McCain Sucker Punches Arizona Conservatives

How is it that the Republican “establishment” led by John McCain took over the leadership of so many Legislative Districts (LD’s) last week? How did McCain manipulate right down to the grassroots level? It happened in LDs 11, 18, 19, 20, 21, and right here in LD22.

John McCain has had a goal for years to rid himself of two Conservative thorns in his side: Rob Haney, Maricopa County Republican Chairman; and Randy Pullen, Chairman of the Arizona Republican Party. He finally beat them out of their State Committeemen positions in LD11. Being elected as a State Committeeman is a prerequisite to run for Chairman at the state level,so Randy Pullen is out. Rob Haney, however, need only be a PC to be eligible as County Chair.

His other goal has been to dominate the Arizona Republican Party with his own McCain-sympathizing State Committeemen. The all powerful Senator McCain has not been amused by the antics of the TEA Party Conservatives, and especially not since they stopped his McCain-Kennedy Amnesty bill.

So, how did he do it?

The simple fact is, we in the TEA Party Conservative movement who have been working hard at the grassroots level to return the Republican Party to its true principles are political novices. We were easily out maneuvered by a political master, with the aid of his assorted toadies, sycophants, true believers, quislings, and the naïve.

Many PC’s innocently gave their proxies to one of these operatives they thought they could trust, unaware they were being used as pawns in McCain’s cynical scheme. Many of them are now re-thinking their vote and whom they entrust with their proxy.

While most of us were focused on national and state elections, anticipating Republican victories, we took our collective eye off the ball regarding local LD elections. It never occurred to us that fellow Republicans, who were supposed to be on our side, left us alone to do the heavy lifting in the national and state elections while they quietly went about swelling the ranks of PC’s across the districts with otherwise disinterested neophytes who would gladly hand over their proxies at election time.

In LD11, many Precinct Committeemen showed up, voted, and left. These individuals had never attended meetings, had never done any of the work, but, last week, like ghostlike specters, they oozed past the battle-weary Conservative fighters, voted, and smugly seeped away. They left Rob Haney defeated. They left Randy Pullen defeated. They voted the McCain slate from top to bottom, leaving the TEA Party Conservatives with barely an arrow to sling.

In many Districts, operatives bragged about how they were instrumental in engineering the takeover, how they had planned it for months, determining the slate both for District leadership as well as State Committeemen.

In LD22, my own district, Jon Lindblom, “Field Director at McCain 2010,” brought a passel of proxies from PCs who didn’t attend the meeting. So did the outgoing Chairman Chad Heywood, a paid Jeff Flake staffer, and others. At the end of the meeting, there were some PC’s on the prevailing side who wanted to destroy both the proxies and the ballots. They were stopped from doing so.

There were problems with many proxies that were serious, but Adam Armer (Chairman-Elect) underplayed the nature of those violations in his blast email to 289 PC’s in our District.

Our Conservative PC’s, the ones who behave like Republicans in both word and deed, fought back. And so, on 11/22/2010, Chad Heywood, citing problems with the proxy “form,” announced there will be another election, which will take place on Saturday, December 4.

Whether we win the Chairman position for Jeff Smith and our Conservative Officers and State Committeemen, or lose, we should all ask ourselves:

Will We the People choose our next Senator and Representative? Or will John McCain?