Peggy Judd and Tom Crosby thrust Cochise County into the national spotlight with a series of legal adventures that propelled them to the forefront of election skepticism and landed them in court.
From a rural and scenic corner of southeastern Arizona, the two Republican supervisors attempted to throw sand into the gears of the electoral process, from an attempt last month to hand count every ballot to a deliberately exceeding the deadline for certifying election results.
For their efforts, they and the county were sued for violating election law. They drew admiration from election deniers, condemnation from outraged Democrats, and amusement from onlookers.
Here’s some info on the duo, which appears to be testing the limits of public and legal patience. It should be noted that the two did not complain about the victories won by GOP candidates in the Cochise County ballot.
Board chair Ann English, the only Democrat on the three-member panel, watched in exasperation as her colleagues defied legal advice and pushed ahead with votes that turned into legal bait.
“How many times must you deliberately not follow the law?” asked English.
Peggy Judd: She attended the ‘Stop the Steal’ rally near the US Capitol with her family
Judd is a two-term supervisor from the town of Willcox in the north of the county, where she was born and raised.
She served one term in the Arizona House of Representatives a decade ago, where she was an ordinary backbencher known more for her husband’s constant companionship than for his legislative priorities.
She introduced legislation to help county governments, such as a bill that would have allowed counties to impose a 1% tax on liquor sales. And she has shown a particular interest in social issues, with a proposal to allow grandparents raising grandchildren to benefit from cash assistance, or legislation that would have required mediation for divorced couples, with the aim trying to keep a family together. The bills were going nowhere.
Judd and his family attended the “Stop the Steal” rally not far from the US Capitol on January 6, 2021, traveling across the country as part of a pro-Donald Trump caravan.
Judd speculated that the violence that erupted that day was a “false flag” event set up by Antifa. Antifa is a political movement of far-left activists who oppose neo-Nazis and white supremacists at protests and other events.
She also compared the march to the Capitol to freedom marches led by the late Martin Luther King Jr. She said she did not enter the Capitol and told the media that she was there more to watch over her grandchildren. -law could participate in the activities of the day.
Her comments on the January 6 events drew so much condemnation that she shut down her Facebook page and said she felt “punished” and “defiled” by the media as well as members of her community. Calls for his resignation went unheeded.
Judd, along with Crosby, voted in February to reject a $1.9 million federal grant for COVID-19 relief efforts. She claimed, without evidence, that the vaccine changed the virus, which county health officials refuted in official testimony.
A vaccine opponent, she was unvaccinated and at some point contracted the virus.
As the 2022 election neared, Judd championed an effort to have the county hand count every ballot to check “our already perfect system” of automatic tabulation. She envisioned a troop of volunteers coming together to count every run on every ballot — a micro version of the state Senate-ordered recount of the 2020 presidential election in Maricopa County that took months to finish and added votes for Joe Biden.
She persisted, even as county prosecutors told the board the action was not authorized by law. Judd argued it would be a way to appease local doubters and insisted there was no point in changing the final outcome of the vote.
“It’s important, probably one of the most important things we’ve done,” she said at a meeting in October. “We need our county to come together and say ‘Yeah, great, it went well. Thanks. “
Late last month, she told The New York Times that the real reason for the certification delay was to protest the election process in Maricopa County. Concern about whether Cochise County’s tabulation machines were approved by an accredited lab, she said, was just an excuse to delay.
“That’s the only thing we have to stand on,” she said, referring to the voting machine’s claim.
Judd intended to spare the Cochise ratepayers legal costs, leading a campaign to find private funding for the attorneys’ fees needed to defend against legal challenges. This has raised questions about the ethics, if not the legality, of using private funds to pay for services that benefit the county.
Tom Crosby: Former Border Patrol agent, Trump supporter, vaccine skeptic
Crosby is a former Sierra Vista City Councilman who won the county council election in 2020. During his campaign, he highlighted his support for former President Donald Trump, noting his conservative credentials.
He served as a U.S. Border Patrol agent and pilot, a job that eventually brought him to the Tucson sector of the Border Patrol on the U.S.-Mexico border.
Cochise County Republican Committee Chairman Robert Montgomery defended Crosby’s work.
“He saved more lives as a Border Patrol officer than the entire (security) apparatus in this county,” Montgomery said, noting that as a pilot, Crosby was able to spot people wandering in the desert and drawing them to the attention of officers on the ground.
Cochise supervisors named Montgomery to the Palominos Fire District Board of Directors, a move that sparked protests from some local residents. Among them was Jeff Sturges, who complained that Montgomery’s role as one of Arizona’s 11 “false voters” in the 2020 presidential election did not deserve an appointment to a position of trust.
Sturges has been a thorn in the side of Crosby and Judd in recent town hall meetings.
After Sturges criticized Crosby’s support for delaying certification and asked the supervisor to resign, Crosby was baffled, interpreting the Democrat’s criticism as a compliment.
“What I hear is ‘Good job, Crosby,'” the supervisor said, referring to himself.
During board discussions, Crosby showed a disregard for the advice of professionals in the field, unlike Judd, who sought to adopt a more accommodating tone.
For example, in June, when a county attorney warned him that he was flirting with a violation of the state’s open meeting law, Crosby replied, “We’ll see. You’re not a judge. “
In November, Crosby said he trusted the expertise of members of the public who questioned the certifications of election tabulation machines as much as he trusted the expertise of the state’s chief electoral officer.
He joined Judd in rejecting COVID-19 relief funding and compared COVID-19 vaccines to Agent Orange, an herbicide used during the Vietnam War that caused cancer in veterans.
Before living in Arizona, Crosby worked as a security guard at Naval Station Point Loma in San Diego and as a patrol officer on the San Diego streetcar system, according to his own biography.
He has lived in Sierra Vista with his wife for 30 years. They have two children.
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