Gila County Republicans Rock! by Gary Morris

Gary Morris, Chairman of the Gila County Republican Committee, recently issued his November 2014 Chairman’s Report.  Not only did Gila County, both North and South, top all other Arizona counties in voter turnout (over 50%), but we also did it in spite of negative press from both the Payson and Flagstaff media.  

Chairman Morris’s report follows.  Please read it.   If you aren’t a Precinct Committeeman, wouldn’t you like to join our cheerful, fun-loving, classy, rambunctious, determined band of patriots?

Please send Gary an email.  We’re glad to welcome you!  

Gila County Republican Committee Chairman’s Report November 2014

Gila County is Top’s AGAIN!

Gila County AGAIN topped all other counties in voter turnout in the General Election with just over 50% of registered voters either submitting early ballots or going to Polls to vote! Our efforts in voter education contributed to a high turnout and included: nearly all our Republican candidates speaking at the Rim Country Republican Club, the Tea Party, or the Cobre Valley Republican Club; our precinct walks; the door hanger distribution; and the last minute phone calls. Congratulations to all you who participated in this successful effort!

 Election Result Overview

Republicans won all the races in Gila County. Even state-wide Republican candidates did better in Gila County than they did in other counties. Considering that Gila County was a Democrat majority in voter registration for 100 years until we crossed that threshold in 2012, we are becoming a Republican political powerhouse at both the County and State levels!

There were many successes for Gila County in the November 4 elections. Initial returns coming in from outside Gila county had our State Senate candidate Sylvia Allen essentially tied with, and then behind, Independent Tom O’Halleran UNTIL the Gila County results came in. Gila County voters pulled Senator Sylvia Allen across the finish line.

As many may remember District 6 State Senator Chester Crandell was killed on August 5 in a tragic horseback riding accident in the middle of his re-election campaign just two weeks prior to the Primary election. Republicans in four counties in LD 6 quickly came together to nominate and select Sylvia to replace Chester as a candidate for the General Election. It’s truly remarkable how we in Gila County pulled all the stops over the short 9 weeks leading to November election to get Sylvia elected!

District 6 Representatives Brenda Barton and Bob Thorpe were re-elected despite negative newspaper coverage in both the Flagstaff and Payson news media. Brenda won by a very comfortable 7 percentage points.

In District 8, which extends into the south end of Gila County, both the Republican candidates for the State House of Representatives, Frank Pratt and T.J. Shope, were re-elected. Republican Senate candidate Irene Littleton lost her election by 1,514 votes. All three received financial contributions from the GCRC.

Republican Diane Douglas had maintained a narrow lead over Democrat David Garcia for a few days following the election as early and provisional ballots continued to be counted. But Garcia could not overcome the 18,000-vote difference even with the uncounted ballots. Diane vigorously opposed Common Core during the campaign.

Prop 122 passed which allows the State to opt out of federal laws the State deems unconstitutional.

Here are Some Interesting Excerpts From the Heavily Democrat Leaning Payson Roundup Newspaper: 

Front page headline "Republicans sweep all state offices, legislature"

 "Even the early lead of Independent District 6 State Senate candidate Tom 0’Halleran gave way … to Republican Sylvia Allen driven in part by Allen ‘s lopsided win in Gila County."

"Almost all of the Republican statewide candidates did even better in Gila County than they did statewide reflecting the growing strength of Republicans in the North County and the relative dwindling influence of the Democrat leaning South County".

The author of those excerpts is none other than the left leaning Roundup editor Pete Aleshire. I bet it hurt for him to write the article.

Republicans Control Both Houses at the State Capitol

Republicans are in control of both Houses at the State Capitol with Republicans taking 54 of the 90 total seats.  The House has 37 Republicans (of 60 seats) and the Senate has 17 (of 30 seats). The new leadership is listed below.

Speaker of the House: David Gowan, LD14 (rural guy)
House Majority Leader: Steve Montenegro, LD13
House Majority Whip: David Livingstone, LD22

Senate President: Andy Biggs, LD 12
Senate Majority Leader: Steve Yarbrough, LD 17
Senate Majority Whip: Gail Griffin, LD14 (rural gal)


Despite running an excellent campaign, Darlene Younker was third place for two slots in the Payson School Board race for days until 1,461 "provisional" votes were counted on November 12 and lost by  a slim 1.05 percent. The Payson Roundup openly favored her two Democrat candidates and did not publish a number of letters to the editor favoring Darlene. (They also didn’t publish my letter to the editor titled Do you Feel Safe?  See below.)  

Andy Tobin lost a narrow race for U.S House of Representatives in District 1 to Ann Kirkpatrick. District 1 dips into southern Gila County.


Special thanks go to all those volunteers who staffed the Payson Headquarters from mid July through the move out following the election. Thanks to Lolly Hathhorn and Greg Friestad for serving as building managers, and Nancy Cox who managed the scheduling of staff. Having a headquarters in the community during the campaign season is very important in our voter education efforts. Based on the number of actual guest sign in’s, and calculating that not all visitors signed the guest book, it’s estimated we had more than 1,000 visitors to the headquarters.

The headquarters served as an important voter education point of contact, a distribution point for campaign signs and literature, along with a number of meetings and meet and greet events with candidates. A significant milestone for the headquarters occurred when then candidate Doug Ducey chose to use the facility as his broadcast site for his ”tele town hall" the night that U.S. Senator Ted Cruz officially endorsed him for Governor.

Financial Contributions

This campaign season the GCRC distributed $8,000 dollars to Republican candidates in Legislative District 6 (Gila County) and District 8 (South Gila County). These funds were transferred to the GCRC from the Rim Country Republican Club. We maxed out the legally allowed contribution to Sylvia Allen and Brenda Barton. Of the $8,000, Secretary of State Candidate Michele Reagan and Attorney General candidate Mark Bmovich each received $500. Both candidates won their elections.

The GCRC has received notes of thanks from many of the candidates who received contributions.

Lessons learned

Here are some lessons learned that I noted from this first campaign season as Chairman. First, for 2016 we need to have our fund raising completed by the Primary Election and be prepared to distribute contribution funds to candidates immediately after that election. There is a short 69 day period for candidates to get their message out to voters before the General Election. Perhaps more importantly, the early balloting starts a short 44 days following  the Primary. That’s a very short period for candidates to get their message out before voters begin voting. Early ballots now exceed the number of traditional "walk­ in" voting numbers at Poll locations by a significant percentage.  So, candidates need money to get their message out BEFORE early balloting begins.

We have a challenge in that the Payson Roundup newspaper strongly leans left. Our voter education efforts mostly beat out the newspaper this year but the newspaper coverage is not going away. We should continue writing letters to the editor, and send news releases. But, we should also consider the value of radio ads to by-pass the newspaper and go directly to the voter. The ads aren’t that expensive -20 thirty second ads for about a $100. 

We need more PC’s to take on more pieces of the pie to maximize our successes. The small core of committed people was overburdened with duties.  

Technology is playing an ever increasing role in voter education . The I-360 software program proved helpful in precinct walks and provided considerable information about voters. We need to use it more and get some technology-orientated folks as PC’s, or any volunteer to help us in this endeavor. The AZGOP greatly expanded their use of technology and the use of their "war room" rapid response to Democrat actions by use of social media. We should more closely integrate with them to respond to some of our county and state Democrat candidate actions.

The phone data provided by Gila County for our last minute phone calls was incomplete, and we got little value out for the efforts that many of us put in during the last minute phone calls. We should work with the County to see what steps are required to improve the data and get it done.

Chairman’s experience; Learning the unknowns

I’ve enjoyed being the Chairman of the Gila County Republican Committee over the past year. Looking back, there is no training manual (at least not yet) for the position. Don Ascoli is our most experienced member of the Committee and Dean of political knowledge which proved to be an asset. Many other members were also helpful as we moved forward. But, I still missed some important items for lack of knowledge; Knowledge that I now have for the future.

The other lessoned learned is; both I and other officers put in a substantial amount of time to make the GCRC successful. Most of my GCRC activity takes place in the early morning hours before work. Most days from July through the elections consumed an hour or two or more each day dedicated to GCRC work. During day time hours I frequently received phone calls from the public (on the GCRC official phone number) or from other GCRC officers. I made a habit of carrying my GCRC folder with me everywhere I went. I’m sure a similar work load was experienced by our other officers. I trust you all appreciate what your officers are doing for the GCRC.

The Future

Our first priority for next year is to again start our fund raising efforts with the Lincoln Day Lunch or Dinner. We also need to look at other creative ways to raise money for the GCRC.

We also need to continue an aggressive effort to max out our allotted number of Precinct Committeemen. Anita Christy got a great start on that effort, and Shirley Dye continues that work.

I think we need to consider a year around Payson headquarters to have a visible presence in the community as we have with our year around Globe headquarters. This also allows us to have a place to conduct meetings and to store campaign materials. I presently am working with an attorney from Phoenix who wants to open a Payson office, and he inquired about sharing office space and a conference room.  (Gila Watch Note:  Yes!)

The Yavapai County Republican Committee has a Trunk and Tusk Club that raises considerable money which allows them to both have a permanent office year around and money to contribute to candidates. I believe that’s a model for us to consider, and I will be visiting with the Yavapai Chairman for details.

An observation

My wife had a medical appointment moved forward from December to Wednesday, the day after the election, so we went down to Phoenix on election night. I had the opportunity to attend the Republican event at the Hyatt Hotel to watch the returns. I also attended a similar event in 2012 and very few young people were present. At this year’s event I was surprised (pleasantly) at the very large number of young people under 30 years of age -perhaps 30 percent or more. The Republican message IS getting out to our future GOP leaders!


Gary Morris, Chairman
Gila County Republican Committee

Memo of Thanks from Arizona GOP Chairman Robert Graham

While the last of the ballots are being counted, and supporters of our Republican candidates are celebrating our victories statewide, one of the most important things we can do today is thank our fellow voters for turning out and supporting the GOP team that will bring prosperity to our state.

But as we await the final tallies and continue our optimism for our state and our citizens, let us also thank God that our nation continues to be governed only by those who are chosen by the people to lead. Our Republican candidates — every one of them — deserve to be congratulated in their efforts for choosing to represent our values in a very personal and difficult process. Those who were elected must always remember the sacred trust that our party and our state’s voters have put in them as they begin their important work.

Our theme this year was Mobilize to Win, because we recognized that with your help, we could have conservative victories across the board. Many of you did the heavy lifting to deliver this victory for us, and we are grateful!

I want to personally thank each and every voter who cast their ballot for the sake of our future, and I owe a debt of gratitude to our many influential leaders, at every level, who enthusiastically encouraged voters to cast their votes for Republicans.

Robert Graham, Chairman

Do You Feel Safe?                            

(The following Letter to the Editor, written by Chairman Gary Morris, was ignored by Pete Aleshire, the leftist-leaning editor of the Payson Round-Up.)

In late 2008, Vice President Biden bragged about President Obama, "Watch, we’re going to have an international crisis…to test the mettle of this guy."

Well, the first of many "tests" began in June 2009 with the democratic uprising in Iran. Obama did little, and the uprising was crushed. Obama missed a golden opportunity to stop Iran’s production of a nuclear bomb.

In 2012, Obama was caught on an open microphone whispering a very disturbing message to the then Russian President Medvedev; to tell Putin "After my election, I have more flexibility."

Next was the attack on our embassy in Benghazi that killed our ambassador and three brave American defenders. Rather than take command of the crisis, Obama abandoned his position and went to bed. The following morning, he flew to Las Vegas to raise money for democrats.

The Boston bombing killed 17 and injured 300 and was the 5th penetration by terrorists to a target on Obama’s watch. Russia had twice warned U.S. officials about the two brothers, and the Obama Administration took no action. During President Bush’s 7 years following the 2001 attacks not one terrorist penetrated to a target. Do you feel safe?

The next "test" was the so called "redline" established by Obama in Syria. When it was crossed by Syrian dictator Assad’s forces, Obama did little.

Earlier this year, Putin played the weak and indecisive Obama and invaded the country of Ukraine. Obama’s "flexibility" was to send the Ukrainian military "Meals Ready to Eat" rather than weapons and other support.

Obama threw away the fruits of victory when he pulled ALL our troops out of Iraq. This created a huge security vacuum which allowed the Islamic terrorist organization ISIL to roll across the northern part of Iraq and Syria murdering thousands of Christians and Iraqi citizens. And the ISIL continues to take more ground. Do you feel safe?

Obama’s incompetence continues to escalate. When ISIL terrorists beheaded an American captive, Obama went golfing. When a British captive was beheaded by ISIL, British Prime Minister Cameron called an emergency meeting of Parliament and elevated the country’s alert system.

In his speech to the country in September, Obama stated in his opening remarks, "Now, let’s make two things clear, ISIL is not Islamic." Astonishing ignorance! I doubt many Americans agree.

The day after the funeral of a woman who was beheaded in Oklahoma by an Islamic terrorist, the Obama Administration sent a high ranking official to the very mosque which the terrorist attended with a letter of thanks from  President  Obama for the mosque’s community work. Stunning incompetence!

The Obama Administration claims the border with Mexico is secure. Then how did more than a hundred thousand Central American teenagers make it across our southern border? If teenagers can do it, how many terrorists have crossed?

The Obama Administration’s philosophy on open borders allowed an Ebola affected citizen of Liberia to travel to the United States unchallenged where he died two weeks later in Dallas.

And, if you like "big government, " as do Democrats, then consider this. It took the Center of Disease Control (CDC), 5 days to assemble a de-contamination team in Dallas to enter the affected man’s apartment to remove body fluid soiled bedding and other contamination.

To add to his utter incompetence, Obama has appointed a political hack, Gary Klain, to be his Ebola Czar and who has no medical background or emergency management skills. What’s needed for this crisis is a General Honoree, who went to New Orleans following Hurricane Katrina, and rapidly brought order and emergency services to the devastated city and who famously stated, "You’re stuck on stupid" to a reporter’s uninformed question regarding emergency management activities.

President Obama, you’re stuck on stupid and you’re demonstrating stupid every day!

The reader should understand that Obama is the head of the Democrat Party. His actions represent his democrat base. Don’t believe me? During an October 20 radio interview, Obama stated Democrat candidates "supported my agenda in Congress" and "were strong allies and supporters." That means every democrat in elected office, all the way down to state and local offices, is a participant in Obama’s support base.

If you are worried, as I am, about Obama’ s incompetence and his inability to protect you, then you should NOT vote for any democrat candidate!

If you seek security and protection, vote for any Republican!  They have a long history of being far more committed to protecting the homeland.

Gary P. Morris, Chairman Gila County Republican Party

See Also:

The Nuclear Option:  Take Action!

Gila County Republican Party Censures John McCain

Medicaid Expansion:  We Already Know how the Story Ends  (This information was presented to a Payson TEA Party meeting by Gary Morris, who is now the Gila County Republican Committee Chairman.)