By Daniel Stefanski |
The 2024 Presidential Primary is already testing the unity of the Arizona Republican Party as former and current officials take sides months ahead of the state’s preference election.
Late last week, a group of Arizona Republicans wrote a letter to Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, asking him “to seek the presidential nomination of our Grand Old Party.” The letter came as DeSantis was embarking on a high-profile to the important primary state of Iowa and as rumors have indicated he may be close to jumping into the presidential race on the Republican side.
The letter, entitled “Arizona Republicans Ready to Win in 2024,” was headlined by Speaker of the House Ben Toma, and former East Valley Congressman Matt Salmon. House Majority Whip Teresa Martinez, Senator Ken Bennett, Senator Frank Carroll, Senator Steve Kaiser, Senator J.D. Mesnard, Senator TJ Shope, Representative David Cook, Representative Lupe Diaz, Representative Kevin Payne, Representative Beverly Pingerelli, Representative Justin Wilmeth, City Councilwoman Vicki Gillis; and former officials Frank Riggs, Shawnna Bolick, Regina Cobb, Jeff Dial, Sandra Dowling, Nora Ellen, Eddie Farnsworth, Robert Garcia, Rick Gray, Vince Leach, Jeff Weninger, and Steve Yarbrough.
The plea for DeSantis to join the presidential field was driven by the “damage being done to (Arizona) by the reckless policies of the Biden Administration.” The officials highlighted “the strains that open borders are placing on (Arizona’s) health, education, and public welfare systems;” “reckless overspending” and “rampant inflation;” “liberal attacks on our first responders and public safety programs;” America’s deteriorating “standing in the world;” and “political correctness and its many cousins, like censorship, Critical Race Theory, SEL, ESG scores.”
After listing the primary areas where President Joe Biden’s policies are bringing harm to their state, the Arizona signatories wrote, “These are just a few of the many reasons why Republicans must retake the White House in 2024 and why we must be led in that effort by someone who knows right from wrong, is not afraid to speak truth to power, will not be bullied by the left or their accomplices in the media, who has a track record of successful governance, and who can assemble the required national coalition of voters needed to win the Presidency and bring along strong majorities in the House and Senate.”
They added, “We believe you are the right candidate at the right time, with the required combination of personal attributes we will require to unite our passionate party.”
If DeSantis joins the growing list of Republican contenders for the White House, these Republican endorsements of his candidacy will be vital in a state that has featured some of the top national supporters of former President Donald J. Trump from 2015 to present. When Arizona Republicans voted in the March 2016 Presidential Preference Election, the top two candidates at that stage in the national endeavor for the most delegates were Trump and U.S. Senator Ted Cruz. Trump beat out Cruz by almost 7,000 votes. The eventual nominee for the Democrats, Hillary Clinton, handily defeated U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders in the Grand Canyon State.
Daniel Stefanski is a reporter for AZ Free News. You can send him news tips using this link.