Axios Phoenix

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😍 Hello, Friday! We thought you'd never get here.

☀️ Today's weather: Sunny with a high of 94. Expect similar conditions tomorrow and a slight cooldown to about 87 on Sunday.

ğŸŽ‚ Happy birthday to our Axios Phoenix member Lori Weckbaugh! And an early happy birthday to members Jeff Gross and Chip Scutari!

🖋️ Situational awareness: Gov. Katie Hobbs signed the bill repealing the state's near-total abortion ban yesterday.

  • The ban is still likely to temporarily take effect this summer before the repeal due to procedural rules.

Today's newsletter is 923 words — a 3.5-minute read.

1 big thing: Fake electors described as contingency

Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

Some Republicans who were indicted for casting false electoral votes for former President Trump in Arizona have argued that the votes were a contingency to be in place in case ongoing litigation changed the outcome of the 2020 election.

Why it matters: Whether they intentionally cast fraudulent votes or were voting only as a contingency could be a major factor in the 11 fake electors' case.

What they're saying: Attorney Dennis Wilenchik, who represents elector Jim Lamon, told Axios, "If it ever goes to trial, it will be huge on criminal intent. There was none."

  • The other side: The indictment alleges the electors intended for former Vice President Mike Pence to reject Joe Biden's electoral votes, regardless of the outcome of various 2020 election lawsuits.

The big picture: In all of the Arizona lawsuits still pending at the time the electors cast their votes on Dec. 14, the courts rejected the allegations.

Zoom in: Several Republican election-related lawsuits were cited in the indictment:

Arizona Republican Party v. Fontes: The Arizona GOP alleged the Maricopa County Recorder's Office used an illegal method to select ballots for a mandatory post-election hand count audit.

Ward v. Jackson: Then-AZGOP chair Kelli Ward asked a judge to let her examine some mail-in ballot envelopes to attempt to prove election officials hadn't properly verified voters' signatures.

  • A judge granted Ward's request but dismissed the case on Dec. 4, 2020, after finding "no misconduct, no fraud and no effect on the outcome of the election."

Bowyer v. Ducey: The Republican electors asked a federal judge to decertify Arizona's 2020 presidential election results.

  • The wide-ranging suit claimed Arizona's election was marred by illegally cast ballots, foreign espionage and other issues, some of which were based on anonymous sources.
  • In her dismissal order on Dec. 9, 2020, the judge found the allegations "sorely wanting of relevant or reliable evidence," among other problems.

What's next

2. 🐍 Slow start for D-Backs

D-Backs outfielder Corbin Carroll. Photo: Christian Petersen/Getty Images

The Arizona Diamondbacks' follow-up to last season's stunning run to the World Series is off to a lackluster start.

The big picture: The D-Backs are struggling so far this year, with a 14-18 record that's put them in fourth place in the National League West.

Zoom in: Outfielder Corbin Carroll is starting the season in a sophomore slump after dominating his way to last year's NL Rookie of the Year award.

  • Carroll is batting .197 with one home run and five RBI and is now batting near the bottom of the order.

Bee-tween the lines: The biggest highlight of the season so far has been Matt Hilton, a bee specialist who removed a swarm that had formed on the backstop behind home plate at Chase Field, delaying the start of Tuesday's game against the Dodgers.

The bottom line: It's early in the season and there's still plenty of time to turn things around — after all, the D-Backs hit a pretty nasty midseason downturn last year before catching fire en route to the playoffs.

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3. Chips & salsa: "Goons" considered hybrid gang

Illustration: Allie Carl/Axios

👮 Police officials announced yesterday the "Gilbert Goons" group is officially considered a "hybrid criminal gang." However, there's not enough evidence to charge members with gang participation or assistance. (AZcentral)

  • Hybrid gangs often use social media and don't have the defined leadership and formal rules of a traditional street gang.

📺 Phoenix Mercury star Brittney Griner recounted the "mistake" that led to her nearly 10-month detainment in Russia during a 20/20 interview last night. (ABC News)

💲 A 19-story office building at Monroe Street and First Avenue in downtown Phoenix hit the market this week at $24 million. (Phoenix Business Journal)

4. 🇲🇽 Cinco de Mayo's history

Cinco de Mayo celebrations across the country include festivals and parades. Photo: Helen H. Richardson/MediaNews Group/The Denver Post via Getty Images

In the U.S., where it's celebrated with tacos, tequila and margarita specials, Cinco de Mayo is often incorrectly taken to be Mexico's Independence Day.

Reality check: Cinco de Mayo — or, in English, May 5 — marks a Mexican victory over France that took place 50 years after Mexico's independence.

  • Mexico's Independence Day is celebrated on Sept. 16.

The big picture: It is a bigger holiday in America than it is in Mexico.

The intrigue: Cinco de Mayo started catching on in the U.S. in the 1960s, when Mexican American activists raised their profile, per History.com.

  • By the 1980s, corporations and beer companies had co-opted the day to reach the growing U.S. Hispanic market.

Stunning stat: 59% of those celebrating Cinco de Mayo said they planned to purchase alcohol for the day, according to a Numerator survey of more than 5,100 consumers.

  • That's higher than New Year's Eve and St. Patrick's Day, the survey found.

Correct the record

5. ğŸ˜Ž Your weekend, planned

Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

Between Cinco de Mayo, the Kentucky Derby and May the Fourth, there's plenty of fun to be had across the Valley this weekend:

🏇 Derby Day Club

Grab a giant hat and head to Turf Paradise for a Kentucky Derby Party with on-site horse betting and mint juleps.

  • Tomorrow, 10:45am-5pm; tickets start at $50.

⭐ May the Fourth: Star Wars Rave

DJ Darth Vader will lead a night of revelry at Thundercat Lounge to celebrate the unofficial Star Wars holiday.

  • 10pm tomorrow-3am Sunday; free with RSVP or $5 at the door.

🪇 Cinco de Mayo Phoenix Festival

Check out lucha libre matches, local and national bands, baile folklorico and more at the Valley's largest Cinco de Mayo celebration.

  • Sunday, noon-10pm; admission is $10 at the gate, or $5 before 5pm. Kids 10 and under are free.

3 more fun things

🤧 Jeremy is glad the weekend is here so he can take it easy and get over his cold.

👩‍❤️‍👨 Jessica is excited to celebrate her friends Brenna and Jon, who are tying the knot this weekend.

This newsletter was edited by Hadley Malcolm and copy edited by Jay Bennett.

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