Monday, November 21, 2022

WHAT TO COUNT ON WHEN WE'RE RECOUNTING"


If you would like to show your appreciation for Arizona's Politics reporting, please consider donating to our pool to support OTHER journalism-related nonprofits. 

We welcome your comments about this post. Or, if you have something unrelated on your mind, please e-mail to info-at-arizonaspolitics-dot-com or call 602-799-7025. Thanks.

Friday, November 18, 2022

BREAKING - WHAT COULD GO WRONG? Caroline Wren Raised $3M For Jan. 6; Today, She's Sr. Advisor For Kari Lake's Post-Election Plans

Kari Lake's trip to Mar a Lago yesterday may have been for more than just schmoozing. Caroline Wren was a major fundraiser for the Jan. 6 rally, and has now popped up as the gubernatorial candidate's "Senior Advisor", and is spreading inaccurate information about last week's election.

Wren was intimately involved with the planning for the Trump campaign's January 6 events in 2021, and boasted that she had raised $3M to support the rally portion. Her appearance on Steve Bannon's show yesterday as Lake's Senior Advisor raises all kinds of questions about how the former newscaster is going to contest the November 8 results. (Lake is currently more than 16,000 votes behind Democratic nominee Katie Hobbs, and is a few thousand votes short of receiving an automatic recount.)

Wren's involvement came to light as the nationally-known Rasmussen organization repeated some of her comments as facts (without attribution). Upon questioning by Arizona's Law, they linked the Wren video as their "source".

Wren stated that she had inside information that "48% of voting centers encountered tabulation problems on Election Day, when voters voted for Kari Lake 3-to-1", after "0% of the voting centers encountered tabulation problems" during the Early Voting period that began October 12.

This is an inaccurate claim in several different ways. First, 48% is a gross overstatement of the Maricopa County E-Day problem. 70 of the 223 Vote Centers is far less than 48%. Each center had two tabulators, so even if only one was having problems (which does not make sense if the problem was the printers' settings), that Vote Center was still able to tabulate ballots.

A bigger misleading statement was her comparison to the Early Voting period. In person ballots printed at those 12 27-day sites or the 43 12-day sites were NOT tabulated at the Vote Centers. As any person who voted then - and they were Democrats and Republicans - will tell you, those ballots were placed in signed envelopes and sent to the County for verification and tabulation (on significantly different tabulating machines).

Wren is a former national finance adviser to Trump's 2020 campaign, and previously worked for Sen. Lindsey Graham and Utah Governor Jon Huntsman. She has been subpoenaed by the House January 6 Select Committee.

It has been reported that, at the infamous command center meetings on January 5 (2021) at the Willard Hotel, Wren boasted that she had raised $3M for the Jan. 6 rally and had "parked" monies with Turning Point, the Republican Attorneys General Association and others to support it.

Wren may not have raised money on Bannon's show yesterday, but the host did warn/predict that Lake is "a fighter" and her campaign is going to do something "more aggressive". Wren agreed and immediately noted "the courts are not on our side." 

The implication was left unsaid, but Kari Lake promptly tweeted the interview with the comment, "Caroline gets it."

Her most irony-filled statement was when she leveled the accusation against the County: "It's either total incompetence, or it's malice."

The full interview - complete with misleading and false statements - is here.

If you would like to show your appreciation for Arizona's Politics reporting, please consider donating to our pool to support OTHER journalism-related nonprofits. 

We welcome your comments about this post. Or, if you have something unrelated on your mind, please e-mail to info-at-arizonaspolitics-dot-com or call 602-799-7025. Thanks.

Saturday, November 12, 2022

BREAKING: AZ's CD6 Is Now In the RECOUNT ZONE; Ciscomani's Lead Steadily Dropping

UPDATE: AZ's 2 uncalled U.S. House races are headed in different directions!

CD1: Inc. R @RepDavid's slowly closing in on D @JevinHodge. Picked up 0.3% today.

CD6 (Open): D Kirsten @EngelForArizona also picked up o.3% today, continuing her steady climb vs 
@JuanCiscomani
 
CD1: Hodge up by 2,541 (50.4%-49.6%). Has dropped daily (50.9, 50.8, 50.8, 50.7, 50.4)

CD6: Ciscomani up by 1,382 (50.2-49.8%). Has dropped daily (51.9, 51.2, 51.0, 50.5, 50.2)

CD1: At present time, the recount number would be approx 1,600. Hodge is about 900 above recount.

CD6: At present time, the recount number would be 1,546. Ciscomani is only up by 1,382. IF counting was ended now - it is NOT - there WOULD BE A RECOUNT!



If you would like to show your appreciation for Arizona's Politics reporting, please consider donating to our pool to support OTHER journalism-related nonprofits. http://bit.ly/AZpDonate 

We welcome your comments about this post. Or, if you have something unrelated on your mind, please e-mail to info-at-arizonaspolitics-dot-com or call 602-799-7025. Thanks.

Thursday, October 27, 2022

NEW: Big Money and Dark Money FLOOD Arizona For Senate Showdown - GOP Outspends Dems $11.7M To $6.5M... THIS WEEK Alone

More than $18 Million has been spent in Arizona's critical U.S. Senate race THIS WEEK alone. And, Republicans groups outspent Democrats $11.7M to $6.5M.

Arizona's Politics has scoured the filings required to be filed with the Federal Elections Commission, and they demonstrate the parties' supporters kicking in big time down the stretch. (Here's our separate article on the Super PAC created to support GOP nominee Blake Masters. )

The Republican effort to play catch-up - Kelly's campaign has greatly out-raised and out-spent Masters' - is demonstrated by the several different groups chipping in major independent expenditures. In addition to the $5.3M spent by the Masters-centric Saving Arizona PAC, Club for Growth spent $5M, the NRA Victory Fund spent nearly $200k on digital advertising today, the Sentinel Action Fund put $500k into TV, American Principles Project threw $300k at digital and the inappropriately-named Women Speak Out spent $272k on canvassing, digital and other media.

The Democratic-philic groups spending to re-elect Sen. Mark Kelly were led by the leadership-associated SMP ($4.1M) and Priorities USA ($1.3M). The SD PAC and Somos PAC each spent about $160k, on digital advertising and canvassing, respectively.

Arizona's race moved today to being rated as a "toss-up" from "leans Democratic" (by Cook Political Report).

If you would like to show your appreciation for Arizona's Politics reporting, please consider donating to our pool to support OTHER journalism-related nonprofits.  

We welcome your comments about this post. Or, if you have something unrelated on your mind, please e-mail to info-at-arizonaspolitics-dot-com or call 602-799-7025. Thanks.

BREAKING: Peter Thiel Gives In, Kicks In; But, His Blake Masters Super PAC ALSO Gets $3M In Dark Money (#50ShadesOfDarkMoney)

The Blake Masters supporting Super PAC started by billionaire Peter Thiel has gone dark. Dark money, that is.

Saving Arizona PAC received $3M earlier this month from the American Exceptionalism Institute, Inc. It was disclosed in a filing today with the Federal Election Commission, but there is no way of knowing who is funneling that money to help elect Blake Masters to the U.S.  Senate.

The other big news from today's filing is that Peter Thiel - Masters' former employer - has given in and kicked in another $2.5M to support his protege. After spending $10M to get Masters through the primary election, Thiel told Mitch McConnell and Republican leaders that it was their turn to pull Masters through the general.

Saving Arizona then became a vehicle for other big money Republicans wanting to try to snatch back the Arizona Senate seat from Mark Kelly. 

Arizona's Politics speculated earlier this month that dark money may have taken over the Super PAC. We now know it was five days earlier that AEI had already done it.

It has spent $5.3M in the past week. For more on the $18.2M spent in Arizona's race THIS WEEK, go here.
If you would like to show your appreciation for Arizona's Politics reporting, please consider donating to our pool to support OTHER journalism-related nonprofits.  

We welcome your comments about this post. Or, if you have something unrelated on your mind, please e-mail to info-at-arizonaspolitics-dot-com or call 602-799-7025. Thanks.

Friday, October 21, 2022

THE MASTERS NETWORK: Winkelvoss Twins/Big Tech Investors/Uihlein Invest $4.5M Into Blake Masters' Candidacy (FOLLOWING $$$ IN AZ'S POLITICS)

The question raised last week when Saving Arizona PAC placed a $2M ad buy to support Blake Masters in his run to unseat Senator Mark Kelly has been answered. The Winkelvoss twins, Richard Uihlein and several big tech investors have stepped in to kick in at least $4.5M.

There has been much speculation about whether Masters' former employer, Peter Thiel, would continue to support the GOP nominee after spending $10M in the primary contest. He had refused and there was reporting that Thiel was facing off with Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and the rest of the GOP's big money establishment in who should provide the support to try to win back the Arizona seat. The plot thickened last week with the $2M ad buy and the $5.2M total spent since the primary.

This report shows that Thiel stuck to his guns, and that the Super PAC vehicle is being driven by billionaires Richard Uihlein ($3M) and Cameron and Tyler Winkelvoss ($500,000 each). (Yes, the twins featured in The Social Network movie about the disputes surrounding the founding of Facebook. They had previously contributed $50,000 each to Saving Arizona) 

Another $250,000 was kicked in by another Peter Thiel protege - David Sacks and his wife Jacqueline. They ran their money through the "Purple PAC"*

A couple of regular Arizona Republican contributors also threw in some money - builder Tom Lewis ($50,000) and Services Group of Arizona ($10,000)

Amazingly, though, this is just a drop in the bucket of money being spent on the Arizona Senate race. According to AdImpact, the overall spending has reached $110M (as of yesterday), with more than $18M in advertising spots already reserved for the next 19 days.

$80M has been spent by Kelly and Democratic-philic groups and only $30M on the Republican side.

And, just today, Saving Arizona PAC dropped another $1.4M in advertising and $114,000 in "signs".

*Interestingly, the Purple PAC has only sent small contributions to several Republican Senators, and Arizona's other Democratic Senator, Kyrsten Sinema.  

If you would like to show your appreciation for Arizona's Politics reporting, please consider donating to our pool to support OTHER journalism-related nonprofits. 

We welcome your comments about this post. Or, if you have something unrelated on your mind, please e-mail to info-at-arizonaspolitics-dot-com or call 602-799-7025. Thanks.

Thursday, October 20, 2022

READ/WATCH: Former AZ Journalists Unite To Support Truth, Journalism, Democracy

As readers of Arizona's Politics and Arizona's Law might expect, I was quick to sign on to the statement issued by former Arizona journalists "IN DEFENSE OF DEMOCRACY, THE FIRST AMENDMENT AND THE FOURTH ESTATE".  The effort and news conference yesterday were led by Rhonda Bannard, Steve Krafft and Marlene Galan.* It was an eloquent and non-partisan plea for people to vote in this incredibly-important election. (The statement and some of the video are below.)

The critical nature of our plea for TRUTH was made even more crystal clear today, when Ben Petersen, the apparent "RNC Arizona Communications Director", tweeted out a completely false tweet purporting to quote Senator Mark Kelly saying that his Democratic colleague (Katie Hobbs) should "just run a better campaign." Kelly made that statement *explicitly* about their Republican opponents, Blake Masters (Senate) and Kari Lake (Governor).

With the veracity of the tweet already being challenged, Kari Lake decided to run with the obvious falsehood. "Wow. @SenMarkKelly just threw @katiehobbs completely under the bus."

Again, Lake knew or should have known that the key part of the quote was actually about HER and not her opponent.

Lake has proven the importance of those editors and colleagues. And those of us who are no longer in the profession but are concerned about the health of our First Amendment and our democracy.

That is why we are speaking out.



*Thanks to friends Nancy Puffer and Sal Caputo, both there in the accompanying picture.

If you would like to show your appreciation for Arizona's Politics reporting, please consider donating to our pool to support OTHER journalism-related nonprofits. 

We welcome your comments about this post. Or, if you have something unrelated on your mind, please e-mail to info-at-arizonaspolitics-dot-com or call 602-799-7025. Thanks.

Wednesday, October 12, 2022

BREAKING: WATCH New $2M Ad Supporting Blake Masters, Raising Question: Will We Know Who Is Paying For It? (Plus, the Return Of Sean Noble) (#50ShadesOfDarkMoney)

The Super PAC dedicated to supporting Blake Masters' Senatorial run had been funded by his former employer, billionaire Peter Thiel. But Thiel insisted he was not adding more to the $10M he put in to help  power Masters through the primary election.

And, he has kept his word, according to the Saving Arizona PAC men (or, women). 

So, who has put in the $5.2M that has been spent by the Super PAC since then? The next finance report is due in 15 days, and we will learn whether or not the original source(s) is/are disclosed.

Adding to the speculation that we will learn that the money is dark is the return of DC London to the stage. The firm is run and co-founded by Sean Noble, the one-time dark money king for the Koch Brothers network and for outgoing Arizona Governor Doug Ducey. DC London started running the digital media campaign for Saving Arizona after the primary.

Adding a touch of irony to the funding question is that the new ad mimics late night local advertising that inevitably smacks of hucksterism. (It is an obvious attempt to break through the blizzard of serious negative political ads.)

The new $2M ad buy was first reported by NBC News. Watch it below.


If you would like to show your appreciation for Arizona's Politics reporting, please consider donating to our pool to support OTHER journalism-related nonprofits.  

We welcome your comments about this post. Or, if you have something unrelated on your mind, please e-mail to info-at-arizonaspolitics-dot-com or call 602-799-7025. Thanks.