GOP members seeking party election audit threaten to sue Kelli Ward
PHOENIX – Arizona Republican Party Chairwoman Kelli Ward could find herself on the defendant’s end of an election lawsuit if she refuses to audit last month’s party voting, an attorney for two state GOP members said Thursday.
Sandra Dowling and Bill Beard, who lost their committee member races in the Jan. 23 state party election, are threatening to sue Ward if she doesn’t respond to their demand for an audit and recount by March 1.
“We’ve said that we’re going to go to court, and that’s what we intend to do,” Timothy La Sota, who represents Dowling and Beard, told KTAR News 92.3 FM’s The Mike Broomhead Show on Thursday.
Dowling was initially declared the winner of an 8th Congressional District seat but later found out she lost.
“Obviously, the circumstances do not lend themselves to confidence in the election,” La Sota said. “And much to our chagrin, what’s happened after doesn’t lend itself to that either, because there’s just no transparency.”
Ward has famously, without presenting any evidence that could stand up to court scrutiny, refused to accept the outcome of President Joe Biden’s victory over Donald Trump in Arizona.
Her monthslong effort to overturn the results through legal challenges were tossed out all the way up to the U.S. Supreme Court.
Yet after questions were raised about the accuracy of her own party’s election, including her victory, several days after it took place, she stated the results were final “because no one challenged the election on the day of the election.”
Tucson businessman Sergio Arellano, who lost to incumbent Ward by 42 votes in a runoff for the chair position, was the first to request an audit on Jan. 27. Arellano cited the mistake in Dowling’s race and said party members who hadn’t run for office requested that he intervene, but he didn’t allege wrongdoing.
Party member Trey Terry told KTAR News 92.3 FM on Jan. 29 that nobody challenged the results on the day of the election because they weren’t even released until five days later.
“I’ve received calls from diehard Kelli Ward supporters who have been telling me they think something is fishy,” Terry said at the time.
Then earlier this month, a large group of GOP state lawmakers sent Ward a letter demanding an audit.
La Sota suggested that Ward could be in hot water with the Arizona Republican Party faithful if she doesn’t comply.
“She needs to on the show leadership and get this done,” La Sota said. “And if she stands in the way, I don’t think it will be tolerated.”