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Arizona GOP Under Kelli Ward . . . Gives Pro-Life Issues Important Status

May 16, 2019 Frontpage No Comments

By DEXTER DUGGAN

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — Describing her goals to a gathering of Arizona conservative Republican activists, the recently elected chairman of the state’s GOP said she wants to help Democrats walk away from “the radical, barbaric left” in their party that’s pushing for policies like “infanticide.”
Conservative Kelli Ward, a family practice physician who scored an upset last January when state Republican committeemen chose her to lead the Grand Canyon State GOP instead of incumbent chairman Jonathan Lines, emphasized at the May 4 activists’ meeting in this Phoenix suburb that she wants to have an effective, unified party, not one settling scores with old GOP foes.
However, Ward made plain where she thinks the party should be on the issues. “Faith, family, and freedom. Those are the things Republicans stand for,” she said.
Ward forthrightly has stood for the pro-life side, both in her political races and in her current party chairmanship.
Just before the official release of the recent movie Unplanned, the pro-life exposé of Planned Parenthood, the Arizona GOP held its own showing of the film after promoting it at its website. Ward also helped promote and marched with her own team to the January 20, 2018, Phoenix pro-life rally at the state capitol.
The Arizona GOP also strongly opposed a radical abortion bill that state Democrat politicians had hoped to push forward in the legislature here after similar extremism by East Coast legislative Democrats early this year.
However, the bill became such an embarrassment that even its prime Democrat sponsor in the Arizona House, Raquel Teran, pled with the House Judiciary Committee to set it aside.
But the committee’s Republican majority chairman, Rep. John Allen, apparently relishing the Dems’ discomfort, moved ahead with the February 20 hearing as he noted that the entire leadership of the minority party was on the bill, which would have repealed Arizona law requiring care for abortion-surviving babies.
Squirming under embarrassment, even Democrat members of Allen’s committee voted against it, with a result of zero in favor, eight against, and two “present.”
The homepage of the newly redesigned website of the Arizona Republican Party (azgop.com) proclaims, “Freedom. Opportunity. Security. We believe that every Arizonan, from every race, class, and walk of life, should have the freedom, opportunity, and security to live out their American dream. We fight for these values because you matter.”
Below this is a picture of President Trump at a microphone and the invitation, “Join the Trump committee!” Ward has been a steadfast backer of Trump.
The top of this web page shows a young woman unfurling an American flag above her head as she looks toward the red rocks of the iconic Monument Valley, in northern Arizona.
Ward told the activists convened in Scottsdale that some media people say that almost any time a conservative wins a position, they use it “to hammer and smash” their foes. But that’s not her goal, she said. Instead, “The power is coming back to you,” she told the gathering.
She spoke about her strategies and her plans for the 2020 elections. “We are reaching out in many, many ways,” including with social media. “Our social media outreach has increased 7,000 percent since I took office….GOP, grow our party by reaching out.”
The state GOP “had more donors in February and March” than in any quarter in 2018, she said.
If these activists have questions, Ward said, they should call her instead of leaping to social media to make criticisms.
“I am with you. I will not let you down. I will not sell you out,” Ward said. “. . . I am one of you. . . . I will not abandon you, and I hope you will not abandon me.”
The party’s communications director, Zach Henry, told The Wanderer that Ward is 100 percent pro-life, “Arizona is routinely ranked the number one pro-life state in the country,” and Ward always will stand with the unborn and vulnerable.
She had the headquarters building for the state and Phoenix-based Maricopa County Republican parties on Phoenix’s North 24th Street refurbished after she became state chairman, with new flooring, paint, a clean-up, media display screens that also can be used to teleconference, and a brighter atmosphere.
It’s a one-story building perhaps the size of two comfortable three-bedroom homes. Henry wasn’t able to provide a square-footage figure.
“Now it’s a place where our staff is excited to come to work,” without having to worry about any black mold, Ward told the Scottsdale gathering.
Asked what the refurbishing cost was, Henry replied, “Suffice it to say, we kept things under budget and completed all of the work ahead of schedule.”
The weekly conservative Republican Latino Chips ‘n’ Salsa Internet program has moved into the building as its production site, Henry said.
Ward, seemingly always positive-spirited and effervescent, was conferring with two activists in an office with its door open at the headquarters on May 3 when this writer stopped by to view the improvements. Spotting me, she immediately waved me into the room for a chat.
The Wanderer asked Henry, 25, why he as a young person is a conservative. His father grew up near Portland, Ore., “one of the meccas for liberalism,” while his mother grew up in Texas, he said. “I was exposed to all sorts of ideologies. . . . I was a pretty avid reader” who concluded socialism was no answer.
“I’m a free-market capitalist” believing in “a successful life, a successful country,” Henry said.
There’s a concerted effort to malign capitalism now, he said, but there’s no “secret sauce” to make socialism work in the U.S.
The Wanderer queried conservative Arizona GOP political consultant Constantin Querard about how he thinks Ward is doing as chairman.
“Ward is building her team and is focused on party building and fund-raising, which are the things she needs to be focused on,” Querard said. “With the excitement of 2020 starting to build, it will be her team’s job to get all of those new people into the party and working for the good of the entire GOP ticket.”
As for Ward’s hopes for party unity, Querard said: “It is never possible to unify everyone, all of the activists, because there will always be a group that loses and takes their ball home. But you want the party as strong as possible . . . unifying its membership around core values and causes is the right course of action.”
Ward had run for both of Arizona’s U.S. Senate seats within two years but lost both races after the state’s political establishment did all it could to block her. She lost the 2016 GOP primary to incumbent John McCain, then turned right around for the 2018 race when first-term GOP Sen. Jeff Flake would be up for re-election.
However, when the unpopular Flake announced more than a year before the 2018 general election that he wasn’t running again, Ward’s chances to take the seat seemed better than ever, so the establishment maneuvered two other candidates into the GOP primary against her, Cong. Martha McSally and former Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio.
Flake’s surrender also induced left-wing Democrat Cong. Kyrsten Sinema to give the race a try.
After the acrimonious GOP primary, Sinema won the seat for the Democrats last November.
Querard told The Wanderer that even though Ward lost to McSally in last year’s primary, “Ward did what she could to help McSally win” the general election.
After McSally lost to Sinema, she soon became a U.S. senator anyway.
Arizona Republican Gov. Doug Ducey appointed former GOP U.S. Sen. Jon Kyl as a placeholder to fill the seat vacated by McCain’s death last summer, then the governor appointed McSally when Kyl stepped aside after a few months.

Work Together

As Ward indicated at the May 4 GOP meeting, she accepts her role as party chairman instead of trying to cause trouble for previous foe McSally, who is scheduled to run for her own full Senate term in 2020 — the first general election after she temporarily was chosen for McCain’s vacancy.
Querard told The Wanderer:
“McSally needs to take the help from everywhere she can get it, so hopefully the campaign and the state party will work together as well as they can. One of Ward’s knocks against (incumbent Jonathan) Lines in the (2019) chairman’s race was the (2018) McSally loss, so she will obviously want to put a win in her own column where McSally is concerned.”

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