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Dysfunctional Arizona GOP Infighting Causing More Headaches for McSally

Wall Street Journal: Arizona GOP Debates Who Should Control Political Purse Strings

As unelected Senator Martha McSally struggles against Navy combat veteran and retired NASA astronaut Mark Kelly, who just doubled her first-quarter fundraising, McSally needs all the help she can get. But the “fractured” Arizona GOP’s “infighting” is doing more harm than good for McSally’s re-election prospects.

Under the fringe leadership of Kelli Ward, who is “tanking” as the state party’s new chair, the Arizona GOP’s fundraising numbers have plummeted – and now the party’s “inability to raise money” is causing some Arizona Republicans to consider bypassing the state party altogether.

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Wall Street Journal: Arizona GOP Debates Who Should Control Political Purse Strings

Some Republicans want to bypass state party over concerns about its chairwoman

Emily Glazer

May 8, 2019

Key Points:

  • Politicians and consultants are discussing whether they can bypass the Arizona Republican Party, given concerns about the ability of chairwoman Kelli Ward, a vocal Trump ally and frequent source of controversy, to court donors and register voters, people familiar with the matter said.
  • Concerns over the Arizona Republican Party’s fundraising capabilities flared in recent weeks after it reported raising about $89,000 in the first quarter of 2019, down from roughly $347,000 in the first quarter of 2017, according to the Federal Election Commission. The Arizona Democratic Party raised $292,000—more than triple the state GOP’s total—in the first quarter.
  • “Alarm bells are starting to go off at all levels [over] the state party’s inability to raise money,” said Jaime Molera, a Republican lobbyist who also chairs the Greater Phoenix Chamber of Commerce’s Public Affairs Committee. “It’s the linchpin of what needs to happen, especially with very significant races.”
  • …some in the Arizona GOP see the numbers as a warning sign and are considering setting up a separate committee in populous Maricopa County, Yuma County or Legislative District 28 to park incoming funds, the people said.
  • Ms. Ward, a former state senator, was named head of the Arizona Republican Party in January. That followed a series of political losses, including in the 2018 Republican primary to Ms. McSally, who lost to Ms. Sinema in the general election before her appointment to the open seat.

Read the full article here.

Read more here about Martha McSally’s mounting Kelli Ward headache:

Arizona Republic: Why did Arizona Republican Party fundraising plummet under Kelli Ward?

Key Points:

  • Contributions to the Arizona Republican Party this year have skidded to their lowest level in at least 18 years, leading the organization to burn through most of its cash, new campaign finance records show.
  • Ward’s far-right politics and the many controversies linked to her two cash-strapped insurgent Senate runs in 2016 — against incumbent Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz. — and 2018 — against then-Rep. Martha McSally, R-Ariz., and former Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio — gave some elected Republicans and party activists concern that she would guide the party into similar trouble in 2020.
  • At least for now, it appears GOP benefactors have closed their wallets to the state party under Ward’s leadership.
  • The records show that the party under Ward has put on the payroll a woman with a history of writing racist and homophobic comments.

Arizona Republic (Opinion): Laurie Roberts: “Kelli Ward is tanking as Arizona GOP chief”

Key Points:

  • Not even four months into the job and state GOP Chairwoman Kelli Ward already has run the party into the ground.
  • Big money donors recognize that the GOP’s new state leader – having just been rejected by Arizona voters for the second time – has zero chance of leading the party anywhere other than to extinction.
  • Short term, Ward at the helm makes the state Republican Party a one-woman disaster area.
  • This is a party that desperately needs to figure out how to recapture roughly 200,000 voters – the ones who in 2018 voted for GOP Gov. Doug Ducey then skipped over Republican Martha McSally to put Democrat Kyrsten Sinema in the Senate.

Arizona Republic: Conservative Kelli Ward to lead Arizona Republican Party after upset

Key Points:

  • Ward’s win raises questions about the state party’s future relationship with national Republican groups who work to elect Republicans here and across the nation.
  • Some of those groups have viewed her as a fringe-Republican whose views are not aligned with the brand of candidates they have worked to advance, such as McSally. Those groups may take a fresh look at how they may invest in the party, or whether they will want to find other entities to run their resources through.

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