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Trump picked Arizona to make his 2022 comeback

Trump has a big year planned, and he’s holding his first rally in a state he narrowly lost

Zoë Petersen, Deseret News

Former President Donald Trump is holding his first rally of the new year this month in Arizona, a state he narrowly lost in 2020 that’s become the center point for unfounded theories about the election.

Trump’s “Save America Rally” is scheduled for Jan. 15 in Florence, Arizona, southeast of Phoenix. The Arizona rally will be Trump’s first in the state since July 2021, when he held a rally in Phoenix hosted by the group Turning Point Action. Trump made misleading claims about the election during the rally and said he was visiting, “to show our support for election integrity and for the brave and unyielding conservative warriors in the Arizona state Senate.”

Trump has also started handing out a number of endorsements in Arizona and elsewhere, including to candidates who have denied the state’s election results. In Arizona this includes former TV news reporter and gubernatorial candidate Kari Lake, Rep. Paul Gosar, and state Rep. and Secretary of State candidate Mark Finchem.

Trump became the first Republican presidential candidate to not win Arizona in 24 years after losing the state to then-candidate Joe Biden by more than 10,000 votes.

Government-mandated post-election audits in Arizona found no discrepancies or evidence of widespread fraud, but the Republican-controlled state Senate authorized an additional audit of Maricopa County by the Florida-based Cyber Ninjas. The partisan audit found no evidence of fraud and in fact found additional votes for Biden. Maricopa County said in a report released Wednesday that the Cyber Ninjas’ audit reached “faulty and inaccurate conclusions.” Still, Trump has praised the audit and called on other states to conduct their own.

Trump’s planned Arizona rally was set to be his second public appearance of 2022, but he canceled a previously scheduled press conference at Mar-a-Lago in Palm Beach, Florida, for Jan. 6. The event, on the anniversary of the attack at the Capitol, was openly criticized by Senate Republicans, including some who voted not guilty in Trump’s second impeachment for incitement to insurrection last year.