New Arizona Republican GOP chairman weighs in on future of party

Jeff Dewit, a former Trump campaign aide, is taking over for Kelli Ward.
Published: Feb. 3, 2023 at 6:05 PM MST
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PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) -- The Arizona Republican party just elected a new leader focused on the party’s future. Republicans outnumber Democrats in Arizona, but it’s the Democratic Party that has claimed victory in several key races in 2020 and 2022. Chairman Jeff DeWit says his goal is to turn that around.

After narrow defeats in the last two election cycles, there’s a change in leadership for the Republican party. DeWit, a former Trump campaign aide, is taking over for Kelli Ward. However, some ask if a shift in leadership equals a change in direction for the party.

Some say to win future elections, Republicans may have to come to terms with past ones, especially when candidates who didn’t win are claiming they did. “Can a campaign based on election denialism be the winning ticket in 2024 for Republicans?” asked Arizona’s Family political editor Dennis Welch. “On the opposite side of that, one of the things I tell candidates, and I’ve said this for many years, I’ll ask them what’s the most important thing about winning an election. The most important thing and you’ll get a lot of different answers. In my opinion, the most important thing is who’s your opponent?” replied DeWit.

DeWit is forced to walk a fine line as the new party chairman. If he says the elections were rigged, he risks upsetting loyal factions of his party. But if he says they weren’t, DeWit risks losing moderates and independents needed to put the GOP over the top. It’s a question that isn’t going away because former gubernatorial candidate Kari Lake is mulling over a run for U.S. Senate. “Well there are a lot of people talking about running for the Senate seat. Thankfully, I’m not one of them. But it’s like I said, it’s who’s your opponent,” said DeWit.

The Democratic candidate in the Senate race could likely be Congressman Ruben Gallego. He announced his bid several weeks ago and has raised big money. One of the big questions remaining is whether incumbent independent Sen. Kyrsten Sinema will seek a second term. Sinema has yet to say if she’ll run for reelection.