Jeff DeWit resigned as chairman of the Arizona Republican Party on Wednesday, 24 hours after published a leaked audio recording in which he offered Kari Lake a dream job or money to quit politics.
On the tape, he can be heard explaining that powerful people would offer her a job or money if she stayed out of politics for two years.
In his resignation statement, he accused Lake of setting him up by recording a private conversation.
“This morning I was determined to fight for my position,” he said. “However, a few hours ago I received an ultimatum from Lake’s team: resign today or face the release of a new, more damaging recording.”
He said he was resigning in the hope that it would stop their attacks on him.
Jeff DeWit and his wife Marina with President Donald Trump. DeWit was elected chairman of the Arizona Republican Party last year. Shortly afterwards he asked Kari Lake to withdraw from politics for two years. “There are very powerful people who want to keep you out,” he told you
Kari Lake called for the resignation of Arizona Republican Party Chairman Jeff DeWit on Tuesday after published an audio recording last year of the moment he tried to stop her from running for Senate
DeWit was the chief operating officer for Trump's 2016 and 2020 campaigns. The Trump administration nominated him for a senior position at NASA and in January last year he took over the Arizona Republican Party.
The leaked audio recording of a conversation in early March 2023 sent shockwaves through Republican circles.
A day earlier, Lake had called for his resignation. Arriving at Donald Trump's campaign party in Nashua, New Hampshire, she told that the American people have had enough.
“People are standing up and saying: No, we want our country back,” she said.
“We want our government back and will not tolerate another ounce of corruption.” And now the whole truth is coming to light.'
Asked if he should resign now, she said: “I think he should.”
Lake had previously spoken about the extraordinary efforts to keep her out of the race, but never revealed who was behind it.
On Monday, Arizona talk show host Garret Lewis named DeWit, who was elected party leader last January.
Audio recordings obtained by revealed how he made his offer at her home in early March last year.
“There are very powerful people who want to keep you out,” he is heard saying.
Later in the 10-minute recording, he asks her for a “number” and pitches her the idea of finding her a job that will keep her busy for two years.
In his resignation statement, DeWit accused Lake of “deceptive tactics” and accused her of releasing a “selectively edited” audio recording.
“The recording from over 10 months ago is not only taken out of context, but also undermines the integrity of private discussions that are critical to party leadership,” he said.
DeWit tells Lake, 54, one of the most recognizable faces of the former president's MAGA movement and a woman frequently tipped as the 2024 vice presidential candidate, that he believes Trump will lose and it's time to make room for someone else.
After asking her not to mention the conversation to anyone, he makes his first offer.
“So the question I got from the East today was, 'Are there any companies out there or something that could just put her on the payroll to keep her out?'
Lake reacts indignantly.
“This is about defeating Trump, and I think that’s a very, very bad thing for our country,” she said.
At the time of their conversation, Lake was publicly considering a run for the U.S. Senate.
And the episode reveals the tensions sparked after she refused to accept defeat in the 2022 Arizona governor's race.
She became a national figure and became a regular on Fox News as she repeated Trump's election denials. That put her at odds with the more traditional wing of the Republican Party, which feared that a new generation of Trump loyalists could alienate major donors.
She announced her run in October.
In the new 10-minute audio clip, DeWit asks for confidentiality.
Lake spoke to the Chron at the Sheraton Hotel in Nashua, New Hampshire, where journalists, campaign staff and supporters gathered to watch the early results
Pressure is already growing on DeWit to resign as state party chairman
“If you say no, it’s fine, it’s your decision, don’t tell people,” he tells Lake.
He later explains the reasons for the offer.
“I think for a lot of people it’s not about control or agenda,” he says. “It’s about the ability to raise money to win.”
Lake sticks to her guns.
“I don't want to make a deal with people like that.” “That's a hill worth dying on,” she said.
“I'm not…if they want to steal the election to make me and our movement disappear.” I won't let that happen.
“I owe it to the people of Arizona to carry their torch and voice.”