Arizona Republican Party chairman Jeff DeWit resigned amid controversy stemming from an audio recording in which he allegedly offered a bribe to Kari Lake, a candidate for the U.S. Senate, to suspend her campaign.
The audio, recorded in March of the previous year, was leaked and published by the U.K.’s Daily Mail, causing backlash within the Arizona Republican Party.
In the recording, DeWit is heard allegedly proposing that Lake name a price for suspending her Senate campaign and staying out of politics for two years. The revelation led to calls for DeWit’s resignation, including from Lake herself, who accused him of being corrupt and compromised.
DeWit, in response to the controversy, released a statement announcing his resignation. He accused Lake of selectively leaking the audio, taking it out of context, and undermining private discussions critical for party leadership.
DeWit claimed to be “set up” and expressed frustration over being unable to compete with Lake’s “massive megaphone.” He lamented the distraction caused by the affair and its impact on GOP efforts in 2024.
Acknowledging the distraction, DeWit stated, “I am stepping down as Chairman of the Arizona Republican Party.” Lake had earlier called for DeWit’s resignation, asserting that someone corrupt and compromised should not lead the Republican Party.
The audio recording suggests an in-person conversation between DeWit and Lake, where DeWit is heard discussing the possibility of companies putting Lake on the payroll to keep her out of the Senate race.
Lake questions whether it’s about her being bought, and DeWit suggests a pause for a couple of years, emphasizing that she can return to her activities afterward. Lake, however, insists that the issue is not about money but about the country.
DeWit attempts to explain the desire for Lake to step aside for the 2024 cycle, citing the need for the ability to raise money to win. Lake, however, expresses her reluctance to make deals with certain individuals, characterizing the matter as a hill worth dying on.
Jeff DeWit took charge of the Arizona Republican Party in the previous year and had served in the Trump administration as the Chief Financial Officer of NASA.
He had been actively involved in former President Donald Trump’s 2016 and 2020 campaigns, holding roles such as Chief Operations Officer and Chief Financial Officer. Prior to his party chairmanship, DeWit was elected as the state treasurer of Arizona in 2014.