Politics

Arizona Extremists Are Planning to Gather at the State Capitol — Just in Time for the 'Audit' Results

Arizona congressional candidate Jeff Zink speaks at the Sept. 18 rally.
Arizona congressional candidate Jeff Zink speaks at the Sept. 18 rally. via YouTube
The so-called “Justice For J6” campaign, a Trump-backed crusade in defense of the January 6 Capitol rioters, held a rally in Washington, D.C., this past Saturday, September 18. Capitol police were on high alert over the weekend in anticipation, but the event saw only sparse turnout.

Another such rally will take place closer to home this Saturday, September 25, when the same group intends to hold an event at the Arizona State Capitol. As it happens, the rally will take place the day after the scheduled release of the results of Arizona's partisan "audit" — barring yet another last-minute delay. 

While the D.C. rally wasn't able to muster many big names from the American right-wing fringe — even Matt Gaetz declined to attend — Arizona's "Justice for J6" lineup features several local politicians. Those include Sen. Wendy Rogers and Rep. Mark Finchem, plus Jim Lamon, a U.S. Senate hopeful who has apparently given a "generous" donation to the Justice For J6 organizers. (None replied to Phoenix New Times' inquiries for this article.)

Also scheduled to speak at the Justice for J6 rally in Phoenix on Saturday is Jeff Zink, a Congressional candidate for Arizona's 7th District who was present at the U.S. Capitol on January 6. (Zink's son was arrested in Texas the month after the riot on charges that he stormed the building.)


Zink was in D.C. over the weekend, too, where he made comments to the press that call into question his commitment to peaceful protest. 

“If people aren’t heard then they go to the ballot box … that ballot box, if it’s corrupt then we have to go to the next one, which is the jury box,” Zink told Rolling Stone. “Well, now, what we’re finding out is … when we’re going to the jury box … it’s literally, you’re guilty until proven Democrat … so the last one, which we’ve only gone to once, is the ammo box.”

Actual January 6 rioters are also scheduled to appear, including Micajah Jackson, a Phoenix resident who has marched with the white supremacist group the Proud Boys and who faces federal charges for storming the Capitol building (Jackson pleaded not guilty on all counts in July).

Greyson Arnold, a local white nationalist, outspoken Nazi sympathizer, and host of an amateur YouTube talk show is on the bill as well. And how could you have an Arizona rally in support of January 6 rioters without inviting former state Rep. Anthony Kern, who attended the Jan. 6 riots while in office and, according to an analysis by AZMirror, appeared to breach the Capitol?

This assortment of Capitol rioters and Arizona elected officials — or both, in Kern’s case — is being brought together by “Look Ahead America,” a group led by little-known former Trump campaign aide Matt Braynard. Braynard's organization claims to want to “rewrite” the events of Jan. 6 and calls the rioters facing federal charges “political prisoners” (despite the fact that the majority of those arrested are not behind bars, and none of those convicted have yet been sentenced to more than eight months in jail). At least twelve other states will see rallies sponsored by Braynard and his group at their state capitols on Saturday, including Texas and Colorado.

Andrew Williams, a spokesperson for the Phoenix police department, wrote to New Times that the department “was not aware of any public safety concerns” related to the Sept. 25 rally in the city, and that he could not share any response plans, if they existed.

“Any response to an event will be determined by intelligence-driven information,” he added.
KEEP PHOENIX NEW TIMES FREE... Since we started Phoenix New Times, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Phoenix, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Katya Schwenk is a staff writer at Phoenix New Times. She previously reported for VTDigger and the Indypendent.
Contact: Katya Schwenk