Friday, April 3, 2020

Sen. McSally's Call To Shut Down "Wet Markets" In China Echoed Today By Dr. Fauci (ARIZONA'S POLITICAL SHORTS)

12:30pm: In her telephonic town hall yesterday, Arizona Senator Martha McSally emphatically told listeners that China should not be allowed to re-open their "wet markets". Such a location is where the current pandemic is believed to have started.

Today, Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, made that call loud and clear. "It boggles my mind how when we have so many diseases that emanate out of that unusual human-animal interface, that we don't just shut it down. I don't know what else has to happen to get us to appreciate that."

McSally did indicate in the town hall that she had been on a conference call with Dr. Fauci earlier in the day. And, the subject of the wet markets was raised by fellow Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC). Fauci reportedly called it a "crazy decision" to reopen them.

The wet markets are only one aspect of the pandemic response that Senator McSally has been devoting some of her attention to; in addition to the Arizona issues and the latest Congressional rescue package, she also has set her sights on forcing China to forfeit $1T worth of U.S. Treasuries and calling for the diretor of the World Health Organization to resign for "parroting" and "praising" China.


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BREAKING: SuperPAC Starts Hitting McSally On Fox News For Early Covid-19 Remarks, CDC Vote (WATCH AD)

An anti-McSally SuperPAC begins airing a new ad on CNN and Fox News tomorrow, hammering the Arizona Senator for her March 6 remarks that not going on Spring Break would be "too much of a panicked reaction."

The 30-second spot from the union-backed committee starts airing tomorrow, with a "five-figure buy". (The ad is embedded below.) It follows their distinctive early January effort that featured a "McSally's" burger joint with yellow arches. The SuperPAC's full name is Middle Class Fighting to Restore Arizona’s Unity and Decency, although it goes by its acronym.

In addition to the Spring Break remarks, the ad focuses on a vote she cast in the House in 2017 that would have cut $1B from the CDC's budget, and it juxtaposes it with her telling a TV interviewer this year that "we've increased funding to the CDC and the NIH over the last couple of years."

Arizona's Politics has asked the Senator for a response and will update this article as warranted.



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Saturday, March 28, 2020

READ: President Trump Tears Up Part Of His Deal With Congress, May Censor Special IG's Accountability Reports

Although Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin proclaimed he reached a "Deal!" with the leaders of both Houses of Congress - and he knew of the accountability provisions included in the deal - President Donald Trump ripped up a key part of that deal two hours after signing it into law.
The smooth-yet-gutless trick came in the form of a rare presidential "signing statement". However, this statement was not released until the Congressional leaders and Cabinet members left the Oval Office signing ceremony. (No doubt, Democratic leaders are even more glad that they were not invited to stand behind him.)

The key provision that the signing statement demolished was that the Special Inspector General for Pandemic Recovery (the actual title) would report to Congress every three months. That report is to include "a detailed statement of all loans, loan guarantees, other transactions, obligations, expenditures, and revenues associated" with the monies spent abroad.

This was one of the provisions that Democrats held out for in the early part of the week. It is inconceivable that Mnuchin had not signed off on it before either the Senate or the House had voted. Not so fast, people who are concerned with this accountability. The Signing Statement says that the President can censor the report before it goes to Congress.

"I do not understand, and my Administration will not treat, this provision as permitting the SIGPR to issue reports to the Congress without the presidential supervision required by the Take Care Clause, Article II, section 3."

That is the Clause in the Constitution that says he shall "take Care that the Laws be faithfully executed" allows him to censor the Special IG's reports. He is treating that *very* expansively, to say the least.

(The impacted accountability provisions are set forth on page 540 of the Bill.)

The Signing Statement unilaterally changes his deal in a couple of other ways, and those are set forth in the annotated copy of the Statement below.

Arizona Rep. Ruben Gallego reacted today on Twitter, saying "He is not a king."





*The picture/meme is from Mnuchin's Instagram. (Highlighting added)



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Thursday, March 26, 2020

Anti-Trump Group To Spend $600k Running Controversial "Hoax" Ad In Arizona (WATCH ad, READ cease and desist)

An anti-Trump Super PAC announced this morning that it will spend $600,000 in Arizona over the next few weeks to air an ad that the President's campaign is demanding stations not air.

Priorities USA Action responded to yesterday's cease and desist letters in other battleground states by doubling down and buying air time in Phoenix and Tucson for the ad. (The ad is below.)

Guy Cecil, the Chair of the committee, was defiant: "The fact that Trump is going to such great
lengths to keep the American people from hearing his own words adds to the urgency of communicating them far and wide. Trump doesn't want voters to know the truth. We will not be intimidated."

The Trump campaign made its cease and desist letter public yesterday and noted that Fox News agreed not to air the ad. It claims that the President's well-publicized "hoax" comment referred to the Democrats' politicization of the crisis, and not the virus itself. The letter leans heavily - without irony - on several articles from mainstream media fact-checkers that presumptive Democratic nominee Joe Biden's campaign misleadingly tried to make it seem the comment referred to the latter. (The cease and desist letter is below.)


At the SC "hoax" rally
As transcribed in the Trump letter, here is the "hoax" statement by the President at a rally. (It would appear both sides have an argument.)
"Now the Democrats are politicizing the coronavirus. You know that, right? Coronavirus. They’re politicizing it. We did one of the great jobs, you say, “How’s President Trump doing?”, “Oh, nothing, nothing.” They have no clue, they don’t have any clue. They can’t even count their votes in Iowa, they can’t even count. No, they can’t. They can’t count their votes. One of my people came up to me and said, “Mr. President, they
tried to beat you on Russia, Russia, Russia.” That didn’t work out too
well. They couldn’t do it. They tried the impeachment hoax. That was
on a perfect conversation. They tried anything, they tried it over and over,
they’ve been doing it since he got in. It’s all turning, they lost. It’s all
turning, think of it, think of it. And this is their new hoax. But you know
we did something that’s been pretty amazing. We have 15 people in this
massive country and because of the fact that we went early, we went early,
we could have had a lot more than that."
Priorities USA Action discloses its donors, and its two largest are well-known contributors Donald Sussman and George Soros' Democracy PAC.

Here is the ad, followed by the cease and desist letter





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Wednesday, March 25, 2020

BREAKING: Pro-McSally Group Reserves $7.7M TV Ad Buy For Autumn; Most Expensive Race In The Nation, Indeed

Arizona is, indeed, going to be home to the most expensive Senate race in the nation. Further evidence comes today with this information that the largest pro-McSally SuperPAC has reserved $7.7 MILLION in TV ad time during the last eight weeks of the campaign.
A notorious mailer from DefendArizona, 2018

DefendArizona - which spent more than $22M trying to help Martha McSally defeat Kyrsten Sinema to fill Jeff Flake's Senate seat - snatched up $2.2M on Tucson's stations, and nearly $5.5M in the Phoenix market. KNXV (Ch.15, Phoenix) alone, received an order for more than three-quarters of a million dollars in 30-second bites.

DefendArizona (aka DefendMcSally, or aka AttackKelly) started out in 2018 as a locally-funded committee to support McSally in both the primary and the election. However, the McConnell-affiliated Senate Leadership Fund quickly became took it over as its Arizona affiliate in the general election, pouring more than $16.5M in the final weeks of the battle for the open seat.

DefendArizona spokesperson Barrett Marson declined to tell Arizona's Politics where the funding will be coming from in 2020, but this week's reservation came on the same day that the Senate Leadership Fund made similar reservations in Colorado, Maine, Iowa and North Carolina. (And, in Kentucky, through an apparently-affiliated group.)

The Democrats have their own SuperPAC set up. Advancing Arizona already spent in seven figure territory in the latter 1/3 of last year. Presumptive Democratic nominee Mark Kelly is the best-funded Senate candidate in the nation and has been running his own ads, too.

Other groups on both sides of the heavyweight air war have also been running ads.

(h/t and thanks to Advertising Analytics for computing the total size of the ad reservation.)


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Monday, March 23, 2020

ANALYSIS: Governor's New Executive Order Prevents Mayors From Taking The Lead (READ Exec Order)

This afternoon's news coverage of the new Executive Order from Arizona Governor Doug Ducey seems to miss the point. The Governor is not setting out a broad list of "essential businesses" "just in case" he issues a shelter-in-place or lockdown order as the Covid-19 outbreak worsens in the state.

Rather, Ducey is explicitly preempting and tying the hands of mayors who may want to get out ahead of him and shut down more businesses in their communities. That intent is clear not just from the title and the opening "therefore" paragraph, but in more subtle ways. The entire Executive Order is reproduced, below.

The title of the Executive Order is "Prohibiting the Closure of Essential Services". If this was intended to define essential services for a statewide lockdown, it could and would be included in such an order. The first action paragraph spells it out: "No county, city or town may make or issue any order, rule or regulation that restricts or prohibits any person...."

The 2nd paragraph is a bit trickier, though. It requires any Mayor (or county) from issuing any order or proclamation without coordinating with the state in advance, and as long as it is "consistent" with the state's "advice".

And, finally, the list of what the Governor has deemed to be "essential businesses" is quite broad, and includes golf courses, trails and other outdoor recreation, hotels/motels, photography stores, appliance stores, and so on.

This comes on the heels of divergent approaches to the crisis by Ducey and Mayors of several Arizona cities. Phoenix, Tucson and Flagstaff mayors led the way in closing bars, dine-in at restaurants and more.

Phoenix Mayor Kate Gallego took a not-so-veiled swipe this evening, noting the controversy about crowded hiking trails and that city attorneys are "researching whether today’s Executive Order from the Governor limits our ability to restrict access."

The Governor apparently did not fill mayors in on the Executive Order in his briefing call this morning. And, when asked at the press briefing this afternoon what was in the Order, he declined to go into specifics.

This preemptive action also comes as several states and communities around the nation have ordered people to shelter in place or to be locked down in order to help prevent an overwhelming spike of cases. And, as Arizona Senator Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ) and others urge Gov. Ducey to take more aggressive action.

*






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BREAKING: Mark Kelly Campaign Resumes TV Advertising With Broad Attack On Prescription Drug Costs (WATCH)

Arizona's presumptive Democratic nominee for this November's heavyweight battle for the U.S. Senate seat currently held by Martha McSally is launching a new TV ad tonight. It broadly attacks Congress for protecting Big Pharma while promising to fight to lower prescription drug costs.

Mark Kelly's campaign - with the biggest campaign war-chest in the country - is spending approximately $75,000 running the 30-second spot over the next couple of weeks. In it, he notes that he is not taking money from corporate PACs, "will push for Medicare to negotiate lower drug prices and make cheaper generic drugs more available."

Earlier this month, Senator McSally introduced her own bill which would permit Medicare to negotiate lower prices on certain prescription drugs, among other provisions. Below the surface, the devil between her bill and what Kelly would prefer may be in the details.

A check of Open Secrets compilation of the Senator's campaign contributions over the past five years indicates that her committees have received only $65,000 from pharmaceutical industry PACs - a mere rounding error in the $12.4M she has received during that period.

The healthcare and prescription drugs issue is sure to be on the minds of many voters after this pandemic crisis subsides and November gets closer.

Here is the new ad:



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Sunday, March 22, 2020

MONDAY MORNING UPDATE: Arizona's Senators Agree On One Thing Today - Their Swimming Colleague Was "Absolutely Irresponsible"

11:05am: Arizona's two Senators agree about at least one thing: their colleague was "absolutely irresponsible" for using the Senate gym and pool yesterday as he was awaiting his Covid-19 test results. Confronted with the news about Rand Paul's Sunday workout, Kyrsten Sinema (D) took to Twitter - a familiar venue for her during this pandemic crisis - to strongly denounce it. "I’ve never commented about a fellow Senator’s choices/actions. Never once. This, America, is absolutely irresponsible. You cannot be near other people while waiting for coronavirus test results. It endangers others & likely increases the spread of the virus."

Last night, Martha McSally (R) tweeted her complete agreement. "I couldn't agree more @kyrstensinema. As we ask all Americans to sacrifice their livelihoods and alter their behavior to save lives, we must ourselves model appropriate #coronavirus behavior. No one is too important to disregard guidance to self-quarantine pending test results."

11:00am: Senator Sinema's explanation for her "no" vote: "We must get 2 things done in this legislative package: ๐Ÿ”˜Help small businesses, which are 94% of all Arizona businesses ๐Ÿ”˜ Funding for our health system so we can take care of Arizonans with coronavirus I'm urging Congressional leaders to get this done immediately for Arizona.

Still "No Deal"; Arizona Senators Again Split Along Party Lines On Moving Forward With 3rd Coronavirus Relief Package
10:55am: A new cloture vote this morning - still taking place - is yielding the same results. Arizona's Senators split along party lines, and the vote is not going to receive the necessary 60 votes to close debate. The vote in progress is currently 39-31.

Arizona's two Senators both voted their party lines on whether or not to move forward with Congress's 3rd coronavirus relief package. The cloture motion needed 60 votes; it failed 47-47.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell blamed House Speaker Nancy Pelosi for blowing up a deal he believed had been reached, while Minority Leader Chuck Schumer blamed McConnell for moving forward before the deal was reached. Schumer says the $1.4T package still has "many problems."

Senator Kyrsten Sinema (D) voted against closing debate, while Sen. Martha McSally (R) voted "aye".

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Friday, March 20, 2020

INCENDIARY REMARKS: McSally Says China Should Forfeit $1 Trillion In U.S. Treasury Notes, As "Part Of Their Accountability For This Virus" (WATCH)

In incendiary remarks, Arizona Senator Martha McSally suggested this evening that China should forfeit $1T in U.S. Treasury notes and bonds that they hold, as "part of their accountability for this virus."

Speaking on Fox Business Network, McSally (R-AZ) launched into her attack when asked whether people should be "dialing back" on their criticism of China in order to work with them regarding needed medical supplies. "I've never trusted a communist, as a general rule," McSally began.

She then fired another round, stating that China's current actions and statements are "like an arsonist lighting a fire and then coming to help to put it out, wanting to be the hero. And there's a lot of propaganda around it that our mainstream media should not be repeating. We have a trillion dollars of debt with China - they should forgive it as a part of their accountability to this virus."

She sidestepped an effort to get her to comment on the possibility that the virus got out of a Chinese lab, but the Senator's comments fit in with the President's concerted effort to brand the virus as Chinese. (The World Health Organization says they work hard to name a virus so that it is NOT associated with a particular nation or group.)

WATCH below:
*If the embedded video is (still) not working, you can go to this page.

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AZ Political Groups, Elected Officials Running Digital Ads Regarding Current Coronavirus Crisis

One Arizona Congresswoman and three Arizona political groups are currently running coronavirus-related ads on Facebook. Nationally, Republican elected officials are more likely (than their Democratic counterparts) to be running such ads while Democratic-leaning groups are more likely than GOP groups; that pattern holds true in Arizona.

Advertising Analytics reports that Rep. Debbie Lesko (R-CD8) is the only member of Arizona's delegation to be running such ads. Hers - a sample included at right - seek to steer people to like her Congressional Facebook page in order to receive updates. Her office has spent $2,670 in the past week, according to Facebook.

The ad tracking firm also reports that a trio of Democratic-leaning groups focused on Arizona are running ads. The dark money group Advancing Arizona exists to hammer Sen. Martha McSally before November's special
election has spent more than $15,000 on Facebook this week. The ad to the left is the one using the current crisis to make a larger point on healthcare.

Progress Now Arizona and Opportunity Arizona are running ads aimed at the statewide level, promoting paid sick leave, expanded unemployed benefits and other measures that could be taken to address the crisis.




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Thursday, March 19, 2020

PUBLIC MARK-UP: Text of Senate Republicans' New "CARES Act" (Coronavirus Relief); PLEASE READ and HELP "Mark It Up"

Here is the text of what could be Congress' third Coronavirus relief measure. It was introduced this afternoon by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, along with a few other GOP Senators.

It is a 247-page measure, and we cannot study it alone. So, we are posting it here and asking for you to notify us of portions in the bill that should gain public attention. Drop us an email (Info@ArizonasPolitics.com) or direct message us on Twitter (@AZs_Politics). Give us the page number, the section, your name, and why you believe it to be noteworthy.

We will then be able to highlight your submissions, and open them up for further public discussion.
*
Here is initial article from CNN to get you started, and Sen. McConnell's comments.




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Friday, March 13, 2020

BREAKING: Arizona's Biggs, Lesko Vote Against Emergency Coronavirus Response Package

Two of Arizona's three (voting*) Republican Representatives voted tonight against the emergency coronavirus response package. The compromise package agreed to by President Donald Trump passed  363-40.
 Representatives Andy Biggs (R-CD5) and Debbie Lesko (R-CD8) were among the 40 Republicans to vote "nay". Rep. David Schweikert (R-CD6) cast his "aye" vote along with 39 other GOP members and all of the Democrats.

Rep. Lesko indicated that she voted "nay" because she "could not in good conscience vote for a 100-plus page bill that neither I nor my staff had an opportunity to read or review." Rep. Biggs has not yet commented.


Neither nay voter has yet issued an explanation of their decision.

The measure was held up until after midnight, as Republicans were waiting for the President to signal that he would sign it if sent to his desk. The Senate is expected to take up the measure on Monday.

UPDATE: Here is a copy of the bill that the House passed last night, courtesy of the Minority Leader's Office. For quick comparison purposes, we have screen-shotted the "Table of Contents" from the initially-proposed bill and the version that passed last night, below: 



Initial table of contents, with the amended below that:

UPDATE, 8:00am: We have added Rep. Lesko's explanation of her no vote.

*Rep. Paul Gosar remains in self-quarantine. Representatives Raul Grijalva and Ann Kirkpatrick were also not present for the vote.

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BREAKING: AG Heads To Court To Stop M.C. Recorder Fontes From Mailing Ballots For Tuesday

Early today, Maricopa County Recorder Adrian Fontes announced that he would mail out ballots for Tuesday's Presidential Preference Election as an anti-coronoavirus measure. The ballots could then be dropped off on Tuesday, thus avoiding extra contact with poll workers.

Late this afternoon, the Attorney General's Office asked Maricopa County Superior Court to issue an injunction preventing Fontes from mailing the ballots.

“The Maricopa County Recorder cannot unilaterally rewrite state election laws,” said Attorney General Mark Brnovich. “Fontes is creating chaos in our elections during an already difficult time. In times of crisis, the public looks to our elected officials to follow the law -- not make reactionary decisions for political gain.”


 Here is the proposed Temporary Restraining Order:



Case number: CV2020-003477

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Don't Worry, Arizona Bernie Supporters! Club For Growth Is Helping Cheer You On (WATCH, ARIZONA'S AIR WARS)

Club for Growth Action group has got your back, Arizona's Bernie Sanders supporters. The conservative organization is spending nearly $19,000 on digital ads in the state cheering on Sanders fans to not let "them steal" the Democratic nomination from the Vermont Senator. The kicker? "And if they do, remember in November."

While similar games have been played in the past, the ad is a brazen, in-the-open effort to sow discord in the Democratic party ahead of the general election - following the playbook used by Russian interests in the 2016 election.

The independent expenditure filing with the Federal Election Commission shows the Club spending $18,765 producing, promoting and running the digital ad in Arizona ahead of next Tuesday's Democratic Presidential Preference Election here. It notes that they will also be running it nationwide, but the total national expenditure is not included.

Here is the digital ad that Arizonans may be seeing.



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Thursday, March 12, 2020

BREAKING: At Last Minute, Biden and His SuperPAC Flood Arizona Airwaves, But Can't Match Sanders (WATCH, ARIZONA'S AIR WAR)

Jumping in at the last minute, former VP Joe Biden and the SuperPAC supporting him are flooding Arizona airwaves ahead of Tuesday's Presidential Preference Election. Even with the $800,000 blitz, the frontrunner for the Democratic Presidential nomination probably will not catch up with the
million-dollar Bernie Sanders effort.

The Vermont Senator got a one week jump on broadcast TV in both Phoenix and Tucson, and will have spent approximately $1,100,000 in 30-second chunks - on both English and Spanish language stations.

Yesterday, the revivified Biden campaign bought some time on the Spanish language stations, as well. That was followed up with contracts to spend $461,000 on Phoenix's English language TV, and approximately $100,000 in Tucson.

The Unite the Country SuperPAC supporting Biden bought more than $300,000 of airtime to show its 30-second spot praising Biden as a uniter and refuting "attacks" by Sanders. (Their ad is below.)

Arizona is the smallest of the four states voting on St. Patrick's Day, but is one of three that are considered as key battlegrounds in November against incumbent President Donald Trump.




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Wednesday, March 11, 2020

BREAKING: Rep. Schweikert Joins Dems To Pass Resolution Ending Hostilities With Iran (ARIZONA'S POLITICAL SHORTS)

4:00pm: Arizona Rep. David Schweikert (R-CD6) joined 5 other Republicans and most Democrats this afternoon in passing a resolution requiring President Donald Trump to get approval from Congress before engaging in further hostilities with Iran. The measure goes to the President's desk
for an expected veto.

The resolution passed the House, 227-186. The rest of Arizona's delegation voted along party lines. (Rep. Gosar is in his house in self-quarantine.) Last month in the Senate, Arizona Senators Kyrsten Sinema and Martha McSally also voted along party lines as it passed, 55-45.  Neither vote indicates an ability to override a veto.

Rep. Schweikert has not yet commented on his "aye" vote.

Here is the text of the resolution.


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Monday, March 2, 2020

Sen. McSally Queries CBP About Coronavirus Preparedness At the Border, As Trump Admin Contemplates Border Closure

Arizona Senator Martha McSally lead a letter Friday to Customs and Border Protection (CBP) about its preparedness to stop the spread of the new coronavirus (COVID-19) over the U.S.-Mexico border. This came the same day that the Administration told a conservative conference that it was looking at "ways to bar entry" due to the public health crisis.

The letter (below) from McSally (R-AZ) and the two Republican Senators from Texas focuses on concern about the virus being spread by people crossing into the U.S. across the border. "As southern border Senators, we are concerned about the possible spread of the coronavirus across our borders. We are similarly concerned about recent reports that the virus is spreading in Europe. Border shortcomings by the European Union have resulted in the spread of the virus across a number of nations, and it is essential that the United States not repeat these mistakes. We write to ask how your agency is prepared to address the threat presented by the coronavirus at U.S. borders.”

The letter goes on to ask about whether CBP has enough test kits, whether it is prepared for an outbreak at a detention facility, can it meet staffing needs if stricter screenings are necessary, etc. The Senators ask for an update "this week".

Also on Friday, Acting Deputy Secretary for the Department of Homeland Security Ken Cucinelli told the conservatives gathered at the annual CPAC conference that COVID-19 "adds a new wrinkle to the crisis" at the border "where we have to look at ways to bar entry."

Reuters reported exclusively the following day that DHS is "considering imposing entry restrictions."

Here's Cucinelli's response to the question at CPAC.







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Friday, February 28, 2020

BREAKING: A Democrat Not Named Mike Bloomberg Goes Up On Arizona Airwaves (WATCH, ARIZONA'S AIR WAR)

A Democratic Presidential candidate NOT named Mike Bloomberg is going up with an ad in both the Phoenix and Tucson markets.

Beginning Sunday, Elizabeth Warren will introduce herself to local TV viewers in advance of the March 17 Democratic Presidential Preference Election.

Warren's ad buy looks to be for between $60-100,000, with the spot (so far) running only through Wednesday.

Warren surrogate Juliรกn Castro was in the state earlier this week, and her campaign is actively canvassing and phone banking.

According to Advertising Analytics, presidential campaigns and the groups supporting them have already spent $10.6M in Arizona advertising. Bloomberg and Donald Trump's reelection campaign have already been on Arizona airwaves, but Warren is the first to join them. Early ballots went out to Democrats across the state last week, and election day is 2 1/2 weeks away.



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Tuesday, February 25, 2020

WATCH: Republican Jewish Coalition To Air Anti-Bernie Ad During Tonight's Debate, Calling Support For Him "Insane" (ARIZONA AIR WAR)

Phoenicians watching tonight's Presidential debate will be treated to an attack saying support for Senator Bernie Sanders for President would be "insane." It will not come from one of his opponents for the Democratic nomination; it will be an ad from the Republican Jewish Coalition.


Funded largely by casino magnates Sheldon and Miriam Adelson, the RJC is spending $7,500 to air the 30-second ad in Phoenix.  (and, likely similar amounts in other major cities). (AP reporter Elana Schor has learned that the ad will air in Phoenix, Miami, Cleveland, D.C. and Philadelphia.) The ad has no scary announcer voice (until the ending identifier), but asks the question "How bad would Bernie Sanders be for Israel?".

It then scrolls through quotes from Sanders and from news coverage of him, ending with what is intended to be the biggest scare: Sanders is endorsed by Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) and Rep. Rashida Tlaib says Bernie makes her "feel less insane".

The RJC may truly be concerned about Sanders being the current front-runner for the Democratic nomination, or it may differ from the prevailing Republican view that they would have a field day running against Sanders. Or, perhaps....



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(UPDATED, 5:15pm: Added that the ad will air in four other major markets, according to AP reporter Elana Schor.) 

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Monday, February 24, 2020

BREAKING: Trump Campaign Begins Six-Figure Phoenix Blitz Of 90-Second Ads On Tuesday (ARIZONA AIR WAR)

A 90-second ad touting President Trump's re-election campaign begins blanketing Phoenix airwaves on Tuesday. The one-week flight of ads will likely total more than $150,000.

Although the ad is not yet posted, it may very well contain highlights of last week's Phoenix rally. Most of the spots will attack the stations' news blocks, but Jeopardy viewers and others may see some collateral damage, as well.

Arizona's Politics has reached out to the President's Arizona campaign for further information and will update this article as warranted.

UPDATE: The ad does, indeed, focus on the Phoenix rally. (Below)


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Thursday, February 13, 2020

BREAKING: Senator McSally Votes Against Resolution To Terminate Hostilities With Iran; Passes 55-45 (with 8 Republicans)

3:40pm: Arizona Senator Martha McSally was not among the 8 Republican Senators to vote in favor of a joint resolution that would require President Donald Trump to obtain Congressional approval from taking further military action against Iran.

The resolution passed 55-45, and is expected to be vetoed by the President. As it stands now, the Senate would not be able to override that veto.


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Saturday, February 8, 2020

BREAKING: McSally Among Group Of GOP Senators Who Tried To Intervene On Sondland's Behalf; Confirmed By WH Official (ARIZONA'S POLITICAL SHORTS)

Arizona Senator Martha McSally was among a group of Republican Senators who tried to intervene to prevent Presdent Donald Trump from firing Ambassador Gordon Sondland yesterday, according to a report tonight in the New York Times.

The report indicates that the group reached out to the President's Chief of Staff, Mick Mulvaney, as well as his legislative affairs director. Sondland reportedly refused to resign and be seen as part of a purge of impeachment witnesses immediately after the Senate's acquittal, so the President ordered him fired.

Sondland was the President's choice for Ambassador to the European Union after he contributed $1M to the President's inauguration fund. He was one of the President's point men on the effort to convince Ukraine to announce investigations into the Bidens and the 2016 election
interference.

Sondland revised his testimony to the House a couple of times, and ended up being a key witness about the quid pro quo in the impeachment inquiry.

According to the article, McSally was part of a group that included Susan Collins (Maine), Thom Tillis (North Carolina) and Ron Johnson (Wisconsin).

Arizona's Politics has requested comment from the Senator's office, and will update this article as warranted.


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Wednesday, February 5, 2020

BREAKING: Mark Kelly Announces He Would Have Voted "Guilty" On Both Counts; READ Statement

Today, Mark Kelly released the following statement on the Senate impeachment trial:
“The United States Senate was tested these past weeks and after a trial filled with partisanship and divisiveness it’s clear to me that they failed the test.
“This process should have been about finding the truth and enforcing the rule of law, and had I been in the Senate, I would have pushed to hear from firsthand witnesses. That is not what the Senate chose to do, and so Arizonans must reach conclusions based on the available information, which includes the president’s own words and the case as it was presented.
“Before I joined the Navy, I swore an oath to support and defend the Constitution – the president did as well. He did not live up to that oath when he intimidated witnesses, refused to provide documents and relevant testimony to Congress, and when he attempted to use his office to influence a foreign government to aid his re-election.
“Based on the facts we have, I would have voted to find him guilty on both charges.”

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BREAKING: McSally Statement On Her Not Guilty Votes

McSally Statement on Senate Acquittal of the President

U.S. SENATE — U.S. Senator Martha McSally (R-AZ) released the following statement today after the U.S. Senate voted to acquit President Trump:

“Today, I voted against convicting President Trump of the two articles of impeachment. I opposed removing the president from office and the 2020 ballot as this outcome would have been deeply disruptive to the functioning of our government, further divided our nation, and would prevent the American people from deciding who their president should be at the ballot box. The American people collectively are better fit to judge Donald Trump's presidency as a whole than the partisan politicians in Washington who brought forth this impeachment.

“Our Founding Fathers were clear that impeachment and conviction of a president is an extreme action of last resort, to be used for only the gravest offenses. By requiring a two-thirds vote in the Senate, the framers warned against impeachment as a political weapon by an oppositional party. Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi used to agree.

“This presidential impeachment is historic for dangerous reasons. It is the first partisan House impeachment with bipartisan opposition. It is the first to deny procedural fairness protections to the president during the House inquiry. It was done in a mere 48 days with no serious attempt to fully resolve all separation of powers issues. This is a reckless precedent in its entirety, especially the House's attempt to force the Senate to do the work it should have completed before articles were ever sent over. This rushed, incomplete, and unfair process should never be repeated by either party in the future.

“The President is not perfect, and the way he evidently attempted to address his legitimate concerns about corruption involving the Bidens was inappropriate. Even if all the House Democrats allege is accurate, even if John Bolton supports their allegations in his book, even if other negative information comes out in the future, this does not rise to anywhere near the level of throwing the president out of office or off the ballot for the first time in American history. Beyond that, House Democrats failure to exhaust all available avenues to obtain witnesses and records, by definition, invalidated their frivolous charge of obstruction of Congress. This entire matter, ultimately, should have been handled via the normal oversight processes available to Congress with subpoena disputes resolved in the courts. You can't argue, as Nancy Pelosi did, that the president is an urgent danger to national security and then wait for over a month before sending an incomplete work product to the Senate. Her actions were transparently political and not at all in line with the grave nature of our impeachment process.

“After 13 witnesses, over 28,000 pages of evidence, and nine days of presentations, the Senate did its constitutional duty to try this impeachment. The Democrats simply failed to convince the Senate—or the American people—that the president should be removed from office. It is only fair that the American people decide who their president should be. It’s time for the Senate to resume its focus on issues that matter to real people, like the cost of prescription drugs, access to affordable health care, and taking care of our veterans.”


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(BULLETIN) BREAKING SILENCE: AZ Senator Kyrsten Sinema Will Vote To Remove President, On Both Articles

2:05pm: According to C-Span, 78 of the 100 Senators explained their votes on the Senate floor. Arizona's two Senators announced their votes on Twitter (Sinema) and Fox News (McSally).

Also, for the record, Sen. Sinema's announcement on Twitter came 6 minutes before Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) made a similar announcement. But, more than four hours after Sen. Doug Jones (D-AL). Those three were the Democratic Senators most-watched as to their intentions.

1:46pm:


Arizona Senator Kyrsten Sinema will NOT break her silence on the impeachment trial of President Donald Trump by speaking on the Senate floor before the ultimate votes.  Sinema's Communications Director Hannah Hurley confirmed the information moments ago.

Sinema is one of the final three Senators to let it be known how she will vote and she has been the subject of much speculation.

Even after fellow moderate Doug Jones (D-AL) explained this morning why he will vote to remove the President for both abuse of power and obstruction of Congress, Fox News hosts continued to express hope that either Sinema or Joe Manchin (D-WV) will vote with Republicans to make the vote "bi-partisan".

The votes on the two Articles of Impeachment are expected to take place at approximately 2pm, Arizona Time.

Sinema attracted even more attention and speculation after conspiculously applauding at last night's State of the Union address for things that her fellow Democrats stayed in their seats. After the speech/rally, she posted this tweet.




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Tuesday, February 4, 2020

WATCH: McSally and Trump Will "Absolutely" Campaign Together A Lot, It's All About "Rallying the Base"

Arizona Senator Martha McSally (R-AZ) agreed this morning that "absolutely" she and President Trump will be campaigning together a lot to make sure Arizona votes Republican in November.


The Senator appeared on "Fox & Friends" today to note that her well-publicized interaction with CNN reporter Manu Raju benefitted her campaign - "it rallied the base" -  and also that she expects some Democrats to vote with all 53 Republican Senators to acquit President Trump tomorrow.

"Disgusting" was her reaction to the Iowa Democratic Party's botching of the caucus results, and she used the question to throw in the catchphrase "liberal leftists careening towards socialism" as she praised the Trump Administration (for being the opposite).

That answer prompted host Brian Kilmeade to ask her what she learned from losing to Kyrsten Sinema in 2018 for the open Senate seat. She did not answer the question directly, but made it clear that the answer is to further rally the base.

"Well, we have to. In Arizona, I'm the fire wall to make sure we keep the senate majority. My opponent's first vote is for Chuck Schumer. Make no mistake, he will be with the nominee on the left who is for all these hard left-wing policies, and we have got to make sure that we keep President Trump in office and we keep the Senate majority. And that's Arizona, ground zero."
And, that is when Kilmeade asked about the two campaigning together "a lot".

Watch the entire interview:
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Monday, February 3, 2020

2020 SNOW-BIRDING: Iowa Caucuses Taking Place IN Arizona

Wondering about that sudden chill that spread through Arizona this morning? You might blame the Iowa Presidential caucuses. Huh?

Several dozen snowbirds and college students from Iowa will be caucusing today in Arizona, and the weather gods obviously wanted it to feel like a true Iowa caucus! (Never mind they probably were trying to get away from the cold.)

That's right - there will be FOUR caucus sites this afternoon/evening for Iowa's many registered voters wintering in our sunny(?) state. This is the first time that the Iowa caucus has set up satellite locations for temporarily-self-exiled Iowans, and - not surprisingly - Arizona and Florida are the only states with so many caucus locations.

The Harkins movie theater in Queen Creek will host an early-bird caucus, at 3:30pm. The two in Tucson and one in Green Valley will start at the traditional time of 6pm. (Another fun fact: one in Tucson will be at a private home.)

Potential caucus-goers had to register by January 17 to attend one of these sites, so do not plan to be a snowbird who just flits in. However, the four Arizona caucuses are open to the public.

Final fun fact: Through the early 1990's, Arizona had a modified version of the caucuses to choose the delegates to the national party conventions. That changed when the Legislature and Governor made them state-run affairs. Arizona's Presidential Preference Election takes place on March 17 - this year, it is only for Democrats. The deadline to register to vote as a Democrat for the PPE is February 18.

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Friday, January 31, 2020

CAMPAIGN FINANCE UPDATES: Schweikert, O'Halleran Show Dramatic Increases In Campaign Warchests

9:00pm: Schweikert, O'Halleran Show Dramatic Increases In Campaign Warchests

Our 5:10pm report below set out how much each of our Arizona delegation to the U.S. House of Representatives raised in the 4th quarter. That metric is good to show how hard they are fundraising and how successful all of those oft-annoying pitches have been. But, different candidates can spend far different amounts raising that money and running their early campaigns. So, perhaps more important at this point is how much each person has in the bank and how that warchest has grown or shrunk. With that in mind, here are the cash on hand numbers for our 9 Representatives.

O'Halleran, CD1: $574k to $919k
Kirkpatrick, CD2: $500k to $621k
Grijalva, CD3: $180k to $211k
Gosar, CD4: $202k to $223k
Biggs, CD5: $471k to $482k
Schweikert, CD6: ($43k)* to $82K*   (*COH less Debts Outstanding; explained in 2:35pm post)
Gallego, CD7: $680k to $755k
Lesko, CD8: $317k to $379k
Stanton, CD9: $460k to $616k

All incumbents saw an increase in their bank accounts. Obviously, Rep. Schweikert's is the most dramatic, but for the remaining eight not carrying substantial debts, Rep. O'Halleran's 60% increase is the most dramatic.

5:10pm: Challenger Tipirneni Outraises ALL 9 AZ Incumbents, Poses Threat In #AZ06
Hiral Tipirneni raised more money in the 4th quarter than any of Arizona's nine incumbent Representatives, and has 11x more money to spend than Rep. David Schweikert (R-CD6).

For the first time in Arizona's Politics' memory, all of Arizona's elected officials running for re-election filed their quarterly campaign finance reports more than 5 1/2 hours before the deadline. Rep. Tom O'Halleran (D-CD1) led all House members with $450,000 raised; he is in a perenially competitive district covering much of eastern Arizona.

Bunched tightly for the 2nd-through-5th highest incumbent campaign receipts were Greg Stanton (D-CD9, $286k), Ann Kirkpatrick (D-CD2, $265k), David Schweikert (R-CD6, $256k), and Ruben Gallego (D-CD7, $253k).

Trailing the pack were two Reps in "safe" districts, which reduces the urgency to raise big bucks. Paul Gosar (R-CD4, $73k) and Raul Grijalva (D-CD3, $96k). In between those groups are Debbie Lesko (R-CD8, $142k) and Andy Biggs (R-CD5, $110k).

Incumbents typically have a tremendous advantage in raising funds. Which makes Tipirneni's haul of $459k in the 4th quarter all the more remarkable. She increased her bank balance from $600k to more than $900k in that three-month period.

As noted in the updates below, Rep. Schweikert led his campaign out of red ink in the last quarter of the year, but he only had $82,000 in his war chest on January 1. Legal fees have eaten almost $900,000 in his campaign funds.

It should be noted that Tipirneni does face Anita Malik in the Democratic primary. Both of them have run for Congress during the past few years, and have built up name ID. Malik has $46k in the bank.

3:05pm: Back In Black: Schweikert Campaign Bounces Back In Q4; More Legal Fees In Ethics Investigation
Arizona Congressman David Schweikert promised that his campaign would bounce back in 4th quarter fundraising, and he followed through. His campaign is back in the black after raising $256,000.


On the downside, his campaign continues to rack up legal fees in his ongoing ethics investigation. The committee reported more than $46,000 in new fees - incurred in representing not just him and his campaign, but also six staff members. This brings the total legal fees in less than two years to just under $900,000. ($898,520, to be exact.*)

The veteran Congressman's campaign bobbed underwater twice in 2019 - after the 1st and 3rd quarters - largely because of ongoing legal bills related to the ongoing ethics investigation. The debts owed by the campaign increased from $186,000 to $197,000 during the last three months of the year, but the checking account balance on December 31 shows $278,457. (In summary, he went from approximately $43,000 underwater on October 1 to $82,000 above water on December 31.

His $256,000 in receipts for the 4th quarter was the 2nd most in Arizona's Congressional delegation. (Tom O'Halleran raised $450,000.)
*In October, we reported that the campaign had incurred $869,000 in legal fees. We subsequently re-audited and determined that it was $852,000; the new total reflects that change.





2:35pm: Back In Black: Schweikert Campaign Bounces Back In Q4
Arizona Congressman David Schweikert promised that his campaign would bounce back in 4th quarter fundraising, and he followed through. His campaign is back in the black after raising $256,000.

The veteran Congressman's campaign bobbed underwater twice in 2019 - after the 1st and 3rd quarters - largely because of ongoing legal bills related to the ongoing ethics investigation. The debts owed by the campaign increased from $186,000 to $197,000 during the last three months of the year, but the checking account balance on December 31 shows $278,457. (In summary, he went from approximately $43,000 underwater on October 1 to $82,000 above water on December 31.

His $256,000 in receipts for the 4th quarter was the 2nd most in Arizona's Congressional delegation. (Tom O'Halleran raised $450,000.)

Here is a link to his filing; we will post it here shortly.

1:40pm: McSally Adds $2.0M To Campaign Warchest, $7.7M On January 1
The campaign committee for Senator Martha McSally added $2.0M to her warchest in the 4th
quarter, and brings $7.7M in cash into the election year. While spending $2.1M, she raised just over $4.0M for the 3-month period.  The comparable numbers for Democratic challenger Mark Kelly are below.

Because the report is nearly 5,000 pages long, we are only posting the summary pages. Here's the link for the rest. (Let us know if you spot anything noteworthy!)

1:10pm: Mark Kelly Campaign Takes a $13.6M Bank Balance Into 2020
The Mark Kelly campaign ushered in 2020 with $13.6M in its bank account(s) after a haul of $6.3M
in the final quarter of 2019. The former Space Shuttle Commander's campaign continues to be the best-funded Senate campaign in the nation, and is nearly twice that of incumbent Martha McSally's $7.6M cash on hand. (Kelly had $9.5M on hand going into the 4th quarter.)

Because the report is more than 14,000 pages long, we are only posting the summary pages. Here's the link for the rest. (Let us know if you spot anything noteworthy!)




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12:50pm: Pro-McSally SuperPAC Gets $258K Rebate From 2018 Campaign, Ready for 2020
The DefendArizona SuperPAC that spent $22.6M supporting Martha McSally in her 2018 Senatorial campaign received a nice boost last month, when it received more than $258,000 back from the media placement firm. 


DefendArizona received most of its 2018 money from Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell's Senate Leadership Fund. James Davis, the Chairman of New Balance, also made a $50,000 contribution to DefendArizona in August - in addition to maxing out to the McSally campaign itself.

DefendArizona kept its Arizona fundraising and media consultants (Lovas and Marson, respectively) on retainer during the off year. It goes into the 2020 contest against Mark Kelly with $337,499 cash on hand.


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