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. 


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