State GOP Race Establishes New Precedent


James Gang Christmas Card

One of the most interesting observations in the race for the GOP state chairmanship is the use of new campaign tactics and tools. Unlike in year’s past, the candidates are now going all out to rack up votes. Since 1990, I have attended every state party meeting and have witnessed the traditional campaign methods of putting out flyers and candidate stickers the day of the election. Over the years, some candidates have even made personal phone calls to the state committeemen.

This year is different and will certainly set precedent as the candidates are now using other tactics to communicate to the GOP state committeemen.

This Christmas, I received a lovely Christmas card from Lisa James and her family. The day after Christmas, National Committeeman Randy Pullen, sent a letter detailing his qualifications to be the next GOP chairman. (Some of you may recall that I publically endorsed Randy Pullen for National Committeeman four years ago while I was serving as Executive Director of Arizona Right to Life. Randy narrowly won that race by four votes against three-term Mike Hellon.)

What I didn’t expect to see this year in the race for state chairman is a candidate website. Lisa James recently put up her own website touting her credentials, bio and a plan and why she should be elected party chair. I guess I really shouldn’t be surprised since this is the new “must do” for any candidate seeking office and Lisa has a strong public relations background. I just didn’t expect to see this much effort put into a party race, but given the relatively cheap cost to host a short-lived website, we should get used to it.

Maybe I should consider putting up a website when I run for precinct committeeman again in two years?

Then there are the blogs – much like this one – that are all over this race for party chairman. Four years ago, we certainly had the web but blogs were not utilized to get the word out. Local political blogs like SonoranAlliance, HotAZitGets and EspressoPundit have found a new niche to expound on these party races and get information out way in advance and at real-time paces.

Personally, I think the more information we have the better off we are in knowing where these candidates stand. BUT, and I want to emphasize this, not all information is perfect and must be read with great skepticism. Yes, it is very easy to throw out info on anyone for the entire world to read, but if that information is libelous or slanderous, the danger is that the “poster” and ultimately the blog’s credibility is put into question. So I heed a warning to both reader and poster – Don’t believe everything you read without checking the facts. Most of the blogs do indeed link to 3rd party sources and this helps.

Back to my original idea. Expect the race for State Chairman to heat up as the election draws near. I wouldn’t be surprised to receive a few autodialers and mass emailings for this race. My guess is that both candidates will not take anything for granted and leave no stone unturned. If you are a state committeeman, you will be mailed, emailed and called. This race is tight and both sides are using every resource and tactic to win.

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