Olson, Biggs, Stapley – Career Politicians Seeking Arizona’s CD-5

There’s no doubt for Republicans that 2016 will be a year that favors outsiders running for office. Career politicians are out, conservative non-politicians are in.

That certainly is the situation in several Arizona political races and especially in the East Valley.

With the exception of one candidate, Arizona’s 5th Congressional District is crowded with career politicians – though you would never know it based on the rhetoric of the candidates.  In reality, this club of career politicians has a combined total of 38 years in politics!

Let’s look at the messaging of each of these candidates.

Posted all over Justin Olson’s campaign website is the theme that Washington politicians are the problem and he is not one of them. He even claims not to be a career politician and qualifies the statement by stating he hasn’t spent 10, 12 or 14 years in office (a comparison to two of his Primary opponents). Here’s what he doesn’t tell you. Justin Olson was first elected to the Arizona House of Representatives in 2010. By the end of this year, he will have been in office a total of six years. Instead of pursuing a fourth term (Arizona’s Constitution limits legislative office to four terms or eight years per chamber), Olson has decided to jump for the open congressional seat of retiring Matt Salmon. This ambitious and risky move to pursue a federal office has career politician written all over it and it’s why we label him as a career politician. One other note. Olson also takes on lobbyists on his website but fails to disclose that he received almost $27,000 in campaign contributions from PAC’s and special interest groups during his 2014 campaign.

[pullquote align=”right” cite=”” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=””]This ambitious and risky move to pursue a federal office has career politician written all over it[/pullquote]

Andy Biggs is also running on the anti-establishment theme. On his website, Facebook page and Twitter feed , he tries to make the case he’s a political outsider taking on ‘the establishment.’ One of his press releases even touted an endorsement by Ohio Congressman Jim Jordan who stated Biggs would “challenge the Washington establishment.” His website is littered with endorsements from Arizona politicians, Washington insiders and unions.

Andy Biggs has also been working the Arizona political system for almost 14 years. Even before he was elected to the Arizona Legislature, Biggs was part of Matt Salmon’s inner circle during Salmon’s unsuccessful gubernatorial bid in 2002. That same year, he also ran for political office and was elected to the Arizona House. He was term limited out of the Arizona House in 2010 but jumped over to the State Senate in 2011. He’s been there for almost six years. Total time as a career politician -14 years.

[pullquote align=”left” cite=”” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=””]Don Stapley has embraced his inner politician and has no problem expressing public displays of that form of affection.[/pullquote]

Then there’s Don Stapley. Throughout Stapley’s messaging, he is proud of being a career politician. His campaign ad boasts about coming from a family of politicians. And of course, he dotes over his 18 years as a Maricopa County Supervisor. Stapley does rail against regulations by the federal government but unlike the other two aforementioned candidates, Don Stapley has embraced his inner politician and has no problem expressing public displays of that form of affection.

Given the current political times, it’s doubtful that Stapley’s strategy will be a path to victory for the nomination but what else will work for a man who dodged seven felony charges because the judge believed political motivations tainted the case?

Altogether, Olson, Biggs and Stapley bring a total of almost four decades of politics to the CD-5 race.

Even with all the unpredictability of the 2016 elections, there is one constant. Voters will no longer tolerate or elect career politicians – a problem that Justin Olson, Andy Biggs or Don Stapley cannot seem to hide or evade.

Andy Biggs IS the Establishment

In case you missed it earlier today, Arizona Senator Andy Biggs tweeted that he would “take on DC establishment.”

[Audible: vinyl record scratching!]

Did we hear that correctly?

Anyone who has been around politics for any amount of time knows that Senator Andy Biggs has been in politics for 16 years. And, to further argue the point, Biggs has been the ultimate political insider in political backroom dealings.

2016 will be the year of outsiders, not career politicians.

If anyone can speak credibly about taking on the DC establishment, it won’t be someone from the establishment. And it won’t be Andy Biggs who has been the establishment for the last 16 years.

 

Andy Biggs’ Special Fire District Still Burned In My Memory

By East Valley Evan

They say an elephant never forgets. This Republican certainly doesn’t but sometimes it takes an incident to help recall.

The massive fire in Gilbert recently stoked my memory about one of our local politicians who tried to take advantage of a serious public safety threat.

Andy BiggsBack in 2005, Rural Metro notified the Town of Gilbert that they were ceasing operations in Gilbert because it was becoming too expensive to service the town due to the numerous county islands. That provoked a political fight between Gilbert and the county islanders.

In early 2006, county islander and State Representative Andy Biggs jumped feet first into the fight by sponsoring legislation allowing his fellow islanders to form a special fire district that would also pay back the Town of Gilbert for use of their municipal fire service. There was only one problem. The town of Gilbert was not going to recover the full cost of providing that service – an additional $5 million! Gilbert taxpayers like me would have had to pay the difference and subsidize all the folks in the county islands who were receiving Town of Gilbert services.

To add insult to injury, we would have had to pay the start up costs for a year and a half for Biggs’ special district before we even saw any reimbursement for our up front costs.

The Town of Gilbert decided to sue based on the grounds that Biggs’ law was specially catered for his county islanders.

After Gilbert filed the suit, Andy Biggs snuck in another special amendment that would force Gilbert residents to pay the legal fees in lawsuits against the formation of his special fire district. It was written specifically to apply to the Town of Gilbert.

In the first round of legal battles, a judge saw through the special legislation and shot down Biggs’ special law. Unfortunately that the same judge made us pay for the legal costs in stopping Biggs’ unconstitutional law. It ended up costing us over $292 thousand.

The Maricopa County Board of Supervisors, under Don Stapley’s lead, filed an appeal against the lower court’s decision but that case also ended up losing in court. In it’s decision, the Arizona Court of Appeals stated that Andy Biggs’ law failed to be written in a constitutional manner.

This battle over Biggs’ expensive unconstitutional fire district became so heated that it spilled over as an issue in the 2006 elections. Biggs was challenged by a Gilbert resident but ended up winning reelection because most voters thought the issue was settled and other issues dominated. But not this voter.

Fast forward to 2016 and Andy Biggs is now running for Congress in my district. Ten years may have passed and the memories of some voters may have faded but I won’t be voting for Andy Biggs. He’s proven himself time and time again to be the ultimate career politician who’s only interested in one thing – what’s best for Andy Biggs.

It might seem like an eternity in politics but this Gilbert Republican won’t easily forget what’s been seared into memory of how another politician divided a community to serve his own personal interests.

Priorities: Governing vs. Campaigning

By East Valley Evan

It’s that weird time of the political season when conflicts arise revealing where politicians’ priorities really are.

Yesterday, leaders of the Arizona House and Senate reached a deal on how to divvy up sections of Governor Ducey’s budget proposal. That deal will be revealed today.

Setting aside the details of the deal, it’s worth pointing out where leaders of both chambers are spending their time as this process unfolds.

Every legislator acknowledges that the most important part of their job is to pass a budget that establishes the financial priorities for the State of Arizona. It’s what voters elect candidates to do and it’s the epitome of responsibility for legislators once elected.

[pullquote align=”full” cite=”” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=””]When it comes down to governing or campaigning, governing should always take priority.[/pullquote]

Citizens would think and expect leadership in the House and Senate to treat this constitutional obligation with the utmost attention. Apparently that obligation can take a back seat  if you’re a candidate for another office while holding down your leadership position in the legislature.

House Speaker David Gowan got it right (although he is avoiding interaction with members of the media these days) when he skipped a CD-1 candidate forum in Casa Grande Monday night. He stuck around the legislature to make sure the House wrapped up the budget deal.

It wasn’t the same on the Senate side. Senate President Andy Biggs was nowhere to be found in the State of Arizona. Instead, he is making the rounds in Washington, DC trying to raise money for his next government gig. According to the Arizona Republic:

Senate Majority Leader Steve Yarbrough, R-Chandler — who was acting as Senate president while Andy Biggs was in Washington, D.C., Monday fundraising for a congressional campaign… 

Senate President Biggs who has become the professional career politician obviously feels the need to fly back to Washington, rub elbows with lobbyists and return home with a bundle of campaign cash.

Meanwhile, his colleagues in the House and Senate will work through the details on how best to spend Arizona taxpayer dollars.

It’s all about priorities.

~ He that is faithful in that which is least is faithful also in much (Luke 16:10)

Andy Biggs’ Fundraising Struggles in Arizona’s CD-5

By East Valley Evan

Arizona Senate President Andy Biggs has made a lot of noise about the ethics of his campaign. In the weeks since Matt Salmon announced his anointment of Biggs upon vacating his seat in the U.S. House, Biggs has claimed that he is being extremely careful in his fundraising so that no ethical questions can arise over possible conflicts with his current position as Senate President.

But that’s a pretty weak excuse for the low numbers that his campaign is posting. With only $200,000 raised so far (according to Yellow Sheets), $100,000 of which he loaned his campaign from his personal funds, Biggs is clearly struggling to find supporters to fund what will be an expensive and hotly contested campaign.

Some disagree that the number is low, given the short amount of time–a little over a month–since Biggs announced his campaign. But, if we look at the breakdown of those funds, he can only claim $100,000 from outside funds, since he gave the other half to himself. A source close to Biggs claims that this may not be the last of the cash Biggs loans himself, meaning that the Senate President doesn’t plan on increasing his fundraising efforts any time soon.

How long until his money runs out? Currently he’s self-funding 50% of his campaign with plans to keep bleeding his accounts over the coming weeks. Regardless of his personal wealth, achieved by winning a sweepstakes contest, that’s unsustainable. Furthermore, it might be a bad move to brag about the amount of money he is willing to spend to buy the race from money he did not earn.

If Biggs continues to lack support from grassroots donors in the state of Arizona, he may have to continue to self-fund. While it is admirable that Biggs’ message is that he wants to keep clean from donor influence, it seems less like the truth and more like a desperate attempt to save face under the light of such small fundraising success. If he’s really concerned about being connected with outside interests, why not push funding from more private citizens? If ethics is his aim, why not take a pledge to not take money from lobbyists at all?

CD5 Republican Legislative District Chairs Call for Local Representation

For Immediate Release

April 8, 2016

Contact: Mickie Niland, (480)-726-0543, Chairman@azld12.com

Arizona

CD5 Republican Legislative District Chairs Call for Local Representation

To interested parties,

As Republican leaders of Arizona’s Fifth Congressional District, we were saddened by the news of Congressman Matt Salmon’s retirement from Congress. We wish him nothing but the best in his next endeavor, and thank him for all the service he has provided to his constituents and our nation.

As the candidates to replace Congressman Salmon begin to form their campaigns, we wish to make our intentions known that we will not support, or encourage other grassroots leaders to support, any candidate running for the Republican nomination who does not reside within the current boundaries of Arizona’s Fifth Congressional District.

The East Valley has a long tradition of electing public officials who have known and understood our distinct culture and the values of our treasured communities. Many of our public officials and candidates have lived in the East Valley for a number of years; some for generations. East Valley constituents wish to elect candidates who are “one of us”, who truly understand us and can best represent the unique ideals that have helped to make the East Valley region what it is today.

While we respect the right of any individual to run for public office, we strongly discourage candidates who live outside of our district from running in the primary election to replace Congressman Matt Salmon.

We plan to support “one of us” in this election cycle.

Sincerely,

Legislative District Chairmen

12, 16, 25 and 26

Mickie Niland, Chairwoman LD12

Denis T. Brimhall, Chairman LD16

Ian Murray, Chairman LD25

Raymond Jones, Chairman LD26

Supervisor Denny Barney Endorses Andy Biggs’ Congressional Campaign

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Marks 28th endorsement for the Senate President

PHOENIX (March 9) – Maricopa County Supervisor Denny Barney today announced his endorsement of Andy Biggs. His support joins 27 other elected officials and more than 60 East Valley Grassroots leaders.

“I have been fortunate to know Andy for many years and can attest to his solid character,” Denny Barney said. “As an elected official and Senate President he has always been responsive to any issue that has crossed his desk. He has also shown an ability to build a strong consensus on issues important to taxpayers such as tax reform, pension reform, and working to protect the life of the unborn. Andy Biggs is the type of leader the East Valley needs in Washington. He has integrity and is a proven conservative. I am proud to endorse his candidacy for U.S. House of Representatives.”

“Denny Barney has poured out his heart and soul for the East Valley, and I am so excited to received his endorsement,” Andy Biggs said. “Denny’s service at the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors has paid great dividends for our side of town, and I know that he will continue to accomplish great things for the East Valley. I look forward to partnering with him in the future to bring even more opportunity to the East Valley.”

Other endorsements for Biggs include: Congressman Matt Salmon; Congressman Trent Franks; Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio; Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery; Phoenix Councilman Sal DiCicci; senators Sylvia Allen, Nancy Barto, Judy Burges, Debbie Lesko, Gail Griffin, Steve Yarbrough, David Farnsworth, John Kavanagh, Steve Smith, Jeff Dial, Kimberly Yee, Don Shooter; representatives John Allen, Sonny Borrelli, Jay Lawrence, Paul Boyer, Warren Petersen, Eddie Farnsworth, Frank Pratt; Gilbert Vice Mayor Jared Taylor; Gilbert Councilman Victor Peterson; and Queen Creek Councilwoman Emilena Turley.

Scott Smith Leads In Latest CD-5 Poll

DataOrbital

(Phoenix, AZ) – There has been much speculation over who will run to fill the seat of retiring Congressman Matt Salmon in Congressional District Five. Senate President Andy Biggs is currently the only candidate in the race and announced his campaign with the endorsement of Congressman Salmon.

Even though a number of prominent east valley figures have already taken a pass at the seat, a recently conducted poll shows President Biggs does not have a lock on the seat and that this race is still wide open.

Data Orbital, a Phoenix based consulting firm, today announced the results of a survey conducted of likely Republican primary voters in CD Five. The live poll showed former Mesa Mayor Scott Smith with a 7% lead over President Biggs among likely Republican primary voters. Former Mayor Scott Smith has yet to announce whether or not he will seek the seat.

The question was worded as follows:

Q: If the Republican primary election for Congress in District Five were held today, who would you be most likely to vote for?

Scott Smith – 33%
Andy Biggs – 26%
Undecided – 41%

George Khalaf, consultant and pollster, issued the following statement: “It is clear that President Biggs came out with strong momentum following the endorsement of Congressman Salmon but results show that this race is far from over. Mayor Smith has a solid base of support among east valley Republicans and would be a formidable candidate should he choose to run.”

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This live poll of 500 likely Republican voters in CD Five has a margin of error at plus or minus 4.33 percent, with a 95 percent confidence interval. Respondents were weighted on a number of different demographic figures and responses came evenly from cell phones and landlines. For any questions please contact George Khalaf.

Sheriff Joe Arpaio Endorses Andy Biggs for Congress

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“We need leaders like Andy in Congress who will work to secure our borders and uphold our immigration laws.”

PHOENIX (March 2) – Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio today announced his endorsement of Arizona Senate President Andy Biggs for Arizona’s Fifth Congressional District.

“Andy Biggs has stood for conservative principles each and every day he has served in the Arizona Legislature,” Sheriff Joe Arpaio said. “We need leaders like Andy in Congress who will work to secure our borders and uphold our immigration laws. I know that Andy Biggs won’t ever compromise his beliefs, and that is what makes him a perfect replacement for Representative Matt Salmon. I trust that the voters of Congressional District 5 will back the only true conservative in this race, and I’m very proud that Andy answered the call to give voters that true conservative to support. Please join me in supporting Andy Biggs for the United States House of Representatives.”

Arpaio’s endorsement follows endorsements for Biggs from Congressman Matt Salmon, Congressman Trent Franks, Phoenix Councilman Sal DiCiccio, and Senators Sylvia Allen, Nancy Barto, Judy Burges, Debbie Lesko, Gail Griffin, Steve Yarbrough, David Farnsworth, John Kavanagh, and Steve Smith.

“Arizona primary voters have a great respect for Sheriff Joe Arpaio’s endorsements, and I am honored to have received his support for my candidacy,” Senator Andy Biggs said. “He has set an incredible example for Arizona elected officials, standing for the rule of law and against unenforced federal immigration laws. I hope to work with him in the years ahead to uphold our laws and to strengthen our border enforcement.”

About Andy Biggs
Senator Andy Biggs is an Arizona native and has lived in Gilbert with his family for the past 25 years. He is married to Cindy and they have six children. He is a retired attorney and is licensed to practice in Arizona, Washington, and New Mexico. The Senator has a bachelor’s degree in Asian Studies from BYU and a J.D. degree from the University of Arizona. He earned a M.A. in Political Science from ASU and has done additional graduate work there. Senator Biggs served Legislative District 22 in the State House of Representatives for eight years before being elected to the State Senate in November of 2010. Andy has earned the designation “Champion of the Taxpayer” from Americans for Prosperity for his cumulative service in the state legislature and has been honored numerous times by the Goldwater Institute as a “Friend of Liberty.”

Gilbert & Queen Creek GOP Thanks Congressman Salmon For Exceptional Public Service

Gilbert & Queen Creek GOP Also Congratulates Senate President Biggs On Congressional Run

Gilbert, Arizona – The Arizona Legislative District 12 Republican Party, representing Gilbert and Queen Creek, expresses its deepest gratitude and appreciation for the career of principled public service Congressman Matt Salmon has given to the people of Arizona. While it is sad to lose a conservative warrior, like Salmon, in the U.S. House of Representatives, we are confident that Senate President Andy Biggs will immediately take up the fight to restore fiscal sanity in Washington, protect our borders and advocate for the heroes serving in our armed forces for Arizona’s fifth congressional district.

“Congressman Salmon has been a steadfast advocate for our community and has led the fight to protect and enhance the freedoms and liberty of Arizonans,” said Arizona Legislative District 12 Republican Party Chairwoman Mickie Niland. “We are incredibly grateful for all that Congressman Salmon has done for Arizona and very excited for Senator Biggs continuing on the legacy of constitutionally rooted service.”

“The level of passion and principled conviction that Congressman Salmon has brought to the House of Representatives during his tenure is truly one-of-a-kind and will long be remembered,” said Gilbert & Queen Creek GOP Vice Chairman Jake Hoffman. “There is no better representative of the people to follow in the footsteps of Congressman Salmon than Senator Andy Biggs. Senator Biggs’ unwavering commitment to the principles of limited government, fiscal responsibility, free market prosperity, eradicating illegal immigration and the U.S. Constitution make him the right choice in 2016.”