The mission of a state GOP is pretty simple, really. “The Arizona Republican Party exists solely to raise money, recruit candidates, and support Republican candidates and elected officials,” said Matthew Benson, a GOP strategist in the state.
For Robert Graham—who led Arizona’s chapter from 2013 to 2017—the directive is even more straightforward: “Win elections. Period.”
But in the weeks since November 3, a handful of state parties across the country seem to have reinterpreted their mandate to include activities that will almost certainly have the opposite effect: Attacking the highest-ranking Republicans in their states, often with a ferocity that will leave lasting political damage.
“How is it that the governor of Arizona [Doug Ducey] could surrender to the mob and abandon our great President,” the state GOP’s official account tweeted a few days ago. “No loyalty!” The Arizona GOP account also shared posts recently accusing Ducey of being a Chinese sleeper agent, and Dr. Kelli Ward—the chairwoman of the organization—personally charged Ducey with “cowering” under pressure.