Money Talks

This is going to be one of those posts where I get to vent in the beginning but more importantly, I’m going to ask you what we (GOP) needs to do to get back on track.

The Arizona Republic is reporting that the Arizona GOP is running well behind Democrats when it comes to raising money and registering voters.

According to the Matthew Benson’s article:

The state’s Republican Party has fallen far behind in fundraising, trailing Democrats by a more than 3-to-1 ratio so far this year.

Nearly the same ratio holds true for new voters signed up during the past year. Since October 2006, just one in every 10 new voters has registered with the GOP, a startling percentage in a state long dominated by the Republican Party.

Well, money and registered voters. Arizona Republicans have been lagging in that area, too. The party still has a 140,000-registered-voter edge, but that advantage has narrowed with the addition of nearly 31,000 Democrats in the past year. Growing fastest of all: independent voters. That voter bloc, now more than 750,000 strong, represents the key swing group in the upcoming election and those going forward. 

The most recent reports reveal that Democrats have raised $1.41 million dollars while Republicans have raised $441,000 year to date.

Now I know some of you are going to point all the blame at Randy Pullen because you’re still bitter about the GOP leadership election back in January, but that’s not fair. There are many factors for the status quo of the party including:

  1. The war in Iraq
  2. President Bush and go-along Republicans spending like crazy,
  3. Republican scandals (Rick Renzi, Mark Foley, Jack Abramoff, Larry Craig, Randy “Duke” Cunningham, etc.),
  4. And of course, a party divided on immigration

Yes, these are some of our biggest problems and a view of the glass half-empty. But because we’ve been so focused on the negative, its time we acknowledge we should focus on the positive.  

So I’m going to ask you to offer solutions. Before you start commenting wildly on this post, I’m going to ask that you not dogpile on state leadership. This is not about Randy Pullen and conversely, its not about sitting around singing “Kum Ba Yah.” It’s about the future: 12 months, five years and 25 years from now.

Here are a few of my suggested solutions:

  1. The GOP has to clean its own house. We can no longer afford to look the other way on situations that point out hypocrisy and question our credibility. This is critical on issues fundamental to our party platform.
  2. Put an end to out-of-control spending! It’s time to go on a beans and rice diet, pay down our debt and live within our budget. 
  3. Give a vision to the American people of where this country will be in 5, 10 and 25 years. This should include strength against Islamo-facism, assimilating immigrants into American culture (and not the other way around) and demonstrating political courage and will on fixing the Social Security fiasco (let us get out of the system)

Now it’s your turn.


  1. There are hundreds, more like thousands, of R’s who feel absolutely no connection with the state or even national party beyond their party affiliation. The fundraisers are designed for the big bucks donors to drop a grand and have a chicken lunch; the workers are most likely the grassroots people with time on their hands or the ability to access a way into the active roles. But by and large many, many R’s have no idea of how they can or why they should be involved beyond their vote.

    They feel marginalized by the need for big donations to gain access to the “beautiful people” of the party and fear they would be seen as irrelevant if they tried to. Volunteering might open them up for a donation request and they have yet to develop an appreciation for the need to do so.

    A successful effort to bring in the masses with the full appreciation of what they represent to the party, which is every bit as valuable as the committed support and generosity of the Jim Click’s of the world, will be the difference for years to come.
    There needs to be a vigorous attempt to reach this group of people. They represent millions of dollars and countless hours of work, word of mouth endorsements, and legitimacy in their neighborhoods. The engagement of these folks would revitalize the party for years.

  2. GOP Boomer Gal says

    I’m a precinct committeman and very active in the local (Pima County) Party. I’m far from rich, but I donated over $700 to the local party ; called “Grand Eagle”. I feel like “Grand Jackass”.

    In past years, Trunk ‘n Tusk and GEs were treated to luncheons and dinners with congressmen, etc.

    Well, November 6 Congressman Mike Pence is coming to Tucson for a fundraiser for the party, and the cost is $250 a person….doesn’t matter if you already donated.

    Not all workers can afford to drop $250 for a single night; and I believe the workers of the party should be rewarded.

    PS Next year they’re not getting a dime from me.

  3. I agree with Ann’s assessment. I know many GOP friends who contribute small amounts but are unable to consider large donations because they are trying to live out the conservative value of the primacy of the family. They are having more children on average, and to provide a full-time mother for those children on one income stretches their resources. The professional dads are feeling the squeeze too, with more and more hours added to their work week and scarce time to meet their families needs.

    The model of precinct meetings on a weekday night; fundraising dinners that require a large donation, babysitter, and dressing up; and grassroots activities that only adults can perform doesn’t fit with these families lives.

    Families can be a mighty force if recruited as a unit.

  4. Our Republican Congressional delegation continues to do nothing to help with fundraising. The Democrats have their delegation’s help and an incumbent Governor. That makes a really big difference!

  5. Tim S: The Republican Congressional delegation has no reason to help the State Party. Maybe next time the State Party will not bite the hand that feeds them. They cant attack the delegation and then expect them to help fundraise to keep the lights on and further the attacks.

  6. Solutions Please!

  7. Constitution & Platform Guy says

    It would be helpful if the Congressional delegation got off of their high horse, arrogance, and listened to the peons for a change. They are suppose to work or us after all. They lose the State Chair they want, and now they refuse to lend any support to the party to make the grass roots pay for voting Pullen as State Chair. Just what they tell us never to do. Well McCain, Kyl, Flake & Shadegg might just get what they want. And we can thank them all for taking us over the cliff.

  8. Constitution & Platform Guy,

    I don’t think you’re connecting the dots. Arizona’s congressional delegation can show up at all the fundraisers they want but if the grassroots folks that Ann and Carol refer to don’t show up because they’re too busy raising families or making ends meet (to offset their federal tax burden), it ain’t gonna make a dime’s worth of difference. The one thing the GOP has going for it are the number of grassroots workers and last-minute voters who show up on election day. We have the numbers. It’s just that we are mad as hell about the way they’ve conducted themselves and squandered our vote(s). And we ain’t gonna vote for the Dems. So the solution is to make them feel some heat by letting them know by letter, email, phone, fax, blogs and votes.

  9. Come on guys, if I can resist so can you. DSW is right…solutions…let’s work on this one or it is going to work us.

  10. I believe the biggest reason for the success of 1994 when the GOP took back Congress was that we nationalized our issues. We actually believed in something and then went out and sold the vision to the American people. Newt gets a lot of credit for this – as he should.

    But we lost our way and we lost one person who could articulate it.

    Now we are scattered and the President is consumed with the war.

    I’m betting that if one of the GOP Presidential candidates could break out of the campaign game, present a strong vision that would capture the hearts and minds of the American people, our party would get unified again and win back authority.

    I want to hear someone in the GOP tell me where he/she wants to lead this country in 5-25 years so I know my children will be secure and prosperous and I don’t have to worry about their future.

  11. As good and necessary as that is, if the state is not held by the Republican majority in voters and turnout it will not be sufficient to prevail.

    We need more than a message, we need a machine. That requires organization AND unity. Check your ego at the door and common goals must be the mission.

  12. My post wasn’t pointing fingers for the sake of pointing, it was making the point that the heaviest hitters who raise the most dollars are not helping. In fact, the data suggests that they are actually blocking big names from coming to town to raise money for the GOP. Ann says we need unity and I’ll agree with her. I just want to see our delegation practice what it preaches.

  13. I wonder how much Pederson gives the Dems and what their spending rate is? I remember something about the GOP having three or four staffers and the DEMs having like a dozen?

  14. Why would the Congressional delegation lift a finger to help the state party when state party officials continue to bad mouth them? Also, they don’t want to go down on a sinking ship. Pullen and his supporters have destroyed the Arizona Republican Party by their own actions not the actions or inactions of others. I had high hopes for Randy and wanted him to succeed. Now, I just call it like I see it.

  15. DSW has asked for ideas and solutions to help the GOP win in 2008 but just as important help lead America over the next 20-25 years. As I speak to GOP groups all over the state I have been discussing a three point plan to accomplish these same goals. I emphasize “problem solving over politics.” To simplfy the concept let me suggest 3 colors to identify the principles:




    First concept is GREEN. When I woke up a few moments ago oil was selling for $93 p/barrel. Our party’s leaders must immediately resolve to develop a plan ( much like The Manhattan Project or The Space Programs ) to perfect a new means of vehicle propulsion that does not require carbon fuels. This private industry based effort will be costly but the rewards will far outweigh the investment and help make the USA create an all new industry that rivals the information age we currently lead. Any plan must also include how we deal with the next several years as we develop the new technology and what we do to use our own petro resources for non propulsion needs( packaging,products,etc). This plan would also include a strong reliance on nuclear energy for elctric needs. Our national security is at risk every day we delay this project.

    The second concept is BROWN. Instead of continuing down the current path of alienating current Latinos who too often mistrust the GOP why not appeal as we did in 2004 to Lationo voters who viewed the GOP as the party of opportunity, the party of values,the party of security. We had a bad message in 2006 and we largely lost the positive impact of this voting block and even today we do little to regain the edge which is had through marketing in the Latin commmunity( internet,radio,TV,events). We also ought to be recruiting more traditional Latino candidates to run in Arizona. I have met some fabulous candidate and others giving thought to doing so in 2008. With our legislative strategy we have the perfect vehicle to recruit new elected officials from this community. GOP values are American values. We are for a heck of alot more than just being against illegal immigration. While we continue to focus on border security why don’t we empahsize same to many Latino voters who feel the same way and would support our efforts.

    GREY is the most difficult because it is the most contentious (based upon my observations).

    First, the next President must propose radical reforms in Social Security. If we are successful this will help preserve Social Security benefits for generations who today believe it will never be available to them despite paying more and more into it. Reform of Social Security has to include restraints of Congress for “borrowing from it.” This obviously leads me to say that the GOP leadership MUST reform itself in the future and be more responsible to the folks who elected them. CUT SPENDING. REDUCE THE SIZE OF GOVERNMENT. Remember when we stood for all of those concepts?

    Second, We must also be prepared to tackle Medicare. Not gut it but make it better. Consumer driven. Less red tape with more medical people making medical decisions not bureauracrats. Eliminate the lawyers. More compassionate and less complicated. This is the real program we must deal with because believe it or not Social Security is the easy program to fix in comparison. Take the high ground from the democrats on this . Why should they feel as though they own the issue? We ought to work harder to earn the title as the party of competence.

    The second part of the GREY plank is education. Are you as tired as I am about making excuses for the education here in Arizona? Education must continue to be more based on competition & parent participation. Develop new models that will better prepare children to compete for jobs in the 21st century. This means more tech, construction ,aircraft, healthcare,administrative ,etc training as well as the more traditional academics. Our goal must be to graduate more kids from high schools and if that means doing some radical new ideas then so be it. I am for innovation and giving teachers a greater role in teaching. Remove the multi layers of administarion and Federal red tape and allow them to taech our kids.

    Friends, time and space doesn’t allow me to expand on all of my thoughts here. I thank DSW and others who are concerned as I am about these issues. As National Committeeman I understand that whatever I say can be construed to be party policy. I do not claim such in this posting but I won’t hide that I would like these ideas to find their way into our state and national party.

    It is time to put solutions before politics. It is time to stand up for what is right for Arizona/America as the GOP has always done in our country’s rich history. There are plenty of things to fix within our party and our country. The clock is ticking and the thought of losing the White House or further errosions in the Congress is un thinkable with all what is at risk in today’s America . Are my ideas the answer? Maybe……it is time , though, for all of the GOP to begin thinking about our future and do something positive about it. As I continue to cover the state as National Committeeman I want to listen to the pulse of what’s happening around Arizona. Working together Arizona will remain a solid RED STATE.

    Bruce Ash
    GOP National Committeeman

  16. Bruce,

    Bravo Zulu on an excellent post! This is exactly what we need more of on this thread.

    We have proven ourselves to be a people and party of innovative ideas. And we love to fix problems. Let’s not be like Democrats who constantly criticize the status quo.

    Let’s continue to hear more ideas on how we can fix problems!

  17. On my family theme, I would suggest that the party go to where conservative families are congregating today. Tie-in to patriotic events that are drawing large numbers such as the Gilbert Constitution celebration in September every year and the historic reenactors American Heritage Festival held in November every year.

    Theaters are rentable, and I’ve seen successful events tied to a movie screening. This venue gives an opportunity to address the group beforehand and recruit support for the party.

  18. Nice post Bruce. As for “realist”, that post is nonsense. The idea that the state party “continues” to attack the delegation is junk. They’ve had nothing but nice things to say since the amnesty deal ended months ago. “realist” is not living in reality.

  19. Here is my solution: for Donors who want to give: Donate directly to your CANDIDATE of choice.

    We might disagree on whether or not the state party is doing a good job (I personally don’t — and won’t be donating this year)- but we don’t want to endanger our candidates. So please- Stay Involved: and give directly to your CANDIDATES. They need help.

    I agree with Carol- Candidates should Hold more family friendly events: BBQ’s, Ice Cream mixers.

  20. Excellent post, Bruce. I’ve been told you were bright. You sound like the Republicans I used to belong to.

    Do you have any idea how your GREEN would land in the world of Lord Cheney? You are proposing the country completely transform its entire energy policy. On GREEN, I could not agree with you more strongly, including nuclear power, but do you have any idea who you are messing with?

    Regarding BROWN, is it not the xenophobes on the right (Pearce, Graf, Johnson) standing most in the way? Look at the REALITY of the DREAM legislation. What message does its demise send to the Latino community? Its blockage has GOP written all over it. Also, trying to enact laws denying emergency medical care to children who don’t have papers? I’m actually aligned with the end goal you seek, but bashing illegals not only won’t work, it’s horrible politics.

    Yes, GREY is tough and unavoidable, but what credibility does the GOP have after the 2000-2006 Washington pork fest? Lord Cheney declared before everybody, “We know that deficits don’t matter.”

    Your party has cancer. The solution: surgery and chemotherapy. Repair what can be repaired and remove what can’t. Everything with the RoveCheneyDelayAbramoff malignancy has to go.

    The test (applies to both parties) is rather simple. Do they serve themselves and a tiny set of insiders, or do they serve the people they represent?

    I wish you success, because what’s best for this country is intelligence and effective leadership in BOTH parties. Through no love of Democrats, the nation will turn out en masse to vote AGAINST YOU.

    Do you know how many people live on less than $50K /year? Your party has been screwing them. They see the national debt and who got the money. The same executives now revoke pension commitments as boomers start to retire. People are furious and terrified. I wonder how the people with no health insurance are going to vote.

    The writing is already on the wall (donations, registrations, evangelical philosophical shifts). You hit the iceberg in November 2000. November 2006 dipped your toe in the water.

  21. Whispers: Pullen thinking about resigning

    POSTED 10.29.2007

    Very quietly, talk has circulated in Republican circles that Pullen is considering stepping down as state GOP chairman “for the good of the party,”
    a Republican insider told our reporter today.

    The chief impetuses for such a move, the source said, would be the party’s lack of fund raising this year – the Dems have raised $1.4 million; the Republicans $441,000 in money for federal purposes – and a schism between Pullen and the right wing of the party that got him elected. (Fund raising by state parties will not be reported until February.)

    When Pullen earlier this year asked Republicans to support the employer sanctions law and oppose the Goldwater initiative, he was distancing himself from the very people who propelled him to victory over Lisa James, the Republican source said.

    “Randy’s now the moderate ultra-conservative,” the source said.

    The insider says many within the party have lost confidence in Pullen and have refused to donate to the state party. That lack of fund raising, the source continued, is making more people doubt Pullen’s ability to lead the party.

    “If the vote [for chairman] were held again right now,” the source said, “Pullen wouldn’t win. It wouldn’t even be close.”

    However, a source with ties to the state GOP’s executive board said any rumors Pullen was mulling a resignation were news to him and likely were nothing more than grumblings from those in the party who dislike Pullen.

    The fundraising is also likely to pick up soon, the second source said:
    “After [the Presidential primary election on] February 5, money will start coming in better. Then people will have a candidate.”

    Another Republican close to Pullen called the rumors “laughable.” He said Republicans should be concentrating on electing more Republicans.

    Party director Sean McCaffrey said he would not comment on remarks made by unnamed sources, then hung up on our reporter.

    A GOP lobbyist told our reporter that concluding the state party can influence elections is a mistake.

  22. I do not proclaim to be a Pullen insider, nor would I want to be. That being said the idea that he would resign is nonsense. That is one reason blogs can be so silly…they can ignite any kind of rumor and see where it goes.
    I do find it hysterical that this Shaun McCaffety guy he has hired would hang hang up on a blogger (now self identified as reporter) now that shows a real ability to manage stress. The good news is that we will not likley have to listen to his blowhard pontificating if he wont tolertate questions he does not like. Perhaps that is why they are looking for a new communications director. What does this guy do anyway?

  23. Mr. Ash presented some very serious and necessary topics of real importance. x4mr responded with his perception of the reality of how those issues play out. Then comes the whisper report. My dislike of Mr. Pullen is no secret and I would not shed a tear if he did resign; but it is a sad day for our party that it is even a point of necessary consideration, by anyone. The words below have no direct indictment of any individual or are they strictly recent reflections. While I do make some very clear references, I reference the general condition of our party and a culture that would evolve to such a place. We own this and must take responsibility to do what it takes or accept our own fate.

    This thread is a snapshot of why our state party numbers are what they are. It all comes down to what I will refer to as RED, as in heart red. We have lost our heart as a party and replaced it with PINK as in personal pork pink. The politics of personal power, eat our own and enjoy it kind of power; cannibalism for survival and ascension on the ladder of recognition and personal prestige. The template of success is to slam others if they have a divergent attitude in hopes they will back off and not return. Exalted role models perpetuate a negative message about elected party members while holding party leadership positions because “They” can, as if the invisible and irregular line of loyalty is theirs to order. Whenever possible, use as much vitriol as you can muster to try to appear strong because you know deep down it is all sizzle and no steak. Jump on the bandwagon of attack rather than take a seat at the table of ideas ….because that would require authentic, inspired thought and not just the loud echo chamber rhetoric designed to appease the red meat crowd while appearing to be in control.

    Hayworth versus Mitchell is a perfect illustration. Perception is reality if it is all they know!

    This is what we are. We have been exposed and cannot hide behind the past positions of influence and tell ourselves it is all OK.

    But, it is not what WE must remain. WE can reject the politics of anger and self-aggrandizement and replace it with justified exuberance to a cause that is bigger than us. WE can reject any leadership that relies on attacks and replace it with the presentation of real, legitimate ideas and supporting actions that prove sizzle alone is a diet of despair and destines us to death by malnutrition. WE can change but it takes all of us to do it.

    Those who choose to hold on to their power by intimidation and tactics of negativity will be rendered irrelevant if change does not occur. It is not a one person or one leadership position change, it is all of us.

  24. Ann:


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