Matt Salmon asks Tom Horne to exit AG race, Will others follow Salmon’s lead?

Matt Salmon

Arizona Attorney General Tom Horne must dread the vision of seeing his caller ID display the phone number of a member of Arizona’s congressional delegation.

One of those calls occurred this afternoon. It was Congressman Matt Salmon.

Salmon was the first in what I would expect to be several calls from high-ranking Republicans and party officials asking the embattled Attorney General to withdrawal from the race. It’s another version of a political landslide – when you lose the vote of confidence of the political establishment.

At this point, we don’t know whether Senator John McCain, Senator Jeff Flake, former Senator Jon Kyl or Congressmen, Gosar, Schweikert or Franks have made that same call.

Like many other Republicans, I would hope those calls happen soon.

Regardless, I applaud my Congressman Matt Salmon for making the first public call.

It’s never an easy thing to talk a candidate out of a race. It’s even harder to convince an incumbent and fellow Republican to withdraw from a high stakes race. Candidates usually have an abundance of money, ego, divine inspiration or an amalgam of all of the above holding them back from making a political humiliating move. The more pressure they feel from their elected peers, the more political reality penetrates their psyche and it becomes an act of sacrifice rather than humility.

A united congressional delegation and the revoked unwritten endorsement by the state party chairman would have that very effect in the case of Tom Horne.

Republicans are supposed to hold to higher ethics because that’s just the inherent nature of a party that respects moral and ethical absolutes. It’s expected of us and its why Republicans suffer tremendous backlash when someone makes a mistake. We’re the party of higher standards and we have an obligation to self-regulate and discipline our ranks.

Then there’s the political reality that Republicans will lose the Attorney General’s seat to a rambunctious and capricious Democrat only to bring her closer to the Governor’s office. Some of us remember all to well the 1998 Primary in which John Kaites and Tom McGovern beat each other up so badly it paved the roadway for Janet Napolitano to take the office of AG and eventually Governor. Let’s be politically smart this time and save the state from another political dark age.

We all owe Congressman Matt Salmon tremendous gratitude for looking into the future and having the courage to make that tough call to Attorney General Horne. Let’s hope others will also see into the future far enough ahead and set us on a path that avoids political disaster.

Thank you Congressman Salmon!


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