The Republican Party is moving early to build a political firewall around Arizona’s critical Electoral College votes, a recognition that the perennial red state is threatening to turn against President Trump in 2020.
The Trump campaign is hiring Brian Seitchik, a veteran Arizona operative, to run political operations in the state. He could take the helm as early as Wednesday, a full 18 months before Election Day, and would work in tandem with the Republican National Committee to build and oversee an extensive field program supported by paid staff and volunteers.
Arizona Republicans say the state is legitimately in play after midterm elections that saw Kyrsten Sinema become the first Democrat to win a Senate seat in three decades by capitalizing on the president’s vulnerability in the vote-rich Phoenix suburbs. They say the Trump campaign and RNC share their ominous assessment and expect money and manpower to pour in.
“We need a lot of resources, a lot of energy, a lot of ground game,” said Kelli Ward, the newly minted Arizona GOP chairwoman, in a Friday telephone interview with the Washington Examiner. “There is no complacency here on the ground because we know that the Democrats are organized and salivating at the opportunity to turn Arizona blue.”