by Garrett Frisk
Arizona has been called "ground zero for election deniers," and no area of the state has been targeted quite like Maricopa County. The state's most populous county, it has been beset by a string of election fraud conspiracy theories since 2020. These accusations have caused Maricopa County's election workers and elected officials to receive a great deal of harassment, and it's taking a toll. One member of the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors, district 3 Republican Bill Gates, has had enough. Gates, who suffers from PTSD as a result of the harassment, announced earlier this month he would not run for re-election in 2024.
Gates's retirement is sure to set off a heated race; he was re-elected with just 50.7% of the vote in 2020 as Joe Biden was carrying the 3rd district with 53.8% of the vote. Currently, the only candidate who has filed to run is attorney Tabatha Lavoie, though two other Republicans have expressed interest in a campaign: former Phoenix city councilor Sal DiCiccio and gym chain owner and former congressional candidate Josh Barnett. Barnett's candidacy would likely help Democrats flip the district, due to his far-right beliefs and support of the QAnon conspiracy theory. When Barnett tweeted his interest in running for the 3rd district, 5th district supervisor Steve Gallardo—the only Democrat on the Board—responded: "I’m looking forward to becoming the Chairman for the BOS after 2024."