When a Dog Whistle is All You’ve Got Left – Religious Bigotry Erupts in the O’Connor Campaign

Desperate times call for desperate measures. Gabby Saucedo Mercer, current 2nd Vice Chair of the AZGOP but running to be the AZGOP Secretary candidate on the O’Connor slate, is holding up her end of the deal she made with O’Connor to gain control of the AZGOP. O’Connor would do his part by rigging the LD23 election, hoping for smooth sailing on Saturday. But, alas the good folks in LD23 didn’t play along, but instead demanded he play by the rules – which as you may have heard is a problem for Jim.

So, after weeks of scandal filled accounts from numerous current and former PC’s within LD23, Jim finds himself days from the election of his dreams and surrounded by trouble. This weekend in Pinal and Pima Counties he slipped and let it out that he had been conspiring with Frosty Taylor – the infamous writer of the MCRC Briefs. That explains the love-fest the Briefs has shown to O’Connor and completely removes the last shred of relevancy the online tabloid might still have. Now his gal pal Gabby has taken the reigns and holding nothing back!

Gabby dived into the deep end with dog whistle politics. On Monday evening, Gabby suggested that Chris Herring had endorsed Jonathan Lines because they were both LDS – Lines is, Herring not at all. There was some push back to the first assertion. So, today she doubled down on her supposition with this jaw dropping post:

More than a few have replied to her post that there isn’t any truth to her dog whistle that is tantamount to saying the Mormons have corrupted the state party with cronyism so don’t elect another one – Heywood is not related to Flake in any way, there are currently no GOP staffers that are LDS and again, Herring is not LDS. But to no avail. Nope – she’s going all in. After all, it isn’t the truth they seek, it’s the power!

Rigging elections, blatantly displaying religious bigotry and lying to prove your case. Denying the truth even when confronted with facts and promising more to come. Does this sound like the kind of folks you want to give a platform to?

I’m not sure what kind of big tent Gabby envisions, but apparently, it doesn’t include Mormons. If bigotry and corruption aren’t big enough reasons to reject O’Connor and Mercer, how’s this… there are 400,000 members of the LDS church in Arizona, ranking fourth nationally in LDS population, and statistics rate their voter registration as 70% Republican. She just said they are corrupt and not a part of their plan. That will shrink the ranks!

I wonder how many LDS State Committeemen will think twice before electing the team that thinks they are the problem with the GOP?

But most of all, I wonder who will be next?

What transparency looks like

By concerned Republican state committeeman

Many PC’s who, after watching Jim O’Connor twist the truth, bend the rules and use his faith as a shield to his duplicity, are saying… Finally, someone is standing up for what is right.  The below letter was sent from AZGOP State Chairman, Robert Graham.

January 18, 2017

Dear _______ ,

The purpose of this letter is to assure that every Republican precinct committeeman within the State of Arizona has a clear understanding surrounding the ongoing discussions with respect to LD 23 and the nomination of their state committeemen.

Robert Graham

Robert Graham

The discussions do NOT regard the call letter, how it was sent, or the Attorney General’s opinion defining “mail” and “electric communication.” Further, the discussions do NOT and need not address LD 23’s election of new leadership.

State committeemen, once elected, have the awesome responsibility to represent their district and/or county in a material way each year. Every precinct committeeman has the right to a fair and well-defined nomination process to assure that everyone has the option to pursue their interest of becoming a state committeeman.

Like any club, organization, or business, it is normal to find new members who have little working experience or knowledge to apply to their newfound responsibilities. This reality adds additional responsibilities to leadership to assure everyone — in this case newly elected precinct committeemen — are included and are completely aware of the nomination process of becoming a state committeeman.

The Complaint:

The AZGOP was made aware by many new precinct committeemen and later confirmed by Nancy Ordowski, the new Chairman of LD 23, that there were over 28 precinct committeemen that were never made aware of the nomination process to become a state committeemen.

The LD 23 leadership worked to acquire email addresses and any electronic means of communicating with the new precinct committeemen. Not all precinct committeemen responded to the requests. By not responding, leadership within all counties and district leadership must recognize the obligation to communicate with all elected precinct committeemen and the nomination process to run for state committeeman. If leadership does not have everyone’s email addresses or social media handle, USPS (mail) is the last resort to assure everyone is included. LD 23 did this with their call letters but not the nomination process for state committeeman. Herein lies the problem: to assure that everyone that would have wanted to be a state committeeman has a fair and equal opportunity to become a state committeemen.

Many have complained this was a bad process, one that alienated conservative stalwarts who are important to the party and its success. Congressman David Schweikert and his wife’s proxies were not permitted. There was arbitrary enforcement of proxy rules.

C.T. Wright, a black leader in our party whom many of you know from his stirring invocations at our state party functions, was left alienated.

Conservative attorney Mike Liburdi, an active volunteer in the Republican Lawyers Association in the past, gave notice to Chairman O’Connor that he could not attend the meeting and was not allowed to run for state committeeman. He was not given notice of the deadline for making the ballot, gave advance notice of his desire to run in writing, and had a proxy at the meeting but was denied the ability to run.

Based on these examples and other similar complaints, AZGOP simply asked LD 23 to improve its process and hold a new election. They instead decided to hire lawyers and spent at least $5,000 fighting this. One is left wondering: what do you have to fear? Details are below, but the AZGOP simply offered to directly appoint Jim O’Connor as a state committeemen, allaying any fears that he would be prevented from campaigning for higher office in the party.

In any case, after reviewing the complaints and having multiple meetings with leadership from LD 23 and their legal counsel, it is clear that there was neither bad behavior nor the intent to disenfranchise the new precinct committeemen of LD 23. The challenge lies with the outcome of the 119 nominated state committeemen and the question “would the results be different if the 28 plus precinct committeemen were notified properly and included in the election for the state committee both as voters or candidates for state committeeman.”

What has the AZGOP Offered as a Resolution?

1) New Election: The AZGOP has offered to pay for a new election that would include ALL elected precinct committeemen from LD 23. This offer included paying for facilities, printing and postage. This offer was made weeks prior to the Maricopa County January 14th meeting and would assure compliance to all bylaws and Arizona Revised Statutes. A new election would have put forth best efforts to help assure that no one would have been left out of the process. Leadership in LD 23 said NO to this offer.

2) Lottery: Next was a lottery system to randomly draw precinct committeemen names from a “hat.” All names of the precinct committeemen would be included in the drawing. Once a name was picked they would be contacted to confirm or deny their interest to becoming a state committeeman. If confirmed the AZGOP, under advice and consent of the LD 23 Chairman and Maricopa County Chairman, we would appoint that person. If the person denied interest in becoming a state committeemen, then a new name would be drawn. This process would be followed until all 119 names were confirmed and appointed.

Further, there was an additional offer. There has been some suggestion that the AZGOP was attempting to block Jim O’Connor from being eligible for running for state chairman by not allowing his district to be credentialed at the State Meeting. This is false. LD 23 was offered, if they chose the lottery process, that the AZGOP would hold out Jim O’Connor as an automatic appointment to be a state committeeman. He had the top number of votes in his district and the AZGOP thought this was only fair to assure that we did not interrupt or interfere with his statewide campaign. Leadership in LD 23 said NO to this offer.

3) Letter to the District: Lastly, in an another effort to make sure that LD 23 had full state committeemen representation to the State Statutory Meeting on January 28, 2017, the AZGOP suggested that a letter come from the immediate past Chairman, Jim O’Connor, who presided over the LD 23 Reorganization and State Committeemen Nomination process, stating “there was NO intent of LD 23 leadership to disenfranchise or not include the block of precinct committeemen that were not included in the state committeeman nomination process. The mistake was a clear oversight and because of the complaints we have received from the LD 23 committee members we have worked with the AZGOP to define and develop uniform guidelines to help assure there will never be confusion in the future. This process would also help assure that everyone would be included or have the option to be included in the state committee nomination process in the future. Uniform guidelines that would be helpful for committees statewide.”

The AZ GOP has offered/proposed this simple statement as another way to assure that all currently nominated 119 State Committeemen would be credentialed at the upcoming State Statutory meeting with NO changes. Chairman Nancy Ordowski of LD 23 declined this offer too, stating their attorney said a statement of this nature would be an admission of guilt.

At this point, the AZGOP has offered at least three solutions that would assure LD 23 full representation at the State Statutory Meeting on January 28, 2017.

Given the reasonable solutions that have been offered, and the continued “no deal” response, it feels as if the intent to “credential LD 23” at the state meeting is not the top priority of previous and current leadership of LD 23. It also feels as if the accusatory “disenfranchisement” narrative being leveled by some is politically motivated.

As Chairman of the AZGOP I have the responsibility to give surety that all precinct committeemen statewide, within every county and district, have a fair and equitable opportunity to represent the Republican Party as a state committeeman. I am making every attempt to address the concerns brought forward by new and active precinct committeemen of LD 23 and I am continuing to work toward a solution.

All precinct committeemen deserve and have the right to confidence in the process. Legitimacy should only be claimed once a fair and equitable resolution has been made.

 

Sincerely,

Robert Graham

 

 

 

Arizona Republicans – Picking Winners and Losers?

Robert Graham

There seems to have been widespread complaints from experienced precinct committeemen, in specific districts, of a total disregard of statute and bylaws in their election of State Committeemen. AZGOP Chairman Robert Graham apparently believes there’s more than rumor and sent the following letter to all chairmen:

Dear GOP District and County Chairmen,

We’ve received numerous accounts from precinct committeemen throughout the state regarding the organizational meetings taking place. Based on what we’ve heard, we need to remind all chairmen about the guidance provided by the state party over the years to ensure all organizational meetings are conducted with the full participation and authority vested in the PCs and state committeemen.

As you know, these party committee organizational meetings are referred to as “statutory” meetings because they are governed by state statute and therefore differ from normal monthly business meetings typically held by party committees. Normally, district and county parties operate with a great deal of autonomy, but in the case of the statutory organizational meetings, the state party has an important stake in the outcome of the elections. Not only are most of the state party’s executive committee members being elected at the organizational meetings, but all of the state committeemen are as well.

Our party is only as legitimate as the claim we make to represent Republican voters and only if we do so according to the law. From the primary election where PCs are elected, to the organizational meetings and ultimately the state party organizational meetings, all of our credibility and authority depends on having a process according to the rule of law. For example, the organizational meetings are not private. A chairman may certainly limit the meeting activity to the elections themselves, and has no obligation to allow the public any role other than to observe. But the committee has no legal authority to exclude the public from the meeting if they simply wish to observe.

We’ve also received complaints from PCs who did not receive a call letter at least ten days before the meeting. Some have complained that proxies they were carrying were not accepted by the chairmen, and others that their proxy documents were not considered to have the full legal effect of a proxy. Others were concerned that “alternates” were elected, when there is no such office, and anyone not elected outright as a state committeeman has no standing or claim to be “next in line.” Still others complained that the committee leaders and nominating committees operated a “closed shop” and deliberately excluded many eligible PCs from having their names printed on the ballot to run for a state committeeman position. Lastly, some committees prohibited nominations from the floor.

Some of these are serious concerns. Committees which do not reasonably follow the legal process of electing state committeemen risk having them fail to be recognized by the state party for the January 2017 meeting. In fact, any election with serious enough violations could be completely disregarded, leaving all the county or district’s positions considered vacant.

Of particular concern is the denial of a PC’s rights to participate by proxy. A lawful proxy carrier, with a completed form signed and dated and witnessed, is considered the legal representative of the proxy giver and the giver’s “attorney-in-fact.” That entitles the carrier to act on the proxy’s behalf, which includes voting, nominating and even being nominated for election to office. Any rule, bylaw or act that suppresses the proxy rights of a PC is not just violating the PC’s rights, but is offensive to an open and fair election process.

I will be working with our legal counsel to address the concerns presented to us to date. In the meantime, if your organizational meeting is yet to occur, please ensure your committee is following the rules and the law.

AZGOP Chairman Robert Graham

 

LD23 Shenanigans Continue

Submitted by a trustworthy Precinct Committeeman in LD23.

Dr. C.T. Wright

Dr. C.T. Wright

Unfortunately in LD23, for the 2nd time in 4 years DR. C.T. Wright (who last year won the Barry Goldwater award and was the President of the Best Republican Club – the Fountain Hills Republican Club) was not considered a good enough Republican by LD23 leadership and other PCs to be elected as an LD23 State Committeeman.  What a disgrace, what a shame.  Good enough to be an Elector in 2012.  Good enough to win the Barry Goldwater Award Good enough to be asked by President-elect Trump to lead the invocations at all his Arizona rallies, but not good enough to lead the invocation at the LD23 organizational meeting (even though he gave the invocation at all other LD23 meetings) and not good enough to represent LD23 as a State Committeeman.  But that is LD23.  What a disgrace, what a shame.

It is also noted that Mark Lewis, a LD23 PC who won a county-wide election in November, was not chosen as a LD23 State committeeman. Good enough to win county-wide, but not good enough to represent LD23 as a State Committeeman.  Hum.

So these fine individuals who are good Republicans and many other longtime loyal PCs (such as Paula and Bruce Linker and Larry and Joanna Hagan, for example) will NOT be able to vote for or against their own (immediate past) District Chair, as he runs for State Chair.  Nor will they be able to vote on other matters such as resolutions and By-Law changes that are proposed at the state Mandatory Meeting.  Wow.  What a shame.  What a disgrace within LD23.