Wednesday, July 28, 2021

WE HAVE LIFTOFF: Mark Kelly Simultaneously Upholds Senate's Tradition and Arizona's Tradition In 1st Floor Speech; Starts New Leadership PAC (WATCH/READ)

8/4, 3:00pm: WE HAVE LIFTOFF: Mark Kelly Simultaneously Upholds Senate's Tradition and Arizona's Tradition In 1st Floor Speech; Starts New Leadership PAC (WATCH/READ)

The U.S. Senate is a tradition-bound body, and Mark Kelly fulfilled the tradition of giving his "maiden" floor speech today. He also fulfilled an 8-year Arizona tradition, becoming the 4th consecutive Arizona Senator to use the speech to honor the late Senator John McCain.

Beginning in 2013 with Jeff Flake, Arizonans have seen two Republicans and two Democrats take to the floor. All have lavished praise on McCain, and the last three have bookended their speech with comments about trying to follow in his footsteps.

Kelly (D-AZ) went it one better, recognizing Cindy McCain in the gallery.

Sure, he also talked about his childhood, his courageous wife Gabby, the infrastructure bill and border security and immigration reform. But, McCain has become the embodiment of bipartisanship and independence that Kelly (and Flake, and Sinema, and McSally) wanted Arizonans to remember today.

"His legacy, it's something that cannot be matched, but it's what inspires me serving in the Senate seat, and it's his example of bipartisanship, or independence, that continues to demand more of us. So, I'm going to continue focusing on delivering results, on beating this virus, and reinventing our economy for the future so that hard-working Arizonans have every opportunity to succeed. Arizonans sent me here to have their backs, and that's what I intend to do. Thank you and I yield the floor."

Now that he's delivered the maiden speech, Kelly can now abide by another Senate tradition and be as long-winded as he wants to be.

Earlier this week, Kelly registered his new Leadership PAC with the Federal Election Commission. "Liftoff PAC" is, of course, a clever nod to his Space Shuttle captaining past. But, it will also give him another opportunity to not take money from corporate PACs, even though they are often the primary funders of such entities.

P.S. Just because he can now be seen and heard, it does not mean that he automatically gets all of the respect a U.S. Senator deserves. Here's how C-Span's closed captioning brought MARK Kelly back down to earth.

7/28, 4:40pm: BREAKING: Doug Ducey & Wendy Rogers(?!?) Operative Sets Up New Federal Campaign Committee, "Secure Arizona's Future"
A South Dakota political operative with longstanding Arizona ties boosting Doug Ducey's first gubernatorial run and Wendy Rogers' last Congressional campaign formed "Secure Arizona's Future" this week.

Joel Arends used a Phoenix mailbox and 602 Google Voice number to create the federal SuperPAC. 

Arizona's Politics
 first spoke with and wrote about him in 2014 when he used the dark money Veterans for a Strong America to start attacking Christine Jones when she was running in the Republican gubernatorial primary against Ducey. The notorious ads tried to link Jones to both Hillary Clinton and Benghazi.  We later learned that Arends' group received a total of $275,000 from Ducey-supporting Sean Noble's "dark money washing machine" in 2014, before VSA had its status revoked by the IRS. 

Arends popped up in the desert again in 2018, collecting almost $350,000 to spend supporting Wendy Rogers in a failed Congressional campaign against Rep. Tom O'Halleran (D-CD1). Arends was treasurer for "Defending Rural Arizona". Rogers is now an outspoken State Senator.

It is unclear whether Arends already has a candidate in mind for this committee - some political operatives set these up in case they land an Arizona-minded client. Ducey is term-limited from running for re-election, and Rogers has not given hints about making a fifth run for Congress.

The voice mailbox for Arends' law office in South Dakota is full, but Arizona's Politics was able to leave a message for Arends on his Arizona Google voice number. We will update this article as warranted.

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