Amnesty makes its appearance in GOP Race

Get Out of Jail.jpg  Earlier this week at a debate before the Prescott GOP, the two candidates for GOP State Party Chairmen took questions concerning the upcoming RNC elections and what their positions were regarding the potential election of pro-amnesty Florida Senator Mel Martinez to the position of “General Chairman”, a position that does not even exist in the organization’s bylaws. Also complicating matters is the fact that the RNC bylaws prohibit electing a chairman who is not a member of the RNC and Martinez is not a member. Randy Pullen stated that Martinez’ position in support of amnesty was a grave concern and that the 2006 elections should have sent a strong message to Republicans that the party needs to play by the rules when it comes to its own internal politics. For those reasons he would vote against Martinez. Lisa James stated that she would vote for Martinez in spite of the rules.

While immigration has played a peripheral role in the campaign for State Party Chairman, that has been more a result of Pullen’s resume featuring his prominent role in successful immigration-related campaigns like 2004’s Prop 200 and his work on behalf of Republican Congressional candidate Randy Graf in 2006. This marks the first directly pro-amnesty position taken by James in her quest to become chairman and its effects will likely be unknown for some time. The mainstream media has been making the case that with the defeat of J.D. Hayworth and Randy Graf, both anti-amnesty candidates, those favoring amnesty are safe to reassert themselves and their ideology. Whether or not that message plays to the base of the Republican Party will become obvious in one week’s time when the Arizona GOP picks a new leader.

UPDATE: Martinez has been elected to the position of “General Chairman” and he will be working with the new Chairman, Robert “Mike” Duncan, an RNC member from Kentucky. Opposition to the Martinez nomination was led by RNC members from North Carolina, Texas and Arizona.


  1. Smart Voter says

    No surprise here. Why wouldn’t Lisa James be as pro-amnesty as her friend and ally, John McCain?

    Anyone who believes that she is simply a “good grassroots party worker” needs to have their head examined. Lisa James is supported by all of the McCain loyalists for the sole purpose of easing his way to Pennsylvania Avenue. In order to do that, the first order of business is to plug the dissent among his home state active Republicans.

    The defeat of his surrogates in their effort to control his home legislative district constituted an enormous embarrassment to McCain. Couple that with his dismal showing in the presidential straw poll taken at the GOP statutory meeting, which has garnered national media attention, and you have the reason why there is such effort being put forth for Lisa James as state chairman.

    Her job description is an uncomplicated one-liner:
    Get McCain past the vocal party activists who deplore his left-leaning stance, and to the GOP primary starting gate.

  2. Republican Conservative AZ says

    McCain asked Len Munsil to run:, not Lisa James, who worked against him in the 2000 primary for President Bush.

    I think that the talk of trying you trying to associate her with McCain is hog wash. Facts please!

  3. Nightcrawler says

    Smart Voter,

    For arguments sake, let’s assume everything you allege is true. What is the point of sabotaging our very own Senator? I get it, Conservatives are disenfranchised. Why not open up a dialogue with McCain instead of trying to trip him up? Surely you don’t want Hillary Clinton to win do you? All these other “platform” guys entering the race have no real chance of connecting with the masses. If not McCain, then who?

  4. In all the rhetoric about why Lisa shouldn’t be the chair, I have never seen anything to the issue of her inability to do the job well. The tired, old, worn out McCain bashing just doesn’t tell the story folks. It certainly does not make a strong case for the merits of Randy Pullen to do the job.

    OK, you don’t like McCain and DO NOT want him to be the nominee. Lisa is in this for the long haul, not just the next go ’round. She has and will continue to do what is needed for the party. If all you can do is continue the diatribe of anti-McCain sentiment then it speaks volumes to Lisa’s ability to do the job.

    Len Munsil has spoken very eloquently as to why he supports Lisa, several other long-time conservatives have done the same. Get over your targeted anger long enough to hear clearly what SHE is about.

    Right now our state legislature has several Dems who are currently or have been school board members. They are grooming more all the time. They understand the need to create names in communities, grow your own, and move them on. Harry Mitchell might just be the best example. Jim Weiers squeaked by and Doug Quelland did not make the cut, a local school teacher beat him. Another well known name in the community rising up to speak for the people.

    With the changing population of mid-west and California transplants, there is great potential for a shift in numbers. Not to mention the growing Hispanic population. In order to stay strong, grow stronger, and establish a majority that has sustainability WE must not divide ourselves over such factious issues but look to the best opportunity for our future. There will be plenty of time to discuss McCain for his own sake and not that of the party chairmanship.

    Randy Pullen is a fine person, committed to conservative principles, and has worked tirelessly to promote and defend the same. However, to admit another person is better suited for a specific role with very specific needs is not taking anything away from him. In this case, Lisa fits the need in a way Randy doesn’t and in the ways that are the most needed.

    The red herring of McCain, try as you might, just doesn’t do anyone justice.

  5. Oro Valley Dad says


    I agree with your point that we are not voting on McCain but rather Lisa or Randy. With that in mind I attended Lisa’s recent lunch in Tucson. People were very upset about the CD 8 primary and asked her several questions about the intervention by the NRCC and Matt Salmon. Lisa’s answers to those and other questions were a firm defense of the status quo where the
    higher ups in the party intervene instead of letting the primary voters decide. I heard her answers in person and was not impressed with her approach to the grassroots. If you do not believe me then read the comments on Arizona 8th. The writer there was surprised at how poorly Lisa dealt with many of the questions and concerns in Tucson. This has nothing to do with McCain and everything to do with Lisa. The topic of this post, the office of “General Chairman,” illustrates the same attitude that Lisa has. It is a top down management style.

  6. I can’t say I disagree with you in theory or actually in reality but I believe wholeheartedly that Lisa would be the most effective chair in view of the big picture of all that needs to be done. Having worked with her extensively over many years, I can tell you this; she is quite possibly the only person I have ever seen who can take the management style you accurately described and turn it into a good result. She has a very clear vision of both sides of the fence and knows the grass can be equally green; it just depends on how you care for it.

    Please…no easily played remarks on manure. That would just be too easy and falls more into the puns on the treasurer’s race.

    Off to church and family time…. we should all consider at least one of those

  7. Oro Valley Dad says

    Part of the big picture is that there is a fissure between the party establishment and a large section of the grassroots. Lisa seem either unaware or disinterested (or worse both) to this fact. Randy Pullen is at least acknowledges the rift, which is the first step toward healing it. When I went to the Tucson lunch I did not expect Lisa to give the perfect answer but I thought she would at least acknowledge some of our concerns over what has happened in the past. She did not.

    How can she move the party forward unless she has the whole grassroots on board? Randy seems much more willing to listen.

  8. Sonoran Truth Squad says

    Ann says:

    “In all the rhetoric about why Lisa shouldn’t be the chair, I have never seen anything to the issue of her inability to do the job well.” — Then Ann hasn’t been looking, ’cause I’ve made the same points over and over again. Since Ann missed them all, each and every time, I’ll repost some of them here for her review.

    MONEY – We’re told that Lisa’s greatest strength is raising money and that “she’ll raise the money we need to be competitive.” Hogwash… You folks keep telling us she was so very involved in our Party’s great victories in 2004 and 2006 (2 total, 1 each year, but that’s another issue) and you tell us that she has the connections to raise all the money we need. Yet in 2006 we were outraised 3.5 to 1. So IF you’re telling the truth, that meant that Lisa was there at HQ, working every day, completely aware that we were getting killed in the money race, and that she possessed the skills and names and connections we needed to win the money race, yet she CHOSE to do nothing to help and let us lose the money race? She has everything she needs to raise the money but she didn’t do it? IF you’re right, then she has already failed this party and should be punished for holding out, not promoted.

    Far more likely is that she did NOT possess the names, connections or anything else or she would have used them to help us in 2006. Her ability to raise money is myth and nothing more. She didn’t have the ability in 2006 and nothing has happened in the last two months for her to suddenly divine it. Her “greatest strength” does not exist.

    RECORD OF SUCCESS: She truly has none. She claims as her great victories George Bush in 2004 and Jon Kyl in 2006, yet each ran better campaigns than their opponents. Each raised and spent more than their opponents. Each ran against under-whelming opponents who failed to ever get traction. And each were Republican candidates who won statewide in Arizona. Yet we’re supposed to give the credit to Lisa James who happened to be involved with the Party’s GOTV efforts? Several other folks were, but pay no attention to those folks, these were Lisa’s victories?

    I disagree, but again, let’s pretend you are right. Lisa WAS in charge and she really DOES deserve all of the credit for these races. If Lisa was in charge, then Lisa was in charge, and that means that her resume should and does include all of the losses that we suffered. Record-setting losses in the Governor’s and AG races. Losses of two Congressional districts, one with a 17-point registration advantage, the other the direct result of bumbling at the state/national levels of our party. Losses of 7 legislative seats including several in solid Republican districts. Put it all together and it is a disgraceful record. The notion that somebody would ask for a promotion based on those results is ludicrous.

    Far more likely is that you are not right and Lisa does NOT deserve the credit or blame for 2004 and 2006. She was one cog in a much larger machine. And anyone who studies these results will see that the machine, as it has operated for the last several cycles, ONLY cares about the race at the very top of the ticket. Kyl won and everyone else lost but the State Party folks claim victory. Why? Because Kyl picked them to make sure they were focused on his race. As far as they know, they did their job! Their boss and sole responsibility was happy, so they are happy.

    Which is why having the few at the top pick our next State Chairman so that the entire party machine can be hijacked to further their own personal and narrow interests is a bad idea. We need a bottom-up party that is concerned with Republican victories up and down the ticket.

    Lisa’s track record on this is bad. The fact that those selfish folks at the top tapped her to run after their other choices turned down their offers is bad. The fact that she has opposition research going on to try and smear her opposition is bad. The fact that she claims to be able to raise the money when she has demonstrated that she can’t is bad. The fact that claims to have led our Party to “victory” when she likely wasn’t the leader is bad. The fact that she defines victory as winning one race and losing the rest is bad.

    These are real issues and real concerns. To use your words, they demonstrate that Lisa is unable to do the job well. If she really has the skills you claim, then she has deliberately NOT used them to help the party before and that would be shameful. Far more likely is that she does not have those skills at all. We cannot afford another chairman who isn’t up to the job.

    Clear enough?

  9. Sonoran Truth Squad says

    That post was long enough, but I never did get around to her embracing pro-amnesty politicians like Mel Martinez, et al. This puts her at odds with the grassroots of the very party she wants to lead. You can’t lead if no one will follow!

  10. STS… you area a true believer of Pullen and his ability; I of Lisa. While I feel more than enough honest people, such as Len Munsil, have given more than enough credible answers and support for her… if you do not believe it valid that is your perogative.

  11. Sonoran Truth Squad says

    Agreed… But its not anything personal… It is, for me, a question of direction, competency, and who she will serve. Your remark that you’ve never seen anyone question her ability prompted the response. See you on Saturday!

    Hey, we should all wear our usernames instead of our namebadges, eh?

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