Myth vs. Reality.

“I’ll make it a top priority to secure the U.S.-Mexico border and stop illegal immigration.” – Harry Mitchell

A reader named Marsha over at Espresso Pundit insinuated that Hayworth and Graf lost their elections because they supported securing the border

It is true that J.D. ran as a tough on the border candidate. But did Mitchell run as an open borders amnesty candidate? No. The ads below show that Mitchell ran a tough and smart campaign that tagged J.D. as corrupt and partisan. So J.D. lost with border security a big part of his campaign. Mitchell won with a campaign about corruption and personality, not on open borders and amnesty.

Here is Harry’s ad hitting J.D. on the corruption charge. Nothing about the border.

Here is another ad that says nothing about the border.

Here is an ad for Mitchell that hits J.D. for reportedly cutting school funding.


  1. OVD,

    You nailed it. Those who think that JD lost because he was too strong on the border didn’t pay attention to the whole campaign. JD has been the darling for “enforcement first” but he had hurt himself with Christians (tons of Indian gambling money) fiscal conservatives (lots of earmarks and voting for bloated budgets) ethics in government types (connection with Jack Abramoff, paying his wife a salary from campaign funds, etc.) and he was just downright unpleasent for the last few months of the campaign.

  2. OVD,

    Your myth vs. reality title is absolutely right on! Thanks to Preston for again giving voice to many of those misperceptions. If it seemed I was “downright unpleasant” for the last few months of the campaign, then I would ask Preston or anyone else this simple question: When you and your loved ones are falsely accused of corruption in malicious attack ads, do you respond by sitting on your hands and smiling pleasantly?
    Perhaps that was the “genius” of the Rahm Emmanuel-run campaign against me: they understood that if I reacted to the false attacks of a “smiling senior,” the nasty nature of those attacks would be ignored, and instead many in the media (and therefore, the voters)would concentrate instead on the aggressiveness of my response.
    As for my work with American Indians, I am happy to stand by my record. When I was first elected (in the old 6th District), one out of every four of my constituents was Native American. I helped establish the House Native American Caucus and was the Co-chair for my entire time in the Congress. Far from “Vegas on the Rez,” I worked on Education, Health, and business issues so vital to ALL of Indian Country today.
    For the record, let me state again: Jack Abramoff donated a total of $2,250.00 (two thousand two hundred fifty dollars) to my political efforts. His last contribution came in 1999. I donated that amount to charity, and contracted tribes who had once used his firms. They told me his representation had NOTHING to do with their support of my efforts.
    My wife worked for TEAMPAC, the leadership PAC we established in the late ’90’s, and there was nothing illegal nor unethical about her employment. In fact, she did work far cheaper than the market rate. It might do everyone well to remember that Congressman Flake had his wife do work on his campaign, and Congressman Shadegg likewise employed a relative– that was both reasonable and proper under the rules and the law.
    As for the spending issues, a little history might be in order: I worked with John Kasich to change the entire way transportation funds were distributed. Our efforts came close, but failed.
    John Rhodes used to tell me that “politics was the art of the possible,” so I was faced with a choice: either reject any funds for our state and district, and watch them go to California instead, or continue to work to change the system, but fight for Arizona’s share.
    I make no apologies for helping secure funds so important to our growing state.
    Finally, to the border: it will be interesting to see what my successor does. So far to quote his criticism of me in the campaign, “He’s done nothing…nothing!”
    The WSJ reports that the Dem leadership has told members from swing districts (guess who) to vote “no” on the amnesty bill, if it gets to the House.
    I would welcome his “no” vote…but it will be fun to watch the “Repugnant” editorial board defend the wisdom of that vote when it again endorses his candidacy in 2008!
    As we say in the radio biz, “Stay tuned!”
    I look forward to the GOP primary, and my new (old)role as a broadcaster on KFYI in Phoenix.
    Finally, thanks to the people of Arizona who allowed me the honor of serving 12 years in the Congress of the United States.
    I think we did some good–especially in cutting taxes, reforming welfare, and rebuilding our defenses in the wake of the Clinton years and 9/11.

  3. Oro Valley Dad says

    J.D. thanks for checking-in. It is always good to hear from the source.

  4. Preston is correct in his expression of the public perception and JD’s explanations are welcome. Unfortunately, perception is reality and Rahm Emmanuel and his Senate counterpart knew that. The horrid ads objectifying children, women, and families over stem cell research, same ad different state different name, was more than enough evidence to show it mattered not what the truth was, only the perception of the voters on that day.

    Hopefully America has learned something from this Dem controlled Congress. Fool me once….

  5. There is one other area of JD’s loss that no one, including JD, seems to want to put on the table. JD and Russell Pearce have been the tow most vocal elected official voices. JD’s book was outstanding and ensured that any open border person was never going to vote for him. The local and statewide media then attacked Rep. Pearce with great venom. They made false allegations, innuendos and outright lies about Russell and JD withdrew his endorsement of Russell in what many felt was a personal and political betrayal. Therefore, many of those who are strong supporters of Rep. Pearce stoppec working for and, I believe, many did not vote for JD for that action. A few have stated in public forums that this was what they did.

    We need to always stand up for our core beliefs and support those under attack – especially those who are under partisan and false attacks. I believe that JD and Russell have put the action in the past as far as their personal feelings are concerned, but we are all living with the consequences of that action with Harry Mitchell in Congress instead of JD.

  6. The famed observation “politics ain’t beanbag,” wasn’t meant only for Mr. Dooley–but for the rest of us,too!
    Given the tenor of the campaign, and the false charges of anti-semitism hurled at me before and after Russell’s regrettable web citation, any action–or inaction– on my part would have been attacked.
    Witness what happened to an incumbent in a neighboring legislative district, courtesy of an eleventh-hour mailer, attacking that incumbent for staying silent on Russell’s web citation. That incumbent lost…so did THIS incumbent…but happily for Russell and the rest of us, he remains in office. I DID NOT endorse Russell’s opponent, but apparently some Pearce backers were so outraged, they voted for my opponent, or chose not to vote in my race. So…GOP PK…like the little girl says on the salt box, “When it rains, it pours!”
    And that’s not even taking into account Iraq OR the traditional “six year itch” that historically affects congressional campaigns.
    Simply stated, my “finishing second” was due to “all of the above…” but it isn’t a multiple choice quiz–this is real life and there are real consequences–on that we agree.

  7. You rock J.D.! I was speaking with a local political consultant and he was amazed that no one has made mention of the relative and appalling lack of support you got from your fellow Arizona delegation members and the state party. They were jealous of you and your high-profile, they opposed you when you ran for house leadership, and they sat silently by while you and Randy Graf were beaten because they didn’t want you and your issues to be seen as representing the majority of the folks in our state.

    I know you can’t agree with me out loud, nor do you have to deny any or all of this. Best bet is to just ignore my post altogether.

    But know that there are good folks out here who know and who understand. We’re rooting for you and those of us who were turned off by Tom Liddy finally have a reason to stay tuned after the Hannity show. God bless you friend!

    p.s. You really should have stood by Russell though. Better to have been attacked for an act of conviction than for what was perceived as political expediency.

  8. John, “help” from the delegation is very much a double-edged sword.

    For example endorsed by John McCain probably doesn’t do much for readers of this blog nor would it do much in a Republican primary. But, in the general in the Fifth? Since, JD’s opponent cited McCain at every turn, my guess is the Independent and “moderate” voters went along with now Rep. Mitchell largely based on the perception that Mitchell said he would vote like McCain on an array of issues.

    While Shadegg moved some money to JD’s campaign, his Republic editorial board slur against JD didn’t help.

    And, if you really want to focus in on the key issue that led to JD’s downfall look no further than redistricting. JD became an “incumbent” in a district that wasn’t his.

    In one of JD’s responses above he mentions the Native American population making up 25% of his old District. It was 0% of his new district. I believe the shift was over 70% new constiuency. Despite the registration advantage, CD5 was never JD’s. The “all of the above” played into a constituency that didn’t experience alot of the good work JD did in his first eight years. Many of those folks had unflattering opinions shaped largely by an agenda-driven media.

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