‘America First’ v. ‘Arizona First’ Candidates Face Off for Maricopa County Republican Committee Board

The Maricopa County Republican Committee (MCRC) is holding its biannual election for the board in January, and two slates of candidates have declared their candidacies for the five slots. One slate has labeled itself “America First,” while another is calling itself “Arizona First.”

The America First slate, which is also going by #TeamTruth and emphasizing election integrity, consists of Craig Berland for chair, Shelby Busch for 1st vice chair, Jeff Greenspan for 2nd vice chair, Diana Jones for secretary, and Lawrence Hudson for treasurer. The slate promises, “We promise to put the GOP clearly on the side of True Reform of Arizona Election Laws: mail-ins limited to true absentees, and precinct hand counts. Empower PCs to make the party grassroots, not top down.”

Berland is an engineer and pilot who serves as a member at large on the board and sergeant of arms for Legislative District (LD) 12. Busch leads We the People AZ, is chair of LD 22, and is a leader in the election integrity movement. He also serves as state director of the America Project for Patrick Byrne and retired General Michael Flynn. Greenspan served previously on the board until he said he was forced out from being a precinct committeeman (PC) by McCain-aligned Republicans. Jones serves as secretary/treasurer of LD 22.

Hudson is a PC who spent his career on Wall Street and is a database expert. He drafted a censure of MCRC Chair Mickie Niland that passed 95-5 for “apparent bias against election integrity.” A source told The Arizona Sun Times that Niland continued to block election integrity efforts by ignoring complaints from observers during the 2022 midterm election.

Berland has been endorsed by State Representative Mark Finchem (R-Oro Valley), who is currently contesting the results of losing the secretary of state race. Corporation Commissioner Jim O’Connor endorsed the entire slate.

The Arizona First slate consists of Jan Dubauskas for chair, Eric Morgan for 1st vice chair, Tatiana Peña for 2nd vice chair, Dan Grimm for secretary, and Charlie Schinke for treasurer. Its goals are PC empowerment, election integrity, and voter engagement.

Dubauskas is a lawyer who serves as a PC captain and state committeeman in LD 3. A source told The Sun Times that Niland is backing Dubauskas. Morgan is a physicist, chair of LD 27, and one of two, first-ever party observers inside Runbeck Election Services’ controversial operation processing ballots for Maricopa County. Peña has been a Spanish-speaking spokeswoman for Republicans, ran for the state legislature twice, and served on an LD board and as a state committeeman.

Grimm, an electrical engineer, has served on the board since 2008 and has received the Dan the Reagan Volunteer Award, the Lincoln Lifetime Achievement award, and the AZGOP Goldwater Volunteer of the Year Award. Schinke is a financial manager who has served both as a PC and state committeeman.

Some of the candidates have come under criticism. Brian Ference, a member at large for the MCRC, submitted a statement to Republican Briefs expressing concern that Morgan had not taken action after observing the Runbeck operations. “Why have you not released a detailed report instead of an ambiguous one-liner?” Ference asked. “Why am I hearing that you refuse to speak to Kari Lake’s attorneys?” Ference told The Sun Times that after his questions ran in Republican Briefs, he heard Morgan contacted Lake’s attorneys.

The election is on January 14, 2023. The Arizona Republican Party is holding elections on January 28, 2023. AZGOP Chair Kelli Ward is not running for reelection. The Sun Times asked the candidates running for chair for comment but did not hear back.

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Rachel Alexander is a reporter at The Arizona Sun Times and The Star News Network. Follow Rachel on Twitter. Email tips to [email protected]
Photo “Jan Dubauskas” by Arizona First. Photo “Craig Berland” by MCRC 2023. Background Photo “Arizona State Capitol” by Wars. CC BY-SA 3.0.



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