Joseph Wood, the new chairman of the Republican Party of Arkansas, thinks the odds favor U.S. Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, becoming the next Speaker of the House, and he calls the lingering controversy over Gov. Sarah Sanders’ purchase of a $19,000 lectern a “manufactured crisis.”
Appearing on this week’s edition of Capitol View and Talk Business & Politics, Wood said former President Donald Trump’s endorsement of Jordan gives him an edge.
“I think that if I was a betting man, it would be Jordan. I think that former Speaker McCarthy really had a good relationship, and Jordan has a good relationship, with both sides of that group [mainstream and ultra-conservative Republicans],” Wood said. “I think of Jordan being the one who can really bring together and unify, and then move down the agenda of the Republican party.”
Despite myriad legal woes, Wood said Trump is still considered the frontrunner for the GOP Presidential nomination. He isn’t sure the other candidates in the field can catch Trump, but “you can never say never.”
Wood isn’t sure how the legal issues Trump is facing will affect the Republican Presidential race.
“Only time will tell as all these indictments start to play out,” he said.
Over the last month, Gov. Sarah Sanders’ office has come under increased scrutiny over the purchase of a $19,000 lectern, first reported by Matt Campbell with The Blue Hog Report. The lectern was originally paid for by the governor’s office, and after a flurry of emails and additional reporting from Campbell, the Arkansas GOP reimbursed the state for the lectern.
When asked more than once if the plan was for the state Republican party to reimburse the governor’s office, Wood didn’t directly answer the question.
“I would not say it was a scandal,” he said. “I would say this is a manufactured crisis, it really is. It’s again, Democrats swirling, because what more do they have? We have a governor who’s come into office, who ran on a couple of things. We need economic vitality in the state of Arkansas. We need to change the education in Arkansas…”
“No laws were broken and nothing was out of kilt. And so again, we’re going to spend that energy here and not deal with the fact that folks in the Democrat party are saying, ‘You know what? We can’t hold up the Biden administration. We can’t talk about inflation, we can’t talk about the border crisis. Ah, so we’re going to go and come up with this manufactured crisis,’” Wood said.
When asked: “Was it the plan all along for the Arkansas GOP to reimburse for that [lectern]? Why didn’t they just buy it directly?” by host Roby Brock, Wood responded that there has been previous precedent for reimbursing the governor’s office for furniture.
“The GOP has always done that. They buy the furniture for the governors, and prior to doing it for Governor Sanders, they did it for Governor Hutchinson, so again, this is manufactured,” Wood said.
You can watch his full interview in the video below.