Politics

Arizona Senate President Karen Fann to Constituent About Audit: 'Biden Won'

Arizona Senate President Karen Fann
Arizona Senate President Karen Fann Greg Skidmore/Wikipedia Commons

Karen Fann, the Republican president of the Arizona Senate and the chief instigator behind the ongoing so-called election audit, which has become a national spectacle, recently told a constituent that President Joe Biden won the election.

At around 7:40 p.m. on May 21, a woman named "Andrea" fired off an email to Fann to call for an end to the controversial audit currently underway at Veterans Memorial Coliseum in Phoenix. Andrea described herself in the message, which was obtained by Phoenix New Times through a public records request, as a "5th generation Arizonan" and a resident of Legislative District 1 — which Fann represents in the Senate.

She denounced the audit in uncompromising terms.

"I am appalled, offended, and upset that you are wasting our tax paying dollars on a fraudulent audit," Andrea wrote. "These people have zero experience, and this is a waste of time. It is time for you to [accept] that Arizona voters have spoken and make peace with the fact that we voted out Trump. Republicans and Democrats alike, we voted him out."


Roughly 10 minutes later, Fann responded to Andrea's email.

"This is where you are mistaken. Biden won." — Arizona State Senator Karen Fann

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"This is where you are mistaken. Biden won," she wrote. "45% of all Arizona voters thinks there is a problem with the election system. The audit is to disprove those theories or find ways to improve the system."

In another email to a different constituent, Fann made similar remarks.

"Please know this has never been about Trump or overturning the election contrary to what is out there on social media," she wrote in an email dated May 15.

However, her tune changed slightly in another email dated May 16 to a different person identified as Kathleen Weiss. Weiss had urged Fann in a previous email to have a judge "issue warrants" to get the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors to attend a May 18 meeting regarding their response to the audit; the supervisors eventually declined to go to the meeting. While Fann didn't openly embrace any conspiracy theories about how the 2020 election was stolen from Trump in the email, she hinted at potential future legal action against county officials.

"Our number one priority is to complete the audit before they try to shut us down again," Fann wrote. "There will be plenty of time for subpoenas once the audit is done."

Fann's comments in private communications with constituents add to a number of other reports that the senator, who has doggedly pushed the controversial audit of ballots cast in Maricopa County during the 2020 general election, has admitted in private that the process won't turn up any evidence of voter fraud or other misconduct. Maricopa County Supervisor Bill Gates, who came out swinging against the audit two weeks ago alongside other county officials, recently told the Arizona Republic that Fann made similar comments to him during a phone call in November when legislators were being inundated with emails and phone calls from infuriated Trump supporters.

“She said, ‘Look, Bill, we know there’s nothing to this, but we’ve got to do something," Gates told the newspaper. "'Will you guys do an audit?'"

In a text message, Democratic state Representative Athena Salman blasted Fann for persistently backing the audit despite reportedly believing that Biden won the election.

"President Fann knows that President Biden won Arizona in a free and fair election. However, instead of being a public servant and standing up for our democracy and our fundamental freedom to vote, she has succumbed to the most conspiratorial forces of the Republican Party and has played a significant role in enabling these extremists to take deep roots within the party," she wrote. "Her abuse of her power as Senate President is scandalous, and she should be held accountable to the fullest extent possible."

Fann did not respond to New Times' request for comment on her emails.
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Josh Kelety is a staff writer at Phoenix New Times. Previously, he worked as a reporter for the Inlander and Seattle Weekly.
Contact: Josh Kelety