This past Saturday, some 1,200 Republican State Committeemen and woman from around Arizona voted at their annual convention in Phoenix to elect conservative Dr. Kelli Ward as Chairwoman of the Arizona Republican Party.
This past Saturday, some 1,200 Republican State Committeemen and woman from around Arizona voted at their annual convention in Phoenix to elect conservative Dr. Kelli Ward as Chairwoman of the Arizona Republican Party, defeating the incumbent chairman, Jonathan Lines. The election stunned McCain supporters–the ‘establishment’ Republicans. Senator McCain’s daughter, Meghan, stated “Don’t get me started on this…great day for Arizona Democrats.”
The vote was held up for more than an hour and a half as both the establishment and conservative camps debated how the vote was to be conducted. The “Lines” crowd demanded an electronic election using smart phones. Conservatives opposed that method, stating that the Party’s by-laws did not allow electronic elections and voiced concerns about voter integrity, citing multiple problems with that method occurring at a previous election. They demanded a “floor vote” where individual counties and legislative districts conducted an internal vote.
Frustrated with the on-going debate, Gila County Republican Committee Chairman Gary Morris initiated a vote with his state committeemen for the State Chairman position. He tore up a pad of paper to create voter ballot slips and conducted the vote. Following the vote tally, he carried a wad of ballots to the floor microphone and announced that Gila County had conducted a secret vote for state Chairman, and was ready to announce the vote results. The floor vote was taken a short time later.
Gila County’s state committee voted unanimously for Dr. Ward. The final statewide vote count was 633 in favor of Dr. Ward with 551 votes going to Lines.
Conservative state committeemen were angry with the Kyrsten Sinema win of one of the two U.S. senate seats and the loss of two congressional seats to Democrats under Lines’ chairmanship. They were further alarmed by a leaked resignation letter from Lines’ Communications Director that confirmed rumors of numerous weaknesses in Lines’ leadership skills.
In his campaign speech for re-election to the floor, Lines cited his fundraising skills and the number of voter contacts as justification for his re-election. He did not cite the election losses.
Dr. Kelli Ward, on the other hand, gave a more motivational speech stating, “we have to win 2020 for President Trump, we’ve got to win back the ground we have lost in the mid-terms, and I pledge to you to do just that. Mark my words, the next two years will be the most important to Arizona”.
The mood of the attendees seemed to turn in her favor following her speech.
Following her election at the convention, she was immediately sworn in as Chairwomen for the Arizona Republican Party.
Dr. Ward served as a successful Arizona state senator but lost two really tough races for U.S. Senate.
One loss was against Sen. McCain, who greatly out-spent Ward in 2016, followed by an August primary loss in a three-way race to Lt. Col. Martha McSally. Governor Ducey later appointed McSally to Sen. McCain’s vacant seat. Ward successfully raised a lot of money in both campaigns and now has the experience to raise money for the Arizona Republican Party.
On Monday morning, when the Ward team arrived at the Phoenix Republican Headquarters, they found the office had been trashed.
Chairwoman Ward will be the keynote speaker at the Gila County Republican Lincoln Day Dinner at the Mazatzal Casino on March 1st. Tickets may be purchased at www.gilagop.com/.
Quotes from Chairman Morris, Gila County Republican Party
“The Gila County Republican Party has long supported Dr. Kelli Ward in both her U.S. Senate races.”
“This past December 8th, at the Gila County Republican Party’s Precinct Committeeman meeting, the Party voted to endorse Kelli Ward for Chairwomen of the Arizona Republican Party. We were the first to do so and may be the only county party to do so”.
“With the passing of Senator McCain, the vote for Dr. Kelli Ward and conservative leadership at the state party is reflecting the erosion of the establishment and McCain camps’ influence on Republican politics in Arizona”.