Rising Stars of GOP – Part 1

There’s a lot of great talent in Arizona politics.  We thought it would be great to run a series highlighting some of those stars.  We’ve come up with a list of names based on conversations with insiders and are our own personal biases.

This is the first of three articles on the rising stars of the GOP and focuses on people who currently serve in public office.  Future articles will include people running for office and people not in office but should be.

In a naval sense, these would be lieutenants and midshipmen now.  But they all have the ability become post-captains and command a ship of the line.

Kirk Adams – the current Arizona Speaker of the House and being in his late 30’s, he has a long career ahead of him.  In only his second term in office, he managed to knock off the previous Speaker.  Such panache reminds one of a dashing young Horatio at the Battle of Cape St. Vincent.  We have to think Kirk’s ability makes him a contender for Congress or the 9th floor someday. 

Jonathan Paton – having raised $500,000 in his first month running for Congress, we fully expect Paton to be commanding a fourth rate 50 gun ship in January.   In civilian terms, he easily beats Gabby Giffords to become Southern Arizona’s Congressman.  And Jonathan, we know you are an army man.

Steve Montenegro – Smart, sweet-natured, often referred to as “adorable”.  He is in his mid-twenties and may be a midshipman now, but its easy to imagine the national Republican Party recruiting him for higher office. Currently taking severe heat from the liberal-wing of the Hispanic community for his support of SB 1070, he continues to work on what’s right. 


Gary Pierce – Serving on the Corporation Commission, we could say Gary already commands a sloop.  But Gary’s letter to the LA City Council suggesting that Southern Cal should boycott power from Arizona, gave Arizonan’s their own rally monkey.  Who knew you could gain national attention by serving on the ACC?

Michelle Reagan – Michelle is a perennial vote getter in her district.  While many conservatives diapprove of some of her votes (including the good Admiral), she does have a center-right voting record that fits Scottsdale well.  And her last name doesn’t hurt!  If Harry Mitchell manages to keep his seat in 2010 (please Lord don’t let that happen!), Michelle would be a likely favorite in 2012.

Steve Pierce – a rugged rancher from Prescott.  In only his first term in the state senate, he assumed a leadership post as Majority Whip.  Its fair to say that had he decided to challenge Ann Kirkpatrick for Arizona’s first Congressional District, he would be selecting curtains for his office on Capitol Hill.

Russell Pearce – An icon and force in Republican politics.  In fact, he is as much a force in Arizona as Sarah Palin is nationally.  Senator Pearce need only smile and choose his path at this point.  Should Rep. Jeff Flake move on, Russell would take that seat without much competition.  Heck, he might be able to take Flake’s seat now.

Of course, no list would be complete without our current Governor Jan Brewer.  She has double-digit leads against her primary and general election opponents, and national name ID due to her defense of Arizona.  She’s cruising to reelection and come January, she’ll be full Admiral and in full command of the Arizona’s waters.

Two honorable mentions are Phoenix City Councilman Sal Dicicio and Chandler City Councilman Jeff Weninger.  These are future mayors.


  1. HondoScott says

    I think the most telling indicator is the tenor of the attacks coming from the Kelly camp. Look at the venom spewing out of Jesse’s folks. Anyone who would call Jonathan Paton a RINO, A RINO for goodness sake, REALLY (and I mean REALLY) has no clue about his background or his record.

    When Gabby Giffords turns out the light at night she is worried about only ONE candidate, and that is Jonathan Paton. She is praying for a miracle–that the people who Jonathan has honrably represented will be hoodwinked by a slick newcomer who is less than half an inch deep on the issues that matter to his recently adopted domicile. That’s not going to happen… and the Democrats are DAMNED scared of Jonathan Paton.

    He has beaten them again and again…and again. And Jonathan will do it AGAIN!

  2. Jonathan Paton is the most uninspiring candidate I’ve seen in awhile. I went to the forum last weekend and the debate that was held a few weeks ago. It was clear that Paton was trying to save face this weekend after being humiliated again at another debate. All the signs were a little much – I mean its not like it was a bunch of random supporters putting them out – it was his staff and volunteers. Problem for him is that you can’t fake grassroots support. He can have all the money in the world but it’s not going to be enough this time around.

  3. HondoScott says

    Well, I attended a Paton event in Tucson in June and the 250+ folks there seemed pretty darned fired up… Nothing fake about it. A good friend of mine attended another event in Sierra Vista and the same thing… And I was told there were a lot of converts to the Paton Campaign.
    I would submit that you were uninspired because you are committed to someone else.
    Interesting that you say, “…I mean its not like it was a bunch of random supporters putting them out – it was his staff and volunteers…” Volunteers… Hmmm… Oh yeah, those would be his… What’s the word? Oh yeah, SUPPORTERS!

    How about pushing the positive aspects of your guy? Exorcise yourself of that negative energy. Think positively. Be a happy warrior, like Reagan. Don’t be angry.

  4. HondoScott- I’m not angry at all – just pointing out the facts. Funny that you would accuse me of having “negative energy” after your rant above. And I don’t need to push the positive aspects of my guy. He’s doing damn well on his own. That’s called having confidence in my candidate – something you Paton people obviously don’t have based on your sad attempts to prove that he has and “army” of support.

  5. Let’s see random supporters would come and put up signs–how would they know to do that. Oh, yes, maybe that’s what the Kelly campaign has to count on-random supporters. I wouldn’t think that is how it works. Volunteers were contacted and you can see by the number of signs they showed up to get the job done. Our volunteer/support base grows daily. The sign project was well organized by our staff. Actually we don’t count the fans on facebook as either supporters or volunteers-since probably a large number of them do not even reside in CD8. Had Jesse Kelly’s campaign been the ones to have the staff and volunteers to put up the signs (if they had thought of it) the signs would have been just fine and dandy and not a bit much. I think it was quite a coup for our side.

    As for being humiliated-I think not–just because Jesse yells like an impetuous child does not make him right. My mom used to tell me that when I was trying to convince her of something that wasn’t quite right. I believe the voters are starting to see that the Kelly campaign is trying to convince them he is right by having him speak very loudly — everyday more and more are joining Paton’s Army.

    Jesse charges folks $100.00 to sit at a table with him for the Goldwater Luncheon. If we had any seats left you could sit with Jonathan for $50.00–the cost of the table.

  6. Yeah I noticed that Paton copied Jesse and got a table after he announced he was getting one. He copies everything Jesse does because what he has been doing is not working! You can’t have high dollar fundraisers with people from Phoenix and expect that to be enough. People are sick of politicians, Connie.

  7. Oh, but what Jonathan does IS working!!!!!

    What has Jesse had high dollar fundraisers in Phoenix?–is that why he charges an extra $50.00 cause it isn’t working?

  8. my vote is for Jonathan. I plan to talk to all my Republican and independent buddies to do the same.

  9. HondoScott says

    Way to go, Jane!

  10. HondoScott says

    Angry Janet… “you Paton people…” Next, you’re gonna yell at us kids to gt off yer lawn.

    Jonathan is the best candidate, with the record to back up his lifelong commitment to Southern Arizona and to the United States. No other Southern Arizona Republican legislator has driven more Southern Arizona Democrats more insane, at least since Barry Goldwater’s glory days.

    Jonathan Paton drives Gabby into a cold sweat and he will be a great Congressman. No rant, just a fact.

  11. The Republican Party is once again seems to be circling the wagons around Brewer who has raised our taxes among other things and endorsed by McCain great company to keep look out for her. Now Montenegro in LD-12 is supporting Sen.Nelson who has a low rating in the 40s and if he’s such a rising star why would he support such a falling one, out of fear of not getting support if Nelson is reelected great reason to support a RHINO what type of Character does he really have and that includes the other legislator in 12 along with Trent Franks all great servants of the people who support a Rhino like Nelson another group of politicians as usual. God Bless You All; Van the Radio Man

  12. The word up here in the Valley is that Paton is a “closet” McCainiac.

    Any truth to the charge?

  13. Jonathan Paton = McCain Puppet

  14. @ Mac
    You accuse the Kelly campaign of handing out “a packet of lies.” Are you referring to the packet where they point out some critical votes in Jonathan Paton’s past?
    Why does Paton hide from his record? Everything in that packet is sourced. Are you saying the Arizona legislature’s website is lying?
    Jonathan Paton is a weak moderate with no “guts.”
    It is because of people like him (big-spending republicans) that we are in this mess. We cannot afford to make the same mistake again.

  15. Can we all just take a moment to look at comment number 18 and have a good long laugh?

  16. Cynic–you chose a good name–I don’t believe Jonathan Paton is anymore a McCainiac than Jesse Kelly–Jonathan Paton did not ask for Sen. McCain’s endorsement–Jesse Kelly did. Kelly supporters seem to take everything Jesse says as the gospel truth. That’s a dangerous choice, in my opinion.

    I asked Jonathan Paton to explain his record when I saw what Jesse put on his website. I have asked him to tell me why he supports/doesn’t support certain items. Just because I support/volunteer for his campaign does not mean that I take everything he says at face value. He has never neglected to set the record straight and I have researched many of the areas I have questioned. JOIN PATON’S ARMY-we are always welcoming recruits–395-2024

  17. NidanGoju says

    Either of the three candidates (sorry..I am not informed enough to speak on Mr. Quick), Kelly, Miller, and Paton (all good men I believe) would be a massive improvement over the current office holder and, as all three have expressed themselves, the eventual primary winner should have our support.

    That being said I have one fear if Mr. Paton gains the nomination. The fear that Giffords will push his history with the Payday Loan industry all the way to another term for herself. I can see her ads now. Here is “Mr. Payday Loan”.

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