After losing Arizona’s 11 electoral votes and a U.S. Senate seat to Democrats, the Arizona Republican Party appears ready to double down on its slash-and-burn, Trumpian strategy by seeking to punish the widow of the late Sen. John McCain, who endorsed Joe Biden during the election.
When state party members meet on Jan. 23, they almost certainly will reelect as their chair Kelli Ward, a longtime McCain critic and one-time political challenger who has found an ally in President Donald Trump.
At that meeting, the party is also on track to settle a score by censuring Cindy McCain, a lifelong Republican who helped Biden carry the state by the narrowest margin in the nation.
If it passes, she becomes the second McCain to be censured: the party issued a similar denouncement of her husband in 2014. He went on to defeat Ward in the 2016 GOP primary and easily win a sixth term.
McCain isn’t surprised by the censure effort, but she isn’t taking it lightly, she said in a statement Tuesday to The Arizona Republic.
“I’m not surprised by the continuous insults and personal attacks from Arizona GOP Chairman Kelli Ward,” McCain said. “ She’s shown how attacking Republicans like me can impact elections — her involvement in both Senate elections to replace Jeff Flake and my husband John McCain, two regular targets of her personal attacks, resulted in Democrat wins.
“As Chairman of the AZGOP she managed to turn Arizona blue in November for the first time since 1996. Maybe she should be reminded that my husband never lost an Arizona election since his first win in 1982; he and Governor (Doug) Ducey are the last two Republicans to win statewide races in Arizona.
The censure resolution up for consideration later this month accused McCain of supporting “leftist causes, such as gay marriage, growth of the administrative state, and others that run counter to Republican values.” It cites her opposition to Trump, her support of Biden, and seeks to “object to Cindy McCain being a member of the Republican Party.”
The resolution ends: “... the Republican Party in the State of Arizona agrees to dissolve any connections whatsoever to Cindy McCain.”
The man who has led the "Stop the Steal" election protests nationally singles out Reps. Paul Gosar and Andy Biggs of Arizona for helping make Wednesday's pro-Trump gathering in Washington happen.
The social-media video, which is gaining newfound attention, was taped before the event turned into a riot at the U.S. Capitol that left five people dead, including a police officer.
Biggs strenuously denies any involvement with the Wednesday event. Gosar's chief of staff did not respond to an inquiry by The Arizona Republic.
Both men have figured prominently in the GOP's rejection of President Donald Trump's election loss, but they have done so in different ways.
In the video, Ali Alexander is seen speaking into the camera describing how the gathering in Washington was coming together.
"I was the person who came up with the Jan. 6 idea with Congressman Gosar, Congressman Mo Brooks (R-Ala.) and then Congressman Andy Biggs," Alexander said. "We four schemed up of putting max pressure on Congress while they were voting so that who we couldn’t lobby, we could change the hearts and the minds of Republicans who were in that body hearing our loud roar from outside."