Rep Bob Thorpe Deserves Better

The Republican Primary in Arizona’s LD-6 Senate race has taken some unconventional twists and turns. Turns, because State Senator Sylvia Allen, drawn to spend more time with her children and family in Snowflake, decided not to seek re-election earlier this year but then suddenly changed her mind, some say not by choice and under a lot of pressure by operatives. Twists, because GOP “leaders” and self-appointed kingmakers in the district are rumored to have issued primary support and endorsements to keep Allen in the race.

In the House, Representative Bob Thorpe is term-limited and planning to seek the Senate nomination and seat in 2020. The primary was already set between Thorpe and Lt. Col. Wendy Rogers until Allen did an about-face.

State Representative Bob Thorpe

According to reliable sources, Republican donors and activists met in Payson on June 15th behind closed doors where they decided to intervene in the primary against all Republican standards and practices. During the meeting led by Sedona Republicans Dwight and Andrea Kadar, Thorpe was asked to leave the room while Allen remained. Under tremendous pressure, Allen was told to get back in the race as she fought back tears.

What emerged was an endorsement of Sylvia Allen; a dictate not to support Thorpe through money and manpower; and likely, State Senate and House leadership support to help Allen win the primary (probably through a rare employed primary PAC committee). Thorpe’s political consultant even bailed on him and is probably expected to run (and benefit) from the leadership PAC against Thorpe.

Apparently, party leaders are trying to clear the field for Sylvia Allen in order to make it easier for her to keep the seat.

State Senator Sylvia Allen (photo credit: Gage Skidmore)

What is ironic in all this is Sylvia Allen (who this blog is actually a fan of) and her promoters should remember how party leadership treated her back in 2010 when a handful of Eastern Arizona “kingmakers” tried to run her out of the Republican Primary in LD-5. At the time, Allen who had replaced the late Jake Flake and won the seat in 2008, was challenged by Bill Konopnicki. Party leadership wanted Allen out and Konopnicki in but the voters saw things differently. After her two-year term, Allen returned to local government as a county supervisor while rancher Chester Crandell ran and won the seat in 2012.

In August, 2014, State Senator Chester Crandell died suddenly in a horseback riding incident. Allen was chosen to replace Crandell on the ballot where she was once again elected to the Arizona State Senate.

But this post is not about Sylvia. It’s about Bob Thorpe and how he has every right to run for the seat without party leadership’s heavy-handedness. And while this blog has been critical of Thorpe’s legislation, the self-appointed LD-6 political kingmakers should back off, stop pressuring Sylvia to stick around and to let the race play out. Bob Thorpe deserves better and a shot at the nomination. We hope he stays in the race.


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