TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) - Even though the 2020 election season just ended, Arizona GOP leaders are already looking forward to the next election. In a letter to the Chairwoman of the AZ Republican Party, Kelli Ward, members of the party say “it is time for someone to take the Arizona Republican Party’s helm with experience and expertise in working with volunteers.”
GOP members expressed their gratitude for Wards’ service to the party, applauding her commitment to the leadership role. However, according to the letter KOLD obtained, officials believe the Republican Party’s future “must establish a new direction for our organization that can and will win races across all corners of our state.”
They state Ward has proven her “inability” to win statewide races during her tenure as Chairwoman of the State Republican party.
In 2022, a U.S. Senate seat, Governor, Secretary of State, Attorney General, Treasurer, Superintendent of Public Instruction and Corporation Commission will all be on the ballot.
“Our future hangs in the balance of winning these races!” the letter states.
It goes on to say the GOP failed the people of Arizona in securing a win for former President Donald Trump and is now experiencing an unprecedented vote to be represented by two Democratic Senators in Congress.
Members say Ward’s plan to communicate with voters is widely misunderstood and “contains egregious distortions of truth are disturbing and duplicitous.”
Read the full letter to Chairwoman Kelli Ward below:
Dear Chairman Ward,
Volunteers are the cornerstone and backbone of the Republican party, especially in Arizona. Those that serve in volunteer capacities at all levels deserve a measure of thanks and gratitude for their service. As Chairwoman of the Arizona Republican Party, you also need to be commended and applauded for your commitment while serving in this leadership role. The Chairman is an unpaid position, requires many long-hours and extensive travel to all parts of Arizona.
However, the Arizona Republican Party’s future must establish a new direction for our organization that can and will win races across all corners of our state. Our next election cycle in 2022 will feature the entire host of statewide races. On the ballot will be the U.S. Senate seat, Governor, Secretary of State, Attorney General, Treasurer, Superintendent of Public Instruction and Corporation Commission. Critical to the State of Arizona, our future hangs in the balance of winning these races!
Unfortunately, you have proven your inability to win statewide races during your tenure as Chairwoman of the State Republican party. Many of us are grateful for what you have attempted to accomplish and believe you have done your best. As mentioned, we are all aware the Chairman of the Arizona G.O.P. is a volunteer position. However, it is not a position for amateurs.
It is time for someone to take the Arizona Republican Party’s helm with experience and expertise in working with volunteers. The leadership qualities necessary to effectuate a winning strategy for statewide success in campaigns require a massive grassroots campaign. You have lost two Senate races for yourself before the 2020 election.
In the 2020 election cycle, Arizona failed to secure a win for our President, our Republican-held U.S. Senate seat and a Republican seat on the Corporation Commission. Our nation is now suffering due to our party losing control of the United States Senate by one vote. What has not gone unnoticed at the precinct level is that, for most of us--for the first time in our lifetime, the great State of Arizona will be represented by not one but two Democrat Senators.
For the majority of county and district chairs, precinct committeemen and registered voters your messaging plan is not understood. Your egregious distortions of truth are disturbing and duplicitous. The misunderstood messages include:
- Raising $23 million for the AZGOP when in truth, the Republican National Committee and the Trump Victory Campaign provided the funding. The saddest part of this unfortunate reality is the cash flow of the state G.O.P. cannot sustain staff positions in the future without significant fundraising efforts;
- Voter registration is hemorrhaging in Arizona with the loss of more than 5,000 registered voters since January 6, negating gains by District Chairmen and precinct committeemen prior to the election;
- As Chairman, you posted we need to consider replacing the Arizona G.O.P. party with a M.A.G.A party.
Credit and kudos to the county and legislative district chairs of the 2020 election cycle. Their diligent efforts recruited new precinct committeemen and supported local candidates without help and support from the state party. Outside groups stepped to the plate while county, local and legislative candidates themselves, salvaged Republican majorities across the state. However, Republican candidates are sharing the same message from 2020: they won their respective races by themselves and party support was non-existent.
There is no doubt the President and the Trump campaign were their lifelines—not the state party. The metrics posted by the Trump campaign were truly impressive. These groups deserve a State G.O.P. that is an equal partner. Unfortunately, the last two years have been quite the opposite. Endless errors and embarrassments have distracted us from our messaging and detracted from our efforts at the grassroots level.
The problems identified in this letter are just the tip of the iceberg. The full gambit of fundraising, organization, recruitment, voter registration, training and communication must be redone and retooled for statewide wins in 2022.
There is a critical role for the Arizona Republican Party to develop an overall strategy and strategic plan. However, we are convinced your leadership has proven you are unwilling, incapable or both of successfully fulfilling this role. Our state and our party are at risk if you continue to perform as you have these past few years.
We are in grave danger of losing many of our volunteers and voter registration is falling by unprecedented numbers. As elected leaders in our party, we have a responsibility to speak up and ensure victory for our local, legislative and statewide candidates. The messaging and actions of your stewardship has resulted in turmoil for our state.
Therefore, we are respectfully asking for you to rethink your candidacy for re-election as the Chairwoman of the Arizona Republican Party. Please stand down and remove your name from the ballot as Chairman of the AZGOP. We need leadership that will allow us the opportunity for a fresh start and a new direction that will result in a larger, healthier and more united party capable of winning statewide races.
Please, for the sake of the Arizona Republican Party, stand down from the AZGOP Chairman’s race.
COUNTY CHAIRS and OFFICERS
Bill Beard - Pima County Past Chairman
Linda Brickman - Maricopa County, Past Chairman
David Eppihimer - Pima County Chairman, Past Chairman
Coleen Lombard - Maricopa County Executive Guidance Committee, Immediate Past Secretary
John D. Rhodes - Graham County, Past Chairman
LEGISLATIVE DISTRICT CHAIRS
Michael Carbone - Legislative District 13, Immediate Past Chairman
Jerry Clingman - Legislative District 16, Immediate Past Chairman
Sandra E. Dowling - Legislative District 13
Johnny Melton - Legislative District 21
Eileen Mueller - Legislative District 21, Immediate Past Chairman
Kim Owens - Legislative District 19, Immediate Past Chairman
Constantin Querard - Legislative District 27, Chairman, Past Chairman and Legislative District 13, current 1st Vice Chair
Derrick Rochwalik - Legislative District 15