Since the Jan. 23 vote for State Republican Party chairman and other party officials, there has been an ongoing battle for either a recount and audit of those votes or a revote by the members of the Republican State Committee; 352 members of that committee voted to approve a new vote after Kelli Ward refused to authorize a recount and audit of the original vote.
Why was there this broad support for a revote for state chairman and other officers?
As a state committee member, I observed at the Jan. 23 meeting people taking ballots from an area near the stage that were unsigned and unaccounted for by the staff. There was no cross-referencing of the bar codes on each ballot to keep track of them.
There was no one monitoring to make sure ballots were signed for before they were taken. In addition, Dr. Sandra Dowling was announced as the winner of the at-large seat for Legislative District 13 and then the gavel ended the meeting.
After that occurred, strangely, Kelli Ward announced Dr. Dowling did not win. Clearly, since Dr. Dowling supported a different candidate for State Chair than Kelli Ward, this seems to be another reprehensible unwarranted attack on her adversary.
And, at public meetings, Ward denounced and insulted Dr. Dowling in spite of her tireless work for the Republican state committee and as chair of LD 13.
William Beard, as the other Plaintiff in the two lawsuits, had standing because he allegedly lost an at-large seat by three votes. Could this have been due to his support for another candidate for state chair as was the case with Dr. Dowling?
Notwithstanding compliance with the Republican Party bylaws, Kelli Ward obfuscated the issue by making nonsensical assertions regarding that process. Twenty percent of the state committee members were required to sign off on a new vote, and the 352 who did support that vote were well in excess of that number.
Kelli Ward and her minions used strong-arm tactics to have members who supported this new vote retract those votes.
First, this is not allowed under the system in place for such situations.
Second, it is an attempt to thwart the will of the state committee members who wanted a new vote to clear the air and have Kelli Ward win legitimately or have a new state chair.
Third, it was this very same Kelli Ward who demanded a recount and audit of the Arizona vote that occurred in November between Biden and Trump.
Blatant hypocrisy is the correct characterization for Kelli Ward in this process. What was good for the election in Arizona for president was not good enough for her.
Dr. Sandra Dowling and William Beard, two state committee members, retained the services of Attorney Tim Lasota to pursue justice in this Republican Party election for officers. Mr. LaSota was well qualified to handle this case since he had been counsel for the Republican State Party in the past. There were two lawsuits brought. One for a recount and audit and one for a revote.
In both instances, the trial courts refused to intervene in intra-party politics. As a result, when the appeals court upheld the trial court on the revote issue, the pursuit of justice ended and injustice prevailed. Kelli Ward essentially dictated that there would be no legitimate audit and recount and there would be no revote, and the courts refused to intervene.
Now the Republican Party is stuck with Kelli Ward for two years.
She is, according to reports, regularly booed when she makes appearances and has now become so politically vicious as to run candidates in primary elections against Republicans in the state Legislature who supported the recount and audit or revote of the Jan. 23 election.
The short-term issue is that there will be a divided Republican Party for the next two years. The long-term issue is that either party can elect a chairman and they, in effect, have dictatorial powers since the courts appear to be disinterested in intervening in intra-party matters.
A clear remedy to this dilemma is that the Arizona Legislature could pass a law requiring the courts to adjudicate these matters so that political parties can operate without the strong-arm tactics of a single chairperson.
Kelli Ward has done a disservice to the Republican Party, to the condition of politics in Arizona, and to the integrity of our voting process.
Ward will find that winning in the short-term will be meaningless as her legacy of hypocrisy becomes more widely known to the general electorate in the state of Arizona.
Mike Siegel is a Republican State Committeeman and talk radio host, who describes his views as conservative-libertarian. Visit mikesiegel.com.