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Maricopa County Republicans debate censuring Cindy McCain after Biden endorsement

Censure stops short of vote, but state party plans to vote on its own resolution in two weeks. Meghan McCain dismissive: 'How will she ever survive such a thing?!?'

PHOENIX — The Maricopa County Republican Party debated a resolution on Saturday to censure Cindy McCain after her endorsement of Democrat Joe Biden for president in the November election.

While the idea was greeted with cheers by party activists, it ultimately never went to a vote because rules for the annual meeting wouldn’t allow it. 

The McCain censure would have been attached as an amendment to a resolution that condemned former Republican Sen. Jeff Flake for his endorsements and urged him to join the Democratic Party. Flake was another leading GOP Biden-backer.

The Flake-only resolution won overwhelming approval from the roughly 1,400 activists at the party’s annual meeting at Dream City Church in Glendale.

Late Saturday night, the party’s acting secretary for the meeting, Marcus Milam, clarified what happened:

“Resolutions are not amendable. People are voting up or down on the resolution, so amendments were out of order. Even though (speakers) were going on about Cindy McCain, that amendment was not passed.”

An earlier report by 12 News said the McCain censure had been approved.

The Arizona Republican Party plans to vote on censuring McCain at its annual convention Jan. 23. A censure is a formal statement of disapproval by the party, but has no other impact.

Late Saturday evening, the state party clarified its tweet earlier in the day that McCain had been censured:

“After further review, it appears the @MaricopaGOP did not formally censure Cindy McCain. There was a call, a second, and near unanimous cheering/approval - but resolutions can’t be amended from the floor. The @AZGOP will vote on a “Censure McCain” resolution on Jan 23. Thank you!”

While the McCain censure was being debated at the county GOP meeting Saturday morning, daughter Meghan McCain posted a dismissive tweet:

"Oh how will she ever survive such a thing?!? And this is THE REAL problem facing the Arizona GOP, my mom! A few days after a domestic terror attack led by maniac Trump supporters."

Cindy McCain’s late husband, Sen. John McCain, was censured by the state party in 2014. He would go on to win re-election to a final term in 2016.

The planned censure of his widow at the state party meeting comes after Arizona Republicans suffered historic defeats in the last two election cycles.

With the nation's eyes on Maricopa County as a potential swing county, Democratic U.S. Senate candidates won both the county and the state in 2018 and 2020, giving the party control of Arizona's Senate seats for the first time in almost 70 years.

Biden was the first Democratic presidential candidate to win Maricopa County in 72 years.