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Arizona Republican Activists Re-Up Demand For Audit Of State Party Election

Published: Thursday, February 25, 2021 - 6:09pm
Updated: Friday, February 26, 2021 - 8:54am

Two Arizona Republican activists reasserted their demand for an audit of the state party’s recent leadership election. 

If they don’t get their way, they’ll sue, attorney Timothy La Sota wrote in a letter to the Arizona GOP’s general counsel.

Republican Party Chair Kelli Ward has dismissed demands for an audit of the GOP’s Jan. 23 election. Ward, who ran for re-election after a two-year term as chair, claimed a narrow victory that day. But a growing chorus of Republican activists and elected leaders have voiced concerns about the vote-counting process.

Over two dozen party activists penned a letter to Ward in late January demanding an audit. 

More than a third of Republican state senators and representatives sent their own letter to Ward in February demanding the same. 

Republicans William Beard and Sandra Dowling renewed that demand in a letter to the state party’s top attorney, Jack Wilenchik. The letter noted they’ve each individually sent Ward formal requests for an audit that she has ignored.

“Clearly the Arizona Republican Party has been at the forefront of voter integrity matters for many years. It would be bitterly ironic if that same party continued in its effort to stymie those who simply want to ensure that the January 23, 2021 state party elections were conducted fairly and accurately,” La Sota wrote on behalf of Beard and Dowling. 

La Sota gave Republican Party officials a deadline of noon on March 1. If that deadline isn’t met, La Sota wrote that Ward may have to deal with more than a lawsuit. 

If the party doesn’t comply with a detailed list of demands for an audit, “one thing will happen and another is likely to happen,” La Sota wrote. “I will proceed to court to vindicate Mr. Beard and Dr. Dowling’s rights, and I understand that various other parties are planning to seek Ms. Ward’s removal as state party chair.”

In response, Wilenchik wrote that Beard and Dowling are asking Ward and himself to meet demands they don’t have the authority to comply with.

“Asking Ms. Ward or myself to take some manner of action — much less threatening to sue to force us to do so — is about as rational as demanding that Joe Biden or Merrick Garland … conduct a recount of the November 2020 election,” Wilenchik wrote.

Wilenchick also told KJZZ that a judge is unlikely to settle a matter that he described as purely political in nature.

“What can be more political than a party trying to decide its own leadership?” Wilenchik said.