If Paulina Morris didn’t have the crazy card to play, she wouldn’t have any cards at all

Wow.

Did everyone see Paulina Morris’ desperate, insane-sounding last minute plea for votes?

In it, she viciously attacks all of her opponents, by name, one by one, in the most abrasive manner possible.  Which would be good, if voters were looking for intensely personal attacks delivered in the most shrill manner possible.

To think, it took only one week to knock Ben Quayle off the lofty perch of “worst ad of the 2010 cycle.”  I didn’t think it could ever be done.

Let’s go over some of her charges against her opponents:

1) If Vernon Parker didn’t play the race card, he wouldn’t have any card at all.

What a seriously nasty thing to say.  Vernon embraces his up by the bootstraps story, much as you have done, Paulina, with your tales of your parents escaping Cuba.  Vernon also embraces his race (he didn’t hesitate to put his face on signs running in a lilly white district).  This is more than I can say for you, Paulina, who was known to all of us as Paulina Morris-Vasquez until you decided to run.

2) I’m not a bored rich man looking for a hobby.

Right, you’re a bored rich woman looking for a hobby.  You haven’t advanced an original thought in this campaign, starting with your first web video which made fun of the fact that Jim Waring deigns to knock on doors and meet voters.

3) Questioning Steve Moak’s using his non-profit to market his for-profit company.

Okay, but your personal wealth comes from your husband’s successful lobbying for developers and the liquor industry.  Is this the hill you want to charge?

This video is all wrong from start to finish.  Kind of like your campaign, Paulina.  I would be frustrated too if I’d spent so much time and money and not cracked the margin of error.  But at least go out with some class.

PS–Why not attack Crump?  He’s your toughest competition for second to last place.

Time to take the bark off of Quayle

Admiral Nelson has a fascinating and spot on post regarding the race to replace Congressman John Shadegg. 

Ben Quayle is sitting at north of 90% name identification, thanks to his father.  He has clearly spent some serious money on this race, perhaps a million dollars as some have speculated. 

Yet he’s mired at 18% in the latest Arizona Guardian poll, with Jim Waring at 13% and Vernon Parker at 12%. 

This is clearly a toss up race between the three. 

With 90% name ID, Quayle has nowhere to go but down.  His 18% is likely very soft — people are going with the name they recognize, especially prior to the other candidates advertising another choice. 

I agree with the good Admiral that 20% is likely where Quayle will stay.  In such a balkanized race, however, this may be good enough. 

It’s time to take the bark off of Quayle. 

There’s nothing wrong with so called “negative” campaigning.  In certain cases, failure to point out your candidates shortcomings is a disservice to the public.  This is one such case. 

Vernon appears to have signalled that he will pursue this course in a recent e-mail, decrying Quayle the younger’s out of state high dollar donors and relative lack of real world accomplishments. 

This is a course Vernon and his fellow candidates should pursue, and with vigor. 

Congress is not supposed to be your first real job.  Quayle worked briefly at two law firms following what appears to be a number of attempts at the Bar exam, before taking some nebulous job (with his brother) at an investment firm, clearly staked with family money. 

There is nothing about him personally or professionally that recommend him for such an important office. 

Ben Quayle even has the nerve to suggest that his father has nothing to do with this campaign (makes me wonder how Bob Dole ended up on his DC fundraising host committee, along with 5 former cabinet secretaries, or why a former President hosted a fundraiser at his house).  In fact, the father announced his son’s campaign on TV, has made fundraising phone calls on his behalf, and aggressively tried to muscle out candidate Steve Moak, according to the Arizona Capitol Times. 

Quayle has spent more than the field combined, and he’s still stuck in the polls close to where he was the day his Daddy announced for him. 

In addition to his lack of accomplishments, personal or professional, or service to community or party, Quayle has made some troubling comments about supporting amnesty for illegal immigrants. 

The guy is stuck at 18% with 90% name ID.  That support is soft, a mile wide and an inch deep.  The public has a right to know what this guy is all about.  Early voting starts in less than a month. 

The prize is in sight, it’s almost anybody’s game, and every single one of you would make a better Congressman than Ben Quayle. 

What are you waiting for? 

US Supreme Court: “No matching funds, for now.”

Today the United States Supreme Court has ruled that no matching funds can be disbursed until they decide whether to hear an appeal challenging their Constitutionality.

It is nearly certain that they will, with the likely outcome that matching funds will be eliminated.

This mostly likely means that no matching funds will be available this election cycle, or ever again, and radially alters the calculus for a number of candidates.

I hope Arizona will take advantage of this opportunity to remake our campaign finance system, removing contribution limits and letting each side have the maximum amount of resources possible to make their case to voters.

Without matching funds, and with draconian contribution limits, we are a haven for self-funders (i.e., rich people who need to fill a void in their life), who can easily outspend “Clean Elections” candidates or those raising it in $400 increments.

Jimmie Munoz Jr., the newest candidate to pocket Clean Elections money?

The “Clean Elections” system is on life support pending the Supreme Court’s likely post-election ruling that it’s matching funds component is unconstitutional.

The system has always been filled with abuse, and has obviously shown a disposition for targeting Republican candidates and ignoring infractions by Democrats.  Here appears to be just one more example.

Chapter 7 of the Clean Elections Candidate Guide prohibits funds being used

“For real or personal property that is owned or leased by the candidate or a member of the candidate’s family and used for campaign purposes, to the extent the payments exceed the fair market value of the property usage.”

In his 2008 failed bid for the legislature, Jimmie Munoz, Jr. paid $3,750.00 in cash to MountainTel Communications for rent in the months of June, July, and August.  The payment is dated 08/01/2008.

First and foremost, Clean Elections rules prohibit candidates going into debt.  If Munoz incurred rental costs in June and July, but did not pay for them until August, it is an open and shut violation of the law, looking only at his campaign finance report.

And who owns MountainTel Communications, Jimmie Munoz’s benevolent landlord who waited until August 1st to accept payment of rent?

According to the Arizona Corporation Commission, MountainTel Communications is 100% owned by Jimmie Munoz, Jr. Interestingly enough, it was incorporated September 16, 2008, over a month after Munoz paid himself taxpayer money for “rent.” Munoz is the only corporate officer of MountainTel.

Munoz has clearly violated the law by going into debt as a Clean Elections candidate.  The next question is whether he violated the law against reimbursing himself above the fair market value of the property.

According to Zillow.com, 6645 S. Central Avenue in Phoenix is a single family home in South Mountain, built in 1956.  It is valued at $108,000, with an estimated monthly payment of $446 for the entire property.

Therefore, $1,250 per month for rent is far and away above fair market value for rent at that location, even if every inch of the property was utilized by Munoz’s campaign, which is very unlikely.

Unless I missed something, Munoz has pocketed taxpayer money in violation of the law.

Munoz appears to know what he was doing was illegal.  Why else funnel the taxpayer money through a shell corporation owned solely by him that was not even incorporated for almost two months after the payment?

We invite Todd Lang and the “Clean” Elections gang to fully investigate Jimmie Munoz Jr.’s violations of the law by going into debt and laundering taxpayer money for dramatically inflated rent through his shell corporation, even if he is a Democrat.

UPDATE:  One insightful commentator has asked whether Munoz paid Federal income taxes on money obtained from the rent he paid himself.

CD-3 Vernon Parker releases TV ad campaign

Arizona Republic gets caught in campaign finance scandal

Our opinion of The Arizona Republic just got lower if that is possible.

Mike Ryan, a Vice President of the Republic and General Manager of the Scottsdale Republic (the Scottsdale community section of the Republic), has had to take the unprecedented step of defending himself in a Republic column today over his role in illegal campaign finance activities.

At issue is a political campaign conducted by the Scottsdale Chamber of Commerce to try to ensure the election of a liberal Mayor and liberal Councilmembers. Only problem was the Chamber refused to file campaign finance reports or disclose who was funding their campaign, which is a major campaign finance violation. And now they are facing a massive fine and must disclose their contributors, though they decide today whether to appeal this. (article)

In his Republic column today, Mike Ryan, who is a member of the Chamber’s Executive Board, admitted to being present while the illegal campaign activities were discussed, and also admitted that he did not object to these illegal activities. His lame defense was that there was no vote taken to approve the campaign so he didn’t vote in favor of it. But what do you call sitting by as underlings discuss their plans to engage in what amounted to illegal campaign activities without protesting? That sounds like approval to us.

This is a huge credibility problem for the Republic. The Chamber tried unsuccessfully to defeat current Mayor Jim Lane (the Republic also editorialized in favor of his opponent). Now that Mike Ryan, the GM of the paper, and also an editorial board member, has been exposed for his role in the Chamber’s illegal activities, how can readers trust that the editorial and news coverage in the Republic will be fair, and the product of solid, ethical journalism rather than a political agenda?

They can’t.

Defending Jeff Flake

I’m writing this to point out that we’re not in agreement on Congressman Flake’s absence on the cap and tax bill.

Most important to note, more than anything else, is that there was no chance the bill was ever going to fail.  The leadership passed it with the narrowest margin humanly possible to give every endangered incumbent a pass.  If they had forced the issue, the bill would have carried by more than 20 votes.

Second, the criticism utterly fails to take note of the enormous sacrifice given up by members of congress.  Should we expect member’s families to accept any kind of abuse and absence necessary?  Should we have a congress full of people with no semblence of a work/life balance?  Congress is the least family friendly institution in the United States.

I applaud Congressman Flake for realizing that there is more to life than his work, especially when he couldn’t have possibly made the difference.

Len Munsil for Senate?

No definitive word yet on whether Len Munsil, pro-family activist and 2006 nominee for governor will challenge Senator John McCain in a Republican primary.  I personally like and have always supported Len, his causes, and the organization he founded, the Center for Arizona Policy.

I know there is a real sense among some that McCain is vulnerable here.  If you attend district PC meetings, you would justifiably wonder how McCain has ever won a Republican primary.  The answer is simple: most Republican voters are not the same people you meet at those events.

A United States Senate race is a massive undertaking and should not be undertaken lightly.  I recently read about a state senator who primaried an incumbent congressman, and who polled the race only after his announcement (the poll didn’t show a realistic path to victory).  He continued for the rest of the race raising money he knew would be set on fire, going to awful events for no reason, and all of the myriad drudgery involved in campaigns for absolutely no reason.  Worse yet, the humiliating defeat that followed nearly derailed his entire career.  Lesson: get some good numbers before.

The closest hard numbers I can find are here.  Perhaps it’s encouraging to potential challengers that 45% of Republican voters think McCain is out of touch.  If you keep reading, however, 67% of Republicans nationwide think their GOP representatives are out of touch.  Here’s what you also need to look at: favorables of 65% for McCain, and 35% unfavorables statewide.  Unfortunately, that number is not broken down by GOP voters (the only kind that matter for this particular analysis).  However, it is fair to say that McCain’s favorables are not being helped by Democrats, given his year long contest with Barack Obama and most recent role as the leader of the Republican party.  I will fall over dead if McCain’s favorables or re-elect numbers are below 50% among the GOP.

Additionally, any deficiencies are certain to be made up by a long, expensive, and professionally run re-election campaign that none of his rivals can match.

Another “analysis” on the blogosphere points out that Munsil received over 50% in his last Republican primary.  It utterly fails to mention that he was the only candidate in that race approaching any level of seriousness.  His chief opponent had a famous name, but no professional or civic accomplishments to recommend him for the top office in the state (and some beliefs about illegal immigrant hard labor camps that made some of us cringe).  Len received all of the establishment support there was to get.  Who is going to get that this time?

Finally, this is not a mano a mano contest.  Chris Simcox and Jim Deakin are also running.  Being the angriest about illegal immigration will still yield a certain amount of votes in our primaries (sadly), and having your name on the ballot is always good for a percentage point or two.  Simcox, who reportedly has raised millions for the Minutemen, could actually put together the semblance of a campaign (though he has no shot at winning, at all).  Len would have to share the limited anti-McCain vote that is out there.  Am I the only one old enough to remember Stan Barnes and Bill Mundell running against Jay Rhodes for Congress?  It was actually McCain who sat the eager youngsters down and told them that, while Rhodes would lose to any one of them, he had enough support to beat both of them.  They didn’t listen.  Rhodes was so weak he lost to a liberal Democrat in a conservative Republican district.  Stan made a ton of money, Bill was on the corporation commission and is now the Registrar of Contracts.  Not bad careers, but not the ones they wanted either.  My point here is not to say that McCain wouldn’t destroy any of these guys head to head (he would), but that challenging him in a four way race takes this from a suicide mission to something more futile.

With all that said, I think Len would make a fantastic US Senator.  I’m also extremely happy with the one I have.  John McCain is the biggest fiscal hawk in a time of runaway debt and a defense expert in a time of peril.

I would also like to observe the following: Len Munsil could win the attorney general’s race in a walk.  Tom Horne isn’t where the party is, and for schools superintendant that’s fine.  My schools superintendant needs to support educational choice, classroom discipline, merit pay, English immersion, and stand up to the unions.  My attorney general, however, needs to care deeply about protecting life and religious freedom, and understand how cultural degredation contributes to our crime problem.  Munsil could raise millions of dollars, and has an active and loyal network throughout the state.  After six years, Munsil could be a frontrunner for the seat he now covets, instead of walking into the buzzsaw I’m picturing.

What do you guys think?

Remembering Kerry Martin

It is with incredible sadness that we report that Kerry Martin, wife of state Treasurer Dean Martin, has died in childbirth.  Their son Austin remains in critical condition, and we pray for him as well as Kerry’s entire family as what should have been a period of unspeakable joy has suddenly and unexpectedly turned into a time of unimaginable sorrow.

I have known Kerry and Dean for many years.  Kerry was an incredibly warm person and dedicated Republican, always working hard to advance the causes she believed in.  Kerry was also a guaranteed friendly face at GOP gatherings, no matter how early in the morning.

Needless to say, I am absolutely floored.  Dean, your family is in our prayers.  Kerry, you will be remembered fondly by all of us and you will be missed.

The State Treasurer’s Office issued the following statement.

Condolences can be sent to dean@americanvisuals.com.

Barrett Marson shuts up

Former GOP House Spokesman Barrett Marson was always quick with a quote, and never short on something to say.  In his current role as DOC spokesman, however, well…

For all the people who wondered if Barret Marson could ever keep quiet, here’s ten seconds of dead air while he fumbles for a response on last night’s television news (1:26 into the video, which can be found to the right of the story).

The “hardball” question that silenced the loquacious Marson?  “Will early release of prisoners make us less safe?”