Maricopa County Republicans Elect Haney, Pass Resolutions

In what was a very well-attended organizational meeting of Maricopa County Republicans, retired conservative activist, Rob Haney, was handily elected in what was expected to be a hotly contested race between party factions. With over 1,600 Republicans represented either in person or by proxy, Haney won the chairmanship with 861 votes (54%) against LD-21 Chairman, Jerry Brooks’ 733 votes (46%). Leading up to the meeting, Haney had organized a team slate called Traditional Republicans United for the GOP or TRUGOP with Haney at the top of the ticket. Jerry Brooks’ supporters also worked to organize a similar slate.

(Interesting side note: during the last two organizational meeting elections, the use of campaign websites, FaceBook, Twitter, other technology has been used more and more to get candidate information out.)

Although Haney captured the top seat for MC Republicans, the remaining seats were almost evenly split between both slates. Diane Ortiz-Parsons (Brooks) won First Vice-Chair with 818 votes to Diane Douglas’ (Haney)775 votes. Second Vice-Chair went to Haney team member, Jeff Greenspan (841 votes) over Brooks team member, Mike Middleton (744 votes). The position of Treasurer went to Danny Mazza (Brooks) with 820 votes to George Teegarden’s (Haney) 772 votes.

The big surprise came when the race for Secretary ended in a tie between Sandy Doty (Haney) and Kim Owens (Brooks). Both candidates obtained 795 votes each! Owens and Doty agreed to suspending and amending the existing bylaws in order to conduct a detailed recount by hand. If the recount ends in a tie both candidates will flip a coin.

Prior to the vote, each candidate was allowed five minutes to tout endorsers and their plan for the office sought. Jerry Brooks led off the stump speeches but seemed to be confused over the process. When Brooks finally made it to the podium he was only able to bring up former Shadegg Chief of Staff, Sean Noble, to endorse him. Lisa Atkins also attempted to take the stage but it appeared that Brooks’ time had expired leading to further confusion.

When it came time for Rob Haney to speak he practically came sprinting down the center aisle to take the stage (contrast that to Brooks who appeared to be disoriented.) Haney then touted the endorsements of both Sheriff Joe Arpaio and Senator-elect Russell Pearce bringing forth strong applause.

The remaining candidates also brought forth their own group of personal endorsers. Supervisor Fulton Brock spoke on behalf of Diane Ortiz-Parsons and the need for more Hispanics and diversity in the party. Tracy Munsil spoke on behalf of Kim Owens backing up Owen’s conservative credentials. CT Wright also gave a rousing endorsement of Owens and clearly excited the room. But perhaps the most inspiring speech came from Treasurer candidate, Danny Mazza, who spoke on his recent cross-country travels for the McCain/Palin ticket and the critical need to bring younger Republicans into the GOP.

Leading up to the elections, several elected officials spoke including, County Attorney Andy Thomas, Sheriff Joe Arpaio, State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Horne, Corporation Commissioner Gary Pierce and Governor-in-waiting, Jan Brewer. As Brewer took the podium, Republicans jumped to their feet with excitement and the prospect of returning the State of Arizona to a GOP-controlled agenda. Brewer rallied the crowd when she spoke on the party being “in one accord” and standing against the Democrat’s “gospel of big government.”

But it was State Treasurer, Dean Martin, who stole the show when he spoke about his bizarre and volatile encounter with outgoing Governor Janet Napolitano in a meeting in which he warned her that the State of Arizona was rapidly running out of money. (I wrote briefly about this last night.) He referred to Janet “51-foot ladder” Napolitano leaving the state in dire financial straits as she gets “promoted” to Secretary of Homeland Security which oversees border security. Martin’s finale came when he announced that he and Kerry were expecting a baby boy!

After the election of candidates, many state committeemen left the meeting but a quorum remained in order to pass the seven resolutions. After a brief summary of each resolution was read by Resolutions Committee Chairman, David Braswell, a motion was made to pass all resolutions at one time. That motion met opposition with many who wanted to address each one separately. In particular was Resolutions #5 offered by Russell Pearce on the issue of “Rectifying Plyler v. Doe.”

The debate became heated when perennial screamer began shouting and stormed out of the meeting. When a voice vote was taken on whether to vote for all resolutions at once instead of individually, it appeared even. A head count was then performed by each district chairman resulting in passage of the unanimous consent vote on all resolutions. Immediately after that, there is still confusion to whether the actual vote on all resolutions really occurred.

Today’s election may have turned the corner on several internal struggles within the party. For the last few years, some in the party have complained that Haney’s campaign tactics were the reason for recent election losses (LD-11 and LD-20).  Haney has been portrayed as an angry intolerant conservative who was scaring off moderates and independent voters. Leading up to today’s meeting, much of the debate centered around the true level of Haney’s support and whether his role in the party had passed. The result of today’s election obviously tabled that discussion.

Another issue that appears to have been overshadowed is the sanctity of life. Since the late ’80’s, the issue of abortion established an internal litmus test for any Republican seeking party leadership. Party elections were largely driven by who was pro-life vs who was pro-choice. Today, the predominant threshold issue is immigration with free-market conservatives on one side and anti-amnesty conservatives on the other. The issue of immigration has taken over issues platform of the party (with government spending a close second). During today’s electioneering, several candidates pushed their pro-life credentials but almost everyone broadcasted their position on immigration. Although abortion is still a critical issue for many Republicans, immigration has now taken the spotlight.

Finally, many Republicans are looking around and realizing that “they’re not getting any younger.” Speeches made by 25-year-old candidates like Danny Mazza are waking up the old guard to the fact that the party literally needs a face lift by recruiting younger voters.

The 2009 Maricopa County Republican Party leadership election is effectively over. County Republicans no longer have any reason to war against one another. The result is hopefully a blessing in disguise as factions will now be forced to work with one another and make the central focus and goal the election of Republicans. Both sides prevailed. The wisdom of Solomon prevailed and the House is no longer divided.


Comments

  1. Its easy John (nice name!), our party is going in the direction you called for, and its the conservative direction. Our problem is that McCain and several of our party “leaders” want to take us the other direction, and they take great offense at our unwillingness to be led that way. That is why they oppose Pullen, that is why they got James to run again, and that is why I will be voting FOR Randy Pullen.

    Is it too bad that we have to have this argument? It sure is. I would have hoped that we won it two years ago. I would have hoped that we resolved the amnesty argument 18 months ago. But McCain et al will not leave it alone, and they are keeping the fight going.

    We are not wrong to defend ourselves.

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