Candidate for the Republican nomination for the Arizona Senate seat currently held by Senator Jeff Flake, Dr. Kelli Ward, joined American Greatness senior editor and publisher, Chris Buskirk, to discuss Flake’s announcement of his retirement. What does this mean for for Arizona and Republican Party politics in general? You can listen to their conversation below or read the transcript that follows.
Chris Buskirk: That’s right. Now that is Free Bird. Gosh, that’s what will take up all our bumper music for the rest of the show. But we do not have time to talk about Lynyrd Skynyrd right now, because we have the lady of the hour, Dr. Kelli Ward. Welcome back to the Seth and Chris Show.
Dr. Kelli Ward: Hey Chris. It’s great to be here with you. Is Seth there too I’m guessing?
Chris Buskirk: No Seth is out-of-town today. He is back tomorrow.
Dr. Kelli Ward: He’s out of town.
Chris Buskirk: Yeah I know. No, look what’s going on Seth’s out of town and look what happens.
Dr. Kelli Ward: That’s right. He goes out of town and Jeff Flake retires. I don’t know. Maybe we could send him out of town and somebody else might retire too.
Chris Buskirk: There might be a correlation there. Maybe even causation. But I’m thinking I draw the line between that massive rally you had last Tuesday night. You got about a thousand people out there paying to get into the room. Right? This was a fundraiser for you.
Dr. Kelli Ward: Yes it was.
Chris Buskirk: I was out there. I thought it was. I will tell you it was a unique experience. I loved it. There was so much energy in that room. You gotta think that if Jeff Flake knew about … he probably had to have somebody in the room, an operative or something.
Dr. Kelli Ward: Right.
Chris Buskirk: If you saw that coming at you, boy I wouldn’t want to run against you right now.
Dr. Kelli Ward: Yeah. Yes. I think he saw that the voters of Arizona are on board with Team Ward and this was an unwinnable race for somebody with his position. And his positions don’t resonate with the people in Arizona. He is for open borders. He is for amnesty. He is for TPP. He is not for America First and that kind of attitude and his behavior is what led to my ability to be able to resonate with the Arizona voters for the America First agenda, putting that into action.
Chris Buskirk: Dr. Ward how do you look at this? We’ve got Bob Corker in Tennessee who says he’s not going to run. I was saying earlier in the show we’ve got … these are similar situations Tennessee and here in Arizona … we’ve got Bob Corker who’s gone out of his way and to try and undermine this president. This was Barack Obama’s best friend in the Senate. He helped usher in this disastrous Iran deal. He’s not gonna run because he has sensed that the Republican Party, the base, the actual voters, are not with him. Then you have a Representative like Marsha Blackburn who I think is gonna be a huge trade up. Here in Arizona, Jeff Flake realized the same thing. He’s not where the voters are and so he’s gonna step out, step back. You represent a big step up for Republicans in Arizona too. What’s going on in the Republican Party here? To me this is draining the swamp.
Dr. Kelli Ward: Exactly. I think it is draining the swamp. The people that are in the D.C. bubble have lost touch with the voters of Arizona. That’s not just Jeff Flake here in Arizona. It’s also Kyrsten Sinema. They are two peas in a pod. They’re very similar and I wasn’t doing this election just to send a message in the primary. This is a message for the general election that this country needs to go in the right direction. We need to secure the borders. We need to stop illegal immigration. We need to get rid of Obamacare finally. Fix the tax load. Make sure our military is strong. Grow our economy. All of those things that Donald Trump talked about on the campaign trail and that he needs people who can put forward policy that will help achieve it.
Kyrsten Sinema certainly will not do that. She’s just as much for open borders and illegal immigration as Jeff Flake is, maybe more.
Chris Buskirk: Dr. Ward I know you’ve been focusing on a primary race until about four hours ago or whatever. What happens as you transition start to think about? I mean maybe somebody else will try run somebody else against you. That’s what I really don’t want to see happen, is the sort of establishment folks, Republican establishment, saying gosh we can’t have a real conservative representing Arizona in the Senate. Let’s try and parachute in somebody who’s one of these kind of milk, toasty, weak tea Republicans. Do you think that’s gonna happen? How do you kind of plan for a general and maybe primary?
Dr. Kelli Ward: I’m sure that the swamp is very disappointed that one of their big creatures has stepped aside and they’re probably looking for another one of those creatures who can take the reins and come in and continue the swampy behavior that so many people are angry about. But I’ll tell ya. I’m not really worried about other people getting in because we have got the ground game. We’ve got the heart and soul of the grass roots, the Republicans, the independents, the libertarians, the evangelical Christians, the economic nationalists, the populists, all the people who consider themselves Americanists are behind our campaign already. We’ve been doing amazing in fundraising. That event on Tuesday was spectacular with Steve Bannon coming into town to support this campaign. The momentum is unbelievable. Our message resonates across the board. People of all political stripes, Republicans and Democrats, want political freedom. They want freedom and liberty.
Chris Buskirk: What comes next? What do you do tomorrow? How does this change things? I know you know your agenda. You know what the policies are. You know what’s good for Arizona and the country …
Dr. Kelli Ward: Yeah.
Chris Buskirk: … so how do you proceed? How can people help?
Dr. Kelli Ward: We continue in our relentless manner to make America great again. People can join us at kelliward.com. Kelli with an “i” because I care about people. Join us on social media @KelliWardAZ on twitter, Facebook, Instagram, across the board, YouTube, come and join us. Share the message. Get involved. Make your voice heard. We can win this. We will win this and we will put America first.
Chris Buskirk: Dr. Ward thanks so much. Look, Jeff Flake would not have stepped back if he hadn’t been running against a candidate who’s worked this hard and is as strong on the campaign trail as you are. Godspeed. Thanks for calling in. I know it’s a busy day.
Dr. Kelli Ward: Thanks Chris.