This just in:
By Dennis Welch
The Arizona Guardian
The former Paradise Valley mayor who campaigned for governor and
congress over the past year says he’s out of the running for state
Republican Party chairman.
Vernon Parker told the Guardian on Monday he’s backing out to spare
the party a nasty fight when state GOP members meet later this month
to elect their new leadership.
“I care more about the party than myself and I think the
(congressional) delegation is going to back someone else,” Parker
said. “Do I think I could have won had I stayed in the race?
Absolutely. But at what cost.”
Parker briefly ran for governor until he quit that race to take an
unsuccessful shot at an open congressional seat in Phoenix. He
wouldn’t say which candidate he thinks Arizona’s five Republican congressmen and
two senators will support.
But his decision comes as longtime party insider Ron Carmichael
announced that 11 former county Republican chairman from across the state
have endorsed him to take control of the party.
Several former state party chairmen such as Bob Fannin, Mike Hellon,
Burt Kruglick and Mike Minnaugh are expected to publicly announce
their support of Carmichael in the coming days.
Taken together, it appears Carmichael has positioned himself well
enough to get the backing of the congressional delegation.
Other candidates for the GOP chairmanship include Tucson native Bruce
Ash and the chairman of the Pinal County Republican Committee, Marty
In a signal Ash as picked up support among the party’s grassroots
activists, he recently endorsed Rob Haney for the GOP Maricopa County
Haney has been a longtime critic of Sens. Jon Kyl and John McCain. Carmichael
has had a long political relationship with Kyl going back to the days
when the U.S. senator served in the state House.
Republican political consultant Kurt Davis says there are very few
differences between the candidates and the race will come down to
“personalities and alliances.”
“These guys would agree on 99 percent of the issues,” he said. “But
the good news for Republicans is we actually have candidates who want
to be chairman.”
Davis was taking a dig at the Arizona Democratic Party that has had
problems fielding top-tier candidates who want the job.
Dem Chairman Don Bivens recently told the media that he wants to move on but plans on running for a third term as party leader.