Arizona GOP Picks Trump Ally

Gina Swoboda, who argues elections aren't secure, replaces chair who quit over recording
By Bob Cronin,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 24, 2024 7:20 PM CST
Updated Jan 28, 2024 2:30 PM CST
State GOP Boss Quits Over Tape
Arizona Senate candidate Kari Lake speaks during a television interview in Laconia, New Hampshire, on Monday.   (AP Photo/Matt Rourke, File)
UPDATE Jan 28, 2024 2:30 PM CST

Gina Swoboda, who was endorsed by Donald Trump, will be the next chair of the Arizona Republican Party. She'll replace Jeff DeWit, who resigned last week after the release of an audio recording that appeared to be incriminating. Swoboda ran Election Day operations for Trump in the state in 2020, the AP reports. She's now the executive director of a group that advocates for the notion that the current election system isn't secure, per the Arizona Republic. Senate candidate Kari Lake called Saturday's vote a victory for her and Trump, who canceled a trip to the state during the resignation fallout. "Arizona is the key to the presidency," Swoboda posted on X.

Jan 24, 2024 7:20 PM CST

The chairman of the Arizona Republican Party resigned Wednesday after the revelation of a recording that seems to show him trying to buy Kari Lake off in an effort to keep her from running for Senate. "There are very powerful people that want to keep you out," Jeff DeWit tells Lake in the audio, which was published by "But they're willing to put their money where their mouth is in a big way." DeWit called the recording "selectively edited," Axios reports, and said he thinks Lake set him up to take control of the Arizona party organization.,

"Is there a number at which," DeWit says in the audio, before Lake interrupted with, "I can be bought?" In his statement Wednesday, DeWit said he wasn't trying to bribe Lake but was offering candid advice as a friend, per CBS News, that she should skip the Senate race and instead run for governor in 2028. On the recording, Lake rejects the advice; she's still in the GOP race. Her campaign said the recording "speaks for itself: The Arizona GOP Chairman Jeff DeWit attempted to bribe Kari Lake."

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DeWit said he was going to fight to stay in his job, but Lake's aides threatened him with the release of a more damaging recording if he didn't resign. Lake, a former TV news anchor, has used recordings of confrontations to her advantage before, per CBS. She wears a small microphone as her husband records interactions with the public and reporters; Lake has posted some of the videos on social media. The former GOP nominee for governor is closely allied with Donald Trump and considered the taped offer an attempt to hurt the former president's campaign, per Axios. (More Republican Party stories.)

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