DISCLAIMER: The contents of this post represent my beliefs, and in no way should be viewed as being the views of Sonoran Alliance. Sonoran Alliance has a policy of permitting posters with a wide variety of views and does not endorse the content of all posters.
I want to make clear that I am not affiliated with the mystery group or the website that is demanding the resignation of our Chairman via anonymous demands. Although I feel it would be best for him to resign, Tom Morrissey is still the duly elected Chairman of our party. As such, he deserves the respect of people willing to speak in a civil tone and under their own name about their grievances. I am making the case that Tom Morrissey is unfortunately not the leader to lead us to victory in 2012. I have stated the facts to the best of my knowledge and ability and even removed and re-worked the post after someone claimed an inaccuracy in the numbers. There are many debates to be had over this issue, and I ask you to reflect in a respectful and reasoned manner as to the role of the State GOP Chairman. For the sake of a false “unity” should we cripple the party for two critical years? We must have an effective, strong organization against the Democrats in 2012.
AZGOP: Headed in the Wrong Direction
Republican organizations across the country have made fundraising a priority for the 2012 election cycle. The newly elected RNC Chairman, Reince Preibus, stated his priorities would be to raise enough money to compete with President Obama and erase the party’s debt. Preibus is well on his way to accomplishing these goals – the RNC announced last week they have raised $17.7 million in the 1st Quarter, with over $7 million contributed in March alone. Additionally, the RNC has reduced its debt by nearly $5 million.
So the question begs to be asked: What has the Arizona Republican Party, under Chairman Morrissey’s leadership, done to accomplish these same goals?
According to FEC (Federal Election Commission) Reports, the AZGOP is headed in the wrong direction. Year-to-date, our State Party has raised $176,653. Republican revenue was $80,129 in January, $62,526 in February and $33,998 in March. Since Tom Morrissey was elected as our State Party Chairman, revenue has dropped 46%.
The Arizona Democratic Party, on the other hand, has raised an outstanding $220,448 to date, with $70,617 in January, $72,588 in February, and $77,243 in March.
These numbers show that Democrats are increasing their contributions even as Republicans are showing declining revenue. The Democrats have out-raised Republicans in Arizona by $91,942 in only three months. The election of the young, dynamic Andrei Cherny has given the Democratic Party an effective leader who moved quickly to heal splits in his Democratic Party, and has given the AZGOP a formidable adversary. It should also be noted that Cherny’s election was heavily contested; indeed, factions within the Democratic party attempted to prevent his nomination as Chairmen on procedural ground. Despite the overwhelming Arizona Republican victories of 2010, Arizona only has an 11% Republican registration advantage and the Democrats appear to have been motivated to rally in the face of their setbacks. We Republicans have grown complacent and the State Party under Tom Morrissey has shown the troubles this can cause.
As of February 28, 2011, the AZGOP had $7,505.41 in debt, consisting primarily of monies owed to CBIZ MHM, LLC for FEC Report Preparation.
By the end of March 2011 the Party’s debt ballooned to $73,616.67. As Republicans at every level of government are fighting against wasteful spending, incredible deficits & unsustainable debt, the AZGOP has increased their debt by nearly 1,000% in 30 days. It is hard to imagine the party ever previously going through a period of such staggering debt accumulation.
Where did this debt come from?
- $20,000 in legal fees to two law firms
- $5,149 due to T-Mobile
- $10,062 for FEC Reporting owed to two firms
- $4,865 Property Taxes
- $1,327 Reimbursement
- $683 to Cox for Internet Service
- $14,334 to Political Media for web page consulting
- $17,193 for Direct Mail, Telemarking and contribution envelopes
Following are some of the questionable expenditures by the AZGOP since Morrissey became Chairman:
In March 2011, the AZGOP paid Political Media $14,334 for web page work. This is in addition to the $4,954 they paid Political Media in February for web page consulting. That brings the total year to date cost for web page consulting to a staggering $19,228.You may visit www.AZGOP.org and decide for yourself if the new website is worth nearly $20,000.
Business leaders understand “to make money you have to spend money.” Unfortunately, the AZGOP is spending money with no results. In March, the AZGOP spent $35,574 on various fundraising efforts consisting of Direct Mail and Telemarketing. These efforts raised $33,998, resulting in a net loss of $1,575. To put this in perspective, they spent $1.05 for every dollar they brought in and considering the $20,000 website could have generated some donations, this is a generous assumption.
The AZGOP spent $4,000 in March to lease a copy machine, and also spends $140 per month for a landscaper to maintain the grounds (ie. the half dozen trees scattered around the rock and asphalt) at headquarters. One can easily make the argument the State Party is wasting the money it is raising, and not spending it on the essentials. Those that attended the April Executive Guidance Committee meeting realized that the extravagant spending of the AZGOP does indeed have its limits – the air conditioning was broken. Rob Haney has moved the May meeting as well due to the air conditioner being still in need of repair, and recently noted that he has reserved locations to hold the meetings outside the Republican Headquarters in June and July, with reservations for August and September are in progress as well. Although I cannot speak on behalf of the Maricopa Republican Chairman, I hope he is not alluding that the Republican Headquarters expects to be without air conditioning for the entire summer.
The Arizona Republican Party needs true leadership, a leader who can fill our war chests for the inevitable redistricting fight that will influence Arizona politics for the next decade. We are all aware the Democrats will file suit in every case where the district boundaries do not serve their interests, and right now we do not have the financial resources to fight any legal battle. In fact, we have already taken ourselves deeper into debt with $20,000 of unpaid legal fees. Sadly, the Arizona Democrats, who are in the exact same position with new party leadership, seem to be gearing up for this fight. They have out raised and out spent us without accruing any additional debt.
The Arizona Republican Party seems to be on a fast track to bankruptcy and demise from internal and external destruction. We need a consistent, qualified leader that can fundraise and ultimately, unite the party when it really matters. Without this unity, we are not only diminishing our ability to defeat Obama in 2012, but also risking our majority Arizona Congressional Delegation, and the super-majorities we have gained in the Arizona House and Senate. With the 2012 election right around the corner we need a strong State Party more than ever, and so far we have yet to see the results or actions we need.
I, personally, did not support Tom Morrissey for State Chairman. However, I feel that barring extraordinary circumstances, it is important to support a State Chair. Unfortunately, these are extraordinary circumstances. Asking for a State Chair to step down is a very serious matter, and should not be taken lightly or for reasons of philosophical differences. It should only be done in times of grave crisis. I fear we are heading for that crisis.
Arizona Republicans need a leader who can be effective in preparing our State Party for the challenges that await us in 2012. Tom Morrissey is not that man. Tom Morrissey is not a leader.
You may verify the numbers above on the FEC website: