By Chris Herring
As the newly elected MCRC Chairman I feel it is vitally important that the relationship between the county party and the AZGOP be healed. Discord between the two has festered for too long, makes the party weaker, and is a public black eye to the conservative cause.
Key to a healthy working relationship is a foundation of trust. Trust that no matter our disagreements we all work towards the same goals, Republican victories, not personal ambitions.
Unfortunately I now have serious concerns regarding my ability to trust one of the candidates who may direct the AZGOP if elected.
Below you will see outlined multiple occasions over the last several months where I was purposefully lied to and misled by Jim O’Connor. The below have nothing to do with his personal politics or his goals for the party, on which O’Connor stated to me personally that we largely are in agreement. These examples show that with repeated actions by Jim, I cannot trust what he tells me face to face, looking me in the eye.
On September 7th Jim pulled me aside in the office of the AZGOP to discuss his intent to run for AZGOP chairman. I told Jim during this conversation of my intent to run for county chairman. Jim was aware that I was thinking about running and that was one reason he wanted to talk to me. He wanted to assure me that he would stay neutral no matter who may run against me. He said it was important he stayed neutral because if we both won we would need to work together. I agreed with him. Unfortunately he was lying.
After the meeting I was pulled aside by another person in attendance and informed that Jim was attempting to recruit a candidate to run against me and was trying to organizing meetings for people to meet the possible candidate. The exact opposite of staying neutral as he went out of his way to assure me just hours before. I never asked him to do that. He intentionally pulled me aside to try and deceive me.
Over the next two months I was contacted on multiple occasions by PCs across the county stating that Jim had personally talked to them and shared his negative feelings about me. Fortunately for me some of the people he was speaking with knew me personally and knew that the misinformation he was spreading was false.
Finally I had enough. I reached out to Jim through mutual friends and asked him to speak. I shared the information I had been told about him talking to others about me. Jim responded that he “had concerns” but had never reached out to me about them. He also shared that he had indeed been trying to personally recruit someone to run against me but despite significant effort hadn’t found anyone. This conversation took place on December 1st.
I invited him to ask anything he wanted and he spent over 2 hours doing just that. When we were done Jim said he felt we were far more aligned than he thought, I had addressed all his concerns, and he had no plans to back anyone else for county chair. Wonderful.
Unfortunately that was also untrue. Jim left the call stating he would set up meetings for me to meet other PCs so they could get to know me. Of course this never happened.
Twice more I met with Jim in December both on the phone and face to face, meetings he initiated. I asked about meetings he said he would arrange, he said he still would and praised me on the good job I was doing on my campaign.
Unfortunately he was secretly helping my opponent. I didn’t share with Jim but I was already aware that his continued outreach to me was disingenuous. But I wanted to see if he would come clean or continue going out of his way to lie to me.
As the election approached I stopped talking to Jim. Unfortunately he didn’t stop his deception. The day of the election he expressed well wishes and praise to me. After the election PCs came up to me and shared that Jim was personally going around to PCs during voting asking them not to vote for me.
It’s fine that he opposed me. It’s an election, people pick sides. But how can I trust someone who consistently went out of their way to privately pull me aside and then repeatedly lie and try to convince me I should trust him, when he was actively working against me.
If deception, deceit, and back room shenanigans are what you want for the AZGOP then vote for O’Connor. But don’t expect this county chair to trust a thing he says or does. I’m done believing his lies.
Chairman, Maricopa County GOP