Activists and Former Campaign Staff Apologize for Propping Up Kelli Ward

This from two staffers with the Kelli Ward for Senate campaign.

As Ward “kicks off” her campaign in Scottsdale, her campaign’s former Chief Strategist Dustin Stockton and Press Secretary Jennifer Lawrence speak out.

Two prominent grassroots activists issued an apology to America First activists and the people of Arizona for helping legitimize the candidacy of Kelli Ward. The two former Breitbart reporters ran Dr. Ward’s campaign from May until September in 2017 serving as Chief Strategist and Press Secretary.

“Dustin and I began helping Kelli when she ran against John McCain in 2016. Over the years we advocated for her with grassroots groups, activists, and media from around the country. After running her campaign, we’ve realized that our successful efforts to legitimize her campaign was a mistake. We are sorry to the #MAGA activists and the people of Arizona because they deserve better candidates”

Kelli Ward is hosting a “campaign kickoff” in Scottsdale Arizona tonight featuring Laura Ingraham and J.D. Hayworth, despite the fact that she formally launched her campaign against Senator Flake before the 2016 general election had even concluded. Before Stockton and Lawrence took over her campaign, Ward was regularly described as a fringe candidate in the media and with conservative political groups and donors. Ward was generally seen as a weaker candidate than both AZ State Treasurer Jeff DeWitt and former AZ Republican Party Chairman Robert Graham.

“We hadn’t anticipated taking over Kelli’s campaign when we visited Arizona around Easter,” Stockton said. “Her campaign was such a disaster that we saw an opportunity to prove how much we can help struggling campaigns and we did just that. Unfortunately, she showed that she isn’t up to the task of standing up to the pressure that causes so many candidates to betray voters when they get to Washington.”

“Even Jeff Flake was a solid conservative as a member of the House before he betrayed his base in pursuit of his ambition in the Senate,” Lawrence finished. “We have a responsibility to our fellow America First activists to prevent another heartbreak at the hands of a politician’s blind ambition. We’re going to make sure that Arizona gets Senators that will make America First activists proud. Stay tuned.”

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.

Winkle for Mesa … In Tempe?

You would think that when you’re running for a local office that you would hold your events in the district, right? Apparently, Ryan Winkle who is running for Mesa City Council in District 3 would disagree!

Winkle is hosting an event that he’s calling a “Community Celebration,” in Tempe. Is that a slap in the face to the voters in Mesa’s 3rd District? We think so… That is the equivalent of someone running for the Phoenix City Council who campaigns in San Tan Valley. It just does not make sense!

Maybe he’s confused about what district and city he is actually going to represent?

Winkle, we know you’re young and naive, but if you’re running to represent people then please run in the district you’re aiming to represent. You are not running for Tempe City Council. The people of Mesa deserve better and deserve to know that you care about them and the issues facing the community. Evidently, you do not.

Why Is Andy Biggs Dodging Sunday Square Off?

Everyone knows that if you’re running for a major political office in Arizona you make the time to appear on local political shows like Horizon, Politics Unplugged and Sunday Square Off. It’s part of the process of getting in front of voters who pay attention to politics.

Brahm Resnik’s Sunday Square Off is one of those shows that candidates and elected officials don’t turn down. Brahm is the type of political reporter who asks tough questions and hones in on political motivations. He can be a feisty interviewer and every Republican should experience a sit-down with him if offered.

This last Sunday, Brahm interviewed two of the four Republican candidates seeking the GOP nomination in Arizona’s Fifth Congressional District. Former County Supervisor Don Stapley and conservative business leader Christine Jones each had their interviews with Brahm. The prior week, three-term State Representative Justin Olson also made his pitch.

During Brahm’s intro to the Stapley interview, he said that all four Republican CD-5 candidates had been invited to come on Sunday Square Off but as Brahm noted, “Andy Biggs though, had never responded to my invitation.”

Any professional political consultant worth their weight in gold knows that earned media is the best media, even if it means a tough interview. Consultants advise their candidates to embrace these local political show opportunities whenever they arise and take advantage of the chance to toughen and improve their debate and public relations skills.

The CD-5 race will be one of the toughest Republican primary races in 2016. Andy Biggs knows this and that’s why he hired one of Arizona’s most prominent consulting firms to get him across the finish line. So why would Andy Biggs dodge the opportunity to appear on Sunday Square Off?

Andy Biggs Confronted

photo courtesy TV-12 News

No one seems to remember the last time Andy Biggs appeared on Sunday Square Off let alone appeared on any other weekly political show. Our best research indicates that Biggs made an appearance on the show in late February, 2011 to discuss abolishing Medicaid.

Senator Biggs may be camera shy or perhaps uncomfortable with Brahm Resnik or maybe he would rather not discuss tough issues like the recent KidsCare legislation, but that doesn’t explain why he also skipped a recent East Valley candidate forum in CD-5.

Our guess is that the Biggs campaign is maintaining a low profile in an effort to avoid causing more controversy for itself. Dodge the media, avoid answering hard questions, avoid saying anything controversial and hope for an easy win.

When you’ve never had any tough electoral challenges in the 14 years you’ve been a politician, it doesn’t make you prepared or even qualified for a promotion to higher office and that’s where the work gets even harder. It’s time to answer the hard questions.

Sunday Square Off Appearance Brought Maricopa County GOP Fight To Head

What brought last week’s Maricopa County Republican Executive Guidance Committee intra-party fight to a head was the negative public relations generated when Chairman Tyler Bowyer made an appearance on Sunday Square Off three weeks ago. During that interview with Brahm Resnik, things got heated – more heated than normal between Resnik and his typical guests.

This led to the largest response by viewers of any Sunday Square Off show this year. During the following week’s show, a response by Aaron Borders, 2nd Vice Chairman for the Maricopa County GOP, took direct aim at Chairman Bowyer.

That public joust most likely led to last week’s fight during the monthly EGC meeting when Borders offered a resolution for a “no confidence vote” by the committee. (Sonoran Alliance will publish that resolution in another post.)

Here are the video clips from each Sunday Square Off show:

http://www.12news.com/videos/news/politics/sunday-square-off/2015/10/25/74595374/

http://www.12news.com/videos/news/politics/sunday-square-off/2015/11/06/reaction-heated-to-bowyer-interview/75306384/

 

 

Statement by Mark Brnovich on the fallen and seriously wounded Phoenix Police Officers

Mark Brnovich- skinny horizontal logo

Mark Brnovich issued the following statement today regarding the fallen and seriously wounded Phoenix Police Officers:

“Yesterday, Arizona lost a 21-year veteran who dedicated his life to protecting our community and saw a 9-year veteran seriously wounded. This is a sad reminder for everyone, myself included, of the danger our men and women in uniform face every day on our streets. We must reflect and pray for what they do and also pray for the families of both the brave fallen officer and the 9-year veteran also injured, but thankfully, recovering from surgery.”
“Yesterday proved a horrible day for Arizonans as we saw one of our heroes fall. We must stay strong and remember the sacrifices that they and their families make day in and day out as we continue to pray and stand by all of these brave souls.” -Mark Brnovich

Maricopa GOP Chair Rallies LD Censures

To all Arizona County and LD Republican Committee Chairmen –
Below is the front page article of the July 15 Arizona Capitol Times. I want to express my appreciation to those courageous and principled County and LD Republican Committees who have already conducted votes of “censure” and/or “no confidence.”
Jan Brewer, the legislators and their crony capitalist friends that support ObamaCare and Medicaid expansion have betrayed Americans, Arizona Republicans and the Republican Party Platform.  Their lack of ethics, integrity and egregious acts are motivated by only two things – greed and the lust for power – at the expense of hard working tax paying Americans.
The law was expected to cost $898 billion over the first decade when the bill was first passed, but this year the Congressional Budget Office revised that estimate to $1.85 trillion.  Money that will have to be borrowed from the Chinese or printed in the backroom of the Federal Reserve.  Latest polls indicate a majority of Americans are opposed to ObamaCare and Medicaid expansion with an overwhelming majority of Republicans in opposition.
During the past six months, we did everything we could to make a solid argument against ObamaCare and Medicaid expansion, we tried to reason with these people and even tried to make them see the light.  Unfortunately, our lobbying efforts fell on deaf ears and without success.
During one of Ronald Reagan’s difficult political battles he said,
               “When you can’t make them see the light, make them feel the heat.”
I’m asking all the County and LD Republican Committees to make these people feel the heat by passing public censures for their actions.  They are elitists who think what they have done should be forgiven. They are mistaken.  We are not going to be able to defeat all of them, but we can defeat a majority of them in the 2014 Primary Election.
You can go to “MCRC Briefs” and get examples of public censures that have already been passed.  http://briefs.maricopagop.org/  Just type “censure” in the search field on the left.
Warmest regards,
 A. J. LaFaro
Chairman, Maricopa County Republican Committee
P.S.  Please encourage all of your PCs to keep up their daily efforts in getting petition signatures for www.urapc.org  Getting ObamaCare and Medicaid expansion on the November 2014 ballot will be historic for Arizona’s grassroots conservatives.

Rev. Jarrett Maupin to Attend, Speak Out Against Glendale – Phoenix Coyotes Deal

Civil Rights Activist, Rev . Jarrett Maupin will attend tonight’s Glendale City Council meeting and speak against keeping the Phoenix Coyotes NHL Team in the city. “We must stop the abuse of Glendale’s hard working tax payers, people of color, the jobless. We must work to find a solution, without the NHL, that helps the city and relieves some of the financial burdens her citizens are carrying,” Maupin says. 

Glendale, AZ – Arizona Civil Rights activist, the Rev. Jarrett Maupin says he will be present at tonight’s Glendale City Council meeting to protest the city keeping the Phoenix Coyotes Hockey team and “bending to the will of NHL leaders and Investors with no love or loyalty” to the city and it’s residents.

Maupin labels the deals that prospective ownership and investors have pitched as unfair, “Glendale is not the NHL’s sugar-mama, poor folk in this city are not interested in being possibly paid back in the hereafter,” he says. With 11.9% of Glendale families living under the federal poverty level, the Preacher says city leaders must do what’s in the best interests of their poorest constituents. He hopes Glendale Councilman Sammy Chavira stands up for black, latino, and poor families with nothing to gain from making a deal. “As a firefighter he should understand that cutting city services puts people’s lives in danger, cutting city jobs takes bread off people’s tables, draining the city’s accounts harms the quality of life of poor and underserved residents the city should be serving first and who needs the help the most,” Maupin says.

Maupin will speak at tonight’s meeting to ask city leaders to move forward with a plan to solicit bids for an Arena Management contract. The Activist feels multiple events and varied use is the key to Glendale’s success: “Concerts, expos, sports events, fairs, and other entertainment events need venues. Multiple-uses mean thousands of revolving jobs. The potential for putting people to work, particularly the low-skilled, increases explosively.”

“This is about jobs and fixing a municipal budget weakened by exploitation,” Maupin says, “The NHL and investors will just keep on using Glendale, until they use it up. This cannot be, it is not fair.”

Consultant Legislators: A conflict of interest?

In the most general of terms, a conflict of interest is “a set of circumstances that creates a risk that professional judgment or actions regarding a primary interest will be unduly influenced by a secondary interest.”

In Arizona, there really are no rules governing legislative conflict of interest statutes.  Essentially, as long as at least 10 people benefit from a piece of legislation, there is no conflict of interest.  Should allegations of conflicts of interest arise, there’s really nothing anyone can do about it.  Arizona is one of only nine states without an independent organization to oversee ethics comp

ethicsIt is not uncommon for legislators to sponsor or vote on bills that affect their personal career industry.  When you have a “citizen legislature” it’s impossible to not vote on bills that relate to education, doctors, lawyers, real-estate agents, landlords, etc.  But what about political consultants?  Does that pass the “citizen legislature” smell test?

The Arizona Republic pointed out earlier this year that there are a number of lawmakers who run or work for consulting firms whose scope of work remains unclear.  The campaign disclosure forms do not require lawmakers to reveal their clients, making their potential conflicts of interest even murkier.  But, some of these contracts are no doubt related to campaigns and public policy objectives.

House Minority Leader and potential Democratic candidate for Governor Chad Campbell lists “public affairs consulting” for Inspired Connections on his financial disclosure form. The “About Us” page for Inspired Consulting does not list Campbell as a member of their staff and it is unclear what his role is with the firm.  Other state legislators who serve as “consultants” include Sen. Al Melvin, Sen. Steve Gallardo, and Rep. Ruben Gallego.  Melvin recently made news by announcing he’s exploring a run for governor.

Former LD15 State Senator David Lujan (and good friend of Kyrsten Sinema) directed an independent expenditure effort against Republicans during the 2012 election cycle.  “Building Arizona’s Future” spent over $700,000 in the last cycle defeating Republicans, funded in large part by national Democratic money from D.C. that Sinema helped direct into Lujan’s committee coffers.  Lujan is now running for Phoenix City Council District 4.

This isn’t the first foray in the consulting arena for Campbell or Lujan.  In 2007 Campbell and Lujan formed a political consulting firm with then Democratic legislator and colleague Kyrsten Sinema.  It is unclear what Forza Consulting did or whom they represented, but according to records with the Corporation Commission the LLC still remains “open.”

Democratic Representative and rising star of the Left Ruben Gallego currently has the most prolific consulting background.  Before being elected to office in 2010, Gallego previously spent time with Valley PR firm Reister, and also served as Chief of Staff for Democratic Phoenix City Councilmember Michael Nowakowski.  He was also the Vice Chair of the Arizona Democratic Party.  Gallego’s wife, Kate Gallego, is running for Phoenix City Council in District 8 to replace term-limited Councilmember Michael Johnson.

Ruben Gallego is listed as the Director of Latino and New Media operations for Strategies360’s Arizona office.  Gallego works with Director of Arizona Operations Robbie Sherwood, a former reporter for the Arizona Republic and former Congressman Harry Mitchell’s Chief of Staff.

10-veterans-videoDuring the 2012 election cycle, Strategies360 was paid by the Yes on Prop 204 committee (“Quality Education & Jobs”) to handle communications on behalf of the union-funded campaign.  Prop 204 proposed the single-largest permanent sales tax increase in Arizona’s history and was viewed by many as a “special interest giveaway.”  Voters defeated the proposition nearly 2-to-1

Strategies360 was also paid at least $10,000 during the 2012 election cycle to handle “earned media outreach & strategic communications” for the Arizona Accountability Project (AAP).  The AAP was one of the chief committees used to funnel liberal money into the last election cycle to defeat Republican candidates.  AAP spent almost $600,000 last election cycle targeting Republicans including efforts against Jerry Lewis, Joe Ortiz, Frank Antenori, and John McComish.  They also did work in support of Democrat Tom Chabin.

Strategies360 was involved in the 2012 election to defeat Sheriff Joe Arpaio and is currently involved in the present effort to recall Arapaio.  Recently, Gallego appeared at a “Respect Arizona” rally (the group organizing the recall).  Also present at that event was Minority Leader Chad Campbell.

During 2012, Gallego even helped lead the efforts of the group opposing Arpaio, Citizens for Professional Law Enforcement PAC.  Arpaio’s campaign manager at the time, Chad Willems, questioned the financial motivations of Gallego and others:

“This is just another group out there of people lining their pockets,” Willems told HuffPost. “It seems like a full-time employment group for these guys.”

Gallego’s reach into the far-Left elements of the Democratic Party are deep.  He even served as the professional consultant for Planned Parenthood Advocates of Arizona during the 2012 cycle, orchestrating their attacks against pro-life Republicans.  His firm was paid nearly $5,000 in consulting fees, and they were paid more than $20,000 to handle the mail program attacking several Republican lawmakers and candidates.

Let me be clear: there’s nothing illegal about what Gallego or his firm is doing.  Consultants on both sides of the political spectrum are involved in these sorts of efforts every cycle.  Some would argue this is no different than the efforts of the Senate President and the Speaker of the House and their Victory Funds last cycle.  That’s a fair comparison, but unlike Gallego (and possibly other legislators), the President and the Speaker were not financially compensated for their involvement.

Current Arizona statute provides for a one-year ban on former legislators serving as lobbyists after they leave the legislature.  Specifically, ARS 38-504(a)(b) state that for one year, a former public officer, including legislator, shall not represent another person for compensation before the legislature concerning any matter with which the legislator was directly concerned and personally participated.For two years after he or she leaves office, no public officer, including legislator, may disclose or use for personal profit information designated as confidential.  Further, section c states:

A public officer or employee shall not use or attempt to use the officer’s or employee’s official position to secure any valuable thing or valuable benefit for the officer or employee that would not ordinarily accrue to the officer or employee in the performance of the officer’s or employee’s official duties if the thing or benefit is of such character as to manifest a substantial and improper influence on the officer or employee with respect to the officer’s or employee’s duties.

When legislators like Gallego are using their positions of influence to help direct thousands of dollars in independent expenditure efforts designed to defeat their colleagues and change the partisan make-up of their chamber, while simultaneously making money off of these efforts, how is that not a conflict of interest?

ICYMI: TUSK Representatives Discuss Solar Energy Choice in Arizona

Jason Rose of Rose, Moser & Allyn Public Relations and Court Rich of The Rose Law Group, discuss the monopolistic utility challenges to solar energy choice in Arizona on AZ PBS’ Horizon.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Tclm7ER6SRs&feature=share&list=UU_p64g9Ke-gfdR7d-EnYFNQ