An Interview with CQ

Constantin Querard

Some time ago, reporters at the State Capitol made note that Phoenix-based political consultant Constantin Querard had been hired by the GOP’s legislative leaders and the State Republican Party to direct its efforts to expand the GOP’s legislative majority. We met recently with Querard, who seems to have made state legislative races his specialty, and he agreed to give us a short interview.

SA: Tell us the nature of your job for the Arizona Republican Party?

CQ: Chairman Pullen took the great step of creating campaign committees to specifically focus on State House and State Senate races and I was asked to consult for those committees.

SA: What kind of work do you do?

CQ: Well, that’s a closely guarded secret. But, since nobody reads your blog anyway, I can probably tell you {laughing}. Most of my work deals with recruiting and training Republican candidates. We don’t want to wait until after the primaries are over to start training because by then it is too late, so we get them ready well in advance. That way, whoever wins the primaries will be ready to beat the Democrats in November.

SA: Will the committees be getting involved in any primaries?

CQ: I don’t imagine so. That meddling has always been a great way to get everyone mad without accomplishing anything positive. Our job is to elect Republicans over Democrats in the general election. Who our Republican candidates are is up to the voters in the individual districts themselves.

SA: What is the outlook for 2008?

CQ: Actually it is quite positive. We have some terrific candidates already filed and running and the voter registration numbers have really moved our way in some key districts.

SA: Like where?

CQ: Well, LD5 has one Democrat House member left, Rep. Jack Brown. But where three years ago we trailed the Democrats by about nine points, we now trail by less than three. And the Democrats that are up there are conservative rural Democrats who are used to voting for Republicans already. LD23, which is mostly Pinal County, is another one where we’ve made huge progress. If you can imagine it, three years ago we trailed by twenty-five points. Now, it is down to five points and we’ll probably take the lead before next November. There are others, but those are the two that jump to mind right away.

SA: You have a reputation for only working for and electing conservative candidates. Are you going to have any trouble working for candidates who aren’t conservatives?

CQ: I don’t think so. It takes 31 in the House and 16 in the Senate to pass anything and with Governor No on the 9th floor, it is going to take 40 in the House and 20 in the Senate to make sure that it stays passed. I don’t think you can get to those kinds of numbers if you have a rigid set of criteria for candidates. The fact is that different parts of the state are going to elect different kinds of Republicans. Getting 40 and 20 that play as a team is really the key.

SA: Do we realistically have a shot at a veto-proof majority in 2008?

CQ: Absolutely. We have a great plan, a great party, and we’ll have great candidates. Plus, we’ll have our secret weapon.

SA: What is that?

CQ: Hillary Clinton! She’s the great uniter as far as I’m concerned. No one can bring Republicans together and make us forget our troubles like Hillary!

SA: Thanks for taking the time to talk with us. Can we check back with you for an update sometime?

CQ: Absolutely.


Comments

  1. “Chairman Pullen took the great step of creating campaign committees to specifically focus on State House and State Senate races and I was asked to consult for those committees.”

    And who would be the members of this committee? What is the process and criteria they follow? What is considered “consulting” and just what is the purpose of his involvement? Does this speak to a specific type of candidate or campaign to be expected?

    I absolutely applaud the actions of identifying candidates for the upcoming state elections, for too many years that was a very under appreciated need. It is not too early at all to be starting such a plan but what is the process, and actually the consultant offers questions of a specific nature. I am willing to take a pass on the past, but would appreciate some clarity on the future. Since the subject has been opened, please provide more info.

  2. concerned says

    Now I know we are going to lose seats. This guy does not have a decent track record and his dealings are shady at best.

  3. Its great that they’re finally serious about going after legislative races, but its also kind of sad that the fact that the State Republican Party is doing this is actually news. Makes you wonder what the previous party folks were doing, doesn’t it?

    I suppose one upside to the beating we took last November is that there are plenty of targets to go after, so its good that they’ve gotten an early start.

  4. Cool, simulataneous posts!

    Maybe Concerned can tell us which seats are we going to lose? That would be a good debate.

  5. Constantine – The answer to the question about the Party being involved in primaries is NOT “I don’t imagine so.” The answer is “NO!The party will support ALL Republicans.” This party, at this time, cannot afford division and subversiveness directed inward. As Ann stated, we will take a pass on the past, – but we need a clear, honest and united plan to do this. You must realize that extraordinary clarity and openness is needed to unite this party. Start now.

  6. Its good that the Party has learned from the NRCC’s blunders in 2006 in CD8 and won’t be screwing around in primaries. That alone is worth celebrating. Keep your money and powder for the general election and then let the Dems have it!

  7. concerned,

    Yes, please do tell us which seats we are going to loose. Will it be worse than 2006 when a completely different group of people ran the party and lost a bunch of seats?

  8. Enough already- stop bringing up CD8 in 2006. Don’t you remember that the Democrats and the DNCC were running commercials and sent out mail pieces attacking Steve Huffman in the primary? It was unprecendented for Democrats to play in the Republican Primary- and therefore there was a need to make sure that people knew where those pieces were coming from. the NRCC would have done that for any candidate getting smacked around by Democrats in a primary.

  9. Wrong llewis, the NRCC ads in the primary attacked Randy Graf, they didn’t defend Steve Huffman. They spent their money attacking so Huffman could spend his money on “positive” ads and keep his hands clean. The White House was determined not to let another Tom Tancredo get elected, even if that meant electing a Democrat instead.

  10. kralmajales says

    This is why you are going to lose seats.

    http://www.azstarnet.com/sn/hourlyupdate/191632.php

    It is what I have been saying all along on immigration. Not only do you lose the Hispanic vote for some time, but now you are losing business. Kyl and McCain knew this and some like Pullen didn’t listen. The right wing stances on immigration are killing the RINO business wing of your party. As is the deficit spending this war has brought.

    I was concerned they would just withold funding. It is much worse for the GOP than I thought.

    Read and freak out folks.

    http://www.azstarnet.com/sn/hourlyupdate/191632.php

  11. Kralmajales,

    If I stipulate that the Republicans will loose seats in the legislature in 2008 will you please tell us which ones?

    As to those businesses that want to preserve their access to illegal labor can you say “boycott?”

  12. kralmajales says

    That is just what I mean, Azgnat, the boycotting of Jim Click and the others signifies what is going to be the downfall for funding and support for your party. Like it or not, the social conservatives deliver the primaries, but the business wing of your party delivers the general in this state. Janet got enough of it to win twice.

    As for where you will lose seats. I think it is going to be with extremists in Maricopa. It is a city like Atlanta in some ways, heavy Republican advantage, but the growth and transplants are moderate Republicans from the upper midwest. There is also growth in Hispanics (although districted out…right now). In the next election, there will be solid, but marginal gains in the legislature by dems…like last time. After the next round of redistricting…yall are gone.

  13. Kral’s concern is so wierd. He’s against us in the elections, yet he acts like he is concerned for us. How bizarre.

    No worries here Kral. The GOP continues to increase its voter registration advantage over the Dems both in key districts AND statewide. I guess whatever problems we have they must have more of. Maybe you should call the Dem HQ, assuming anyone is left there to answer the phones, and express your concern for them?

  14. So many people saying the GOP will lose seats, yet none can name any districts. Hmm, ever get the feeling they’re just making it up as they go? Nothing wrong with expressing a “sense” of what will happen, but when you say something “is going to happen” you should be able to say where.

  15. kral,

    That is good. We have it narrowed down to the county now. Can you name the districts and the chamber (house or senate?)

    Are you also predicting no Democrat losses in the legislature? That they will hold all seats plus gain some?

    Here is a link to a map of the legislative districts in the Phoenix area to help with your assignment.

  16. kralmajales says

    I think Weirs is in danger, Huppenthal will be next time also. Its going to happen at the margins because of how districts are drawn, but look at for any open seats going Democrat as Republicans must retire. Also, as the right wing takes out people like Burns, Hershberger, etc. They will leave them either vulnerable from the primary, or lost to an overly conservative candidate sure to lose to a decent Democrat…like with Melvin.

    What I blame democrats for last time, and what makes me temper my remarks some, is that they failed to field candidates in many races in the state. They used the excuse of safe districts, but in a time when this much change is coming and when the political winds blow against the very word Republican, just fielding candidates would have been smart.

  17. If Kral and the Dems couldn’t win races given the environment in 2006, what makes them think they can do it in 2008? And Constantin makes a good point about Hillary being at the top of the ticket. She won’t win Arizona and she will really encourage GOP turnout. How can the Dems plan on holding onto seats in LD11 and LD26 with Hillary at the top of the ticket? As for gains? Forget about it…

  18. kralmajales says

    Tim S.

    I used to be one of you until the party went completely off the deep end…minus a stint as a libertarian. I used to believe that government spending and big government was a bad thing and that the Republican party was the one to cure it. I then saw that both parties love the appeal of what government power can bring them and that they both tax and spend. There is no curing it. I would rather have my taxes spent on helping people…even welfare… than the war in Iraq and spending billions to keep people out. A tiny slice of that could help our children, improve schools and transportation. I have never removed myself from the belief in freedom and this party has trashed our constitution under the war on terror as well. There is not much there left to support. You are tax and spenders. So I a concerned…yes.

    I also like a good political argument…I remember what being a Republican was all about, the promise of a big tent, and now I see little of it. I don’t think any here will take my advice, so instead, I like to remind you of it .

  19. kralmajales says

    Oh…and I am one of the registered independents that left the party….and that are now, in polls, breaking almost two to one against Republicans.

    I think when turnout is high next time…2008…you will lose seats…on shear numbers. Unless the Dems duff it again (never unthinkable).

  20. kral,

    Thank you for your answer. Most everyone was aware of the upcoming challenges facing the party. Unlike in 2006 few suffer under the illusion that the Republicans have “safe districts.” November of 2008 will be interesting for us all.

  21. John- I’m positive that you are wrong on this. Let me do some digging. I think they are out on youtube somewhere.

  22. Oro Valley Dad says

    llewis,

    I live in CD 8 and saw and heard the ads. I also received several mailers. Plus I received the pathetic call from past state chairman Salmon standing up for poor Stevie. By the time Salmon made the call Huffman had been attacking Graf with slime ball tactics for quite some time.

    I am trying to be more diplomatic but on this matter but you are simply WRONG. I can get over the past but I can not move on from the truth!

  23. kralmajales says

    I saw the ads too…pretty shocking…but Randy wouldnt have beaten Giffords even without a primary challenge…really…he had enough money and was dusted by a superior campaign. Giffords had a tough challenge from the left…and still won also.

    But your point is more than right. NRC choosing sides with dough in a primary…withholding is one thing…funding another.

  24. PartyGuy says

    To answer Ann’s question, or part of it, I’m not sure who all of the committee folks are, but I’m pretty sure that Rep. Tom Boone is one of the committee members in the House and that Sen. Thayer Verschoor is one of the members on the Senate side. I’m not sure they’ll post bylaws or anything, so we may never know “how” they do things, but it sounds like the goal is 40 and 20 and that sounds good to me!

  25. Oro Valley- what I was saying was I doubt that John’s comment was true. The NRCC did not attack Randy Graf.

  26. PartyGuy says

    I hear their first training session had more than 100 attendees. I don’t know what was done in the past, but that sounds like a darn good number this early in the process.

  27. Alright John and Oro Valley Dad-

    I found the NRCC ad supporting Steve Huffman (Not attacking Randy Graf) as well as articles written about the mailers and video and the $$ spent in CD-8. The DCCC didn’t attack Randy Graf because their polling showed that Gabby could easily beat him. Where they became shaky was seeing the polls that Huffman could beat Gabby in a matchup thus they sought to shut him down.

    Read/Watch for yourself. I hope this ends this discussion.

    as the Skinny says” The GOP primary got even more interesting over the Labor Day weekend, when the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee waded in with TV ads busting on Huffman for his weak voting record on border issues. We hear they’re spending $185,000 to soften Huffman up between now and Sept. 12.

    The DCCC ads brought an observation from Hellon: “I’m not in the habit of agreeing with Democrats, but I think they nailed him pretty good.”

    http://thedataport.blogspot.com/2006_09_01_archive.html (scroll to bottom)

    http://www.tucsonweekly.com/gbase/Currents/Content?oid=86106

    and

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZtkvwKWS3Sw

  28. Party Guy:
    100 attendees who want to unify = good.
    100 attendees who are divisive = bad.

  29. PartyGuy says

    Good grief Marcy, you’ve got an unhealthy level of paranoia. 100 attendees who are Republicans who are fired up about running for office is good, period. Just the fact that you can believe that the State GOP packed a room with more than 100 attendees who are all there specifically to divide the party is quite disturbing.

    From all indications the party is raising money, recruiting activists and candidates, training them, and getting the table set for 2008. That’s their job and kudos for getting it done so much better than those who came before.

  30. I’m trying to find the poll that was done recently that showed that better than 70% of Republicans self-identified as conservatives and less than 10% self-identified as liberals.

    Maybe what Marcy is afraid of is that the State Party surprised us all by finding more than 100 liberals so that they could train them on how to divide the party?

    After all, if the attendees were all conservative or even center-right, they would represent the overwhelming majority of the party and there wouldn’t be anything divisive about them at all! After all, how can mainstream be divisive within a party?

    But Marcy might be right to be concerned. Randy Pullen training liberal Republicans so that they can go out and be divisive? Gives me chills too Marcy! Brr…

  31. I suspect that the reason CQ’s answer was slightly less than 100% to the question about the committees being involved in a primary comes down to two words…

    Slade Mead.

    That situation in 2004 was not even a typical case of a conservative trying to replace a RINO. Mead was clearly still a Dem, regardless of how he registered/ran, and it was entirely appropriate for the party (I think it was Maricopa, though, not the state) to weigh in. A case of never say “never.”

    While I haven’t discussed this specific issue with CQ or Pullen, I would be very surprised (and concerned) if these committees got involved in a run-of-the-mill conservative vs. moderate primary. There is more than one PAC out there that is the more appropriate avenue for such activity if it must happen in the first place.

    I’m just glad that the state party is finally placing the appropriate amount of focus on what I believe is their primary job – recruiting quality candidates for and trying to win state-level races. For too long it has been almost exclusively focused on federal races (plus the governor’s race) while we have lost many state-level races we could have easily won with some effort.

  32. Has anyone even Googled this guy? Pretty shady…

  33. Evan,

    Those of us who have been involved deeply in the Party don’t have to google CQ, we have been in the process and experienced the difference between the news articles that were skewed to the McStain/Liddy establishment press releases and the story as it unfolded.

    If you call CQ’s background shady, call NS’s background inky black – and CQ has less internal power now than NS has had for the last decade+. You should be happy about that, unless you support the dark side of things.

    Mainstream in the Republican is defined as the Party Platform since it defines the position of the Party on the major issues and has been consistent for over two generations now. If you don’t like it, change it – accept it – or choose another affiliation. Those are your choices. Unify behind the Platform and we will see unparallelled success. Criticize the very tenets of the Party and we will lose.

    UNITY behind the Platform!

    Ann –

    You were invited to talk with Sean, did you ask him any of these questions? If not, why not? Why do you come to this blogsite to sow seeds of discontent instead of talking with the Party leadership, whom you know all too well.

    As to a previous post, if your LD Chairman does not have the integrity to vote on the EGC as he feels he should, he needs more backbone.

    The conservatives that you seem to revile took the risks when in the minority on the EGC or on the State Executive Committee to voice and vote their conscience. Your chairman would have more respect from all if he would do the same.

  34. GOP PK,

    Did you wake up grumpy or what?

    “You were invited to talk with Sean, did you ask him any of these questions? If not, why not?”

    I did speak with Sean previously; my post on this thread was relative to the interview with CQ. The conversation I had with Sean was about another subject and while we did discuss upcoming election strategy briefly such details as presented in this interview were not known to me at the time. This is new stuff, at least as far as I know of it, and must be to others also, or why post it now?

    “Why do you come to this blogsite to sow seeds of discontent instead of talking with the Party leadership, whom you know all too well.”

    Help me to understand where and how you see my post as sowing seeds of discontent? Did I not offer appreciation to the effort? Did I not say it had been missing for too long? Did I bring up the past; law suits, illegal operations, bad judgment, losing candidates, or the like? Now that it has been referenced I will ask you, if my intent was to go negative why did I not use such things, which are public record, if not to try and let the past stay there? Or did I, without knowing, offer questions that to answer would be detrimental to the facade of unity and the stated goal? Is your post a pre-emptive strike?

    Or, are you speaking in general terms? I do not believe anyone, least of all you, would ever begin to establish a practice of McCain-Feingoldish limits on what can or should be asked, within the limits of public decency. Certainly it should be expected that if information is not given, in an open forum like this, it will be requested. I did not originate the topic. My questions are not of a hateful or negative nature, merely a request from a person with a vested interest as to the workings of the process.

    After 33 posts you decide to go negative. But, then that is your MO. Your frequent “protesteth too much” action indicates an effort to squelch any idea but your own. The obvious strategy is to attack individuals and get personal hoping they will go away. Your sarcasm and negativity only serves to bolster the perception and exemplify the attitudes within the most vocal, but not the majority, members of the Arizona GOP for what they are… angry, smoldering, bitter and without perspective.

    As to the previous post, again with the smoldering, angry retort to a thread from days before where my final response to your last entry was, “Understood.” You just couldn’t stand for me to be pleasant and leave you with nothing to bite on. So you chewed and stewed until you come up with this weak attempt to distort and twist in order to portray me as contrary to “the cause”.

    This is about the Party, about the state, not an organization. The state GOP as an organization may be controlled by a certain group. But, no matter how hard you try, no matter how many different blogsites are created to sing the praises and spread the gospel according to Pullen et al, no matter how mean and sarcastic you get, you cannot and will not ever control the minds of freethinking and independent Arizonan Republicans who know the difference between such rhetoric and reality. Do not be deceived, sowing and reaping applies to all.

  35. Ann,

    I am still waiting for you to even grudgingly post something that could be taken as positive about the State Party under Pullen. When proof is presented showing that for the last reporting period he has raised almost double of his predecessor during the same time period with one fourth the expenditures, you never post that this is a good thing. You never post anything that says you may question whether the State Party should be run by Randy and Sean, but that this particular performance should be praised.

    For you to complain about someone else not praising someone is ironic. Lets say that you are in disagreement about the State Party. You charge me with being passionate in my defense of it and that is true. I charge you with being passionate in criticizing it, and you deny it. That is the difference. I admit my bias in this area and have clearly written on the events in the past as to why I approach the discussion with that bias, while you refuse to admit your bias or why you have it.

    If your bias stems from the fact that some of the supporters of the Chairman have used the term RINO in the public domain – not on this blogsite – which insults you and therefore you are predisposed to oppose the Chairman, so be it.

    I am biased because I have labored in the Party under many administrations that were selected and controlled by our US Senators where I found their blatant disregard for the grass roots abominable and the openness of this administration to the input of the grass roots is admirable.

  36. “Chairman Pullen took the great step of creating campaign committees to specifically focus on State House and State Senate races and I was asked to consult for those committees.”

    To which I responded:
    “I absolutely applaud the actions of identifying candidates for the upcoming state elections, for too many years that was a very under appreciated need. It is not too early at all to be starting such a plan”

    Good try, though!

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