Conservative talk radio host who once backed Arizona recount, now warns Republicans against it

'You're turning this into the sideshow at the state fair,' says Mike Broomhead, a staunch conservative who voted for Trump twice

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National News

June 11, 2021 - 4:44 PM

Mike Broomhead, a conservative talk radio host based in Phoenix, tapes his morning show in the KTAR 92.3 FM studio. (Melanie Mason/Los Angeles Times/TNS)

PHOENIX — Mike Broomhead talks for a living, but for a moment last week, all he could do was sigh.

With that flash of wordless exasperation behind him, he continued with his work: delivering the latest update on the Maricopa County election recount to listeners of his eponymous morning talk radio show. That day’s news was of a forthcoming conspiracy-theory-riddled documentary on what organizers call an audit — but Broomhead soon turned his attention to the officials overseeing this unfolding spectacle.

“You’re turning this into the clown show that you’ve been accused of. … You’re turning this into the sideshow at the state fair,” he said.

This is the type of criticism one might expect from Democrats, who opposed the recount effort from the beginning, or from one of the many election experts who raised alarms at the stark departure from established audit practices, or from a Never-Trump Republican trying to wrest the party from the former president’s grip.

But Broomhead is a two-time Trump voter, a staunch conservative and a onetime supporter of this recount. In recent weeks, he has fashioned himself as a reality check for fellow Republicans.

Contractors working for Cyber Ninjas, who was hired by the Arizona State Senate, examine and recount ballots from the 2020 general election at Veterans Memorial Coliseum on May 1, in Phoenix, Arizona. (Courtney Pedroza/Getty Images/TNS)

As the recount of 2.1 million ballots cast seven months ago drags on, Broomhead and others are contemplating just how this saga will end. The recount’s most ardent supporters believe former President Donald Trump will be reinstated in the White House (despite there being no legal mechanism for that to occur). Its fiercest critics predict a damaging precedent that will embolden others to baselessly challenge results of elections they don’t like.

No matter where you stand, the one thing we can all agree on is it has put a great big wedge in this community.

Mike Broomhead, radio talk show host in Arizona

An increasingly vocal share of Arizona Republicans see the recount as an act of self-sabotage, creating an albatross for statewide candidates in the run-up to a pivotal election year. Broomhead is in this camp, with another lingering concern.

“No matter where you stand, the one thing we can all agree on is it has put a great big wedge in this community,” he told listeners earlier in the week. “That to me is the worst part of this. It’s one more reason for us to stand on opposite sides of the streets and complain about each other.”

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Seated at his microphone, wearing a Harley-Davidson T-shirt, Broomhead, 54, put in his earbuds, fixed his gaze straight ahead and gesticulated as he talked. The unnatural pantomime translated as natural conversation on-air, as he took his listeners on another recount riff.

“Here’s where we stand. It is June,” he said. “It is June. We have less than a year and a half before another election.”

Proponents of the recount, however, are keeping their eyes firmly fixed on the last election.

Joe Biden won the state with a wafer-thin margin, a result immediately contested by Trump and his allies, although they never presented evidence of ineligible or altered votes. The Board of Supervisors in Maricopa County, comprising mostly Republicans, commissioned two independent audits to quell fears of fraud. Both reports said the vote count was accurate.

But Republicans in the state Senate demanded a broader recount and hired an obscure firm, Cyber Ninjas, which did not have experience with audits of this scale and whose leader had promoted baseless theories of rigged voting machines robbing Trump of votes.

Since the recount began at Phoenix’s aging Veterans Memorial Coliseum, it has been beset with snafus, including ballot security lapses, opaque procedures and technical errors.

Then there are the conspiracy theories — the search for nonexistent watermarks or bamboo fibers in the ballots, sparked by unfounded rumors of ballots flown in from Asia. Organizers granted preferential media access to far-right network OAN, whose personalities are leading grassroots fundraising drives for the recount that do not disclose donors.

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