The Maricopa County Republican Committee (MCRC) voted last week at their annual meeting to censure Maricopa County Stephen Richer and the four Republican members of the Maricopa County Supervisors; Bill Gates, Thomas Galvin, Clint Hickman and Jack Sellers. The vote for the censure resolution was 1,460 for, 138 against, and 36 abstaining.

Maricopa County Member-at-Large Brian Ference told The Arizona Sun Times, “The PCs in Maricopa have spoken, overwhelmingly censuring Richer and the MCBOS, the key line being ‘Ceases immediately any and all recognition and support of the above individuals being censured and encourages all registered Republicans to expel them permanently from office.’”

The censure cited the supervisors’ refusal to cooperate with the Arizona Senate’s audit of the 2020 election, voter disenfranchisement in the 2022 election with “at least 1,298 ballots cast by dead voters and 17,822 mismatched ballots,” and the lawsuits filed by the Republican National Committee and Arizona Republican Party “over policies favoring Democrat poll workers over Republicans.”

It listed previous censures of Richer by the Maricopa County Republican Committee Executive Guidance Committee (EGC) on August 4th, 2022, and the Legislative District 9 Republican Committee on October 26th, 2022, and the censure of Maricopa County Board of Supervisors Chairman Bill Gates by the Legislative District 3 Republican Committee on August 11th, 2022.

It instructed Republicans to cease recognition and support of the officials and “expel them permanently from office.”

One lone PC stood up to defend the county officials, Kathy Petsas, and got the “biggest boos of the day” according to Jeremiah Cota on Twitter. Ference next went up to the mic, so she yielded, and he stood there deliberately silently for a whole minute as the audience started cheering “USA! USA!”

The MCRC also voted on nine other resolutions and 11 bylaw amendments. All resolutions passed. The first one called to amend the MCRC bylaws to remove Republicans from GOP positions who are in violation of Republican Party positions. The second one agreed to hold elected officials accountable to the loyalty oath to the Constitution, which state law requires. The third resolution said the MCRC would use fractal programming for identifying “Phantom Voters” to be removed from the voter rolls by precinct committeemen. The fourth resolution invited the 1776 Project to help recruit and promote candidates for Maricopa County Governing School Board. The fifth resolution rejected rank choice voting and called upon the Arizona Legislature to make the state’s semi-closed primaries completely closed.

The sixth resolution denounced the maladministration in the 2022 midterm election. The ninth resolution provided more access for PCs to the voter registration database known as GOP Database Center and its smart app Campaign Sidekick. The outgoing MCRC chair, Mickie Niland, was censured by LD 12 Republicans for not sharing data from the county with PCs. The tenth resolution denounced the practice of using voter signatures in place of ID.

Over half of the bylaw amendments passed. Two of the most significant ended the practice of verbal proxies and limited PCs to only one proxy each at meetings. Ference told The Sun
Times, “The McCain and establishment wing of the party have long used proxies and paper PCs to control votes and power. Even House Speaker Kevin McCarthy has recently seen the light announcing that effective immediately, there will be no more proxy voting saying, ‘…Members of Congress have to show up to work if they want their vote to count.’” Another amendment banned MCRC members from endorsing non-Republican candidates and provided procedures to remove them if they did so.

Most of the candidates in the America First slate won their races. Craig Berland was elected chair, Shelby Busch won 1st vice chair, and Lawrence Hudson won treasurer. Dan Grimm remained secretary, and Tatiana Pena from the Arizona First slate was elected 2nd vice chair.

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Rachel Alexander is a reporter at The Arizona Sun Times and The Star News Network. Follow Rachel on Twitter. Email tips to [email protected]
Photo “Stephen Richer” by Maricopa County Recorder’s Office.