Stephanie Grisham, the silent spokeswoman

Having been with the administration from the beginning and a significant portion of the campaign, one would expect that Arizonan Stephanie Grisham would have understood what she was getting her self into with Donald Trump and Company. But since relieving Sarah Huckabee Sanders of the post, the new White House Spokeswoman has been unusually quiet.

In a recent Politico article, Grisham is said to be mulling over changes to the White House communications team and, catching up on the huge array of policy positions and affixing her nameplate to her office door.

Why Grisham has chosen a strategic silence is political journalistic speculation. Since her arrival, the President has escalated his unconventional hands-on messaging to a new and offensive level. Grisham is wise enough to know its not in her best interest to try and control the messaging of someone who thrives on having their ego front and center.

Rep Bob Thorpe Deserves Better

The Republican Primary in Arizona’s LD-6 Senate race has taken some unconventional twists and turns. Turns, because State Senator Sylvia Allen, drawn to spend more time with her children and family in Snowflake, decided not to seek re-election earlier this year but then suddenly changed her mind, some say not by choice and under a lot of pressure by operatives. Twists, because GOP “leaders” and self-appointed kingmakers in the district are rumored to have issued primary support and endorsements to keep Allen in the race.

In the House, Representative Bob Thorpe is term-limited and planning to seek the Senate nomination and seat in 2020. The primary was already set between Thorpe and Lt. Col. Wendy Rogers until Allen did an about-face.

State Representative Bob Thorpe

According to reliable sources, Republican donors and activists met in Payson on June 15th behind closed doors where they decided to intervene in the primary against all Republican standards and practices. During the meeting led by Sedona Republicans Dwight and Andrea Kadar, Thorpe was asked to leave the room while Allen remained. Under tremendous pressure, Allen was told to get back in the race as she fought back tears.

What emerged was an endorsement of Sylvia Allen; a dictate not to support Thorpe through money and manpower; and likely, State Senate and House leadership support to help Allen win the primary (probably through a rare employed primary PAC committee). Thorpe’s political consultant even bailed on him and is probably expected to run (and benefit) from the leadership PAC against Thorpe.

Apparently, party leaders are trying to clear the field for Sylvia Allen in order to make it easier for her to keep the seat.

State Senator Sylvia Allen (photo credit: Gage Skidmore)

What is ironic in all this is Sylvia Allen (who this blog is actually a fan of) and her promoters should remember how party leadership treated her back in 2010 when a handful of Eastern Arizona “kingmakers” tried to run her out of the Republican Primary in LD-5. At the time, Allen who had replaced the late Jake Flake and won the seat in 2008, was challenged by Bill Konopnicki. Party leadership wanted Allen out and Konopnicki in but the voters saw things differently. After her two-year term, Allen returned to local government as a county supervisor while rancher Chester Crandell ran and won the seat in 2012.

In August, 2014, State Senator Chester Crandell died suddenly in a horseback riding incident. Allen was chosen to replace Crandell on the ballot where she was once again elected to the Arizona State Senate.

But this post is not about Sylvia. It’s about Bob Thorpe and how he has every right to run for the seat without party leadership’s heavy-handedness. And while this blog has been critical of Thorpe’s legislation, the self-appointed LD-6 political kingmakers should back off, stop pressuring Sylvia to stick around and to let the race play out. Bob Thorpe deserves better and a shot at the nomination. We hope he stays in the race.

Vote NO Against Bob Thorpe’s Amendment to HB2269

Rep Bob Thorpe
Rep Bob Thorpe

Arizona State Representative Bob Thorpe has snuck in a bill that would limit who could serve in the Arizona Legislature. The Flagstaff Republican used a strike everything maneuver to scrap a bill that would have provided funding for DPS officers who live in remote areas.

Now the strike everything amendment, HB2269, will impose serious limitations on who can serve in the Arizona Legislature based on “physical domicile residency.”

Thorpe’s “striker” bill states that anyone seeking to serve in the Arizona Legislature must physically be domiciled in the jurisdiction for 75% of the year preceding the filing date to seek the office. In other words, 274 days before a candidate files for the legislature, he/she must be physically living in their address within the district.

This is bad public policy and anyone who holds a decent understanding of constitutional law knows physical domicile requirements are absurd and won’t hold up in court.

Imagine a teacher from Prescott who returns home to Legislative District 1 from an overseas mission trip where she taught English for a year and was able to vote as an overseas registered Prescott voter. Although she has been registered to vote for three plus years and meets the residency requirements to serve, Thorpe’s law would automatically disqualified her to serve in the Legislature.

This bad public policy would disqualify many good and qualified individuals. Here is a brief list of who could be affected:

  • Missionaries
  • Members of the military
  • International NGO Aid workers
  • Airline workers
  • Maritime workers
  • Long haul truckers
  • Border Patrol employees
  • Overseas contractors
  • Wildland Firefighters
  • Exchange students
  • Business travelers
  • Individuals who take extended vacations

The list goes on…

Several years ago, my friend Jonathan Paton ran for the legislature in southern Arizona’s LD-30. Jonathan had also volunteered for the Army Reserves in 1999. In 2006, Uncle Sam finally came calling activating 2nd Lt. Paton for duty to Iraq. He left in August for six months but still won re-election and returned to the Legislature in February, 2007. Leading up to his activation, Jonathan had to prepare and train and that took him outside of his district. The same is the case for many military reservists who balance serving in the military against serving in the legislature.

Last week, Thorpe’s amendment to HB2269 received a do pass recommendation from the Senate Appropriations Committee with a 6-3 vote. Unfortunately, the bill advanced and is scheduled for further action and more votes in the House and Senate.

There is still time to contact your state senator and representatives and tell them to vote against Thorpe’s amendment to HB2269. The legislation is bad policy and it disenfranchises and disqualifies highly qualified people from seeking a seat in the Arizona Legislature.

Call your legislators today and tell them vote NO on Thorpe’s striker amendment to HB2269.

Babies deserve every chance at life!

Stop the shameful repeal of their protection!

The time to stop the latest move by pro-abortion advocates is today. Last week, 17 members of the Arizona House introduced HB 2696. The bill is scheduled for a hearing Wednesday morning.  HB 2696 would repeal lifesaving measures for babies born alive during an abortion attempt, a law that has been on the books for 44 years.

Pro-life lawmakers learned two years ago of real life situations where babies born alive during attempted abortions were left to suffer and die. Legislators took action to strengthen the 1975 law, requiring updated reporting and equipment standards.

Now, some Arizona lawmakers want to do away with the entire law dating back 44 years. This would free abortion providers from their obligation to use all available means and medical skill to save the life of a baby born alive during an abortion attempt.

Please stand with us in protecting babies who survive abortions.

We’ve made it easy for you to contact your legislator and affirm that every baby born alive deserves every chance at life.

Your Representatives will soon have to make a decision on HB 2696!

We need your help! Click here to contact your lawmaker today to voice your opposition to this shameful repeal.

Action Needed:

  1. Click here to contact your two state representatives today. Ask them to oppose the HB 2696 in order to protect women and their babies.
  2. Forward this email to a friend and invite them to also contact their lawmakers.
  3. Pray! Pray that state legislators stop the ratification of the ERA.

Representative Mark Finchem Introduces Bill to Create Teacher Code of Ethics Prohibiting Political Advocacy in the Classroom

STATE CAPITOL, PHOENIX – Representative Mark Finchem (R-11) has introduced legislation (HB 2002) that requires the State Board of Education, in coordination with the Superintendent of Public Instruction, to create a code of ethics for teachers that prohibits political, ideological, or religious advocacy in the classroom. While the practice is already prohibited in Arizona State Statutes, there is no code of conduct or code of ethics.

“HB 2002 is a response to many calls from parents to end political activity in the classroom,” said Representative Finchem. “I respect the important role that teachers play in society, but this is a parental authority matter. If parents want to shape the political views of their children, that is their right. However, it is not the proper role of the state and, by extension, teachers.”

“I have good friends who are teachers and they tell me that although they do not promote political agendas in their classrooms, some of their peers do.A code of ethics prohibiting political activity in the classroom shouldn’t be an issue if that behavior isn’t presently happening. But where it is, it needs to come to an end.”

Latest Poll Shows Martha McSally Narrowly Leads in US Senate Race

Democratic Surge in Early Ballots has Tightened the Race

PHOENIX (Nov. 5, 2018) – The latest poll from OH Predictive Insights and ABC15 Arizona (ABC15/OHPI) shows that Martha McSally, Arizona’s Republican nominee for U.S. Senate, has a one-point lead over Democrat Kyrsten Sinema, with 49 percent of the vote. Green candidate Angela Green receives zero percent of the vote, down from one percent since our last poll. Since dropping out, Green no longer has the Election Day Independent voters, who we saw her take more of in a previous OHPI poll(8%).


The survey was conducted November 2 to November 3, 2018 with a sample of 631 respondents qualified as likely voters. All live-callers were used to collect the sample, yielding a +/-3.9% MOE.

“Arizona is seeing a historic midterm election turnout and Democratic voters are defying past historic early voting trends,” said Mike Noble, Chief Pollster and Managing Partner of Phoenix-based research company OH Predictive Insights. “The race has tightened and it’s fitting that the winner will be decided based on who can best turn out out their voters on Election Day.”

Since our last poll, conducted on October 22, the largest change has been the late return of a surge of Democratic ballots in Pima County. This is done by a bloc of Democratic voters who we were unsure would turn out in the general election: Steve Farley Democrats. This group is considered new primary voters who voted for Farley and not David Garcia in the Arizona primary election: OHPI analyzed them in September.

Farley Democrats started returning their ballots en masse within the last two days of early voting, especially standing out in Pima County with a ten-point Democratic advantage of 43 percent. In Maricopa County, the largest county in the state with 60 percent of the electorate, Republicans also have a ten-point lead with 43 percent. This indicates a lagging Hispanic turnout with engaged white Democrats, which is a trend OHPI was looking for and did not see materialize until recently.

The key comes down to Sinema’s voters being more energized, while Republicans need to turn out their voters on Election Day. OHPI found that 88 percent of Sinema’s voters have already turned in their ballots, while only 70 percent of McSally’s voters have done the same. This is ultimately a breakdown by region, where 86 percent of Pima County’s voters have already voted. Only 74 percent of those in the rural areas have done so, with more being Democrats.

A Republican turnout operation will be crucial to combat Democratic excitement. While many more of the votes for Sinema are already cast and guaranteed, McSally needs to pin her votes down and solidify them.

Methodology: This all live-caller survey was conducted via 50% cell and 50% landline poll. The poll was completed by OH Predictive Insights on November 2, 2018 and November 3, 2018, from a likely 2018 General Election voter sample. The sample demographics accurately reflected party affiliation, gender, region, and age. The sample size was 631 completed surveys, with a MoE of ± 3.9%. Numbers may not total 100%, due to rounding. Poll report for the General Election poll can be viewed here.

OHPI / ABC 15 Releases Latest Poll on Arizona Statewide Races

OHPI/ABC 15 has released its latest polling data on Arizona statewide races and it appears that Republicans are leading. The one race that is closest is the Arizona Superintendent of Public Instruction race where Frank Riggs is slightly ahead of Kathy Hoffman.

According to Chief Pollster and Managing Partner, Mike Noble, “The superintendent race is the one to watch. Kathy Hoffman and Frank Riggs are neck and neck, with 12 percent of voters still undecided. It’s anyone’s ball game.”

Here are the numbers:

Steve Gaynor leads Secretary of State race.

Gaynor has only nailed down 63% of Lean Conservative voters, with another 12% leaning
his way. 16% of them remain undecided, the largest of any ideological group.

Kimberly Yee leads Arizona Treasurer race.

With undecided voters beginning to make up their minds, it seems they are leaning towards Yee. She has gained 5 points to Mark Manoil’s 1 point, since our last poll.

Mark Brnovich leads Attorney General race.

January Contreras has gained a large amount of male support, with an 8-point increase since our last poll. Even with this loss, Brnovich still holds a 14-point lead.

Frank Riggs narrowly leads Superintendent of Public Instruction race.

This is the closest race, with Riggs holding a 4-point lead and 12% of voters still undecided. Among those who believe education is a top priority, Hoffman leads by 60 points.

Doug Ducey leads Arizona Governor race.

Since our last poll, Ducey has maintained his nearly 2 to 1 lead, gaining 3 points. David Garcia has gained 2 points.

Methodology: This 42% cell phone and 58% landline poll was completed by OH Predictive Insights on October 22, 2018 and October 23, 2018, from a likely 2018 General Election voter sample. The sample demographics accurately reflected party affiliation, gender, region, and age. The sample size was 600 completed surveys, with a MoE of ± 4%. Numbers may not total 100%, due to rounding. Poll report for the General Election poll can be viewed here.

About OH Predictive Insights

Phoenix-based OH Predictive Insights provides accurate polling, focus groups, data analytics and advanced targeted marketing to political and non-political clients alike. With leading professionals in the advertising, communication, polling and political arenas, OH Predictive Insights will service political and non-political clients looking to improve their footing on key stakeholders and consumers.

Torkelson: Voters asked to retain Supreme Court Justice Clint Bolick

On his first day at the Arizona Supreme Court, Justice Clint Bolick posted a sign in his office. It had two simple rules he expected staff to follow.

Rule One: Call me Clint; Rule Two: There are no other rules.  Although the first rule was never followed, I can think of no better example of the humility with which Justice Bolick has approached his job as the 44th justice of the Arizona Supreme Court—always taking his work, but never himself, seriously.

I had the honor and privilege of serving as Justice Bolick’s law clerk for almost two years. From the moment he took the bench, he demonstrated a passion to execute his civic duty and fiercely protect both the federal and state constitutions. He did this every day with a smile, a venti Starbucks hot chocolate, and respect for his colleagues and attorneys who argued before him.

Of the attorneys who argued before him, those surveyed gave him a 100 percent score on legal ability, integrity, and administrative performance.  The high marks extended to those that worked behind the scenes, as well.  Court staff joked he needed a Supreme Court greeter vest because he always stopped to say hello to everyone.

In November, voters will be faced with a survey of their own.  On the back of the ballot Arizonans will determine whether to retain Justice Bolick on the high court.  This vote is based upon whether he has the judicial temperament, ability, and skill to remain on the bench.  I know Justice Bolick exhibits these characteristics because I saw it every day without waiver.

Since his time on the court, Justice Bolick has written 32 opinions. Of the 15 times he wrote for the majority, 14 of them were unanimous opinions. This amounts to hundreds, if not thousands, of pages where Justice Bolick outlines exactly how he came to his decision.  Importantly, in not one of those decisions will you find “the party’s identity” a deciding factor.

And there is no reason you would.  Justice Bolick is the only Independent to ever serve on the Arizona Supreme Court.  Indeed, independence is the cornerstone of his jurisprudence. The only common denominator throughout his writings is the plain language of the law.  What it says is what it means.  If you don’t like what it says, look to the Legislature.

Some say true bravery comes in dissent.  Justice Bolick has never shied from writing in opposition.  In fact, he began his first dissent praising our freedom-loving state, while noting the very words on the Supreme Court building, “Where law ends, tyranny begins,” informing readers of a “draconian” Arizona law affecting a homeless man.

Beyond judicial temperament, ability, and skill, Justice Bolick also has an unparalleled dedication to our great state.  I remember two times where Justice Bolick was overcome with excitement. The first was when the Pokémon Go craze was at its height and some of the clerks found a Pokémon on his desk.  The second was when he found out he would once again be teaching, this time Constitutional Law at ASU.  Teaching, in any form, has always been a source of pride for Justice Bolick.  It is why he insists on hiring an intern to work alongside his clerks every semester in chambers. There are countless mentees, just like me, who are forever grateful to learn from him.

Before November, I hope you read his opinions (azjustice44.com) and watch the oral arguments (azcourts.gov). There you will see a justice whose impartiality and independence allows him to look beyond party and political favor to address each case anew.  When you reach the back of your ballot consider what Arizona needs in the black robe.  Then, grab a hot chocolate and join me in voting to retain Justice Bolick.

Ashley Torkelson is currently an attorney serving in the United States Air Force. The views expressed are those of Ms. Torkelson only and not those of the United States Air Force or Department of Defense.

Frank Schmuck Will Protect Your Right To Protect Yourself

Not even Pepper Spray? That’s right! Sean Bowie voted to deny campus women their right to carry pepper spray or even a taser to defend themselves against sexual predators. What kind of person does that?

As a deputized law enforcement officer and a parent of a daughter in college this is both professional and personal for me.

Students, teachers and all employees of our universities in Arizona should feel safe, and not made to feel like they are breaking the law by protecting themselves with something as simple as pepper spray.

With thousands of sexual assaults and even worse dozens of rapes reported to Police over the last few years, Sean Bowie and his extreme ideology left women defenseless when he voted against House Bill 2172 three times.

See and hear what these women have to say…

To see all our videos visit www.FrankSchmuck.com/videos

Guest Opinion: McSally Will Continue The Fight For Your Personal Freedoms

Last month the U.S Food and Drug Administration launched a crackdown on the sale of e-cigarette vaping devices and is ratcheting up pressure on e-cigarette makers. The industry is now facing new challenges as the federal, state, and local governments take new measures to put it under control.

According to the CDC, smoking causes more than 500,000 deaths annually and leads to a plethora of preventable diseases. Since e-cigarettes provide users the ability to control their nicotine consumption, it helps traditional cigarette smokers to gradually kick their nicotine addiction. E-liquids come in varying levels of nicotine, including zero. This can be particularly helpful for long-time smokers who wish to use vapor products to reduce their dependence and transition away from nicotine entirely. These products are specifically designed for adult smokers who wish to live a healthier lifestyle by quitting cigarettes.

Vapor products do not burn tobacco and do not produce smoke, tar, or ash. They only emit vapor. As most e-liquids contain nicotine, they are considered ‘tobacco products’ and regulated as such but these products do not contain any tobacco. E-liquids are only regulated by the FDA because they contain nicotine, which is itself derived from the tobacco plant. These regulations include company registration, product registration, detailed ingredient listings, labeling restrictions, marketing restrictions, and listings of harmful and potentially harmful constituents.

Federal bureaucrats and critics of e-cigarettes are using the myth of a youth vaping “epidemic” to suggest that flavors need to be banned. The truth is, the vaping industry is already working to make sure there are penalties in place for selling vapor products to minors – just like there are for cigarettes, alcohol, and lottery tickets.

As Americans, it is imperative we have the freedom to choose what is best for us and our family. Too often Washington, DC tells us what we can and can’t do. When Congresswoman McSally is elected to the U.S. Senate, she should continue to fight for Arizonans’ personal freedoms, especially for the thousands of adults across our state who need this innovative new technology to live a healthier lifestyle by quitting smoking.