Former Paradise Valley Mayor Vernon Parker announced that he will run for chairman of the Arizona Republican Party.
Parker said Nov. 23 that he is the candidate who can unite the GOP establishment and grassroots activists, two wings of the party that have been at odds for years.
“That’s been the problem with the party,” Parker said of the fractured GOP. “I have a vision for where the party should be going, and that is to work with all facets of the party, and more importantly to make sure we maintain our core values.”
Parker said he would announce several endorsements next week. He also said he expects the support and endorsement of Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio, a close ally who endorsed Parker in his 10-way Republican primary for Arizona’s 3rd Congressional District.
Parker became the third candidate to announce a run for state chairman. Former Yavapai County GOP Chairman Malcolm Barrett and Pinal County GOP Chairman Marty Hermanson are running as well. Former state Chairman John Munger said he is also considering a run.
The race opened after Pullen lost his Nov. 17 reelection bid for Republican state committeeman in District 11. State law and party bylaws require the state GOP chairman to be a state committeeman, though there were other ways Pullen could have circumvented the system to run. But Pullen announced the next day that he would not seek a third term.
While the other candidates in the race have criticized Pullen and his often rocky tenure as head of the Arizona Republican Party, Parker was supportive of the two-term incumbent. Parker had said he would not run against Pullen, and expressed interest in the race only after Pullen announced that he wouldn’t run again.
“I’m not running against Randy Pullen’s record. Randy was our party chairman, and he did the best job that he could. He did a good job for the party. His heart was in the Republican Party. This is not a bash-Randy-Pullen session,” Parker said.