The decision to condemn these three Republicans, in addition to re-electing disputed President Kelli Ward, consolidated the right-wing shift in the official party, but also reflected the deep breaks in Arizona Republicans over the future of the GOP, which suffered bruised defeats at the ballot box in 2020. .
The three Republicans are officially criticized for what the party described at its meeting as various “failures.”
McCain, the widow of late Senator John McCain, who supported Biden during the election, was convicted of supporting “left-wing affairs” and failing to support Trump.
Flake, a CNN contributor, was also convicted of supporting Biden in the election.
“Fool. That’s nonsense,” says Glenn Hamer, a former executive director of the Arizona Republican Party. “Parties that want to be successful bring people together and increase the number of people who are attracted to the party. What happens under the leadership of the AZ GOP is just the opposite. It’s self-destructive.”
Kirk Adams, Ducey’s former state representative and adviser, called the actions a “rabbit hole of loyalty.”
“What we get is a purity test, and this purity test is simple: are you loyal to Donald Trump, whatever it is? If not, we’ll censor it.”
Ward was not publicly concerned about warning the moderates when he spoke to gathered Arizona Republicans at the Phoenix Dream City Temple. The venue was closed to almost all journalists except a few hand-selected shops.
Before the party vote on the party president, Ward ended his speech by saying, “Make America great again!” He then presented a recorded voice message from Trump where the former president told members, “I give him my full and full support.”
Ward defeated his challenger by 3 points in two rounds of voting.
Ducey’s political director, Sara Mueller, underestimated the power of the actions of the state party, namely because of the distrust of the seated governor. “These resolutions have no consequences, and the people behind them have lost any meager moral authority they could ever have,” Mueller said.
Flake tweeted a picture of himself with McCain and Ducey at Biden’s inauguration, with the words “Good Company.”
McCain wasn’t available for immediate comment, but he tweeted, “It’s a great honor to be part of a group of Arizona people who served our state and nation so well … and who, like my late husband, John, are censored by AZGOP. I’ll wear this as a badge of honor.”
The late senator was censored by the state GOP in 2014 over data that was then classified as a liberal record.
Immediate actions seem to have little effect on the three Republicans. And there are signs that some Arizona GOP voters may be unhappy after the U.S. Capitol revolt. Figures compiled by the Arizona Secretary of State’s office show that from Jan. 6 to Jan. 20, more than 8,000 Republicans have asked to change their party registration from a Republican to an independent, democratic, or libertarian. The Office of the Secretary of State does not explicitly track party changes for reporting purposes, so it is not clear whether these trends are unique in this post-election cycle.
But Adams sees these registration numbers as a resounding siren that Trumpism has wreaked havoc on the future of this increasingly competitive state of the Republican brand.
“Within the official AZ GOP apparatus, many Republicans have left behind their conservative bosses. They are now loyal to a single person or personality, as opposed to a platform of ideas,” Adams said. “Maybe this fever will break. But if it doesn’t, it will reveal bad news to Republicans looking for office in this state.”
REPAIR: An earlier version of this story misled Kirk Adams’s last name.