The local chapter of Yavapai County’s Conservatives for a Constitutional Republic (ConCR) has announced that Republican State Chair, Dr. Kelli Ward, will speak at their upcoming meeting Saturday, June 22nd, 11am at the VFW in Prescott Valley.
At the State Party’s January 2019 annual meeting, in what is widely regarded as an upset victory, Dr. Ward unseated the incumbent Chair, Jonathan Lines, who was endorsed by Gov. Doug Ducey, Sen. Martha McSally and other “old guard” establishment figures, including LD1 State Senator Karen Fann and then Yavapai County Republican Chair, Mark Sensmeier.
Reflecting the liberal/conservative schism in the county party, the Yavapai delegation’s votes were split nearly equal between Lines and Ward. Conservative stalwarts, including former County Chair Jim Dutton and former Rep. David Stringer, supported Dr. Ward.
Although Republicans continue to hold a registration advantage over Democrats in party affiliation, they have seen their dominance of state offices dwindle. The 2018 election results were particularly painful, with Democrats capturing the state executive offices of Secretary of State and Secretary of Education. Democrats also won a US Senate seat and picked up a 5th congressional seat. In the state House and Senate the Republicans were reduced to razor thin majorities.
Dr. Kelli Ward’s victory represented a win for rank and file conservatives over the long dominant McCain wing of the state Republican Party. The divide between conservatives and liberals in the Republican Party runs deep. Immediately following her election on January 26th Dr. Ward issued a conciliatory statement emphasizing the need for party unity and asserting “The good news is that all of our problems are fixable.” Within the hour McCain’s daughter, Megan McCain, twittered that Ward’s election was “… a great day for Arizona Democrats.”
As Chair of the State Party, Dr. Ward has continued to emphasize party unity, fund raising and support for President Donald Trump. Conservatives are betting that Ward’s bold, conservative message will rally the conservative base and keep Arizona a red state in the 2020 elections.