Republican Activists Send Clear Message to AZGOP and Lake

swoboda lake
Gina Swoboda and Kari Lake

On Saturday, the truth about the current state of the Arizona Republican Party was made clear. The landslide victory for chairwoman Gina Swoboda showed that the vast majority of active party members are done with divisiveness and the characters intent on creating it.

Ms. Swoboda was presented as the consensus candidate. That is precisely what the party needs. To find consensus. Not perfect. Not even 90 percent perfectly aligned with our individual beliefs. As President Ronald Reagan advised us those many years ago, “The person who agrees with you 80 percent of the time is a friend and an ally – not a 20 percent traitor.”

As a conservative, I was not a fan of Governor Doug Ducey and I am grateful he is not jumping into the Senate race. He was too quick to sacrifice our liberties for the needs of the chambers of commerce. He was too weak to support a thorough review of our elections. He was clearly more concerned about what people thought than how his constituents were forced to live.

But all his faults notwithstanding, Ducey treated the conservative legislature, and us conservative voters, fairly. During the last four years of his administration, Ducey was sent 1,269 bills. He vetoed 43. He was with us 96.5% of the time, which is well above the Reagan threshold of 80%.

That record is typical when it comes to statewide, electable Republican candidates. People who pay attention to these matters will notice that during the last 50 years, we have elected 5 Republican governors and 4 Republican senators. They are Mecham, Symington, Hull, Brewer, Ducey, Goldwater, McCain, Kyl, and McSally. With the possible exception of Goldwater, it is hard to find any of these successful Republicans who were as ultra-conservative as Lake claimed to be.

Currently, Governor Katie Hobbs vetoes 41.1% of the bills that land on her desk. So, it is safe to conclude that she is neither a friend nor an ally of working families, the middle or lower classes, or anyone who cannot be simply defined by a string of letters.

Most of us knew that as the 2022 General election approached. We worked ourselves to the bone trying in vain to get Kari Lake elected. We did so despite her non-stop efforts to lose. We did so without any sense that she was electable, and that it was a fool’s errand, but what choice did we have? We agreed with her stated policies 100 percent, so knowing that we had no choice, and a slim chance for success, we went to work as she continued to divide our party and insult our long-time friends and family members who had once – or still -revered the late Senator John McCain and his followers.

While she sowed seeds of division, we tried to convince our fellow Republicans that they had to take her abuse on the chin because the Hobbs alternative was not an alternative we could allow. Many of them did just that. Despite her abuse, they showed up to vote for her. Unfortunately, not enough of them could and with a narrower victory than the official count shows, Hobbs took control.

Since then, Jeff DeWit has worked to build a cohesive AZGOP. One that cannot be beaten by the likes of Hobbs or our radical Secretary of State Adrian Fontes.

DeWit, a man of fine character, and a solid Trump supporter to boot, took steps to ensure that Arizona does not become a bluer shade of purple. That is what chairs are supposed to do.

Anyone who knows Lake or her more rabid supporters knows you cannot discuss issues in a frank manner with them. Any hint that you do not toe her line completely or worship at her altar, will elicit a savage response that either gets you nowhere or crushed by heavily edited audio or some other type of trumped-up accusation.

My guess, and I do not know for certain, is that DeWitt was trying to find a way to tell Lake she is unelectable in a way that would appeal to her insatiable ego. Just tell her that she is so important, such a threat, that the big guys from back east are willing to meet her demands and pony up to keep her out.

There is no one that I know who believes he could have gone to Lake with the truth; ‘Look Kari, you are such a bad candidate that even Katie Hobbs was preferred by the most sober Arizona voters, and we need you to sit this one out.’

DeWit screwed up. There is no doubt about that. Honesty is always the best policy and appeasing fragile egos never ends well. That being said, what Lake and her sycophants did to him was unconscionable. He was her friend. She bit the hand that fed her. That sort of treachery – even in politics – is beyond the pale.

The boos aimed at Lake at Saturday’s meeting should finally signal to the national “conservative” press that here in Arizona, we love Trump, but not trumped-up charges and the scoundrels who lodge them.

Kari Lake is not a threat to powerful men back east. She is a threat to the Arizona Republican Party because the division she fosters ensures continued Republican defeats and a bluer Arizona.

The events that took place on Saturday and during the preceding few days are an indication that grassroots Republicans are awakening to the fact that attacking fellow Republicans and fomenting division are a recipe for defeat. Hopefully it is not too late to salvage the 2024 election.