CHAOS with the LD3 Republicans: the Scottsdale/Fountain Hills GOP is Melting Down

Candace Czarny

As a rule of thumb, the higher up the politics go, the more professional they are, but when the stakes are the lowest (at the more local level), the more messy it can get. We have covered significant political messiness in both local parties here, but what is unfolding in the LD3 Republican Party (covering Scottsdale and Fountain Hills) might take the cake.

There is now a civil war of sorts brewing both within LD3 and between the Maricopa County Republican Party (MCRC) and the Arizona Republican Party (AZGOP) in a proxy fight of sorts, as LD3 voted for a completely new board, leading to a lawsuit from former LD3 Chair Candace Czarny against the MCRC. The AZGOP and Chairman Jeff DeWit have since taken Czarny’s side in what is clearly a VERY messy conflagration.

This stems from last December’s reorganization meeting, a normal occurrence every two years as parties elect their leadership. Questions were raised about a potentially inappropriate use of proxy votes (i.e. votes from people who couldn’t be there in person) and the specter of “ballot harvesting”. The MCRC ruled that a new election was necessary, and Chair Czarny allegedly told her supporters to ignore that ruling. MCRC sought legal counsel which apparently backed their findings.

In what seemed to be a power play, the Treasurer for LD3 had been removed from the bank account, allegedly from the Chair, in an apparent retaliation for criticism about unreported spending and a lack of transparency.

Enter the AZGOP, where Chair DeWit requested on advice of their counsel that LD3 simply put off their March meeting until April to buy some time. He also stated that nothing in the bylaws gives them the power to call for such a special election.

That election went ahead anyway, and apparently the Precinct Committeepersons of the district had had enough with Czarny and the board at large. It was a true upheaval, and while particular district leadership often has little impact on the larger political picture (especially in a reliably partisan district as LD3 is), it has laid bare a more interesting power struggle.

The battle between state parties and Maricopa County parties is rather common; the Democratic side is dealing with similar issues considering the lack of functionality and complete drama of the Maricopa County Democratic Party. The county parties are almost always the more extreme “little siblings” who act out, with the state parties having to be the relative adults in the room. This is a different kind of contention however, a true turf war and legitimate legal battles. For Republicans across the state, it’s in their best interest to move past this ASAP.