AZ GOP Chair Announces Resignation Following Kari Lake Audio Being Released: ‘I Was Set Up’

AZ GOP Chair Announces Resignation Following Kari Lake Audio Being Released: ‘I Was Set Up’

Arizona Republican Party Chairman Jeff DeWit announced Wednesday that he is resigning, a day after the release of an audio recording revealed his efforts to encourage former GOP gubernatorial candidate Kari Lake not to run for U.S. Senate.

In the audio clip, DeWit could be heard telling Lake, a leading contender for the Senate, that powerful people “back East” did not want her to run.

“There are very powerful people who want to keep you out,” DeWit said, adding those people were “willing to put their money where their mouth is in a big way.”

On the recording, DeWit then asked Lake to come up with a dollar amount, but she cut him off.

He said, “Just say, is there a number at which …”

She fired back, “I can be bought?”

Lake ultimately concluded, “’I don’t want to make a deal with these kinds of people. This is a hill worth dying on.”

In his Wednesday statement, DeWit described the audio as “selectively edited” from a private conversation.

“As Chairman, my primary duty is to strengthen our party, which involves challenging dialogues and strategic decisions. The conversations are meant to assess and enhance the viability of candidates,” the statement said.

DeWit said he was employing Lake in his private company at the time and her recording of their conversation “raises serious legal and moral concerns.”

“Contrary to accusations of bribery, my discussions were transparent and intended to offer perspective, not coercion,” the statement added. “I genuinely believed I was offering a helpful perspective to someone I considered a friend.”

DeWit stated that his advice to her was not to run for Senate, but delay two more years and run for governor again.

“I said things I regret, but I realize when hearing Lake’s recording, I was set up,” he wrote, perhaps referring in part to saying on the recording that he was not sure former President Donald Trump could win again.

DeWit accused Lake of crafting her responses in the audio to make herself the “hero of her own story.”


DeWit was chief operating officer and chief financial officer of Trump’s 2016 campaign and chief operating officer of Trump’s 2020 campaign.

He explained in the statement that he originally intended to stay on as chairman despite the audio clip’s release.

“However, a few hours ago, I received an ultimatum from Lake’s team: resign today or face the release of a new, more damaging recording.

“I am truly unsure of its contents, but considering our numerous past open conversations as friends, I have decided not to take the risk,” he added.

Rather than be a further distraction, DeWit said he was stepping down.

Lake said that she will be going live on Rumble Wednesday night to answer questions about the matter.

The Lake campaign responded to DeWit’s resignation with a statement to The Western Journal:

“The tape speaks for itself: The Arizona GOP Chairman Jeff DeWit attempted to bribe Kari Lake. Thankfully Kari is an extremely ethical person who rejected DeWit’s multiple attempts to offer her money and corporate board seats in exchange for Kari not running for public office,” the statement said.

“She will be an incredible Senator for Arizonans. No one from the Kari Lake campaign threatened or blackmailed DeWit. It is unfortunate that DeWit hasn’t recognized how unethical his behavior was and still hasn’t apologized to Arizona Republicans. DeWit’s false claims are just par for the course.

“The Arizona GOP must be relieved to have his resignation. Now we can focus on getting ethical leadership and win big in 2024.”


This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.

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