- Associated Press - Sunday, January 24, 2016

PHOENIX (AP) - The Arizona Republican Party has rejected a resolution to endorse any candidate for U.S. Senate but Sen. John McCain.

The resolution was brought to the floor at a party meeting Saturday but was ultimately opposed.

The Arizona Republic reports (https://bit.ly/1QmNfZW) that parliamentarian Al Gage said party officials do not have the authority to dictate who each committeeman can endorse.

“This body does not have the power to require each individual committeeman to do that,” Gage said.

The Republican Party of Maricopa County approved an identical resolution last week, vowing to vote for anyone but McCain in this year’s Senate primary.

McCain has been criticized by some for not being conservative enough. His recent vote to increase the national debt while fully funding Planned Parenthood showed more alignment with President Barack Obama than Arizona voters, according to Maricopa County GOP Chairman Tyler Bowyer. The same group voted to formally censure McCain two years ago for what they saw as an insufficiently conservative voting record.

McCain spokeswoman Lorna Romero attributed the criticism to a “small, fringe minority” who prefer to attack fellow Republicans than focus on beating Democrats.

“The fact that this dishonest, pointless resolution failed at today’s state GOP meeting is very positive news for Arizona Republicans who want our party focused on winning elections and advancing the conservative cause,” Romero said in a statement.

McCain remains committed to uniting the GOP and resolving differences to maintain Republican majorities and win back the White House, Romero added.

Kelli Ward, a physician from Lake Havasu City, resigned her state Senate seat to run against McCain in the primary.

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Information from: The Arizona Republic, https://www.azcentral.com

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