Following embarrassing losses on election night, both Arizona GOP Chairwoman Kelli Ward and Illinois GOP Chairman Don Tracy are facing calls for their resignations.
In Arizona, Democrat Sen. Mark Kelly defeated Republican Blake Masters by five percentage points. In 2020, Kelly flipped the longtime Republican Senate seat once held by the late GOP Sen. John McCain, who passed away from a brain tumor in 2018.
Democrat Adrian Fontes defeated Trump-backed candidate Mark Finchem by five percentage points in the secretary of state race and Democrat Kelly Hobbs was declared the winner over Republican Kari Lake in the gubernatorial race. Lake has yet to concede the race citing widespread voter fraud, broken machines and long lines.
On Monday, a top elections official in Maricopa County was moved to an undisclosed location because of threats to his life following Election Day issues at polling stations.
In Illinois, Democrat Gov. J.B. Prizker easily won reelection, defeating GOP state Sen. Darren Bailey, R, by twelve points. The race was called within minutes of the polls closing despite the backing of a conservative billionaire who poured over $50 million into Bailey's race directly and through a pro Bailey super-PAC.
In the Illinois House and Senate, Democrats maintained their super majorities — leaving Republicans irrelevant and without a voice in state matters. The losses even forced Republican House Minority leader Jim Durkin and Republican Senate Minority leader Dan McConchie to resign their leadership positions following the embarrassing losses.
As Capitol News' Peter Hancock noted, Illinois House deputy minority GOP leaders Dan Brady and Tom Demmer, and GOP assistant House minority leader Avery Bourne were defeated in their campaigns for statewide office; GOP assistant minority leader Keith Wheeler was defeated for reelection; and GOP minority conference chairman David Welter was also defeated.
To make matters worse for Illinois House Republicans, GOP minority leader Mark Batinick chose not to run for reelection and GOP assistant minority leader Tim Butler is resigning to take a job in the private sector.
In the Illinois congressional races, it was another bad night for Republicans with Democrats holding onto their seats in districts that were otherwise expected to flip to Republican. Democrat U.S. Reps. Lauren Underwood, Sean Casten and Bill Foster all won reelection.
Karrin Taylor Robson, a prominent Arizona Republican, has publicly called for Ward's resignation as Arizona GOP chairwoman, tweeting, "AZ GOP has spent the last four years losing every major statewide race, and we are currently in the weakest position in Arizona we've been in as a party in 50 years. It's time for Kelli Ward to resign as AZGOP Chair."
At the publishing of this piece, Ward has yet to respond to calls for her resignation.
In Illinois, this author has called for GOP Chair Tracy to resign, writing, "The people of Illinois need to know that the GOP is serious about rebuilding and putting the best team in place to win. If Don Tracy can take credit for victories, then he most certainly can take responsibility for losses. And the losses were many."
Interestingly, in 2002, Tracy ran in the Illinois primary for the 50th State Senate District as a Democrat.
In 2021, Tracy was named chairman of the Illinois Republican Party.
At the publishing of this piece, Tracy has yet to respond to calls for his resignation.
If Arizona and Illinois Republicans want to start winning again — it's going to take an entirely new leadership team. Until that happens, Republicans better get used to being in the minority.
Mark Vargas currently hosts a radio show, "Mark My Words with Mark Vargas" on AM 560 The Answer. Follow Mark on Twitter: @markavargas. Read Mark Vargas' Reports — Click Here Now.
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