Wednesday, January 31, 2018

CAMPAIGN FINANCE REPORT: Big Spending Showdowns Shaping Up For Senate, Swing Districts (READ REPORTS)

Expected big-spending showdowns for Arizona's key Congressional seats are shaping up, per reports filed in the last few days.  Today is the deadline for Congressional candidates* to file their campaign finance reports for the end of 2017.

In the Senate race, only Rep. Martha McSally (R-CD2) has filed (what is officially her last report as a House candidate, and she has $1.8M in the bank. The likely Democratic nominee is Rep. Kyrsten Sinema (D-CD9) and she had $4.2M cash on hand as of September 30. Republican candidates Kelli Ward ($285k on hand as of 9/30/17) and Joe Arpaio are also well-known names with the ability to raise lots of monies.

Sinema is vacating her competitive legislative district, and each party has one potential replacement who has quickly stockpiled cash. Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton (D) raised $600,000 in just a few weeks, and has $514k cash on hand. Steve Ferrara (R) has easily out-paced other primary candidates; he raised $141k in the 4th quarter - $538k overall - and still has $449k in the bank.

McSally is leaving her extremely competitive southern Arizona district, and Tucson Hispanic Chamber of Commerce CEO Lea Marquez Peterson (R) raised $208,065 in the last three weeks of December. Combined with a $10,000 candidate loan, she has $210,078 cash on hand as of December 31. She received a lot of maxed-out (primary and general) contributions from reliable Republican funders.

On the Democratic side, Former Congresswoman Ann Kirkpatrick raised $400k in the quarter ($738k total) and has cash on hand of $464k.  Matt Heinz is next (so far). He raised $81,000 in the 4th quarter to bring his total contributions to $344k. Cash on hand: $193k.  Mary Matiella has raised $144k total ($51k in 4q) and has $47,701 in the bank. Former legislator Bruce Wheeler is in 4th place.

Links to all of the candidates' filings are listed here. We did not include filings that show no money raised. (If your favorite candidate is missing, please email us with the date of filing.)

McSally S:
Steve Smith CD1 R:
Shedd CD1 R:
Cavanaugh CD1 R:
Marquez Peterson CD2 R:
Kirkpatrick CD2 D:
Matiella CD2 D:
Wheeler CD2 D:
Heinz CD2 D:
Sherry CD2 D:
Grijalva CD3:
Arellano CD3 R:
Greene CD5 D:
Schweikert CD6:
Heather Ross CD6 D:
Anita Malik: CD6 D:
Allen CD8 R:
Franks CD8:
Lesko CD8:
Lien CD8 R:
Ferrara CD9 R:
Seth Leibsohn CD9 R:
Greg Stanton CD9 D:

* Candidates running in the Special Election to fill the vacant seat in CD8 have until February 15 to file their reports. Calendar for Special CD8:

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Monday, January 22, 2018

Arizona House Delegation Splits On Measure To End Government Shutdown...Not Along Party Lines

Arizona's eight members of the U.S. House of Representatives were evenly split this afternoon on the measure to end the government shutdown. However, the split was not along party lines.

The House voted 266-150 to re-fund the government for the next two weeks. The Senate approved it earlier today by an 81-18 vote.

Only 6 House Republicans voted against the measure (221-6). Two of them are from Arizona. Reps. Paul Gosar (R-CD4) and Andy Biggs (R-CD5) voted no because they opposed any temporary funding measure.

The Democratic side was more closely divided.  45 Democrats voted in favor, 144 were opposed. From Arizona, Reps. Tom O'Halleran (D-CD1) and Kyrsten Sinema (D-CD9) voted "aye". The other two Democrats - Reps. Raul Grijalva (D-CD3) and Ruben Gallego (D-CD7) voted against it because they did not believe that the Senate Democrats had reached a good deal with the Republicans to obtain protection for DACA recipients.

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Friday, January 19, 2018

WATCH: CODE WORD ALERT: Mark Steyn On Fox News Decries "Cultural Transformation" That Makes Arizona's Future Part Of Mexico (COMMENTARY)

(Arizona's Politics is an independent, non-partisan political news blog. When we engage in analysis or commentary, we attempt to label it as such. This article may be classified as "commentary".)
"Arizona's future is as an Hispanic society," said conservative talker Mark Steyn last night on Fox News. Citing an unsupported claim that "a majority of the grade school children are now Hispanic," Steyn claims that, "in effect", Arizona is now part of Mexico.

When Arizona's Politics came across his quote in a tweet from Fox News, we immediately searched for the full video, hoping that the context would show it to be a little less... uhhh... racist. No such luck, the video added the "cultural transformation" angle to his comments. (He analogized Arizona's future to Sweden's own cultural transformation into a Muslim country.)

(video will open in new window; Arizona comments start at 3:50)
First, Steyn makes an unsupported claim that "a majority" of grade school students in Arizona are Hispanic. Arizona's Politics searched for any figures that would back him up on that. The closest was a 2016 article by the Arizona Center for Investigative Reporting, which went through state data to conclude that 44% of all students (not just grade school) were Hispanic. We asked AZCIR - a worthy non-profit, by the way - to help update that data. They did, and found out that 45.9% of students in Grades 3-8 are Hispanic. (We have reached out to Mr. Steyn for additional information and comments, and will supplement as necessary.)

Second and more importantly, Steyn's seemingly-uneducated - Arizona has always had a culture with large elements of Hispanic and Native American, and part was purchased from Mexico - and definitely-European-centric remarks can only fan the flames of fear and divisiveness.

Fox News host Tucker Carlson's reaction to the pronouncement that anyone who does not support the hardest of hard-line immigration stances is guilty of permitting Mexico to take over one of the 50 United States was not reassuring. He gave typical Carlson responses of "bewildering" and "it's real".

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Quote of the Day? Grijalva Characterizes Zinke/EPA Wobbling On Offshore Drilling And Florida

Early #QOTD entry from AZ @RepRaulGrijalva, at hearing re: Administration's wobbling on offshore drilling near FL coasts:

"Instead of carefully following laws and regulations, this administration writes policy on a napkin, announces it on social media and calls it a day."

Rest of his quote: "Our nation’s oceans and coastlines are being managed by an out-of-control administration with incompetent top leadership. Secretary Zinke’s tweet either represents official policy, in which case he’ll lose in court, or it doesn’t, in which case he shouldn’t have announced it in the first place. Both options are deeply embarrassing for this administration and unacceptable to the American people who demand better environmental stewardship.”

At a hearing of the Energy and Mineral Resources Subcommittee moments ago, Walter Cruickshank, acting director of the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM), said Florida is not off the table for offshore drilling activities, contradicting Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke’s tweeted statement a few days ago following a hasty meeting with Florida Gov. Rick Scott (R). Cruickshank’s statement calls into question the entire process behind Zinke’s tweet and raises serious questions about who sets drilling policy for the nation’s coastlines.

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Thursday, January 18, 2018

BREAKING: Good News - FEC Quickly Removes Filing By Crazy Trying To Use FEC To Raise "Reward" Money To Assassinate President

(UPDATES below article)

Arizona's Politics has confirmed that the Federal Elections Commission today intentionally removed a public filing made yesterday by a crazy soliciting "reward" contributions for his plan to assassinate President Donald Trump.

Upon checking the listings of newly-filed campaign committees, etc., Arizona's Politics noticed the unusual and scary committee titled "I Am Going to Assassinate President Donald J Trump". Wanting to make sure that it had not been filed by some crazy person located in Arizona, we did more checking.

The FEC indicated that "No Committee Records found".  Further checking indicated that a couple of other outlets had already published information about the filing. A self-described "conservative news organization", TruePundit, published a no-longer-working link to the filing (which included the FEC number assigned to the committee), along with quotes from the filing.

Freddy Black listed his Illinois address and referenced his Illinois Department of Corrections parole agent.

This evening, FEC Press Officer Judith Ingram confirms to Arizona's Politics that "the filing was removed from the website intentionally. The decision to remove the posting was made internally."

In other words, the FEC did not take the notice down under a request or order from the U.S. Secret Service or any other law enforcement agency.

Arizona's Politics has contacted the Secret Service and will update as warranted. Their Chicago office did acknowledge that they are "aware" of the situation.

UPDATE, 4:55pm: Following this article, @IAmTheWarax, an online national security-related poster located an HTML version that had inadvertently not been pulled down by the FEC. We have redacted the below image so as to not encourage any crazies to donate to the crazy.

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Tuesday, January 9, 2018

NEW: Arpaio Met With Steve Bannon In December, "Discussed Politics" (LISTEN)

Former Maricopa County Sheriff and longtime Trump surrogate Joe Arpaio met with President Trump's Senior-Strategist-Turned-Sloppy-Steve Bannon to "discuss politics" last month. Today, Arpaio announced that he will run to replace the retiring Jeff Flake (R-AZ) in the Senate.

Arpaio announced the meeting in an interview with Fox News' Todd Starnes in response to a question about former state Sen. Kelli Ward, who has been running for Flake's seat for several months, and Bannon. He side-stepped Ward, but said "I know Bannon. I spent some time with him last month. We did discuss politics, but that's not my issue."

He then used the opportunity to point out that "I was with (Trump) since day one...when nobody would even stand next to him."

(click on button, will open in new window)

Bannon stepped down from his role as executive chairman from Breitbart News today, as he has come under withering attacks for the past month for his roles in the Alabama Senate race and the new book Fire and Fury.

Arpaio also used the interview to dismiss criticism from both Flake and the Chair of the Democratic National Committee. He said "I don't deal with that Senator," when asked about Flake. Perez was in charge of the Justice Department's lawsuit against the MCSO alleging racial profiling; Arpaio promised today to talk more about that in the future and warned Perez that he should be more worried about his own party.

Arizona's Politics has asked the Arpaio campaign for more details about the Bannon meeting, and will update this article as warranted.

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WATCH: Flake Happy That Trump Pulls Back From Attaching Long List To DACA Fix

After joking that he never thought he would see a day where the President would propose bringing back earmarks and Joe Arpaio would run for his Senate seat, Jeff Flake (R-AZ) said he was happy with today's meeting about immigration-related issues.

On MSNBC's MTP Daily program last hour, Flake noted that it was just a couple of days ago that Trump gave Congress a long list of demands to go with the fix for the revoked DACA program - and, just yesterday that several Senators spoke on the floor about attaching DACA to that list. As noted earlier on Arizona's Politics, the President today convincingly agreed with Flake to separate them out.  "I'm so glad that he seems to have pulled back from that, and that alone was worth it."

Their preferred DACA deal is not completely "clean", however. At the meeting, Trump added in the words "and security", and Flake repeated that "a few border security elements" could be coupled with DACA.

When asked about the possibility of being replaced by former Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio - Arpaio announced his candidacy this morning - Flake says he does not take it seriously and that Arpaio might not be in the race by next time this month.

For his part, Arpaio stated today that "I don't deal with that Senator."

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BREAKING/WATCH: Trump, Flake publicly agree that DACA Fix and Border Security Comes Before Efforts At Comprehensive Immigration Reform; McSally, Flake Both In Meeting

At the public White House meeting today regarding immigration-related issues, there was this remarkable exchange between President Donald Trump and Senator Jeff Flake (R-AZ). The two agreed that a DACA/Dreamer fix should not be held up by putting it into a comprehensive immigration reform measure that would have less chance of passing before the DACA protections are set to expire on March 5.

Arizona Rep. Martha McSally (R-CD2) was also at the meeting, prominently seated to the right of Trump and Sen. Richard Durbin. McSally's campaign emailed this afternoon that she will be making a political announcement on Friday, and she is almost certain to announce that she is looking to replace the retiring Flake in the Senate.

McSally spoke briefly about the need to first focus on making sure that the military is properly funded before the January 19th deadline.

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BREAKING; McSally To Announce Senate Run Friday

In the immediate wake of Joe Arpaio announcing his bid to run for retiring Senator Jeff Flake's seat, Rep. Martha McSally (R-CD2) announced today that she will be announcing her next move this coming Friday. Given that she is making the announcement in Phoenix, Tucson and Prescott, it is very safe to assume that she will be fulfilling her earlier promise to run for the Senate seat.

Former Maricopa County Sheriff Arpaio tossed his hat in the ring earlier today, and said that he intends to serve as President Donald Trump's guy, if elected. McSally has been positioning herself more closely to the President since Flake announced that he would not seek re-election. Previously announced Kelli Ward has long been running for the Trump endorsement.

On the Democratic side, Rep. Kyrsten Sinema (D-CD9) is the heavy favorite for that party's nomination.

Here is the email that McSally sent out at 1:15pm (below jump):

Monday, January 8, 2018

WATCH: "Let's Get Real!" Jeff Flake Goes On Offensive To Secure DACA/Dreamers Resolution; Will Be Meeting At White House Tomorrow

"The President's instincts are better than some of the advice he gets." With those words, Senator Jeff Flake (R-AZ) sprinted from Mesa to the Senate floor today to give a speech about the need to keep focus on a DACA/Dreamer fix without losing it amidst the Trump Administration's demands to tie it to favored changes to the legal immigration system and funding for a border wall for the U.S.-Mexico border.

"Let's get real about the time involved between now and the time we need to fix this...March 5th," Flake pleaded in his 12-minute speech. He set a goal of January 31st to have something on the floor of the Senate.

Flake announced last month that the White House had promised him a seat at the table for discussions on the Trump-revoked DACA program (partly) in return for his vote on the tax bill. In fact, he and several other Senators from both parties met at the White House with Trump Chief of Staff John Kelly in December.

However, on Friday, the White House released documents connecting DACA to the other issues. And today, Republican Senators Grassley, Tillis and Cotton spoke on the Senate floor that indicated the issues had to be put together. Grassley said they were proposing a "five pillar" plan that also includes "sanctuary cities".

Flake asked for "a limited measure" with some related issues, and to table the rest. "I'm all in for comprehensive immigration reform," but this is not the time to try it at the expense of a DACA fix.

Flake is part of a bipartisan group of five Senators (Democrat Durbin and Republicans Bennet, Gardner and Graham) who will be meeting tomorrow.

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.