AZ GOP chairman Jonathan Lines routinely sends out an email titled the AZGOP Daily Update! Sniping at the more widely read Republican Briefs he declares it the Only Official Newsletter of the Arizona Republican Party! (Exclamation points and italicized type are his.)
This recent message was an attention grabber. Noting that the party is gearing up for the 2018 election, he says, “ I know you are all excited to get to work for the conservative cause!” He then describes a GOP Data Center intended to ensure that all precinct committeemen have the resources they need to help elect Republicans. He goes on to describe an ambitious training project to mobilize many thousands of precinct committeemen.
Precinct committeemen are the nuts and bolts, grassroots workers of the party apparatus. They are elected on the primary ballot by their neighbors in each precinct in districts across the state. Many PCs have been volunteering their time to the party for decades, going door-to-door collecting the nominating petition signatures candidates need to qualify for the ballot. They distribute campaign literature and recruit other committeemen. They hammer signs in the parched earth under the sweltering Arizona sun and work tirelessly getting out mailings and make phone calls on behalf of candidates.
So imagine the shock when establishment types, notably Arizona’s U.S. Senators work to remove these loyalists from their ranks. Former Sen. Jon Kyl got down in the precinct weeds, sending out postcards advising who the conservative choices were. In fact the choices he advocated for were not conservatives at all, while actual conservatives were kicked to the curb on his advice. His actions were intended to remove the Maricopa County chairman, who was unable to serve after losing the PC election. Conservatives had the last laugh as he new county chairman appointed his predecessor as executive director.
This establishment deceit is an ongoing activity. Most recently McCain operatives worked within precincts, recruiting ringers to overfill allotted PC slots, in another concerted effort to oust conservatives. After McCain was the subject of an unprecedented and embarrassing censure by elected state committeemen at the annual statutory meeting the effort began in earnest. Many longtime PCs were replaced by recruited members from the Vietnamese community who esteem McCain. These recruits never attended monthly district meetings or engaged in the duties of committeemen. They were placeholders intended to do but one task: Show up to vote for squishy intra-party officers.
Now we have U.S. Sen. Jeff Flake who refused to vote for the Republican party nominee Donald Trump — running for reelection for another 6-year senate term. The state party never uttered a word of reprimand to either Flake or McCain, who both assisted Hillary Clinton. Watch Flake in this Hillary campaign ad. McCain, at age 80, was in the midst of a reelection campaign of his own and couldn’t afford to alienate any voters, but his pals Lindsey Gahamnesty and Mitt Romney had no such qualms.
Romney recently made two Arizona campaign appearances to bolster Flake. Chairman Lines wrote glowingly of the assist. The word “traitor” was never used to describe either man.
And McCain? He recently told the British press that “Barack Obama provided better American leadership than President Trump.” Then he bumped his anti-GOP hostility up a notch, declaring,“ I’m very worried we’re going to lose the House of Representatives.”
Keep demoralizing the base Johnny, and you might well be prophetic.
Meanwhile neither AZ GOP Chairman Jonathan Lines nor his predecessor Robert Graham have ever addressed Arizona’s two Democrat-supporting U.S. Senators — posing as Republicans when elections roll around — who unashamedly gave Hillary their tacit approval.
Arizona Republicans deserve better. Commit to principled conservative Dr. Kelli Ward.