Arizona GOP Chair Scoffs at Audit of Own Election Win While Leading Challenge to Trump Loss

Arizona GOP Chairwoman Kelli Ward is rejecting Republican demands for an audit of her narrow chair re-election victory last week despite still leading "stop the steal" efforts to overturn President Joe Biden's election win over Donald Trump.

Ward won a second term as the state's Republican Party chair by 42 votes during last Saturday's election, but is now facing demands from her competitor and fellow party members for a full audit of the results. Ward, speaking with a Phoenix-based conservative radio host Saturday, scoffed at growing claims of election "irregularities" from Arizona Republicans including Committeeman Trey Terry and Tucson business owner Sergio Arellano, who placed second behind Ward in the chairperson contest. Ward campaigned on "election integrity" and is spearheading an ongoing push for a "full forensic audit" of Biden's November election victory.

In a video released Thursday, Ward declared the "final, final results" came in and proved she won her own election. But just moments later, she praised her own efforts and those of GOP state senators who have hired a third-party company to conduct a "full forensic audit" of Biden's 2020 election victory in Maricopa County. For weeks, Ward has blasted Arizona Republicans and state election officials for refusing to overturn Biden's win over Trump, who offered his "complete and total endorsement" to her earlier this month.

At least three major state party officials have challenged Ward's "fishy" win in the chairperson race, citing "too many questions" about the voting count. But on Saturday, Ward responded by saying her victory was already finalized and the state doesn't even have the ability to audit the votes in her election win.

"We don't have the structure to be able to do an audit," Ward told KFYI's radio show, The Conservative Circus with James T. Harris. "But we welcome their input to make elections bigger...The structure for an audit doesn't exist in our process, our procedures, our bylaws, and in statute."

Bill Beard, the former chairman of the Pima County Republican Party, called for a recount of all state GOP races, including Ward's mere 42-vote victory in last week's election. By comparison, Biden defeated Trump in Arizona by 10,457 votes. Committeeman Trey Terry criticized Ward in a Friday KTAR Radio interview in which he complained, "We're supposed to be the party of election integrity, and Kelli Ward runs an election that is the complete opposite...We need an audit. And it needs to be forensic."

"It has come to my attention there were a significant number of irregularities, inconsistencies and errors during the election of state officials at last Saturday, January 23 AZ GOP State Meeting," Beard posted to social media Thursday.

"We didn't actually get these results until more than five days later, and now she says that nobody can call for an audit or raise a complaint because we didn't do so at the meeting. I've received calls from diehard Kelli Ward supporters who have been telling me something is fishy," GOP Committeeman Terry said Friday.

Ward on Saturday apparently defeated Arellano, who told KTAR Radio that while he doesn't necessarily believe there was intentional fraud behind her win, GOP officials need to ensure trust in their election results. He cited the the vote-counting discrepancies which caused 8th Congressional District candidate Sandra Dowling to be declared the winner of her race earlier this month. But just hours later, GOP officials informed her that she actually lost and rescinded her victory.

"We're waiting for a response that lays out the when, where, and how of that [audit] process. I anticipate the State GOP will do a solid job here and provide election officials around the state with an example of how to conduct a timely audit and how important ballot security and paper backups are," Arellano said Friday.

Ward on Friday responded to the calls for an audit, saying, "Because nobody challenged the election on the day of the election, there were no complaints and actually there was a lot of unity claimed at that meeting. These are the results of the final, final results of that election."

Perhaps hoping to divert attention away from questions about her own election, Ward published two videos on the Arizona Republican Party's official YouTube account that announced a new "full forensic audit" of Biden's November win. She blasted Maricopa County GOP officials for "falling down on the job" and commended Republican state senators for "finally getting to the bottom of what happened" in Trump's defeat.

Ward announced the Arizona state senate hired their own company to review "scans of the paper ballots, analysis of those, looking at the logs, the digitally adjudicated ballots, which ones are there and which ones aren't, looking at the duplicated ballots. They are going to look at everything."

Ward led the Arizona Republican Party last week in publicly censuring Governor Doug Ducey, former Senator Jeff Flake, Cindy McCain and other Republicans who didn't fully support her efforts to overturn Biden's win in Arizona.

Newsweek reached out to Ward and Arizona Republican Party officials Saturday afternoon for additional remarks.

kelli ward arizona election audit
Arizona GOP Chairwoman Kelli Ward is rejecting Republican demands for an audit of her narrow chair re-election victory last week despite still leading "stop the steal" efforts to overturn President Joe Biden's election win over Donald Trump. Screenshot: YouTube