Jennifer Griffith, John Rhodes

Jennifer Griffth receives an award of appreciation for her dedication to the Republican Party from Graham County Chairman John Duane Rhodes during Monday’s Lincoln Day luncheon at Eastern Arizona College.

THATCHER – Graham County Republicans recognized the efforts of the party faithful during the annual Lincoln Day luncheon at Eastern Arizona College on Monday.

Committee Chairman John Duane Rhodes began by praising First Vice Chair Keith Alexander.

“He is one of the hardworking vice chairmen. He is a great guy and knows how to deal with all the issues in the county. He does an excellent job on it,” Rhodes said.

Two awards were presented to Graham County Republicans. The first went to the person Rhodes said said “worked hard in the Graham County Committee for years. Jennifer Griffith has served us as our secretary for the last four years and just does an outstanding job.”

The other award went to brothers Kip and Kyle Kempton, co-owners of Kempton Chevrolet, for continuously supporting the Graham County Republican Committee.

Rhodes said 2016 was very successful for the party, especially in Graham County.

“We had the third-highest votes for President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence. We also selected Sen. (John) McCain on the national level, and all state positions are in Republican hands,” Rhodes said.

The local party also welcomed the first Republican to announce his intention to run for Congress in Arizona’s First District in 2018, Shawn Redd, a Navajo businessman who also ran in 2016.

“It is a new election season. It is a tough race. This district is completely controlled by Democrats, and it was proved in the last election,” Redd said. “The Democrats have chosen this district for one reason: That is because there are 13 Native American tribes (here) and they make up 25 percent of voting bloc. We have to have a candidate that can go there and beat them.”

Democrat Tom O’Halleran defeated Republican Paul Babeau in the general election last year. O’Halleran will face a challenger in the Democratic primary — Wendsler Nosie Jr., a former chairman of the San Carlos Apache Tribe.

Follow Reza Jazi on Twitter @MRNajafianjazi

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