Arizona Republicans elect Jeff DeWit as new party chair
Jan 28, 2023, 3:46 PM | Updated: Jan 29, 2023, 11:48 am
(Facebook Photo/Jeff DeWit)
PHOENIX — Former state treasurer Jeff DeWit was elected chair of the Arizona Republican Party on Saturday by the GOP state committee.
DeWit succeeded former Gov. Doug Ducey as treasurer in 2015 and was named the chief operations officer for Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump during his campaign in 2016. DeWit also served as chief financial officer of NASA starting in 2018.
He was endorsed for state GOP chair by proponents of Trump’s conspiracy that the 2020 presidential election was stolen, including defeated Arizona gubernatorial candidate Kari Lake and defeated secretary of state candidate Mark Finchem.
Arizona Reps. Paul Gosar, Andy Biggs and Debbie Lesko also endorsed DeWit for party chair.
He won with 71% of the vote, according to reports.
“I’m going to work for you and we’re going to unify,” DeWit said after winning. “And we’re going to get back to beating Democrats and winning elections.”
DeWit takes the reins from Kelli Ward, who was elected in 2019 and re-elected in 2021.
Ward’s time as party leader involved numerous scandals as she pushed for Trump’s 2020 election defeat to be overturned.
She pressured Republicans on the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors to investigate unsupported claims of fraud before election results were certified and allegedly signed a document falsely claiming she was a true Arizona elector, despite Democrat Joe Biden’s victory in the state.
Ward asserted her Fifth Amendment right during a deposition of the House committee investigating the Jan. 6 insurrection at the Capitol after the Supreme Court denied her request to not turn over phone records.
Republicans lost critical races during the Nov. 8 election including governor, senator, secretary of state and attorney general, and GOP primary election gubernatorial candidate Karrin Taylor Robson urged Ward to resign.
State Democrats, meanwhile, elected Yolanda Bejarano as its new party chair on Saturday.
The 2024 election includes several races with national implications. Arizona is likely to be a battleground in the presidential race, and independent Sen. Kyrsten Sinema’s seat is also on the ballot.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.