Jeff DeWit || Facebook
By Ray Stern || The Arizona Republic
In a tense meeting, Arizona Republicans rejected a hardcore election denier as their new state leader and instead chose Jeff DeWit, a former Trump official who aims to bring a level of unity to the fractured party.
DeWit, who also is a former state treasurer, touted his fundraising prowess and ability to energize the party to achieve more election wins.
“We are going to unify and we’re going to get back to winning elections,” DeWit said after now-former party Chair Kelli Ward announced that he had received 71% of the vote among the other candidates. “We have the right message. We are fighting for freedom. It’s about our kids. It’s about taking back our kids — taking back our country.”
The election for a new party chair was a chance to steer the increasingly rightleaning organization toward more unity and the possibility of more election victories than seen in the past four years. Former President Donald Trump’s dramatic loss in 2020, the far-reaching images of the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol and attempts by some Trump supporters to overturn the election in Arizona and other states increased division in the party.
Moderates and supporters of the late Republican Sen. John McCain found themselves with a slate of Trump-endorsed candidates on November’s ballot, and election results showed many of them voted for Democrats or didn’t vote at all for the top statewide candidates.