Prominent Arizona Republicans urge Ron DeSantis to run for president

May 12, 2023, 9:11 AM | Updated: 10:38 am

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis greets guests at the Republican Party of Marathon County Lincoln Day Dinn...

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis greets guests at the Republican Party of Marathon County Lincoln Day Dinner annual fundraiser on May 6, 2023, in Rothschild, Wisconsin. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)

(Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)

PHOENIX — A group of prominent Arizona Republicans, including state House Speaker Ben Toma and former U.S. Rep. Matt Salmon, sent a letter Wednesday urging Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis to run for president.

“We believe you are the right candidate at the right time, with the required combination of personal attributes we will require to unite our passionate party,” the letter says.

“That is why we ask you to seek the presidential nomination of our Grand Old Party, and why so many of us here in the great state of Arizona have organized and prepared to help you run and win.”

DeSantis is considered by many as former President Donald Trump’s top rival for the GOP nomination in 2024, but the Florida governor hasn’t officially declared his candidacy.

The letter from Arizona Republicans, including 12 current members of the Legislature, starts with criticism of the Biden administration and liberal policies they say are damaging the country.

“These are just a few of the many reasons why Republicans must retake the White House in 2024 and why we must be led in that effort by someone who knows right from wrong, is not afraid to speak truth to power, will not be bullied by the left or their accomplices in the media, who has a track record of successful governance, and who can assemble the required national coalition of voters needed to win the Presidency and bring along strong majorities in the House and Senate,” the letter says.

The authors don’t directly mention Trump, but “someone who knows right from wrong” could be taken as a reference to a New York jury finding Trump liable for sexually abusing advice columnist E. Jean Carroll in 1996 and awarding her $5 million. Trump is appealing Monday’s verdict.

In 2020, Trump became the first Republican presidential nominee to lose in Arizona since Bob Dole in 1996.

Here is the full list of Arizona Republicans whose names are on the letter:

  • Speaker of the House Ben Toma
  • Hon. Matt Salmon
  • House Majority Whip Teresa Martinez
  • State Sen. Ken Bennett
  • State Sen. Frank Carroll
  • State Sen. Steve Kaiser
  • State Sen. J.D. Mesnard
  • State Sen. TJ Shope
  • State Rep. David Cook
  • State Rep. Lupe Diaz
  • State Rep. Kevin Payne
  • State Rep. Beverly Pingerelli
  • State Rep. Justin Wilmeth
  • Yuma County Supervisor Jonathan Lines
  • Goodyear City Councilwoman Vicki Gillis
  • Hon. Frank Riggs
  • Hon. Shawnna Bolick
  • Hon. Regina Cobb
  • Hon. Jeff Dial
  • Hon. Sandra Dowling
  • Hon. Nora Ellen
  • Hon. Eddie Farnsworth
  • Hon. Robert Garcia
  • Hon. Rick Gray
  • Hon. Vince Leach
  • Hon. Jeff Weninger
  • Hon. Steve Yarbrough

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Prominent Arizona Republicans urge Ron DeSantis to run for president