Senator Rich Crandall Threatens Representative Brenda Barton in Voicemail

Update on last week’s story about State Senator Rich Crandall’s campaign workers removing the signs on his primary opponent, John Fillmore:

The following message was left by Senator Crandall last Thursday on the voicemail of Representative Brenda Barton after Barton happened to witness Crandall’s campaign removing the political campaign signs of candidate John Fillmore in east Mesa. Barton reported the incident which resulted in the phone call by Crandall.

Crandall then contacted Jim Small at the Arizona Capitol Times attempting to head off any political damage by explaining his accounting of the incident. Clarification: Jim Small with The Arizona Capitol Times contacted Rich Crandall after receiving a press release from John Fillmore. Crandall provided his account of the incident. (Crandall was not present at the scene of the crime but his daughter was actually involved.)

Barton was then contacted by Jim Small from the Arizona Capitol Times to clarify Barton’s accounting of the incident. When she learned that Crandall had lied about what really happened, she called Crandall asking for a retraction.

That resulted in the following message from Crandall on Barton’s voicemail:

As you can hear, Crandall threatens Barton politically by telling her she better not introduce any education-related legislation in the next session, or else.

Crandall serves as the Chairman of the Senate Education Committee. Before that, Crandall served on the Board of the Mesa Unified School District.

This certainly gives us an idea who the real extremists are at the legislature and how things really work when it comes to egos and political vendettas.

Crandall should have know better than to leave a recorded message on anyone’s voicemail. He should have also instructed all members of his campaign to never touch another campaign’s signs without first receiving permission.

Barton and Fillmore released the following joint statement:

Last Thursday morning (July 12), I received a call from Rep. Brenda Barton (R-Payson) who stays in East Mesa at her in-laws home during Session. She had a doctor’s appointment that particular Thursday morning. She called and told me that while she was returning from her doctor’s office, she spotted two individuals that appeared to be taking my sign down and replacing it with a Sen. Crandall sign on the corner of Sossaman and the Apache Trail (East Main Street). 

Being involved in politics and having that sort of thing happen to her in another County in the past she knows that is not supposed to be done. She asked her husband, who was with her to pull over to the roadside and take some pictures. At this point Rep. Barton inquired as to what they were doing with my sign. They said that they were replacing the sign with one for Senator Crandall and that he had had one there and it blew down sometime ago, and that I had stolen his t-poles. (That is a blatant mistruth. If anyone has been by there they have seen my sign there for well over a month as I put it up myself as soon as I was able – on or about June 30th I believe). The two young women said that the poles were Senator Crandall’s but the rebar belonged to Representative Fillmore. They asked Representative Barton if she was “…with the Fillmore campaign” to which she replied, “No, I am a member of the Legislature and am aware of campaign sign laws”. 

At that point Representative Barton asked them if they had any form of identification on the t-posts to show they were the property of the Crandall campaign, to which they said no. Representative Barton then informed them that it was illegal to tamper with an opponents political signs and that the best course of action would be for Senator Crandall to work this out with Representative Fillmore before simply taking his signs down unilaterally. The two young women then hastily put the Fillmore sign back up and fled the scene. 

Within minutes Senator Crandall phoned Representative Barton on her cell and made polite small talk for a few minutes before referencing the incident. He stated that his daughter and a friend were replacing a sign of his that had blown down sometime ago and someone had replaced it with a Fillmore sign. He was very polite and inquired if Representative Barton was just driving around East Mesa. She informed him that she had just come from her doctor’s appointment and witnessed the incident. His demeanor was friendly and he made no mention of what he has since asserted his daughters relayed to him regarding Representative Barton’s alleged behavior towards his daughter and her friend. The Senator inquired of her re-election race and they made small talk regarding the health of a mutual acquaintance and the conversation ended. 

Mrs. Barton sent me those pictures. I am in a primary campaign against Senator Crandall and did not know the ladies in the pictures but I knew that the sign, its poles and location were mine. I called the police, reported the attempted sign tampering and put a press release out with the pictures and story. A legitimate story of campaign workers removing the sign of their candidate’s political opponent and replacing it with a sign of their candidate. 

At the time, I did not know that one of the young women in the pictures was his daughter. Often over-zealous campaign workers and supporters commit such actions. Had Senator Crandall called me and simply said that his daughter made a mistake and had the wrong location, apologized and moved on, I would understand that. I would have accepted that. I too have a daughter that loves me, as deeply I am sure, as Senator Crandall’s and I could see her doing what his daughter was doing. Then the shoe would have been on my foot. 

However Senator Crandall chose not to do that. Instead it appears that when he was contacted by the Capitol Times, he immediately attacked me with profanity, calling me a (S.O.B.) and a liar, (see Yellow Sheet attached), then he attacked Representative Barton, calling her a liar, that swore and yelled at his child. Senator Crandall concluded by claiming Representative Barton had been following his daughter around Mesa and monitoring her all day. 

The reporter called Representative Barton to ask her side of the story. Upon hearing that Senator Crandall had accused her of swearing and cursing at his daughter and stalking them, she immediately refuted that allegation and explained to the reporter that “…swearing and cursing” are not part of her means of dealing with people and she was simply returning to her in-laws following her doctor’s appointment. 

Following the phone interview with the Capitol Times, Representative Barton phoned Senator Crandall, who did not answer, and left a message that his statements were false and she wished him to publicly retract his statement, apologize and tell the reporter the truth. Had he done that, this matter would be over. 

Senator Crandall instead phoned Representative Barton and issued a threat against all education legislation she may wish to propose and to inform her that “her trashing (or thrashing) is coming, you need to grow up”. 

Senator Crandall has put his own personal vendetta above potentially excellent education legislation that may be proposed by Representative Barton and thus depriving the Arizonans of LD-6 their education voice in the State Legislature. 

This is abusing his chairmanship authority; in essence by reference saying her legislation would all be killed by him. As a Senator he spoke down to her, to humiliate and abuse her as if she was a mere wayward child and not someone who is his equal as well as a duly elected State Representative of several hundred thousand Arizona residents.

Barton and Fillmore have indicated that they will likely file ethics complaints with the Senate Ethics Committee.


  1. Sen. Crandall did not call me in an attempt to “head off any political damage.” He only spoke about the incident after I called him in response to Rep. Fillmore’s press release.

  2. Thanks for the clarification Jim.

  3. I do not care who called who, a crime was committed. Is anybody trying to tell us Crandall did not put his daughter up to this? I think he did. He needs to resign immediately. Why wait till the ethics complaints are made, he is a snake, making his own daughter a criminal.

    • Veritas Vincit says

      @CD-9 In last Thursday’s Yellow Sheet (a publication of the Capitol Times) Senator Crandall stated, “…he told them (his daughter and her friend) to cut Fillmore’s sign down, put it aside and replace it with a Crandall sign. As they were doing so, Barton and her husband pulled up”

      • Yeah, I remember how incensed and outraged you were about similar shenanigans pulled by the Pearce came during his recall, Veritas.

        Gosh, how many articles did you write about that?
        Must have been so many I’ve lost count.

        • Veritas Vincit says

          Such exagerations. Why don’t you go back and count them for us Jeff?

          Here’s the key difference, in the Pearce case the pictures/video were non-conclusive of who was messing with the signs. In this case a photo is worth 1,000 words. Crandall even admits he directed his daughter to break the law!

      • Yeah, I remember how incensed and outraged you were about similar shenanigans pulled by the Pearce camp during his recall, Veritas.

        Gosh, how many articles did you write about that?
        Must have been so many I’ve lost count.

  4. Wot!?!? Veritas Vincit is practicing selective outrage? That’s unpossible!

  5. No Guts, No Glory says

    Nice try guys. Changing the focus is typical when confronted with undeniable facts. Let’s come over the target again. Crandell, the carpetbagger, directly contributed to the delienquency of a minor. What parent would encourqage their child to break the law? Remember the concept that parents are responsible for the actions of minor children?. Perhaps Crandell, being invloved in the academic world has tried to change the paradigm with meaningless and silly arguments.

    Then, the unethical attacks on Represenative Barton. Does anyone really believe this is the type of representation Arizona citizens deserve? Senator, show some class, save yourself continued embarassment, consider what two other colleagues did to bring disrepute to the legislarture. It’s time to resign your Seatate seat or pull out of the race in LD 16.

  6. Steve Nelson says

    The above article says: “The two young women then hastily put the Fillmore sign back up and fled the scene.”

    If that is true, then what is the fuss about? No damage was done. If the young women were wrong, as Fillmore claims, then these young women paid their restitution by undoing the wrong they did.

    If the young women were correct, and the posts belong to Crandall, then Fillmore has his sign on Crandall’s posts and he shouldn’t complain.

    It was broad daylight! It is very unlikely that these young girls would knowingly commit a crime in public in open view of others. That does not make sense. Common sense tells us all that they, at the very least, legitimately thought the sign posts were Crandall’s. But if they “righted” their perceived “wrong”, I don’t understand why anyone is crying.

    Also, on the supposed attack on Barton. If I were a legislator and one of my colleagues posted pictures of my kids on the internet and falsely called them criminals, I would be pretty upset myself. In fact, I think my voice mail to Barton would have been a lot worse. It is true that Crandall “could” have handled it better, but who can blame him for being upset. These are his kids we are talking about.

    But if you think Crandall could have handled it better, I think it is clear that Barton could have handled it much better. She is the classic snitch. She will immediately go public against a colleague. She doesn’t try to work things out. But would rather run to the media to “tell on” someone. She clearly breached etiquette by posting pictures of a colleague’s child and when she immediately sent the voice mail to the media to go public. Barton must be rounding up a lot of trust and support with the other legislators. All this while I still believe that there was no crime and that Crandall’s kids legitimately felt they were dealing with their father’s sign posts all along. And when they left, the Fillmore sign was still up. Much ado about nothing!!!!

    Adults should have been able to handle this a little better.

  7. Veritas Vincit says

    @Steve Nelson: “If that is true, then what is the fuss about? No damage was done.” Had Richie Crandall had the good sense to leave things alone it would have ended there.

    But he lied to the Capitol Times about Representative Barton’s behavior and then lied again when he spoke to the local abc news television station.

    Topping off his slander and lies he continued over the line with his phone message left on Rep Barton’s cell phone in which he is so important that he can put good education legislation aside for the sake of his own ego.

    @Steve Nelson, it goes to CHARACTER and Sen Crandall has exhibited exactly the nature of his character for the whole Valley to witness.

    by the way… as Crandall asserts (another lie maybe?) his sign blew down and Fillmore put his sign on Crandall’s posts – why didn’t Crandall speak up at that time? That would have been the time to speak out. No, Crandall supposedly waited a couple of weeks and sent his daughter out to remove the Fillmore sign? Crandall has lied from the beginning of this fiasco.

  8. Veritas Vincit says

    @Steve Nelson if that’s who you really are… Barton never claimed to have posted those pictures on the internet and in fact she did not post them. Furthermore, what the girls were doing was illegal. And finally, you haven’t seen all the pictures that clearly show the young women holding the Crandall sign in front of the Fillmore sign as they cut down the Fillmore sign and let it fall to the ground. From the road it simply looks like they are fixing a Crandall sign – you’d better see all the pictures before you continue defending something that is pretty impossible to defend.

  9. I listened to the message, and I heard a father aggrieved by low level political tricksters making something out of nothing and trying to intimidate young people with outrageous threats. The bully here was NOT Crandall, but Barton and Fillmore. In the meantime, Ben Quayle’s folks are putting up signs that block visibility on rights of way, further endangering the public. Cute baby, though.

  10. Steve Nelson says

    @Veritas Vincit: You keep saying Crandall lied?? How do you know? Where you there tape recording the incident? He wasn’t even there. All he did was relay what his daughters told him.

    Also, who cares if Barton never claimed to post the pictures on the internet. She took the pictures, she provided the pictures, and then they end up on the internet.

    Nobody needs to see all the pictures. The actual facts are not in dispute. I think all agree that the girls cut down a Fillmore sign. They put a Crandall sign. Then they put the Fillmore sign back. It is not impossible to defend if the sign posts were in fact Crandalls.

    Also, it wasn’t a crime. Under AZ law, you can’t tamper with a sign 45 days before an election. This occured 48 days before an election. So under AZ law, anyone can do anything to any sign prior to 45 days before an election.

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