Arizona Republican Party Chairman Jeff DeWit resigned on Wednesday amid controversy surrounding an audio recording that allegedly captured him offering a bribe to Kari Lake to suspend her U.S. Senate campaign. The leaked audio, recorded in March of the previous year, prompted backlash from Arizona Republicans, including Lake herself. In the recording, DeWit is heard discussing the possibility of putting Lake on a payroll to keep her out of the campaign, with Lake expressing her resistance to such a deal.
DeWit, in his resignation statement, accused Lake of selectively editing the audio and undermining the integrity of private discussions critical for party leadership. He claimed to be “set up” and cited the challenge of competing with Lake’s “massive megaphone.” Despite denying any wrongdoing, DeWit chose to step down as Chairman of the Arizona Republican Party, emphasizing the distraction it posed to GOP efforts in 2024.
Lake, a Republican figure who previously ran for Arizona governor in 2020, had called for DeWit’s resignation earlier, stating that someone corrupt and compromised should not lead the Republican Party. Maricopa County Republican Committee chairman Craig Berland echoed this sentiment, suggesting that DeWit should step aside if the bribery allegation proves true.
The recorded conversation between DeWit and Lake revolves around the request for Lake to suspend her campaign, with DeWit discussing potential financial incentives. Lake, however, asserts that her commitment is not about money but about the country, expressing her reluctance to make deals with certain individuals. The conversation underscores the tension within the Arizona Republican Party and the challenges faced by its leadership.
Jeff DeWit, who assumed control of the Arizona Republican Party last year, has a background in the Trump administration, having served as the Chief Financial Officer of NASA. He played active roles in Donald Trump’s 2016 and 2020 campaigns, serving as COO in both instances. DeWit’s resignation marks a significant development within the party’s leadership structure.