Arizona Republicans censure Cindy McCain, GOP governor

Arizona Republicans voted Saturday to censure Cindy McCain and two prominent GOP members who have found themselves crosswise with former President Donald Trump.

The censures of Sen. John McCain’s widow, former Sen. Jeff Flake and Gov. Doug Ducey are merely symbolic. But they show the party’s foot soldiers are focused on enforcing loyalty to Trump, even in the wake of an election that saw Arizona inch away from its staunchly Republican roots.

Party activists also reelected controversial Chairwoman Kelli Ward, who has been one of Trump’s most unflinching supporters and among the most prolific promoters of his baseless allegations of election fraud.

The Arizona GOP’s combative focus has delighted Trump’s staunchest supporters and worried Republican insiders who have watched the party lose ground in the suburbs as the influence of its traditional conservative establishment has faded in favor of Trump. A growing electorate of young Latinos and newcomers bringing their more liberal politics from back home have further hurt the GOP.

“This is a time for choosing for Republicans. Are we going to be the conservative party?” said Kirk Adams, a former state House speaker and chief of staff to Ducey. “Or is this a party … that’s loyal to a single person?”

It’s a question of Republican identity that party officials and activists are facing across the country following Trump’s 2020 loss, and particularly after a mob of his supporters laid siege on the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6.

Nowhere is the question more acute than Arizona, where the state GOP’s unflinching loyalty to Trump stands out even in a party that’s been remade everywhere in the image of the former president.

Ward has relentlessly — but unsuccessfully — sued to overturn the election results. The party has used its social media accounts to urge followers to fight and perhaps even to die in support of Trump’s false claims of victory. Two of the state’s four Republican congressmen are accused of playing a role in organizing the Jan. 6 rally that turned violent.

After dominating Arizona politics for decades, Republicans now find themselves on their heels in the state’s highest offices. President Joe Biden narrowly eked out a victory here, becoming just the second Democrat in more than five decades to win the state. Consecutive victories in 2018 and 2020 gave Democrats control of both U.S. Senate seats for the first time in nearly 70 years.

Ward, a physician and former state legislator who lost two Republican primaries for the U.S. Senate, defeated three challengers to win a second term.

In a brief interview, Ward acknowledged “disappointment at the top of the ticket” but said she and many other Republicans still question the results showing victories for Biden and Democratic Sen. Mark Kelly. Judges have rejected eight lawsuits challenging Arizona’s election results.

Ward pointed to GOP successes down the ballot, noting Republicans defied expectations in local races.

Ward said she’s a “Trump Republican” who will “always put America first, who believes in faith, family and freedom.” The way forward for the GOP, she said, is keeping Trump’s 74 million voters engaged.

“Yes, I will be radical about those things because those are the things that keep this country great,” Ward said. “The people who are complaining are the people who actually put us in this spot where we are in Arizona, people who have been mamby pamby, lie down and allow the Democrats to walk all over them.”

The censures target some of Arizona’s most prominent Republicans,

Cindy McCain endorsed Biden and became a powerful surrogate for the Democrat following years of attacks by Trump on her husband. After the vote, she wrote on Twitter that “it is a high honor to be included in a group of Arizonans who have served our state and our nation so well.”

“I’ll wear this as a badge of honor,” she wrote.

Also after the vote, Flake tweeted a photo of him with McCain and Ducey at Biden’s inauguration and wrote: “Good company.”

Flake was one of the few congressional Republicans who was openly critical of Trump for failing to adhere to conservative values. He declined to run for reelection in 2018 and endorsed Biden in last year’s election.

“If condoning the President’s behavior is required to stay in the Party’s good graces, I’m just fine being on the outs,” Flake wrote on Twitter before and after the vote.

Ducey is being targeted for his restrictions on individuals and businesses to contain the spread of COVID-19. While it’s not mentioned in the proposed censure, he had a high-profile break with the president when he signed the certification of Biden’s victory.

“These resolutions are of no consequence whatsoever and the people behind them have lost whatever little moral authority they may have once had,” said Sara Mueller, Ducey’s political director.

Many traditional conservatives fret that the censures and Ward’s combative style turn off the swing voters and ticket-splitters who handed Democrats their recent victories. But they say the party’s decisions will reflect only the views of about 1,500 committed activists.

John McCain was censured by the state GOP in 2014 and went on to comfortably win a Republican primary over Ward and a general election. The self-described maverick, known best for his willingness to buck his party, had strained relations with the state party for much of his career but was consistently reelected by wide margins.

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Associated Press writer Paul Davenport in Phoenix contributed.

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10 thoughts on “Arizona Republicans censure Cindy McCain, GOP governor”

  1. We all know if massive fraud across the nation had not been “approved” by government and the SCOTUS, President Trump would have been reelected. All that followed shows how deep the anti constitutional establishment is in Washington and elected state officials. Arizona has lost its heritage due to non constitutional Republicans and the long term support of John McCain and HIS followers.

    1. I concur with Tom’s statement. Solid American citizens were ignored by our judiciary when they testified under oath about the fraud and malfeasance that occurred at polling places.

  2. Associated Press article, which has zero credibility, entirely written to discredit a real story that is evolving.
    Arizona Senate, perform the FULL audit, not a sampling. Count the ballots, and dissect the machines.
    NO SHORTCUTS!!
    The country needs to know, and it needs to be announced publicly, fraud or no fraud.

  3. This is an opinion piece, not news. Phrases like “baseless allegations of election fraud” and “Trump’s false claims” aren’t news. And they aren’t even true. The AP is part of the fake news. Why promote them in the Prescott-e-News?

      1. Thank you, for that reply. I think I’m grown up enough to face it,and if we’re being honest here, or to thine own self be true. Bottom line IS we have checks and balances for this reason. Hello. Stonewalling .and I feel something was wrong because this country was built on debate and the left took debate away from us . Trying to tell America that the right is un-American for wanting to debate. If the senate can give them the authority to oversee the elections , can’t they take it away also? Just thinking out loud.

  4. The Associated Press is part of the lying lamestream media. They twist and distort their articles to fit their alt-left agenda and this article is no exception.

    Keep in mind that manipulating the vote count is only one aspect of voter fraud. There is also ballot harvesting, paying people to vote, illegally registered voters, dead voters, and phantom voters, to name a few.

    While voting-by-mail is convenient it is hardly secure. Cheat-by-mail offers many opportunities for political operatives to stuff the ballot box. In addition, a signature on a ballot is a very poor credential for validating who actually cast the ballot.

    The lack of oversight in our present voter system encourages voter fraud schemes. In order to ensure the integrity of the vote more checks need to be put in place to deter cheaters and severe criminal sanctions for cheaters need to be imposed.

    1. Philip McArthur

      But that’s OK if it is Democrats doing it !!!

      Editor – So you completely disregard all the ordinary honest folk who came forward and swore affidavits detailing the fraud they witnessed. How many videos do you need to accept there was corruption. Why are those responsible for the election going to Court to try to stop the ballots and tabulators being examined if there is nothing to hide ?

  5. Prescott eNews. Please send me an email. I’m both a PhD statistician who has additional ideas you may not have thought about to test for election errors or even fraud. I also have a 40-year career in securing facilities like the Capitol and am happy to tell Mr. Giuliani about why the current impeachment shows technical incompetence on the side of the House of Representatives.

    I’ve been following Lyle Rapacki’s podcasts. Those are great!

  6. Election FRAUD is NOT baseless. Whoever wrote this article is echoing the lies that the Dumbocraps Spew.

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