Congratulations to Randy Pullen on his election as Republican Party Chairman.
The closeness of the vote -- Pullen received 50.2 percent to 49.8 percent for Lisa James -- means we have much work to do in uniting "grassroots" Party workers who were almost evenly divided. I am hopeful that Randy and his supporters will quickly reach out to the other half of the Party that supported Lisa.
Congratulations to Lisa as well for running a strong campaign after a very late start. I have no doubt she will continue to do great things to help elect Republican candidates.
I previously made it clear that my support for Lisa was not an attack on Randy. I am pleased now to offer him my full support. We need a strong and united Republican Party in these critical days.
I was honored to be asked to share a few words with delegates at the state convention, and was blessed to receive a warm reception. (At least no one threw anything.) Here's approximately what I said:
One of the first things I learned when I entered public policy more than 20 years ago was this – no political victory or defeat is ever final. Everything is up for grabs all the time.
That’s why I’m thrilled to see so many of you giving of your time to be here on a Saturday morning … you already recognize that every year, every election provides a new opportunity to advance the principles we believe in as Republicans.
It’s great to see so many of you who worked so hard on our campaign and for all of our Republican candidates. Tracy and I can never adequately thank each of you here today and the many thousands of volunteers who poured days, weeks, months and even a year of their lives into this effort.
When you lose an election, it’s easy to focus on what we didn’t get – the opportunity for Arizona to take the lead on border security, the chance to reduce taxes and the size and scope of government, the chance to improve education, lower crime and strengthen families.
I had to resist the temptation to buy t-shirts for our 8 children at Christmas that said, “My dad ran for Governor of Arizona and all I got was this lousy T-shirt.”
But for me and my family, there is much to be thankful for. A chance to meet tens of thousands of Arizona citizens. A chance to travel the breadth and width of one of the nation’s most beautiful and diverse states. An opportunity to visit every fast food establishment in Arizona at least twice.
For me, this election provided an opportunity to advance the Reagan Republican principles that still resonate with Arizonans. How do we know these ideas are still popular?
Because in Arizona, Democrats know they have to talk about border security, fiscal discipline, lower taxes and family values in order to get elected.
In other words, Democrats have to adopt Republican principles in order to win.
Even when our candidates did not win public office, our ideas won every debate in this election.
Democrats also rely on a Clean Elections system that prevents Republican candidates from having the resources to effectively challenge their hypocrisy.
We have got to reform or repeal Clean Elections, and get the power back in the hands of the people and out of the hands of the Arizona Republic.
In 1984 Ronald Reagan gave a speech in which he said “I’ve always believed that a lot of the troubles in the world would disappear if we were talking to each other instead of about each other.”
I think the same can be said for our Republican Party here in Arizona.
Today we are largely united around a core conservative philosophy. If someone in the Republican Party disagrees with me on an issue, that does not make them evil or stupid, and it certainly does not make them my enemy.
We are all here on this Saturday morning because we care about our state and our country. We care about preserving liberty and defeating radical Islamic terrorism. We care about keeping our communities safe. We care about our quality of life, our ability to educate our children, to practice our faith, to provide for our families.
I want to challenge all of us this morning – let’s get through this election, then let’s lift up our eyes … lift up our eyes and see that vision, Reagan’s vision, of America as a shining city on a hill. That is why we are here. Let’s lift up our eyes -- and remember the vision that animates us, that unites us, that motivates us, that makes us proud to be Republicans, and proud to be Americans.