Republican leaders in the Arizona legislature have not adopted Mr. Finchem’s measure. Russell Bowers, the Speaker of the Arizona House and a Republican, said the state legislature can only appoint its own voters if “enough fraud has been proven to cover the existing balance or gap in voters.” He added, “We didn’t even come close,” and dismissed the Senate review as a “seat-of-the-pants circus.”
Republican leaders in other battlefield states face similar upheavals over so-called audit efforts. In Wisconsin, Republican Speaker of the House Robin Vos initially opposed the launch of an outside “forensic audit.” But after public pressure from Mr. Trump, Mr. Fox gave in and wrote a review led by Michael Gableman, a former state Supreme Court judge.
mr. Gableman took the investigation in a different direction. When he released an initial report of his findings in March, Mr. Gableman argued for “decertification.” A state representative, Timothy Ramthun, has made the call for decertification central to his campaign for governor.
Legislative leaders have repeatedly acted as firewalls to prevent anti-democratic efforts from moving forward. In the days following the election, the Republican Speaker of the House and the Michigan Senate President rejected Mr. Trump’s personal pleas to support an alternative voter base, even after he was called to the White House.
mr. Trump has not forgotten. He has since turned transforming the Michigan legislature into a pet project. He has endorsed 10 candidates for state legislative seats — including some challenging Republican incumbents — and is looking to play kingmaker in the already brewing battle over who will be the Speaker of the House.
In the interview, Mr. Trump, who won seven million votes less than Mr. Biden, spread the blame for his loss among several targets, including Mr. Pence, Mr. McConnell and state lawmakers.
“The legislators, the local Republicans, have lost the election,” he said.
Trump-approved candidates for state seats have taken note.
Jonathan Lindsey, a Trump-backed Michigan State Senate candidate, said he at least believes the state legislature should vote on voters when an election is contested. Regarding the 2020 election, he added, “If I were in that seat, I would have voted to send Trump voters.”