Big Decision for Arizona Republican Activists

Saturday, Republican State Committeemen have a big decision to make in choosing the next chairman.

I won’t be voting because I’m not a state committeeman. But I can speak from close and personal experience working for a state chairman.

The 2018 midterms are right around the corner and Democrats are amassing an army of volunteers and candidates to push back against President Trump on down to local dog catcher.

President Trump and the Republican Congress have less than two years to make major changes before Democrats try to seize power back. They won’t make the same mistakes they made in 2016.

This is why Republicans need to choose a chairman who can prepare for battle.

It can’t be someone who sits around the office all week talking about how wonderful it is to be in power again.

This person must know how to raise money and work with others who have money. The AZGOP will need to amass a huge war chest of cash.

I know from personal experience that there are those in the party who have money and those who don’t. If those who have the money believe that those who don’t, cannot play well, then those who don’t have the money, won’t get the money. You simply don’t bite the hand that feeds you.

I’ve seen this happen several times at both the county and state level.

Like it or not, that’s how it works.

If county or state leadership criticizes those who have the money, the county or state party gets starved.

I’ve even seen those who have the money set up para-GOP organizations and then run their money through it just to keep it out of the hands of those in county or state leadership. They will literally starve the party to get the job done.

The next chairman needs to understand this. The next chairman needs to work very hard. The next chairman must make an effort to work well with everyone in the party.

If Republican state committeemen do not pick a competent, hard-working, principled, conservative Republican tomorrow, the AZGOP will run out of resources, become a paper tiger and lose the midterm battle in 2018.

Republicans, don’t screw this up.

 

The Mea Culpa…Sorta

It’s over.

After months of needless foot-dragging, dishonesty, personal attacks and fake martyrdom, LD 23 has finally admitted what we’ve all known all along: Jim O’Connor’s organizational meeting was run improperly, rules were broken, and duly elected PCs were denied their right to seek elected office.

And a massive floor fight at Saturday’s GOP State Meeting has been averted.

On Thursday afternoon, LD 23 leadership released a “Letter of Understanding,” acknowledging for the first time that major mistakes had been made, and that the complaints from dozens of elected PCs were legitimate. In response, Chairman Graham did what he promised he’d do all along: he has agreed to seat the 119 State Committeemen who were “elected” at O’Connor’s flawed Organizational Meeting.

And so, here we are. Months after the statutory violations were pointed out, and weeks after multiple remedies were offered, LD 23’s leadership has admitted to its mistakes, albeit clinging to the lie that the complaints were “anonymous” (they weren’t) and denying they were notified prior to the meeting with requests for a remedy (they were).

But more importantly, this proves that this was never about the rules, or fairness to elected PCs. No, this was nothing more than a cheap political stunt by Jim O’Connor, giving him a platform on which to campaign. After all, why bother presenting a vision for the future or a plan of action at the party, when you can shamelessly demagogue and complain about big, bad Robert Graham.

Unfortunately for O’Connor, he has overplayed his hand. Now, just one day before the election, his LD leadership has admitted to a flawed and unfair process, and he is left with no plan, no platform, and no agenda for the AZ GOP. He’s proven that he is unable to run a proper meeting, and has not bothered to come up with a plan to move the party forward.

When a Dog Whistle is All You’ve Got Left – Religious Bigotry Erupts in the O’Connor Campaign

Desperate times call for desperate measures. Gabby Saucedo Mercer, current 2nd Vice Chair of the AZGOP but running to be the AZGOP Secretary candidate on the O’Connor slate, is holding up her end of the deal she made with O’Connor to gain control of the AZGOP. O’Connor would do his part by rigging the LD23 election, hoping for smooth sailing on Saturday. But, alas the good folks in LD23 didn’t play along, but instead demanded he play by the rules – which as you may have heard is a problem for Jim.

So, after weeks of scandal filled accounts from numerous current and former PC’s within LD23, Jim finds himself days from the election of his dreams and surrounded by trouble. This weekend in Pinal and Pima Counties he slipped and let it out that he had been conspiring with Frosty Taylor – the infamous writer of the MCRC Briefs. That explains the love-fest the Briefs has shown to O’Connor and completely removes the last shred of relevancy the online tabloid might still have. Now his gal pal Gabby has taken the reigns and holding nothing back!

Gabby dived into the deep end with dog whistle politics. On Monday evening, Gabby suggested that Chris Herring had endorsed Jonathan Lines because they were both LDS – Lines is, Herring not at all. There was some push back to the first assertion. So, today she doubled down on her supposition with this jaw dropping post:

More than a few have replied to her post that there isn’t any truth to her dog whistle that is tantamount to saying the Mormons have corrupted the state party with cronyism so don’t elect another one – Heywood is not related to Flake in any way, there are currently no GOP staffers that are LDS and again, Herring is not LDS. But to no avail. Nope – she’s going all in. After all, it isn’t the truth they seek, it’s the power!

Rigging elections, blatantly displaying religious bigotry and lying to prove your case. Denying the truth even when confronted with facts and promising more to come. Does this sound like the kind of folks you want to give a platform to?

I’m not sure what kind of big tent Gabby envisions, but apparently, it doesn’t include Mormons. If bigotry and corruption aren’t big enough reasons to reject O’Connor and Mercer, how’s this… there are 400,000 members of the LDS church in Arizona, ranking fourth nationally in LDS population, and statistics rate their voter registration as 70% Republican. She just said they are corrupt and not a part of their plan. That will shrink the ranks!

I wonder how many LDS State Committeemen will think twice before electing the team that thinks they are the problem with the GOP?

But most of all, I wonder who will be next?

What transparency looks like

By concerned Republican state committeeman

Many PC’s who, after watching Jim O’Connor twist the truth, bend the rules and use his faith as a shield to his duplicity, are saying… Finally, someone is standing up for what is right.  The below letter was sent from AZGOP State Chairman, Robert Graham.

January 18, 2017

Dear _______ ,

The purpose of this letter is to assure that every Republican precinct committeeman within the State of Arizona has a clear understanding surrounding the ongoing discussions with respect to LD 23 and the nomination of their state committeemen.

Robert Graham

Robert Graham

The discussions do NOT regard the call letter, how it was sent, or the Attorney General’s opinion defining “mail” and “electric communication.” Further, the discussions do NOT and need not address LD 23’s election of new leadership.

State committeemen, once elected, have the awesome responsibility to represent their district and/or county in a material way each year. Every precinct committeeman has the right to a fair and well-defined nomination process to assure that everyone has the option to pursue their interest of becoming a state committeeman.

Like any club, organization, or business, it is normal to find new members who have little working experience or knowledge to apply to their newfound responsibilities. This reality adds additional responsibilities to leadership to assure everyone — in this case newly elected precinct committeemen — are included and are completely aware of the nomination process of becoming a state committeeman.

The Complaint:

The AZGOP was made aware by many new precinct committeemen and later confirmed by Nancy Ordowski, the new Chairman of LD 23, that there were over 28 precinct committeemen that were never made aware of the nomination process to become a state committeemen.

The LD 23 leadership worked to acquire email addresses and any electronic means of communicating with the new precinct committeemen. Not all precinct committeemen responded to the requests. By not responding, leadership within all counties and district leadership must recognize the obligation to communicate with all elected precinct committeemen and the nomination process to run for state committeeman. If leadership does not have everyone’s email addresses or social media handle, USPS (mail) is the last resort to assure everyone is included. LD 23 did this with their call letters but not the nomination process for state committeeman. Herein lies the problem: to assure that everyone that would have wanted to be a state committeeman has a fair and equal opportunity to become a state committeemen.

Many have complained this was a bad process, one that alienated conservative stalwarts who are important to the party and its success. Congressman David Schweikert and his wife’s proxies were not permitted. There was arbitrary enforcement of proxy rules.

C.T. Wright, a black leader in our party whom many of you know from his stirring invocations at our state party functions, was left alienated.

Conservative attorney Mike Liburdi, an active volunteer in the Republican Lawyers Association in the past, gave notice to Chairman O’Connor that he could not attend the meeting and was not allowed to run for state committeeman. He was not given notice of the deadline for making the ballot, gave advance notice of his desire to run in writing, and had a proxy at the meeting but was denied the ability to run.

Based on these examples and other similar complaints, AZGOP simply asked LD 23 to improve its process and hold a new election. They instead decided to hire lawyers and spent at least $5,000 fighting this. One is left wondering: what do you have to fear? Details are below, but the AZGOP simply offered to directly appoint Jim O’Connor as a state committeemen, allaying any fears that he would be prevented from campaigning for higher office in the party.

In any case, after reviewing the complaints and having multiple meetings with leadership from LD 23 and their legal counsel, it is clear that there was neither bad behavior nor the intent to disenfranchise the new precinct committeemen of LD 23. The challenge lies with the outcome of the 119 nominated state committeemen and the question “would the results be different if the 28 plus precinct committeemen were notified properly and included in the election for the state committee both as voters or candidates for state committeeman.”

What has the AZGOP Offered as a Resolution?

1) New Election: The AZGOP has offered to pay for a new election that would include ALL elected precinct committeemen from LD 23. This offer included paying for facilities, printing and postage. This offer was made weeks prior to the Maricopa County January 14th meeting and would assure compliance to all bylaws and Arizona Revised Statutes. A new election would have put forth best efforts to help assure that no one would have been left out of the process. Leadership in LD 23 said NO to this offer.

2) Lottery: Next was a lottery system to randomly draw precinct committeemen names from a “hat.” All names of the precinct committeemen would be included in the drawing. Once a name was picked they would be contacted to confirm or deny their interest to becoming a state committeeman. If confirmed the AZGOP, under advice and consent of the LD 23 Chairman and Maricopa County Chairman, we would appoint that person. If the person denied interest in becoming a state committeemen, then a new name would be drawn. This process would be followed until all 119 names were confirmed and appointed.

Further, there was an additional offer. There has been some suggestion that the AZGOP was attempting to block Jim O’Connor from being eligible for running for state chairman by not allowing his district to be credentialed at the State Meeting. This is false. LD 23 was offered, if they chose the lottery process, that the AZGOP would hold out Jim O’Connor as an automatic appointment to be a state committeeman. He had the top number of votes in his district and the AZGOP thought this was only fair to assure that we did not interrupt or interfere with his statewide campaign. Leadership in LD 23 said NO to this offer.

3) Letter to the District: Lastly, in an another effort to make sure that LD 23 had full state committeemen representation to the State Statutory Meeting on January 28, 2017, the AZGOP suggested that a letter come from the immediate past Chairman, Jim O’Connor, who presided over the LD 23 Reorganization and State Committeemen Nomination process, stating “there was NO intent of LD 23 leadership to disenfranchise or not include the block of precinct committeemen that were not included in the state committeeman nomination process. The mistake was a clear oversight and because of the complaints we have received from the LD 23 committee members we have worked with the AZGOP to define and develop uniform guidelines to help assure there will never be confusion in the future. This process would also help assure that everyone would be included or have the option to be included in the state committee nomination process in the future. Uniform guidelines that would be helpful for committees statewide.”

The AZ GOP has offered/proposed this simple statement as another way to assure that all currently nominated 119 State Committeemen would be credentialed at the upcoming State Statutory meeting with NO changes. Chairman Nancy Ordowski of LD 23 declined this offer too, stating their attorney said a statement of this nature would be an admission of guilt.

At this point, the AZGOP has offered at least three solutions that would assure LD 23 full representation at the State Statutory Meeting on January 28, 2017.

Given the reasonable solutions that have been offered, and the continued “no deal” response, it feels as if the intent to “credential LD 23” at the state meeting is not the top priority of previous and current leadership of LD 23. It also feels as if the accusatory “disenfranchisement” narrative being leveled by some is politically motivated.

As Chairman of the AZGOP I have the responsibility to give surety that all precinct committeemen statewide, within every county and district, have a fair and equitable opportunity to represent the Republican Party as a state committeeman. I am making every attempt to address the concerns brought forward by new and active precinct committeemen of LD 23 and I am continuing to work toward a solution.

All precinct committeemen deserve and have the right to confidence in the process. Legitimacy should only be claimed once a fair and equitable resolution has been made.

 

Sincerely,

Robert Graham

 

 

 

Jim O’Connor: Plays By His Own Set of Rules

By a concerned state committeeman

The AZGOP is in the middle of a turmoil brought on by the hot mess called the LD23 Organizational Meeting, led by immediate past chair Jim O’Connor. No matter how the scandal plagued elections in LD23 play out, it is only the latest debacle created by O’Connor. The man is unfit for office and draining the swamp starts with him.

Allegations of dirty tricks has plagued AZGOP candidate Jim O’Connor over many of his actions as chair with a growing number of members in his district crying “foul” at the explanations for his well documented antics. Among them, his penchant for handpicking winners and losers by playing in the primaries. When taken to task for his actions, he refers to the LD23 bylaws with an “only doing my job” type answer, through a mouthpiece of course.

In a post on the Briefs, Jim O’Connor was directly asked “Did you have a 2/3 vote approval by PCs for these three items that I received???” This was in reference to evidence of his involvement in party primaries that were sent to the Briefs amid multiple claims of O’Connor playing favorites in party primaries.

So, when asked directly for an answer…what does O’Connor do? He passes the buck to Rich Rutkowski by responding “I requested Rich Rutkowski, LD 23’s 2nd VC, to provide a reply as he has spent more time and attention to the process we had undertaken in both the “May, 2016 Endorsement Election” and the subsequent “Golden Ticket” the district had prepared…”

Let that sink in. Jim O’Connor, the former District Chairman, now running for State Chairman, can’t answer. How difficult is it to know if he had a 2/3 vote approval by LD 23 PCs to promote various candidates? A simple “yes” or “no” would do.

Rich Rutkowski’s response was not only confusing, but within it he blamed PCs for not understanding and promoting the problem, in an elitist “let them eat cake” sort of way.

Considering the circular nature of the explanation, most would side with those PCs because his explanation doesn’t make sense. He writes:

“On the Golden Ticket, this may represent continued misinterpretation of the whole ‘endorsement’ issue, unfortunately promoted by some our PCs. To clarify again, the 2/3 margin of approval was needed for AN OFFICER to endorse a candidate on behalf of the District. An endorsement by the District is in the form of a resolution, which only requires a majority vote of the PCs at a meeting.” He verified that “All of the candidates on the Golden Ticket received a majority vote of the PCs” noting that some of them exceeded the 2/3 margin.”

Now does this make sense?

1) The district can endorse with a majority,
2) But for an officer to endorse on behalf of the District, they need a 2/3 vote?

If the District endorses candidates with a majority, the Officers can’t tell anyone or speak publicly about it because they weren’t endorsed by 2/3?

Or does it mean that the 2/3’s test is really without meaning, since if the district endorses with a simple majority isn’t the chairman included?

But, if a 2/3 vote is what is actually needed for an Officer to publicly endorse a candidate why did Jim O’Connor endorse candidates who did not receive that threshold?

Clear as mud? Welcome to LD23 where nothing is ever what it seems. The one thing that is clear, at the minimum a majority would be needed for any district involvement if the bylaws are to be followed. Unless it’s not.

Thanks to LD23 PC Boe James and the Briefs for sharing some interesting information. Note the LD23 voting results, names highlighted in yellow received 2/3 vote; names highlighted in blue received a majority. Based on Rich’s explanation above, the Officers, including Jim O’Connor, were not permitted to speak on behalf of the district about anyone other than the names highlighted in blue.

So why then did:

O’Connor send two emails using district resources encouraging the District to support Aaron Flannery. According to district records, Aaron received 67 votes out of 151, only 44%. That is neither 2/3 or a majority. Why was O’Connor promoting a candidate and how did Flannery get on their Golden Ticket? Plainly, how is O’Connor playing by the bylaws when he openly uses LD23 resources to endorse a candidate, one that is under the vote threshold, in his role as chairman?

O’Connor also approved allowing Cecil Yates, candidate for Town Council, which was on the Fountain Hills version of the Golden Ticket. Cecil only received 26 votes – 17%. Not quite a majority and definitely not 2/3.

This begs the question, why did the district spend money for campaign literature for candidates that didn’t even break the 50% requirement? And if a District Officer isn’t permitted to speak on behalf of the District, how are they permitted to spend money on behalf of the district for Golden Tickets to promote these candidates? According to LD23 campaign finance reports they spent nearly $1,000 printing and mailing “Golden Tickets” to voters in LD23.

So, what is it? 2/3 or a majority? You can endorse or not? We don’t know and apparently neither does Jim O’Connor, nor does he care. The mystery of what goes on in LD23 remains but one thing is very clear, Jim O’Connor plays by his own set of rules.

Opposing views are welcome for review and publication. 

Maricopa County Republican Party Election Results

Maricopa County Republican Party

In case you missed it, Maricopa County Republicans held an election on Saturday, January 14, 2017 and elected new leadership.

Chris HerringThank you to the outgoing leadership for their service and congratulations to the new Maricopa GOP leadership team!
Chairman – Chris Herring
1st Vice Chairman – Aaron Flannery (elected by acclamation)
2nd Vice Chairman – Yvonne Cahill
Secretary – Cynthia Casaus (elected by acclamation)
Treasurer – Sheila Muehling

View official results on Simply Voting.

All changes to amend the bylaws failed while all resolutions passed.

Again, congratulations to the new Republican team!

Former PC and State Committeewoman Calls Out AZGOP Candidate Jim O’Connor

The following guest opinion was submitted. Jim O’Connor is welcome to respond.

After reading a post in the MCRC Briefs by Jim O’Connor, I sent him this email. This is based on my personal dealings with him.
Dear Jim,

I saw the article that you wrote for the MCRC Briefs and have included it at the bottom of this email. As I’m sure you can imagine, my first reaction upon finishing the piece was to chuckle, then after a re-read my thought was that “Jim must be trying to get into the fiction writing business.​” I was shocked at what I read. You said, regarding the divide within our party that:

“It existed when I first began participating in my LD and continues to this very day.”  WHAT?

I was a PC and I never noticed a divide within our party or our LD. That all began after you got involved with the District.

“Both sides use the same tools to engage in this fruitless battle: Proxy abuse, attitudes and facial expressions at meetings (that would scare off new PC prospects), some party leadership who show favoritism to certain PCs, just to name a few.”

I think this statement reveals just how low you will stoop to try and win an election.

PROXY ABUSE…that is your middle name. FACIAL EXPRESSIONS…yep,  just the way you glare at those whom you deem unworthy, whom you believe are RINO’s, whom you believe are not Christian enough…I could go on and on especially since I have been on the receiving end of those LOOKs.

For a man who wears his Christianity on his sleeve, you are the most judgmental person I have ever met.

“The issues to be addressed by the EC are: By-Law Review, Proxy Abuse, Technology, Teleconferencing, PC Recruitment And Training. I invite you to join with me to create a formidable organization focused on registering Republican voters, recruiting new PCs, and working to get good Republicans elected.”

I love this…. Bylaw review: it took you and your crew well over 4 years to put out a set of Bylaws. You wanted your fellow PC’s to have to swear an oath to be loyal to the LD. You wanted to blackball anyone who might have been a Democrat in their past or who might have supported one. The operative word being MIGHT…and you began purging our District of those who fought you on these damaging ideas.

Proxy Abuse: for a man who has made it his purpose to recruit PC’s who do not attend meetings and who do not participate in anything, but who will hand over their proxy’s so that your chosen crew will be elected. For a man who puts out lists of blackballed PC’s so that those carrying the illegal proxy’s will only vote for those on your list…it is disgraceful. You are not a leader.

Training: The first training session I went to that had been arranged by you was about 5 years ago. You remember, it was on the topic of how to speak to someone with different views. I made sure to arrange my schedule so that I could attend what I was hoping would be an interesting and informative morning. What did we get? Well, it turned out that you fell for the nonsense of a women who told you she was an expert in dealing with controversial topics…but instead we heard about her family and how her bridge club did not like her because she had better clothes tha​n​ they did…yep, that was a good day.

The second time I attended one of your training sessions, just last year, it was supposed to be about how to be a good PC. Again, I rearranged my schedule and sat and listened to an older gentleman regale us with stories of his life. I’m not sure the word PC was ever uttered. Again, another flop for the O’Connor team.

I can only hope that you lose this election and don’t take our State down the tubes as you have done to our Legislative District. LD23 used to be winners. We used to have fun in LD23. We used to make a huge difference. Now, under your poor guidance, LD23 is a  loser – loser in recruiting PC’s and everything else. Honestly, I cannot think of one positive thing you have done.

In summary, this article you posted in the MCRC Briefs appears to be an autobiography of you.

Joan Lang
Former PC
Former State Committeeman

===========

Original message:

From the Briefs: By Jim O’Connor

There is no denying that there has been a fundamental divide within our party in Arizona. We all have to say that out loud because it is TRUE. Any attempt to cover that up with clever language by either side of the divide, will lessen our chances of curing the problem under the next administration. It existed when I first began participating in my LD and continues to this very day. So I invite all of us to get real as an alternative to getting even. Both sides use the same tools to engage in this fruitless battle: Proxy abuse, attitudes and facial expressions at meetings (that would scare off new PC prospects), some party leadership who show favoritism to certain PCs, just to name a few. If I go on with this laundry list, I shall fail to make my point.

These destructive behaviors must stop. A thorough audit of our State Party is long overdue. And by audit I mean much more than a financial audit. We need the soon to be elected Executive Committee (EC) to be empowered to act. These 84 members represent every County and Congressional District across Arizona. The issues to be addressed by the EC are: By-Law Review, Proxy Abuse, Technology, Teleconferencing, PC Recruitment And Training. I invite you to join with me to create a formidable organization focused on registering Republican voters, recruiting new PCs, and working to get good Republicans elected. After all, ours is a Republic, if we can keep it.

Republican Activists Call Out AZGOP Chairman Candidate

Words Are Cheap Mr. O’Connor

It was surreal to read what Jim O’Connor, candidate for AZGOP Chair, wrote and which was posted to MCRC Briefs on January 7, 2017:

“JIM O’CONNOR: There is no denying that there has been a fundamental divide within our party in Arizona. We all have to say that out loud because it is TRUE. Any attempt to cover that up with clever language by either side of the divide, will lessen our chances of curing the problem under the next administration. It existed when I first began participating in my LD and continues to this very day. So I invite all of us to get real as an alternative to getting even. Both sides use the same tools to engage in this fruitless battle: Proxy abuse, attitudes and facial expressions at meetings (that would scare off new PC prospects), some party leadership who show favoritism to certain PCs, just to name a few. If I go on with this laundry list, I shall fail to make my point.

These destructive behaviors must stop. A thorough audit of our State Party is long overdue. And by audit I mean much more than a financial audit. We need the soon to be elected Executive Committee (EC) to be empowered to act. These 84 members represent every County and Congressional District across Arizona. The issues to be addressed by the EC are: By-Law Review, Proxy Abuse, Technology, Teleconferencing, PC Recruitment And Training. I invite you to join with me to create a formidable organization focused on registering Republican voters, recruiting new PCs, and working to get good Republicans elected. After all, ours is a Republic, if we can keep it.

Actions speak louder than words. Where is the proof that Jim is a healer? Why should we believe Jim’s promise to mend the party at the state level when he can’t even do it within his own district? Jim and his inner circle are experts at party division. Repeatedly we, the undersigned of LD23, have been on the receiving end of back stabbing, lies and so much more (for a few examples see Guest Opinion: Why Jim O’Connor Should Not Be The Next AZGOP Chairman, Gayla Coletto Responds To Jim O’Connor’s MCRC Post and My Turn: Jim O’Connor Practices Unfair, Unethical Elections.)

For the flavor of what was/is continually dished out by LD23 leadership, please read the following, which appeared in our district’s January 2016 newsletter. It was written by Joe Meli, Chairman Emeritus (emphasis ours).

“You may often be hearing the refrain “I’m a conservative, not a Republican!” Balderdash! We are Republicans who stand for the conservation of our nation’s values framed by the United States Constitution. By definition, a Republican cannot be progressive if progressivism requires abandoning our history and the legacy of the Framers. To be a conservative is to conserve. To conserve is to preserve. To be a Republican in practical terms, one must stand for that concept. Make no mistake, folks who claim to be moderate Republicans are really unsure of what they believe, and therefore pick and choose what planks in our platform to support. They are certainly free to do so, but they offer only a compromised future for our party.”

Many of us have been labeled “moderate Republicans” and therefore have been ostracized from our district. Apparently, those within the LD23 inner circle believe they have some divine ability to magically know our hearts, and therefore can operate as judge and jury when deciding who of us is worthy enough to belong to “their” Republican party.

We get it. Politics is a rough and tumble business. But for the record, we expected Jim to be different—he wears his Christianity and love of our founding fathers and documents on his sleeve, and that was refreshing to many of us. Finally, an honest political leader! But we expected better than what we got. Our bad.

As it relates to LD23, not everything is as it seems. From our perspective, the LD23 inner circle operates as if narrative can trump facts and actual action… But in our world, the proof is in the actual evidence of our experiences. For as long as we can remember, there have been no real attempts made by Jim or his team to repair and rebuild. Just division, division, division. This should raise red flags for all of you who care so much about an honest and transparent Arizona GOP operation moving forward.

Elect Jim O’Connor and you could very well end up like so many of us—at the receiving end of back stabbing, rumors, lies, innuendos and more. And an AZGOP that is more divided than ever. Buyers beware. Don’t say we didn’t warn you…

The undersigned,

Chris Brant
Gayla Coletto
Harold J. Denomme
Eileen Fiedler
Greg Heine
Roberta Heine
Joan Lang
Warren Lang
Bruce Linker
Paula Linker
Sheila Muehling
Cheryl Pelletier
Joan Parker
Nancy Pryor
Linda Rizzo
Joe Romack
Jan Stephenson
Mike Stephenson
Dick Stock
Edith Stock

(Opposing views are welcome.)

Thoughts On Selecting A Republican Party Chairman

It’s that time again when elected precinct and state committeemen convene to elect a new Republican Party Chairman here in Arizona. As required by law, new party officials are chosen every other year to lead the party into the next round of elections.

This year, I won’t be voting or participating in these elections. That’s because I am no longer a precinct committeeman. I walked away from party service last year after witnessing some of the worst political behavior I’ve seen in over 25 years that took place during a county GOP meeting. (Read my post here.) I don’t have the time or toleration to waste another Saturday participating in what should actually be reserved for real opposition – fighting the left.

Instead, I’m watching the process as party activists explain why they believe their candidate is best for the job.

Arizona Republican PartyGoverning and leading the Republican Party is something I would know about because I’ve actually worked for the Republican Party Chairman. And that was during a very active time including a state senator recall election, special congressional election, Arizona redistricting commission fiasco, presidential primary debate preparation in Mesa, state convention that didn’t go that well and of course, all that on top of a Primary and General Election season during a presidential election. A lot happened and what most party activists don’t realize is that these challenges could have been easier to handle and the outcomes could have been more successful if only the conflict had been minimized.

One other factor to mention -and it’s becoming increasingly important as times change. Political parties are striving to remain relevant. This was made abundantly clear during this last presidential election as a former Democrat who switched parties to become a Republican attacked the establishment with an independent message and won the GOP nomination. Layer that on top of the hard reality for Republicans and Democrats alike, that 33.97% of registered voters do NOT identify with either the Democrat or Republican party. In Arizona, where Republicans hold majorities in the legislature and statewide office, the future of political parties is unpredictable when the number of independent voters is about to take the lead.

This brings me to thoughts and advice when selecting a Republican Party chairman.

If I were to vote for this individual I would make my choice based on four criteria: vision, fundraising, cooperation and messaging.

Fundamental to good leadership is whether or not the leader is visionary. Governing, administering, fundraising, etc. will never be enough if the individual can’t cast a vision that inspires and motivates followers. The next party chairman will have to put forth a vision that is bigger than themselves, bigger than the party and inspires believers and even non-believers to buy into the future. Given the struggle for relevancy in this day and age, this will be the biggest challenge for the next chairman and it will enable and affect all the other roles. The next chairman will need to show the party faithful what the future looks like and not just tell them.

Fundraising capacity is critical. It’s very hard to move a movement forward without having the resources to pay for it. Telling the story and selling the vision costs money, lots of money. As they used to say in the space program, “No bucks, no Buck Rogers.” Elections are big business. While candidates have to raise their own money, the GOP must amass a massive war chest in preparation for the get out the vote effort in the General Election. And this fundraising capacity is inextricably tied to the criteria of cooperation.

Chairmen who enter their role having run on a platform of conspiracy theories will find it extremely difficult to raise money. Burned bridges tend to stay burned. 

In party politics, cooperation is an asset not a liability. Team players are far more successful than solo artists who rise through the ranks by dividing and conquering. This means that chairmen must stay completely out of primary contests and hold their fire until the General Election. Impartiality, objectivity, even-handedness are imperative for party unity. And this capacity to cooperate is crucial to working with Republican officeholders. A party chairman might not like or agree with our senior Senator but he or she must put their personal differences and disagreements aside for the sake of party success.

Finally, as someone who works in the arena of communication, I cannot stress strongly enough the power of messaging. Perception is reality, especially in the world of politics. If you’re not defining who you are, your opponent certainly will and they will do so ruthlessly. (I learned this lesson personally during my time at the AZGOP.) Chairmen who sow drama and controversy, reap the same. Wasting precious time and energy putting out fires, robs resources from winning elections. Chairmen who are constantly in damage control mode don’t win elections.

Having worked as an activist in the culture war for many years, growing the movement is the most important thing one can do to move an agenda and score victories. The next chairman will need to be highly proficient in the art and science of political mathematics.

Effective movement-building and party-growing messaging must be based on addition and multiplication, not subtraction and division.

Demographics in Arizona are changing. Much of the old guard is fading away into history. If Republicans want to remain relevant, they must acknowledge these demographic shifts and affirm the the values and principles that attracted people into the party: smaller limited government, lower taxes, under control spending, economic freedom and growth, safe communities, federalism, life and family-affirming values, religious freedom, educational choice and freedom, and strong national security. These are the values that appeal to millennials, Latinos and women.

I won’t be voting in the upcoming GOP party elections but I will be watching. Like many other Republicans who are tired of all the gratuitous drama, I’ll be reconsidering my party involvement based on how my fellow Republicans behave and who they choose for this important position.

So if you’re asking for my editorial advice on these party elections it would be choose wisely, fellow Republicans. Choose wisely.

Guest Opinion: Why Jim O’Connor Should Not Be The Next AZGOP Chairman

If you are not telling the truth about insignificant things, what else are you not telling the truth about?

I really am a nobody in politics. I have no power now, nor did I want any when I was a precinct committeeman, precinct captain and state committeeman representing the Del Joya precinct within LD23. I just wanted and still want to do my small part to help stop the encroachment of leftist, socialist policies that the Democrat party has attempted and will continue to attempt to cram down our throats when given the chance.

As a result of my grassroots political involvement, I have an experience I want to share with you. I am writing this in the hope that enough people will read and consider this before voting for the very important position of AZ GOP chairman.

Background to the following: Del Joya is the same precinct where Jim O’Connor, candidate for AZ GOP chairman, resides. Early on in my grassroots career, we worked together, including on one or two occasions, joined together to complete our signature petitions.

It was September of 2014 and another primary election cycle had come and gone. It was my responsibility, as PC Captain, to contact the PC’s in my precinct so that we could come together to elect a new captain. Reviewing the list of newly elected PCs, I realized that there were quite a few I had no contact information for—so I called Jim, figuring he could help. But Jim told me he could not because he did not know who these new PCs were.

Ok, so he didn’t know. No problem! I would track down the information myself so I enlisted the assistance of a super-sleuth friend. As a result, I was able to contact all of our PCs and a meeting was scheduled at my home.

The evening of the meeting arrived. Two of the individuals Jim claimed not to know showed up first. We introduced ourselves and got to talking. In the course of our conversation I learned that Jim did indeed know these two individuals. How did I find out? Because these first arrivals informed me that they had been working with Jim on some political activities in the past. Hmmmm…

I was able to speak to Jim about this matter at a later date. At first he denied it. But after explaining to him the facts as they were, he was forced to admit his transgression. He even said to me “Cheryl, as one Christian to another can you find it in your heart to forgive me?”

I know, I know. You might be thinking that this is no big deal—after all, it’s just a little white lie, right? But why did Jim claim he did not know these people? Why did he not want to provide this information? Why was he making me work harder than I had to in order to perform my PC Captain duties? Which leads me to my closing comment… The truth is this: There absolutely was no reason to lie to me about such a small matter. If you are not telling the truth about the little things, what else are you not telling the truth about?

A few experiences already have been shared on this website and on Facebook. And I know that there are numerous other people who have similar stories to tell. We can only hope they will share them. Bottom line is this: Jim O’Connor is not the man he so very well presents himself to be and he should not become the next AZGOP chairman.

Thank you for your time.

Cheryl D. Pelletier
Lifelong Republican and Resident of LD 23, Del Joya Precinct