FIRST ON FOX: Arizona Senate candidate Kari Lake’s campaign is pushing back on a claim by the now-former state GOP chair that he was “set up” by the conservative firebrand in a leaked audio recording allegedly containing what she says was an attempt to “bribe” her against running for Senate this year.

Arizona Republican Party Chair Jeff DeWit resigned with a lengthy resignation letter on Wednesday, one day after the audio recording was leaked and first reported on by the Daily Mail. In the letter, he claimed the recording was a “deceptive tactic” by Lake and accused her of being “on a mission to destroy” him.

“The tape speaks for itself: The Arizona GOP Chairman Jeff DeWit attempted to bribe Kari Lake. Thankfully, Kari is an extremely ethical person who rejected DeWit’s multiple attempts to offer her money and corporate board seats in exchange for Kari not running for public office,” campaign senior advisers Caroline Wren and Garrett Ventry told Fox News Digital.

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“She will be an incredible Senator for Arizonans. No one from the Kari Lake campaign threatened or blackmailed DeWit. It is unfortunate that Dewit hasn’t recognized how unethical his behavior was and still hasn’t apologized to Arizona Republicans. DeWit’s false claims are just par for the course. The Arizona GOP must be relieved to have his resignation. Now we can focus on getting ethical leadership and win big in 2024,” they added.

Fox News has obtained the audio recording, but did not independently authenticate it. It appears to show DeWit asking Lake if there is “any number” that would entice her to “take a pause for a couple of years.” However, Lake pushed back on the notion that she “can be bought.” 

“This is not about money, it’s about our country,” Lake said.

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In his resignation letter, DeWit acknowledged it was him in the recording and claimed Lake released a “selectively edited audio recording” of a more than 10-month-old private conversation between the two, and that it was “taken out of context.”

“Contrary to the notion of me being an enemy of Lake’s, this conversation was recorded while I was actually employing Lake in my private company. In fact, for over a year and a half we had many conversations where I was looking out for her financial interests,” DeWit wrote.

“Contrary to accusations of bribery, my discussions were transparent and intended to offer perspective, not coercion. Our relationship was based on friendship, and the conversation that is now being scrutinized was an open, unguarded exchange between friends in the living room of her house. I genuinely believed I was offering a helpful perspective to someone I considered a friend,” he added.

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Arizona GOP Chair Jeff DeWit

DeWit was elected to chair the Arizona GOP last year, replacing former chairwoman and Senate candidate Kelli Ward. 

Fox News Digital has reached out to the Republican National Committee for comment.

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