Gould Stripped of Committee Chairmanship

Okay, so there isn’t much to talk about at the Capitol these days, so forgive us if we’re all abuzz at the news that Senate President Bob Burns has taken away Senator Ron Gould’s committee chairmanship.  According to a “tweet” from Gould, “President Burns just took away my comittee chairmanship over my NO vote on the TAX HIKE. Sad day for rank & file republicans.”

The move was not entirely unexpected, as Gould is routinely a reliable vote against the Republican budgets and was, along with Senator Pamela Gorman, the holdouts that prevented the budget bill from passing.  The bill, which contained spending cuts and tax cuts as well, also permitted a public vote on a proposed three-year 1-cent increase in the sales tax.  That was a deal breaker for Gould and Gorman who refused to support the bill, in spite of the laundry list of conservative groups and individuals lined up in support of it.  In fairness, longtime liberal lioness Senator Carolyn Allen also refused to support the bill, but that was because it had too many spending cuts and tax cuts in it and she felt it was far too conservative to support.  Gorman ended up resigning her position as Whip before she could be replaced and now Gould finds himself without a committee.

People we have spoken to do not expect the move to accomplish very much.  “Gould just shows up, votes no, picks up his paycheck and goes home.  That isn’t going to change now” said one Capitol politico.  Another pointed out that President Burns had no reason to believe that Gould was ever going to get on the same page as the Republican majority, so while he might not have anything to gain, he also had nothing to lose by making this move.

It will be interesting to see how this move impacts Gould in his own district.  While his votes often earn him applause at GOP gatherings, he has been an ineffective Senator in terms of getting his own bills passed, and he now finds his own power further diminished with the loss of the Chairmanship.

The last time this happened was when Representatives O’Halleran and Hershberger were stripped of their chairmanships for blocking a Republican budget.  Each survived one more term before being beaten in a primary.  Gould has one term remaining in the Senate, is running for office, and has no declared opposition at this time.

Is Konopnicki polling in CD1 or LD5?

Several readers have alerted us to a telephone poll that asks people their opinions on a hypothetical matchup between State Rep. Bill Konopnicki and Congresswoman Ann Kirkpatrick. It then goes on for a while about the state’s budget before asking who the callers would favor in a hypothetical matchup between Konopnicki and State Senator Sylvia Allen. If true, it sounds like Konopnicki is still trying to decide which race to run.

Capitol observers think that his left-of-center fiscal voting record is a better fit for a general election in CD1 than a primary election in LD5, noting that former Congressman Rick Renzi had a conservative voting record on social issues while bringing home the pork to the district.  By comparison, Allen has already beaten Konopnicki among party insiders when she got appointed to fill the late Senator Jake Flake’s seat, and she out-polled Konopnicki in the 2008 primaries, getting 10,205 votes to his 9,375 votes, in spite of his significantly longer service.

Democrat Bloggers Trying To Encourage GOP Primary?

It what is best described as a case of wishful thinking, both Tedski over at Rum, Romanism and Rebellion, and David Safier at My Gay Arizona (CAUTION:  Lots of gay cruise ads on this page) are playing up the notion that State Representative Vic Williams is gearing up for a primary challenge to State Senator Al Melvin down in LD26.  Gila Courier has already contacted Williams and he has dismissed the rumor as pure nonsense, but should the GOP be encouraged that the hard left in Arizona is trying to encourage such an event?  We think so.

Melvin ran in 2006 and won the primary, besting Sen. Toni Hellon, but then he lost by several hundred votes in the general election.  In 2008 he ran again, and had to first beat Rep. Pete Hershberger in another rough primary, before winning and recapturing the seat for the GOP in the general election.  Unable to find another candidate, the Democrats are again running Cheryl “Tax the Golf Carts” Cage against Melvin, but given that she lost to him in a good year for Democrats after Melvin endured back-to-back bruising primaries, do the Democrats really expect to win the race in 2010’s political environment, especially with Melvin enjoying a more unified GOP supporting his effort?  Not likely.

Thus the rumor mongering and wishful thinking from Tedski and Safier.  From what we hear, LD26 Democrats need to be far more worried about protecting Rep. Nancy Young Wright than wasting their time and money on Cage.  Republicans already have a strong challenger in that race, who is getting good reviews from everyone in the local GOP.

Senator Al Melvin Has Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma

Head Shot - No Tie


Al Melvin, the first-term senator from LD26, has announced he has Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. He made the announcement because the treatments he is receiving are expected to cause considerable hair loss and he wanted to be sure that people knew the reason for it.

“I don’t have a great deal of hair”, said Melvin, adding “so those that I do have are like members of my family. I’ve known them for so long and I’ll be sad to see them go, particularly with winter approaching.”

On a more serious note, Melvin said that he had been lucky that the detection was fairly early, allowing the doctors to treat the disease in ample time, dramatically increasing his odds of a full recovery.

“There are two types of Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma one that is slow developing but which is nearly impossible to eliminate, and the other that is faster growing but that can be cured. Fortunately, I have the second, so we can cure it and I can go on with my life.”

“According to the National Cancer Institute, three of the risk factors for developing NHL are being “older, male or white”, so I guess my goose was cooked from the get-go!”

Melvin said that the disease had not interfered with his work and he did not anticipate any problems. “I haven’t been sick or had any ill effects from it, and the doctors have said that I should be fine during and after the treatments. ”

On a related point, Fred Thompson, in his 2008 bid for the White House, announced that he had NH Lymphoma. His doctor, like Melvin’s, encouraged him to continue his public service and he continued with his presidential campaign.

Currently, Melvin is the vice-chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee and also serves on the Public Safety and Human Services Committee and the Veterans and Military Affairs Committee. He has also been serving as the Senate co-chairman of the Legislative Ad Hoc Committee on Energy and Water Development, which has been meeting regularly while the Legislature is out of session.

Melvin also plans on speaking with Pinal County Sheriff Paul Babeu to seek out advice on maintaining and polishing his new head.

(h/t Gila Courier)

Revolving Door in LD5 as Candidates Get Set for 2010

With State Representative Bill Konopnicki term-limited out of the State House of Representatives and State Representative Jack Brown appearing to be ready for retirement, its a three-ring circus for the 2 House seats in LD5.  Republican State Senator Sylvia Allen is firmly established on the Senate side, and the GOP has additional reasons to be happy, because LD5 is one of two districts where the voter registration numbers continue to move dramatically towards the GOP.  Republicans had traditionally had success getting elected in the district (Jake Flake was the Senator before Allen) with support from conservative rural Democrats, but many of them have been re-registering as Republicans, converting a deficit of more than 5,000 voters into a new GOP majority.

Western Brenda

Brenda Barton

One solid Republican candidate is Brenda Barton who resides in Graham County.  She and her husband have been involved in the Arizona Republican Party for years and Barton has deep roots in the district.  According to her bio, she is a 5th generation Arizonan, which can pay big dividends in districts where everyone seems to know everyone else.  Barton has also been endorsed by Sen. Sylvia Allen, which is a major boost given that Allen makes her home in Navajo County, which is the most-populated of the LD5 counties.  Two Democrats have filed:  Bill Shumway and David Rodriguez, but Rodriguez has filed just a $500 threshold committee and may not stay in the race.  There is also a great deal of speculation that the Democrats in the district will be trying to get Jack Brown’s son to run, hoping that a familiar last name will give them a chance to hang on to a seat there.

Becky Nutt

Becky Nutt

Where is gets strange is on the Republican side where Bruce Olsen filed to run, then later dropped out in order to change his registration to Libertarian and run for Governor.  The third GOP candidate was Becky Nutt, who recently announced at the Goldwater Institute dinner that she was dropping out of the race because she was 23 days short of the residency requirement.  Nutt’s cell phone number had a Colorado area code while her most recent address appeared to be San Marcos, Texas.  Her husband Richard ran for County Supervisor in Greenlee County as a Democrat in 1998, finishing 4th in the field of four, before apparently moving to Colorado.

GOP county leaders are looking for a solid running-mate for Allen and Barton that will help the Republican Party realize its longstanding ambition of securing all three LD5 legislative seats.  Provided they are successful over the next few months, there is every reason to believe that the GOP will pickup a State House seat in this newest of Republican majority districts.

Rally at State Capitol for Pearce’s Proposals Draws Major Crowd, VIPs

(Left to Right) Rep. Vic Williams, Sen. Russell Pearce, Rep. Sam Crump, LD11 Senate Candidate Rich Davis, Sheriff Joe Arpaio, Rep. Jerry Weiers, JD Hayworth, Sen. Thayer Verschoor, County Attorney Andrew Thomas, Sen. John Huppenthal

(Left to Right) Rep. Vic Williams, Sen. Russell Pearce, Rep. Sam Crump, LD11 Senate Candidate Rich Davis, Sheriff Joe Arpaio, Rep. Jerry Weiers, JD Hayworth, Sen. Thayer Verschoor, County Attorney Andrew Thomas, Sen. John Huppenthal

Yesterday’s press conference at the State Capitol drew 200+ people in support of State Senator Russell Pearce’s efforts to strengthen immigration enforcement.  Several organizations were represented, including the Phoenix Law Enforcement Association, and many of the more than 40 legislators supporting the effort were also in attendance.  Also participating in the press conference were former Congressman and KFYI host JD Hayworth, County Attorney Andrew Thomas, and Sheriff Joe Arpaio.

Pearce unveiled legislation at the press conference that would crack down on illegal immigration in various ways.  The three components of the bill are:

1.  Outlawing sanctuary city policies by prohibiting cities and towns in Arizona from limiting or restricting the enforcement of federal immigration laws.

2.  Making it a Class 1 misdemeanor for an illegal alien to enter into or be on any public or private land in Arizona if they are in violation of federal immigration law. The charge is elevated to a Class 4 felony if someone is convicted, deported and then returns to Arizona. The charge would rise to a Class 2 felony if this person violates this section of the law while committing other crimes involving illegal drugs, weapons or terrorism.

3.  Beefing up the state’s employer sanctions law by giving civil subpoena power to prosecuting agencies, enabling them to question witnesses and obtained needed documentation. It is the same type of authority used by the Arizona Insurance Department and the Department of Liquor License and Control, and it will give prosecutors the ability to more efficiently and more quickly investigate claims.

Pearce is hoping for a referral from the Legislature that would put these items on the ballot.  Failing that, he will be pursuing them as voter-initiatives.

Arizona’s Next-Gen Maverick Strikes Again

Rep. Jeff Flake was one of seven Republicans who voted to formally rebuke Rep. Joe Wilson for his “You Lie!” ourburst during President Obama’s address to Congress.  Wilson had already apologized to both the President and the Vice-President and they had accepted his apologies, but House Speaker Nancy Pelosi went along with the most liberal elements of the Democrat caucus and allowed the House to move against Wilson anyway.

Republican leader Rep. John Boehner had it right when he described it as “a witch hunt” and a “partisan stunt that the American people are not going to respect.”  The rest of Arizona’s GOP delegation voted with Wilson and were even joined by Democrat Rep. Gabrielle Giffords.  Flake’s YES vote was echoed by the rest of the Arizona Democrat delegation.  To put it even further into perspective, even Rep. Barney Frank didn’t vote YES.

A Lesson For Brewer & Her Advisors

While Team Brewer’s re-election strategy seems to be based on appealing to moderate voters and gaining favorable coverage from the media, her “I love education and will protect you all from the big bad Republicans” message will not gain her any real support.  While education officials will offer praise to her every time she violates the constitution and uses her line item veto pen to increase education funding, those same AEA voice boxes will crucify her come election time while singing the praises of Terry Goddard or whoever is the Democrat candidate.  We expect it to be Goddard, but the point is that they don’t care who it is.  They will fight to the death for the Democrat candidate regardless.  Team Brewer has not figured this out.

That leaves her the media, as she seeks approval and affection from somewhere, anywhere.  Saturday’s editorial in the Arizona Republic should pop that balloon for her as well.  Entitled “State Suffers From Leadership Deficit“, the op-ed takes virtually everyone to task for the failures at the Capitol, yet does so mostly by blaming the election of conservative Republicans.  It declares that the stage was set for all that has occurred when Steve Pierce beat Tom O’Halleran and Al Melvin beat Pete Hershberger.  Naturally, the Republic refers to O’Halleran and Hershberger as “middle-of-the-roaders” because they don’t use words like “liberals”.  Then it added Brewer taking Napolitano’s position and PRESTO! the stage was set for gridlock.

The op-ed is intellectually dishonest because it has to be in order to serve the Republic’s real purpose, which is to bash Republicans under the guise of “Come on folks, we can do better!”  The Republic has largely approved of Brewer’s legislative package and largely approved of the compromise package that fell one vote short in the Senate after having passed the House.  And while the Republic likes to create the impression that hard-headed conservatives like Pierce and Melvin are to blame, both of them were Yes votes on the package.

Oddly enough, the only three legislators not singled out for coverage, not named, and not included in any of the groups mentioned, were Senators Carolyn Allen, Ron Gould and Pamela Gorman.  Why does the Republic ignore the three votes who blocked the passage of the bill that the Republic was largely alright with?  Because it would have distracted from their desired hit on Brewer and conservative Republicans in general.

Team Brewer should learn their lesson from this.  Like the AEA, the Republic and much of the media will be pimping for the Democrat candidate regardless of who it is and regardless of who the Republicans nominate.  They cannot be won over and their affection cannot be bought, no matter how many taxpayer dollars you lavish on them.


That was the farewell “sign-off” from Sean Shepherd, the Libertarian Liasion from the local mostly-GOP social club Politics on the Rocks.  It was probably supposed to be “hip” and “cool”, the sort of thing you send to your “bff” because “ttfn” seems a bit too girly.  To understand why this trite sendoff bothers us so much, you’d have to see the whole exchange.  It starts with Politics on the Rocks sending out a reminder that Arizona Right to Life is having a conference this weekend, so that’s nice.  But Shepherd seems rather immune to the value of human life, its importance, or even its significance to the Libertarian Party with which he plans on networking.  “Do what you want so long as it doesn’t hurt anyone else” is a pretty good philosophy, but most Libertarians have figured out that dismembering a baby and tossing it in the garbage bin certainly does hurt it.  Many have also come to understand the damage done to the mother as a result of these procedures.  Shepherd hasn’t figured this out, so his mocking “I think I just threw up a little in my mouth… 😉 ttyl!”  reply leaves us more than a little disturbed.

We get it Sean, its a movie quote, from a Ben Stiller movie too, “Dodgeball!”, so you’re keeping up with the classics.  And we get that you aren’t much for the pro-life cause or forwarding on information regarding pro-life conferences to your friends.

But we don’t get your oh-so casual disregard for the topic.  And we don’t appreciate that it is so casually turned into a joke and then dismissed.

Pro-lifers, and yes Sean that includes a lot of Libertarians, value human life, and believe that the wholesale slaughter of nearly 50 million Americans since the Roe v Wade decision is a stain on the soul of this country.  Its not a joke, or a line from a Ben Stiller movie.  To educate yourself, start with this You Tube video from Congressman Trent Franks.  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Li40ecwZ7gI

Then, maybe try attending the conference and learning more about the subject.  Then, and only then, should you try and “talk to us later!”

You Tube video targets Gorman’s vote on budget/taxes

Plenty of views of this new video on computers all over the Capitol, you can be sure of that.  It appears to have come from within LD6, first appearing on an email sent to LD6 PCs, urging them to contact Senator Pamela Gorman and speak with her about the budget package that hinges on her vote.

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