Kaufman: Big mistake by Arizona Republicans

Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey's former campaign manager, political director of the Republican Governors Association, tweeted Saturday, "And with that, the AZGOP will have no significant role in '22. No other option but to work with others. We've been here before. No big deal.”

In November, I called on the Minnesota GOP to replace Jennifer Carnahan as party chair after four years of statewide losses.

Out in Arizona, Republican Party Chair Kelli Ward has driven the party into the ground in just two years, losing every important race for numerous cycles. Maybe this makes sense since Ward is a twice-failed U.S. Senate candidate. But instead of winning or reflecting, she lashes out and censures those with opposing views — including a retired U.S. Senator, the widow of a legendary U.S. Senator, and the current Republican governor. This accomplishes nothing and only aids the Democrats.

With all this turmoil, Ward still narrowly won re-election Saturday.

The Arizona Republic reported, “Ward’s reelection was considered a foregone conclusion weeks ago, but many in the GOP had misgivings about the party’s electoral performance on her watch and an uncertain future heading into the 2022 midterm elections.”

The Greater Phoenix Leadership, an influential group in the business community, noted its disapproval, saying, “The behaviors, actions & messages of the AZ GOP under the leadership of Kelli Ward remain disgraceful & disappointing.”

Under Ward, the state GOP joined a failed lawsuit against Vice President Mike Pence demanding he overturn the election results — something he could not legally do. Ward also used incendiary messaging, such as asking supporters if they would give their lives in a fight to overturn the presidential election.

Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey’s former campaign manager, now political director of the Republican Governors Association, tweeted Saturday, “And with that, the AZGOP will have no significant role in ’22. No other option but to work with others. We’ve been here before. No big deal.”

Cindy McCain, who was censured for being a “globalist” tweeted, “It is a high honor to be included in a group of Arizonans who have served our state and our nation so well … and who, like my late husband John, have been censured by the AZGOP. I’ll wear this as a badge of honor.” Earlier in the month, McCain and her daughter Meghan noted that John McCain never lost an election in the Grand Canyon State during his 36-year political career.

Arizona has a must-win U.S. Senate race in 2022. As a state that had not voted Democrat statewide for decades until 2018, it is winnable with a decent candidate and competent state party, but increasingly it appears they will have neither.

Perhaps this is what happens when the goal of a state party changes from winning elections to censuring private citizens and a popular Republican Governor for upholding his oath of office. It’s Ward who should be censured.