As tensions continue to mount over efforts to force an audit or a redo of the AZGOP’s leadership elections, embattled Chairman Kelli Ward has taken her war against signers of a call for a Special Meeting to a new level. After State Representative Mark Finchem appeared on The Morning Ritual with Garret Lewis yesterday to discuss his efforts to rein in Governor Doug Ducey’s executive powers regarding emergency declarations, he was followed by Ward, who was asked by Lewis about Finchem’s progress. Ward began her interview claiming that it was her job to get “good conservatives, America First people, representing us” then spoke about election integrity efforts regarding last November’s election.
Without intending any irony, Ward also claimed that “We’re going to get to the bottom of the audit, no matter how much the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors, their attorneys, and others associated with the County drag their feet, we’re going to get to the bottom of it.” Critics of Ward have pointed out how her own talking points for her controversial election, her legal battles to prevent any such audit of her own victory, and her personal determination to prevent any such audit for the GOP’s own elections, are hypocritical and undermine the GOP’s arguments when combating suspected voter fraud in Arizona elections.
Ward then launched into a broadside against Doug Ducey, and later Finchem and other legislators, in spite of Finchem and many of those same legislators helping to lead the fight against Ducey’s Covid-related mandates.
Ward accused Ducey of working to prevent the AZGOP from being successful for the last several years, accused him of tyranny, and even said that Ducey killed Arizonans by banning the use of hydroxychloroquine, although Ward also waffled on recalling him, saying that he was term-limited and would be done in less than two years anyway, so it made more sense to leave him in office.
Ward claimed many Republicans, including Finchem, had signed a letter calling on her to resign as Chairman, although insiders we spoke to later suggested that no such letter existed and she was referring to the call for her to conduct the audit called for in the AZGOP’s own bylaws, and the call for a special meeting to allow for a redo of the January election.
“Mark Finchem himself is on that letter as well,” said Ward, “which is very disgusting and disheartening.” She later added that “…the legislators who signed that letter… they’re on Doug’s side, they’re on McCain’s side. Look at who is on that list and you will know who they are and who we need to replace.”
Among the Republican State Legislators Ward wants Arizona voters to defeat are State Representatives Finchem, Shawnna Bolick, Kevin Payne, Beverly Pingerelli, Frank Carroll, Bret Roberts, Joanne Osborne, and House Majority Leader Ben Toma, as well as State Senators Sine Kerr, Vince Leach, Rick Gray, and J.D. Mesnard. It was unclear if Ward also intended to target other Republican elected officials outside of the legislature, as numerous other elected Republicans also signed the call.
For his part, Lewis spent much of the interview groaning during Ward’s responses, before saying “enough of this”, concluding that Ward has no plan and ending the interview. “Holy crap… and you wonder why people want to run for the hills from the Republican Party” Lewis said just before cutting to a commercial.