Members of the Republican Party of Arizona’s State Committee on Saturday reelected Dr. Kelli Ward, an outspoken ally of former President Trump, for a second two-year term as chair. The committee also censured Gov. Doug Ducey (R), as well as Sen. Jeff Flake (R) and Cindy McCain — both of whom endorsed Joe Biden for president.
Ward secured a second term as the state party’s chair after announcing her bid for reelection earlier this month following a push from former President Trump, who reportedly told her she “needed” to run. None of the four candidates reached the 50 percent threshold in the first round of voting, leading to a faceoff between Ward and Sergio Arellano, in which Ward secured her role 52 percent to 48 percent.
Arellano subsequently congratulated Ward at the meeting and called for unity under her leadership:
— Arizona Republican Party (@AZGOP) January 23, 2021
Swearing in officers ⤵️
— Arizona Republican Party (@AZGOP) January 24, 2021
Arizona Republican officials also censured three state political figures who remain at odds with the former president– Ducey, Flake, and McCain. NPR described the action as a “sweeping — yet essentially symbolic — rebuke.”
“In condemning Ducey, the party cited the governor’s decision to enact emergency orders during the coronavirus pandemic that the committee said are unconstitutional and ‘restrict personal liberties,’” the NPR reported.
McCain and Flake, however, have remained outspoken Trump critics, both endorsing Biden in the 2020 election.
Both McCain and Flake dismissed the censure. McCain, the wife of the late Sen. John McCain (R-AZ), told her social media followers she wears the rebuke as a “badge of honor”:
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.
— Cindy McCain (@cindymccain) January 24, 2021
If condoning President Trump’s behavior is required to stay in the AZGOP’s good graces, I’m just fine being on the outs. https://t.co/2rzCTu1AcZ
— Jeff Flake (@JeffFlake) January 24, 2021
In an exclusive interview with Breitbart News prior to her reelection last week, Ward previewed a number of accomplishments that the Arizona GOP has made over the past two years, from establishing an election integrity fund to progressing with Latino outreach across the state. She identified election integrity as a “top priority” and emphasized that Republicans cannot forget what occurred in the 2020 presidential election. Rather, they must “utilize” it.
“We have to have the full audit of what happened in Maricopa County and in Arizona as a whole so that we are able to assure the public … that there is integrity in the process,” she said, pledging that the GOP will continue to raise money for the election integrity fund while promoting legislation that will advance integrity, transparency, accountability. She also highlighted the importance of electing politicians who will “make sure that the Republicans we elect are going to be people who are willing to fix bad laws and demand that the people — the people that they represent — are heard.”
Ward also showed no signs of straying from the path forged by former President Trump and his America First agenda, telling Breitbart News that his policies “have never been more popular” in the state. GOP leadership, she continued, must “make sure that those policies continue to move forward.”
In a statement following her reelection, Ward promised to “work tirelessly” and “deliver impressive electoral wins for Arizona Republicans” in the next election cycle.