FOLLOWING MONEY IN 2016 PRESIDENTIAL POLITICS

Thursday, October 27, 2016

UPDATED: WOLVES IN SHEEP'S CLOTHING, INDEED: Arizona Republicans All In For Sending Swing District Green Party Candidate To Congress

(UPDATED version, 3:00pm. Original version can be found below the jump.)

Arizona's Politics previously reported on a small pro-Babeu Super PAC making robocalls on behalf of Green Party candidate Ray Parrish, in the swing district comprising much of northern and eastern Arizona. Now, the Arizona Republican Party is stepping in and throwing its mighty support behind the surprised Mr. Parrish. After all, according to two mailers forwarded to Arizona's Politics today: "Progressive Candidate Ray Parrish Stands With Our Values" (we added the emphasis).

The Arizona GOP has sent out multiple mailers to Democrats in CD1, where Pinal County Sheriff Paul Babeu is battling Tom O'Halleran to replace Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick in the toss-up district. The mailers hammer O'Halleran's past as both a Republican lawmaker and an independent, and try to push Democratic voters to the Green Party candidate.

The Arizona GOP denies that it is actually supporting Parrish. Chairman Robert Graham told Arizona's Politics that "First time I have heard this one. The AZGOP has not spent one penny helping candidates that are not Republican nominees." He correctly points out that Arizona Democrats did try to assist the Libertarians (in the U.S. Senate race) earlier this year, in getting on the ballot and fighting the court case.)

(Asked if he thought that someone sent out the mailers faking that they came from the state party, Graham answered with an emphatic "Yes!! I promise. You can audit our books.")

However, AZ GOP Communications Director Tim Sifert acknowledged that they are party mailers:   "(The) disclosure is correct, but that’s a contrast piece describing two candidates running against GOP nominee Paul Babeu."

Of course, the mailers both clearly disclose that they are paid for by the Arizona Republican Party, they do not mention GOP nominee Paul Babeu, and they repeatedly indicate that Parrish "stands with our voters" and is "true to our values" and "to us". (The mailers give no other indication as to who the "we's" and "our's" would refer to, other than that they are pretending to be from fellow Democrats or progressives)







Of course, there is no perfect way to pretend to be from Democrats and still make the necessary disclosure. But, using the words "we" and "our" has got to be the worst way. Sifert sums it up as clearly as he can: "When you are finished with the analysis and your conclusion is that the AZGOP thinks someone other than the GOP nominee is the best candidate, then I guarantee there’s something wrong with the analysis." He refused to answer questions about how much the party is paying for these mailers, and whether the state GOP is similarly praising other Green Party candidates

The mailers were forwarded to Arizona's Politics by northern Arizona Mike Rotter. Probably coincidentally, Rotter is now registered as a Democrat but indicates he previously supported and donated to Greens "in a previous state I lived in." Arizona's Politics then asked Mr. Rotter about his reaction to receiving these mailers, and he had a great emailed response:

"I had already voted early for Tom O'Halleran, I did find the flyers interesting as it informed me about the Green Party candidate (who I would normally vote for). Because it looks like a close election this year I decided to vote for the Democrat, also I think the first district needs someone like Tom O'Halleran that will be able work effectively for our communities. Frankly, I think it is embarrassing that the GOP cant support its own candidate in this district and have to work to siphon off progressives from the Democrat votes. Funny that the GOP actually have done more for the the Green Party than I have in recent years."

Parrish - who said on his Facebook page about the previous article: "Should I be outraged? Or take it where I can get it? Politics is a dirty game folks- has not yet commented on these new mailers.

As noted in our previous article, this follows in a growing line of groups and parties that aim to help their preferred candidate by trying to siphon some votes from the chief rival to a lesser-known. Arizona Republicans recruited Green Party candidates and Democrats "helped" Libertarians in 2010, former GOP Senate President Russell Pearce attempted to place a "sham" candidate on his recall ballot in 2011, and so on.

As Ballot Access expert Richard Winger pointed out, part of this development was enabled by the Arizona Legislature (controlled by Republicans) making changes to ballot access laws making it easier for Green Party candidates to get on the ballot while simultaneously making it more difficult for Libertarian Party candidates - who tend to siphon from Republicans - to clear the hurdles. (The Libertarians are still challenging that law in court.)

One last fun note: The Parrish picture on the top page above is well-cropped by the AZGOP mailer producers; here is the full picture from Parrish's Facebook page. He plays in a band, although he is not singing the same tune as the GOP.






Arizona's Politics previously reported on a small pro-Babeu Super PAC making robocalls on behalf of Green Party candidate Ray Parrish, in the swing district comprising much of northern and eastern Arizona. Now, the Arizona Republican Party is stepping in and throwing its mighty support behind the surprised Mr. Parrish. After all, according to the mailers: "Progressive Candidate Ray Parrish Stands With Our Values".

(UPDATE, 11:30am: Within minutes of this article being published, AZ GOP Party Chairman Robert Graham told Arizona's Politics that "The AZGOP has not spent one penny helping candidates that are not Republican nominees. The AZGOP has not spent one penny helping candidates that are not Republican nominees." He correctly points out that the Democrats did try to assist the Libertarians earlier this year, in getting on the ballot and fighting the court case.)

The AZGOP has sent out multiple mailers to Democrats in CD1, where Pinal County Sheriff Paul Babeu is battling Tom O'Halleran to replace Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick in the toss-up district. The mailers hammer O'Halleran's past as both a Republican lawmaker and an independent, and try to push Democratic voters to the Green Party candidate.






These mailers were forwarded to Arizona's Politics by northern Arizona Mike Rotter. Probably coincidentally, Rotter is now registered as a Democrat but indicates he previously supported and donated to Greens "in a previous state I lived in."

(UPDATE: 11:35am: Arizona's Politics had asked reader/tipster Mike Rotter about his reaction to receiving these mailers: I had already voted early for Tom O'Halleran, I did find the flyers interesting as it informed me about the Green Party candidate (who I would normally vote for). Because it looks like a close election this year I decided to vote for the Democrat, also I think the first district needs someone like Tom O'Halleran that will be able work effectively for our communities. Frankly, I think it is embarrassing that the GOP cant support its own candidate in this district and have to work to siphon off progressives from the Democrat votes. Funny that the GOP actually have done more for the the Green Party than I have in recent years.)

Arizona Republican Party Chairman Robert Graham and Communications Director Tim Sifert have not yet responded to requests for comment. After reading the fun copy on the "Wolf In Sheep's Clothing" mailer, especially, it is curious that the GOP did not qualify the words "our values" on both mailers so that they would not be ascribed to the party itself.

Parrish - who said on his Facebook page about the previous article: "Should I be outraged? Or take it where I can get it? Politics is a dirty game folks- has not yet commented on these new mailers.

As noted in our previous article, this follows in a growing line of groups and parties that aim to help their preferred candidate by trying to siphon some votes from the chief rival to a lesser-known. Arizona Republicans recruited Green Party candidates and Democrats "helped" Libertarians in 2010, former GOP Senate President Russell Pearce attempted to place a "sham" candidate on his recall ballot in 2011, and so on.

As Ballot Access expert Richard Winger pointed out, part of this development was enabled by the Arizona Legislature (controlled by Republicans) making changes to ballot access laws making it easier for Green Party candidates to get on the ballot while simultaneously making it more difficult for Libertarian Party candidates - who tend to siphon from Republicans - to clear the hurdles. (The Libertarians are still challenging that law in court.)

One last fun note: The Parrish picture on the top page above is well-cropped by the AZGOP mailer producers; here is the full picture from Parrish's Facebook page. He plays in a band, but he's not singing the same tune as the GOP.



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.

1 comment:

Ray Parrish said...

Thanks Mitch...That could go down as one of my favorite lines of the campaign. "He plays in a band, but he's not singing the same tune as the GOP".

So let's make it official right here....PRESS RELEASE > Our campaign, the campaign of Ray Parrish running for Congress in Arizona's 1st District, would like to thank the Arizona Republican Party for saying I am their candidate. But we will have to politely decline their endorsement.