which eliminated a federal right to abortion and sent the matter back to the states.

Voters regardless of political affiliation were asked whether to amend the state constitution to remove a protected right to abortion. The procedure is currently legal up to 22 weeks in Kansas, where people from Texas, Oklahoma and Missouri have traveled for services amid Republican-led efforts to roll back abortion rights.

The text of the Tuesday’s question reads: “Because Kansans value both women and children, the constitution of the state of Kansas does not require government funding of abortion and does not create or secure a right to abortion. To the extent permitted by the constitution of the United States, the people, through their elected state representatives and state senators, may pass laws regarding abortion, including, but not limited to, laws that account for circumstances of pregnancy resulting from rape or incest, or circumstances of necessity to save the life of the mother.”

A majority vote for “yes” would result in the state constitution being amended to say that it “does not require government funding of abortion and does not create or secure a right to abortion.”

While such a vote would not ban abortion, it would be up to the GOP-controlled state legislature to pass laws regarding the procedure, including ban on abortion at all stages of pregnancy without exceptions for rape and incest. And removing state constitutional protections would significantly curtail the ability of an individual to challenge a restrictive abortion measure.

to “no” vote would leave the state constitution unchanged, and abortions up to 22 weeks would remain legal. Lawmakers could still pass restrictive abortion laws, but the state would have to meet a higher threshold providing that it has a reason to enact the law in court.

Until now, the courts have recognized a right to abortion under the state constitution. Lawmakers had passed a restrictive abortion law in 2015 that would have banned the dilation and evacuation procedure, but it was permanently blocked by the courts.

When the Kansas state Supreme Court in 2019 ruled on the law, it said that the right to an abortion was protected under Section 1 of the Kansas constitution’s Bill of Rights, which reads, “All men are possessed of equal and inalienable natural rights, among which are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.”

The issue was placed on the primary ballot, rather than the general election, which abortion rights advocates believe was intended in order to limit turnout. Registered Republicans outnumber Democrats in the state by more than 350,000, according to the latest figures from the Kansas Secretary of State’s office.

The constitutional amendment has already raised voter interest in the primary election, according to the Kansas Secretary of State’s office.

CNN’s Nick Valencia and Devon Sayers contributed to this report.

Read more.



Arizona GOP primary tests power of Trump’s election lies

PHOENIX (AP) — Arizona Republicans were deciding Tuesday between a well-known former news anchor and a development attorney in the race for governor of a crucial battleground state.

Former President Donald Trump backed Kari Lake, who walked away from her nearly three-decade career in television news and embraced his lies about the 2020 election. She faced Karrin Taylor Robson, who was backed by prominent Republicans around the country looking to push their party to move on from Trump.

The race was too early to call, with Lake and Robson separated by a slim margin.

As the midterm primary season enters its final stretch this month, the Arizona races are poised to provide important clues about the GOP’s direction. Victories by Trump-backed candidates could provide the former president with allies who hold sway over the administration of elections as he considers another bid for the White House in 2024. Defeats, however, might suggest openness in the party to a different path forward.

The former president endorsed and campaigned for a slate of contenders who support his falsehoods, including Lake, who says she would have refused to certify President Joe Biden’s narrow Arizona victory. Robson said the GOP should focus on the future despite an election she called “unfair.”

In the race to oversee elections as Arizona secretary of state, Trump also backed a state lawmaker who was at the US Capitol on Jan. 6 and claims the former president was cheated out of victory.

“I think the majority of the people, and a lot of people that are supporters of Trump, they want to move on,” said former Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer, who is backing Robson. “I mean, that was two years ago. Let’s go. Let’s move.”

The election is playing out on one of the biggest midterm primary nights of the year — one that had some warning signs for Republicans.

In Kansas, voters rejected a state constitutional amendment that would have allowed the Legislature to restrict or ban abortion. They were the first voters to weigh in on abortion rights since the US Supreme Court revoked the constitutional right to terminate a pregnancy.

The rejection in a conservative state is a sign of potential energy for Democrats, who hope the anger at the court’s abortion ruling will overcome inflation concerns and President Joe Biden’s flagging popularity.

Tudor Dixona conservative commentator, won the GOP primary for Michigan governor, emerging atop a field of little-known conservatives days after Trump endorsed her. She will face Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer in November.

Republican Rep. Peter Meijer lost to a Trump-backed challenger and a pair of Washington lawmakers were fighting to hang onto their seats after voting to impeach Trump following the Jan. 6 insurrection.

And in Missouri, Attorney General Eric Schmitt won the Republican nomination for senator and will face Democrat Trudy Busch Valentine, an heiress of the Anheuser-Busch beer fortune. And two Republican House members from Washington state who voted to impeach Trump are facing primary challengers.

But the contests are especially salient in Arizona, a longtime Republican stronghold that has become more favorable to Democrats. in recent years because of explosive growth in and around Phoenix. The primary and the fall election will provide insight into whether Biden’s success here in 2020 was a onetime event or the onset of a long-term shift away from the GOP.

With such high stakes, Arizona has been central to efforts by Trump and his allies to cast doubt on Biden’s victory with false claims of fraud.

Federal and state election officials and Trump’s own attorney general have said there is no credible evidence the election was tainted. The former president’s allegations of fraud were also roundly rejected by courts, including by judges Trump appointed. A hand recount led by Trump supporters in Arizona’s largest county found no proof of a stolen election and concluded Biden’s margin of victory was larger than the official count.

Though Trump is still the most popular figure inside the GOP, his efforts to influence primary elections this year have yielded mixed results. His preferred candidates of him in states such as Ohio and Pennsylvania prevailed in their primaries.

But in Georgia, another state that is central to Trump’s election lies, his handpicked candidate for governor was defeated by more than 50 percentage points. Georgia’s Republican secretary of state was also renominated over a Trump-backed primary rival.

“You have entrusted me with your most sacred possession in a constitutional republic — your vote,” Robson told supporters as she awaited election results.

The former president is hoping he’ll have more success in Arizona, where the incumbent governor, Doug Ducey, can’t run for reelection. That could give Trump a better opportunity than in Georgia to influence the winner.

Lake is well known in much of the state after anchoring the evening news in Phoenix for more than two decades. She ran as a fierce critic of the mainstream media, which she says is unfair to Republicans, and other enemies of Trump’s Make America Great Again movement, including the late Sen. John McCain’s family.

A vocal supporter of Trump’s election lies, Lake said her campaign was “already detecting some stealing going on” in her own race, but she repeatedly refused to provide any evidence for the claim.

Robson, whose housing developer husband is one of the state’s richest men, is mostly self-financing her campaign. The GOP establishment, growing increasingly comfortable creating distance from Trump, rallied around her over the past month with a series of endorsements from Ducey, former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and former Vice President Mike Pence.

The groundswell of establishment support for Robson drew national scrutiny to the race for what it says about the GOP base ahead of the crucial presidential primary in two years.

“Everyone wants to try to make this some kind of proxy for 2024,” said Christie, who ran for president in 2016. “Believe me, I’ve been through enough of these to know that 2024 will be decided by the people who step up to the plate … and how they perform or don’t perform at that time.”

Robson is running a largely old-school Republican campaign focused on cutting taxes and regulations, securing the border and advancing school choice. She has also emphasized Lake’s prior support for Democrats, including a $350 contribution to the last Democratic president.

“I can’t vote for someone who supported Barack Obama,” said Travis Fillmore, 36, a firearms instructor from Tempe who planned to vote for Robson. He said he remains a Trump backer and believes the 2020 election was stolen from him, but Lake’s support for Obama was disqualifying.

On the Democratic side, Secretary of State Katie Hobbs defeated Marco Lopez, a former mayor of Nogales and border enforcement official during Obama’s administration.

As Arizona’s top elections official, Hobbs endeared herself to Democrats with an impassioned defense of the integrity of the 2020 election, a stance that has drawn death threats. However, she’s been weighed down by a discrimination case won by a Black policy adviser from Hobbs’ time in the Legislature.

Trump-backed Blake Masters won the Arizona GOP Senate race. He is a 35-year-old first-time candidate who has spent most of his career working for billionaire Peter Thiel, who is bankrolling his campaign. Masters emphasized cultural grievances that encourage the right, including critical race theory and allegations of big tech censorship.

Until Trump’s endorsementthe race had no clear front-runner among Masters, businessman Jim Lamon and Attorney General Mark Brnovich, all of whom jockeyed for his support.

Lamon said Trump made a mistake in endorsing Masters and dug into his own fortune to highlight Masters’ ties to technology firms and his writings as a college student supporting open borders. Lamon signed a falsely stating that Trump had won certificate Arizona in 2020 and that he was one of the state’s “duly elected and qualified” electors.

Trump soured on Brnovich and may have torpedoed his campaign when the attorney general’s election fraud investigation failed to produce criminal charges against election officials.

Masters will take on incumbent Democratic Sen. Mark Kelly in the fall.

The Republican race for Arizona secretary of state was won by Mark Finchem, a Trump-backed candidate who was at the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021. His competition included Shawnna Bolick, a state lawmaker who has pushed for legislation allowing the Legislature to overturn the will of the voters and decide which candidate gets the state’s 11 electoral votes for president. The GOP establishment rallied around advertising executive Beau Lane, who says there were no widespread problems with the 2020 election.

Republican state House Speaker Rusty Bowerswho gave testimony to the House Jan. 6 committee on Trump’s pressure campaign following the 2020 election, was defeated by a Trump-backed challenger in his bid to move up to the state Senate.