State Senator Rich Crandall has pulled all of Arizona’s kids into his “Signgate” scandal in a threat he made to a fellow legislator, Representative Brenda Barton. Now, legislators and members of the public are calling for him to be removed from his Chairmanship of the Education Committee if not his seat in the Senate.
In the message, Crandall threatens Barton for reporting the tampering of Senator John Fillmore’s signs telling her, “I am furious with you right now, and you better not try to run any educational legislation next year.”
In a joint statement released by Represenative Brenda Barton and State Senator John Fillmore, they say that Crandall’s voicemail is Crandall’s “response to my request for a retraction. Putting a personal revenge over the issue he claims to champion (Education) and using his Chairmanship and authority in such a fashion is behavior not-suitable for an Arizona State Senator. He should be removed from his Chairmanship if not his seat in the Senate.”
The following is from the joint statement:
Last Thursday morning (July 12), I received a call from Rep. Brenda Barton (R-Payson) who stays in East Mesa at her in-laws home during Session. She had a doctor’s appointment that particular Thursday morning. She called and told me that while she was returning from her doctor’s office, she spotted two individuals that appeared to be taking my sign down and replacing it with a Sen. Crandall sign on the corner of Sossaman and the Apache Trail (East Main Street).
Being involved in politics and having that sort of thing happen to her in another County in the past she knows that is not supposed to be done. She asked her husband, who was with her to pull over to the roadside and take some pictures. At this point Rep. Barton inquired as to what they were doing with my sign. They said that they were replacing the sign with one for Senator Crandall and that he had had one there and it blew down sometime ago, and that I had stolen his t-poles. (That is a blatant mistruth. If anyone has been by there they have seen my sign there for well over a month as I put it up myself as soon as I was able – on or about June 30th I believe). The two young women said that the poles were Senator Crandall’s but the rebar belonged to Representative Fillmore. They asked Representative Barton if she was “…with the Fillmore campaign” to which she replied, “No, I am a member of the Legislature and am aware of campaign sign laws”.
At that point Representative Barton asked them if they had any form of identification on the t-posts to show they were the property of the Crandall campaign, to which they said no. Representative Barton then informed them that it was illegal to tamper with an opponents political signs and that the best course of action would be for Senator Crandall to work this out with Representative Fillmore before simply taking his signs down unilaterally. The two young women then hastily put the Fillmore sign back up and fled the scene.
Within minutes Senator Crandall phoned Representative Barton on her cell and made polite small talk for a few minutes before referencing the incident. He stated that his daughter and a friend were replacing a sign of his that had blown down sometime ago and someone had replaced it with a Fillmore sign. He was very polite and inquired if Representative Barton was just driving around East Mesa. She informed him that she had just come from her doctor’s appointment and witnessed the incident. His demeanor was friendly and he made no mention of what he has since asserted his daughters relayed to him regarding Representative Barton’s alleged behavior towards his daughter and her friend. The Senator inquired of her re-election race and they made small talk regarding the health of a mutual acquaintance and the conversation ended.
Mrs. Barton sent me those pictures. I am in a primary campaign against Senator Crandall and did not know the ladies in the pictures but I knew that the sign, its poles and location were mine. I called the police, reported the attempted sign tampering and put a press release out with the pictures and story. A legitimate story of campaign workers removing the sign of their candidate’s political opponent and replacing it with a sign of their candidate.
At the time, I did not know that one of the young women in the pictures was his daughter. Often over-zealous campaign workers and supporters commit such actions. Had Senator Crandall called me and simply said that his daughter made a mistake and had the wrong location, apologized and moved on, I would understand that. I would have accepted that. I too have a daughter that loves me, as deeply I am sure, as Senator Crandall’s and I could see her doing what his daughter was doing. Then the shoe would have been on my foot.
However Senator Crandall chose not to do that. Instead it appears that when he was contacted by the Capitol Times, he immediately attacked me with profanity, calling me a (S.O.B.) and a liar, (see Yellow Sheet attached), then he attacked Representative Barton, calling her a liar, that swore and yelled at his child. Senator Crandall concluded by claiming Representative Barton had been following his daughter around Mesa and monitoring her all day.
The reporter called Representative Barton to ask her side of the story. Upon hearing that Senator Crandall had accused her of swearing and cursing at his daughter and stalking them, she immediately refuted that allegation and explained to the reporter that “…swearing and cursing” are not part of her means of dealing with people and she was simply returning to her in-laws following her doctor’s appointment
Following the phone interview with the Capitol Times, Representative Barton phoned Senator Crandall, who did not answer, and left a message that his statements were false and she wished him to publicly retract his statement, apologize and tell the reporter the truth. Had he done that, this matter would be over.
Senator Crandall instead phoned Representative Barton and issued a threat against all education legislation she may wish to propose and to inform her that “her trashing (or thrashing) is coming, you need to grow up”.
Senator Crandall has put his own personal vendetta above potentially excellent education legislation that may be proposed by Representative Barton and thus depriving the Arizonans of LD-6 their education voice in the State Legislature.
This is abusing his chairmanship authority; in essence by reference saying her legislation would all be killed by him. As a Senator he spoke down to her, to humiliate and abuse her as if she was a mere wayward child and not someone who is his equal as well as a duly elected State Representative of several hundred thousand Arizona residents.