The Republican National Committee (RNC) has issued a warning that it will take legal action and emerge victorious if the Arizona Secretary of State, Adrian Fontes, certifies the Patriot Party. According to the RNC, the Patriot Party, a self-proclaimed constitutional conservative party, submitted flawed signatures in its application.
Ronna McDaniel, the chairwoman of the RNC, voiced her concerns during an interview with Fox News Digital. She stated that certifying the party would demonstrate a significant failure on Fontes’ part to uphold the standards of his office.
McDaniel further asserted, “Upon review of the filing, it’s become clear that this party doesn’t even have the necessary signatures to make it onto the ballot. If Fontes chooses to certify their petition in the face of these glaring issues, the RNC, NRCC, and AZGOP will take him to court and win.”
The RNC alleges that the Patriot Party submitted around 8,000 signatures from individuals who are not registered voters, as well as 10,000 signatures from more than two years ago. Additionally, they claim that the filing contains 900 duplicate signatures. In order to appear on the ballot, the Patriot Party must collect at least 34,127 valid signatures from qualified electors.
If the Patriot Party’s signatures are certified and it proceeds to put forth a candidate, it could potentially divide the GOP vote in the 2024 elections. This concern arises following Republican losses in Arizona in both 2020 and 2022.
McDaniel criticized Fontes, accusing him of failing to notify concerned parties, blocking observers, and essentially facilitating an undisclosed process that disregards the standards of his office.
Fontes’ office declined to provide comments on the application process of the Patriot Party. Conversely, the President of the Patriot Party, John Fillmore, revealed that the group has initiated efforts to recruit candidates in Arizona.
Fillmore mentioned that he has received commitments from several individuals who are willing to join the party should it become official. While Fillmore stated that they would likely align with Republicans, he emphasized that they would not be restricted by the rules of the Republican Party.
Fillmore expressed confidence that the addition of the Patriot Party would not fragment GOP votes. He clarified that the party would not challenge conservative Republican candidates in competitive races.
Notably, in the 2022 elections, Democrat Katie Hobbs narrowly defeated Republican Kari Lake, while Republican Senate candidate Blake Masters faced a significant defeat against Democratic incumbent Mark Kelly.
Both the Democratic and Republican camps have opposed the emergence of third parties that could potentially divide votes in crucial swing states. President Joe Biden and former Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi have directed criticism towards the No Labels Party, which seeks to qualify for ballots in all 50 states and is considering the possibility of presenting an alternative presidential candidate in 2024.
By Friday, Fontes, who is a Democrat, will make the final decision regarding the validity of the Patriot Party’s signatures.