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Az political parties pick leadership: Dems reelect chair, GOP votes for new leader

Arizona's main political parties held organizing meetings over the weekend, with the Democrats and Republican each holding meetings in Phoenix to pick this year's statewide leadership.

While both parties were riled by a bit of controversy, neither ended up rocking the boat as leaders were voted on by precinct committeemen from around the state.

The Democrats easily reelected Alexis Tameron of Phoenix as their state chairwoman. The former executive director of the party filed suit against the Democrats, alleging that she is owed thousands of dollars and that Tameron engaged in self-dealing with her husband, political consultant Adam Kinsey.

Tameron and party leaders have strongly denied the accusations, and a move to vote her out of her volunteer post failed 325-119 at Saturday's meeting.

At the GOP annual meeting, Jonathan Lines of Yuma was tapped as the new state chairman. He was challenged by Jim O'Connor of Scottsdale, but won 596-562. Lines was backed by establishment leaders in the party, including Gov. Doug Ducey.

Creating some controversy were social media statements made by former congressional candidate Gabby Saucedo-Mercer, who accused a group of party leaders of "cronyism" for supposedly favoring Mormon candidates.

Mercer, a Tea Party acolyte who was easily defeated by U.S. Rep. Raul Grijalva in 2014, was elected the secretary of the state GOP. She ran on a slate with O'Connor.

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