GOP governors selected Gov. Doug Ducey as the next chairman of the Republican Governors Association, a move that comes as he’s become increasingly embroiled in a battle with fellow Arizona Republicans and even President Donald Trump over his certification of the state’s election results and his rejection of bogus fraud claims.
Ducey said he was honored to be chosen as the RGA’s next chairman.
“I look forward to building on the RGA’s momentum as we work to expand the Republican majority. In Arizona, we’ve put forward bold policy solutions and meaningful reforms that’s made our state one of the fastest-growing in the nation and we look forward to leading Republican Governors in bringing these reforms to the rest of our country,” Ducey said in a press statement from the RGA.
Ducey’s selection as chairman doesn’t come as much of a surprise for political observers. He was chosen last year as the organization’s vice chairman, a position that often serves as a stepping stone to the chairmanship. And Politico reported in November that Ducey was expected to replace Texas Gov. Greg Abbott as RGA chair.
Abbott congratulated Ducey on his ascension to chairman.
“Governor Doug Ducey’s exemplary leadership in the great State of Arizona has prepared him well to assume the role of Chairman of the RGA, and I look forward to his accomplishments on behalf of our nation’s Republican Governors,” Abbott said. “Following the RGA’s widespread success in the 2020 election, Republican Governors can count on Governor Ducey to maintain the organization’s effectiveness and help expand their majority even further.”
Ducey may have foreshadowed the coming announcement on Tuesday when he tweeted about a conversation with Republican governors Kim Reynolds, of Iowa, Larry Hogan, of Maryland, and Tate Reeves, of Mississippi. He tweeted that they discussed “responding to the pandemic, growing jobs, expanding opportunities, attracting new residents, and focusing on smart policies,” and tagged the RGA in the tweet.
The accolades and support from other GOP governors is in contrast to the animosity some local Republicans have displayed toward him recently over the 2020 general election.
After Ducey certified the results of the election, a ministerial function mandated by state law, Trump lashed out at him for approving the results despite alleged election fraud, a baseless conspiracy theory that isn’t backed up by any evidence. Nonetheless, some Arizona Republicans joined in bashing Ducey, with a handful of legislators, state GOP Chairwoman Kelli Ward and Congressman Andy Biggs joining the chorus against him.
The new position could aid Ducey if he chooses to seek a higher office after he’s termed out as governor in 2022. Ducey has long been a prodigious fundraiser, but serving as RGA chairman could provide access to major GOP donors across the country, and will put him in a position to earn chits with fellow governors as they gear up for re-election.
Some observers expect Ducey to run for U.S. Senate in 2022, when newly elected Democrat Mark Kelly is up for re-election, and he has long been viewed as a possible presidential candidate as well.
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