Shortly after the election a number of Republican leaders asked me to consider running for state party chairman, culminating in a conference call where Sen. John McCain and Sen. Jon Kyl made that request personally.
While I was honored to be asked, especially by so many leaders I respect, I made the decision that this position was not a good fit right now for me or for the Party.
That said, Tracy and I are committed to seeing the Republican Party grow and become more unified. We are state committeemen who intend to be active at the grassroots level in building the Party over the next few years.
While there are two strong candidates for Party leader, we support Lisa James and believe she will be an outstanding chair. Earlier this week we released the following letter:
Dear Fellow State Committeemen:
Thank you so much for your dedication to the Republican Party in Arizona, and for your incredible support for my campaign for Governor. My family and I will be forever grateful for your enthusiasm, encouragement and hard work in support of our campaign!
Tracy and I write today to ask you to join us in supporting Lisa James for State Party Chair.
We knew Lisa as a neighbor and parent before we knew her as a political strategist. Our sons played together on a youth football team, and we saw first-hand her commitment to her own family.
Through my work for a pro-family organization, I knew Lisa was a strong supporter of the sanctity of human life and the institution of marriage, and that she attended Scottsdale Bible Church.
During 2006, Tracy and I had a chance to work with and observe first-hand her commitment to building a strong Republican Party and electing Republican candidates. We discovered her to be a brilliant, hard-working strategist equally adept at inspiring financial support and organizing get out the vote efforts.
We also found her to be a person of kindness, decency and integrity in a profession where many leaders lack such virtues. And we found her to be a great friend as well.
It is easy now to understand why President Bush entrusted her with leading his Arizona presidential effort in 2000, just four years after Bill Clinton won Arizona for the Democrats. She did such an outstanding job that the president invited her to lead his Arizona effort again in 2004, and she increased his margin of victory here.
Lisa worked extremely hard on my campaign and on behalf of all Republicans in Arizona in what turned out to be a very difficult year for Republicans all over the United States. Even with our disappointments here, we need to realize that Republicans in Arizona did better than in many other supposedly Republican states.
Lisa’s hard work as Victory Chair contributed greatly to our successes – re-electing Sen. Kyl, winning both houses of the legislature and five of seven statewide offices.
Lisa James will be an outstanding Party Chair, which is why she has the confidence and support of our Congressional delegation.
She has the personal affability to bring together all factions of the Republican Party into a unified force in 2008, while standing firm for the principles and platform of the Party. And importantly, Lisa James will present a fresh new public image of Republicans in Arizona to the media and to voters – an image that will attract new voters to Republican candidates.
Tracy and I are asking all of you who stood with us in our recent campaign to please join us in supporting Lisa James for Republican Party Chair!
I want to add a few more thoughts to our endorsement of Lisa. First, this is not an attack on Randy Pullen. If Randy wins, we will pull together and strongly support his leadership, and I want to encourage all of Randy’s supporters to make the same commitment if Lisa wins.
Second, this is not really an ideological battle. I know Lisa is a strong Reagan conservative, and while I don’t know as much about Randy’s views on issues other than immigration, I believe he is committed to the party platform as well.
Third, an important principle that Republicans have always believed in is the constitutional separation of powers. The principle exists to protect our freedoms by not concentrating governmental power in the hands of a few people.
This principle has application to this race because Randy Pullen already holds a top position in the Party as National Committeeman, which is a representative position comparable to Congressman. The job of Party Chairman is comparable to Governor. Electing Randy as Party Chairman while he serves as National Committeeman would be like electing Janet Napolitano to Congress while she serves as our Governor. While it may be legal in the Republican Party structure, I don’t think it’s a good idea.