Arizona Senate candidate Kari Lake called on the state’s GOP chair Jeff DeWitt to resign on Tuesday after a recording surfaced of the chair appearing to offer Lake money in exchange for not running for office.
“He’s gotta resign. We can’t have somebody who is corrupt and compromised running the Republican Party,” Lake told an NBC reporter at former President Trump’s New Hampshire primary victory party.
The recording, first reported by The Daily Mail, purports to capture DeWit offering Lake money in exchange for her staying out of politics for two years. The authenticity of the recording could not be verified by The Hill.
“There are very powerful people who want to keep you out,” DeWit reportedly told Lake in the recording, saying only that these figures were from the “east.”
“Just say, is there a number at which,” DeWit begins, before being cut off.
“I can be bought? That’s what it’s about,” Lake retorted.
“You can take a pause for a couple of years,” DeWit continued. “You can go right back to what you’re doing.”
Lake said she would not accept a billion dollars to leave the Senate race.
Neither Lake, DeWit nor the Arizona GOP responded to requests for comment.
DeWit has served as the state party chair since January of last year, after working as the chief operating officer for Trump’s 2016 and 2020 White House bids.
Lake, a former news anchor and failed gubernatorial candidate, has faced push back against her Senate bid. DeWit suggests powers that be within the party would prefer a stronger fund raiser in the race. Lake has been a leading booster of Trump’s false election fraud claims, and fought her own legal battle against her 2022 gubernatorial loss.
She said Tuesday that she didn’t have anyone in mind to replace DeWit.
“I haven’t given it a lot of thought. What I want to do is make sure we get the corrupt people out,” she said.
On Monday, the chair of the Maricopa County GOP, Craig Berland, also called on DeWit to resign.
“If this is, in fact, true, I’m asking AZGOP Chairman Jeff DeWit to resign,” he said in a statement about the recording.
Polling has projected a close race for the Arizona Senate seat. A poll earlier this month said Lake leads Rep. Ruben Gallego (Ariz.), the leading Democratic candidate, by one point in a hypothetical head-to-head. If incumbent Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (I-Ariz.) decided to run for reelection and make it a three-way race, Gallego took a one-point lead in the poll.
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