After a three-day trial into Kari Lake’s latest election challenge, the jury’s in.
Oh, not on her lawsuit, though it’s clear where that’s headed to anyone who actually followed the trial rather than Lake’s Twitter feed.
I’m talking about the other verdict — on the pressing question of whether the party’s new state chairman, Jeff DeWit, will cut through the crazy and return the Arizona Republican Party to its once-winning ways.
Short answer: Nope.
Kari Lake confronted him. Pics were posted
DeWit was reportedly confronted by Lake at a Chandler restaurant on Friday and asked about his lack of public support for her trial.
More specifically, about his conspicuous silence while Lake and her most loyal allies are busy selling their spin to try to at least win in the court of public opinion.
It’s understandable that DeWit hasn’t wanted to promote the phony stolen election schtick.
DeWit, who in January replaced the four-year disaster that was Kelli Ward, has said he wants to reclaim the moderate Republicans and independents who are key to winning elections.
But on Friday evening the clown car caught up with him.
Jeff DeWit ‘played dumb’ about Lake’s trial
It seems Lake’s publicist, Jordan Conradson of the Gateway Pundit, was having dinner with Lake and her entourage when who should walk into the restaurant but Jeff DeWit.
Here is Conradson’s account — complete with pictures — of what happened next (and yes, he does speak of himself in the third person):
“When Conradson confronted Dewit, he purported to have no clue that Kari Lake’s historic election lawsuit … was being heard just a few miles from the restaurant. Still, he claimed that election integrity is his top priority.
“Lake and her attorneys later spoke to DeWit, and he played dumb, acting like he didn’t know what was going on with Lake’s lawsuit or trial because he was too busy to follow along, according to others close to the conversation. One said that Kari Lake ‘ripped Jeff a new one’ for not showing support on Twitter or the AZGOP’s website.
“Attorneys Bryan Blehm and Kurt Olsen also spoke to Jeff and urged him to see the importance of this lawsuit.”
Trial offered no evidence of a stolen election
A lawsuit in which they didn’t provide evidence that the election was stolen.
Only you wouldn’t know it from the Twitter spin by Team Lake, which is trumpeting a claim by Lake’s expert that 70,000 early ballot signatures were reviewed in under two seconds each.
Never mind that his analysis was disputed by the Republican-run county and didn’t rise to the level of evidence that can be considered by the judge.
Or that Lake’s expert couldn’t point to even one ballot that was fraudulent.
“I can’t say, one way or the other,” he testified.
DeWit had a chance to win back moderates
So there was DeWit, the head of the party and a guy who knows that the key to 2024 is moving on from 2020 and 2022.
A guy who must find a way to bring moderates back into the fold if Republicans are to start winning again.
Arizona or Florida? Republicans have a stark choice for their future
A guy whose sole focus should be to save the party from itself as it tries to deliver a key battleground state to a Republican presidential candidate, reclaim a Senate seat and strengthen its tenuous control of the Arizona Legislature in 2024.
As longtime Republican strategist Chuck Coughlin told me in January, “He has the DNA and relevant life experience to lead. The question is, can he? Can he be selfless and serve, not inward looking and boastful? Is he willing to be able to quietly be truthful and not succumb to social media and Twitter? We will see.”
A guy who, after being reportedly browbeaten by Lake, her attorneys and her publicist on Friday, raced off to Twitter:
Instead, he let Kari Lake win
“The @AZGOP is proud to be in the election integrity fight!” DeWit tweeted. “@KariLake is uncovering so much and standing strong in the courts, all while Katie Hobbs is vetoing bills that would safeguard elections and boost U.S. manufacturing.”
DeWit didn’t respond to a request for comment about the Friday night encounter.
But establishment Republicans were … well, let’s just use the word dismayed by the result.
“He should have told her to take a hike,” one incredulous Republican official fumed. “He is the party chair. She is the dummy who lost to Katie Hobbs. Where does she get off? And he let her get away with it.”
Worse, he hopped aboard the clown car that appears headed, well, nowhere.
Reach Roberts at email@example.com. Follow her on Twitter at @LaurieRoberts.
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This article originally appeared on Arizona Republic: Kari Lake confronts AZ GOP chair Jeff DeWit and disaster ensues
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