Arizona’s Republicans Leaders Continue Waging War On Grassroots

At a time when we should all be rejoicing in the fact that Trump has delivered a substantial blow to corrupt and unscrupulous establishment members of both parties, we are saddened by the underhanded actions of some Arizona Republican Party officials. Two of those officials, party chairman Robert Graham and legislative district 15 representative Heather Carter, have recently drawn attention because of their actions.

In the case of Robert Graham, it is no secret that he vehemently opposes grass roots candidate for state chairman Jim O’Connor. Even though Graham is not running for reelection as chairman, he has handpicked an opponent to Jim O’Connor. There is nothing wrong with having philosophically different points of view and debating them freely in the arena of public opinion, but Graham has gone way beyond that into the realm of attempted bullying and intimidation.

In a recent letter to O’Connor, Graham has made unsubstantiated claims of state committeemen election irregularities and has written, in part, “In the interest of fairness, accountability and having a legitimate and sound outcome for members of the state committee, I am asking your district to call a new election for the purpose of nominating state committeemen.” Graham concludes his letter by stating, “In the absence of conducting a legitimate election, the state party will consider these state committeeman positions vacant and will fill them according to state law.” The full text of Graham’s letter can be read here.

This is a blatant effort to disenfranchise 100+ duly elected state committeemen from O’Connor’s district because most of them, if not all, will likely vote for O’Connor.

Newly elected LD23 Chairman Nancy Ordowski has not rolled over, but has addressed Graham’s harassment head-on. In a five page response to Graham, she has exposed and debunked all of his charges.

This is how Ms. Ordowski summarizes her rebuttal, “In conclusion Robert, I respectfully submit that the AZGOP chairman does not have the authority to void any LD election, particularly by fiat and without investigation and due process. Please cite me controlling legal authority to the contrary. The entire AZ GOP would be interested to learn how or where you might have stumbled across this imperial power. Even if you had acquired these powers by virtue of a pen or by phone, you have not reviewed your records or even provided LD23 an opportunity to rebut your ‘dozens of complaints’, which I demand to see unredacted. The utter lack of due process and the ex post facto proclamation here is appalling. It resembles a Democrat Party junta and suggests that you have an ulterior motive. I wonder what that motive could be? Please explain.”

The full text of Ms. Ordowski’s response can be read here

The only rational and effective way to stop the childish and irresponsible behavior displayed by Graham is to elect, at the January state party meeting, a state chairman who promises to reestablish the rule of law and to represent fairly the rank and file members of the Republican Party. The only candidate for AZGOP chairman fitting that description is Jim O’Connor.

Further evidence of the cancer that has been damaging the Republican Party is what happened November 22 at the LD15 election of officers. LD15 state representative Heather Carter managed to install a slate of officers whose only apparent purpose is to be lapdogs for her. In the case of LD 15 there were two sets of well defined, diametrically opposed slates of candidates. The grassroots slate had nearly 100 years of combined service to the Republican Party. The Carter slate had zero. To outside observers this Carter victory may seem as totally incomprehensible. But it becomes perfectly clear when one looks closely at the facts. In this case, the outcome of the election was not determined by the qualifications of the opposing slates. The outcome of this election was established back in August of 2016, when precinct committeemen were chosen. At that time Carter, aided and abetted by a handful of accomplices, recruited enough unscrupulous people who agreed to become precinct committeemen for the purpose of providing proxies for the Carter slate.

This despicable behavior by Carter is neither new nor illegal. It has been going on in several districts for years and it is perfectly legal under current state law. That, of course, does not make it any less destructive to party unity and harmony.

One way to reverse this trend would be for honest, hard working candidates for district leadership to engage in the same shameful practice of proxy harvesting. The reason why this could never work is that these folks are not as good at cheating and underhanded behavior as Carter and her cabal are.

Even if the aforementioned abuses were not present, there are several very compelling reasons for doing away with the use of proxies in connection with political party votes.

Proxies are not allowed in any deliberative assembly in Arizona. That includes city councils, boards of supervisors, school boards, state legislature, to name just a few. In fact Rule 14 of the AZ state house of representatives reads in part,

“B. No member shall be permitted to vote unless present in person to cast his vote.

  1. No member shall vote for another, nor shall any person not a member cast a vote for a member”

The whole text of House Rules may be read by going to House Rules at the AZ state legislature website.

Robert’s Rules of Order prohibits the use of proxies in deliberative assemblies. The latest issue, (RONR 11th ed.) states on page 407, “An individual member’s right to vote may not be transferred to another person (for example, by the use of proxies).” On pages 428-429 it states, “Ordinarily it should neither be allowed nor required, because proxy voting is incompatible with the essential characteristics of a deliberative assembly in which membership is individual, personal, and nontransferable.”

Last legislative session AZ enacted bill HB2023 which prohibits the practice of ballot harvesting. It makes perfectly good sense to enact a bill prohibiting the equally destructive practice of proxy stuffing.

Because of all the reasons mentioned herein, some citizens are requesting that the state legislature pass a bill prohibiting the use of proxies in connection with political party votes. A sample of how such a bill would look like can be read here.

A bill prohibiting proxy use at political party elections is not likely to even be introduced, much less enacted into law, because politicians fear powerful, well funded proxy stuffers more than they fear we the people. However, that could change if everyone reading this material would contact his/her state legislators and request that they submit and/or cosponsor such a bill.