Arizona State Rep. TJ Shope has come to symbolize the attack of the Republican establishment on GOP precinct committeemen. So when Shope showed up last week to introduce U.S. Rep. Martha McSally, at a campaign event, it created a stir within the ranks of the GOP grassroots.
Shope was not the only controversial figure at the April 5, grand opening event at McSally’s Phoenix campaign headquarters. Constituents from her congressional district, in southern Arizona who follow her everyplace to complain that she had gone missing in action to run for the Senate seat being vacated by Sen. Jeff Flake.
One woman vet was reportedly asked to leave McSally’s ice cream social when she asked when McSally would accept an invitation from challenger, former Arizona State Sen. Dr. Kelli Ward, to debate. She described her experience on Facebook:
“This is the Martha McSally volunteer that insisted that I leave because I asked McSally why she will not debate with Kelli Ward. I told her that I am AN ARMY VETERAN FROM GILBERT if you want to order ME to leave… say it on camera. She backed up immediately and said she never told me to leave. She tried to hide her face from the camera multiple times. Three other women that came from Tucson because McSally refuses to talk with her constituents… were also told to leave for no reason. McSally when I confronted her… never answered and left 5 minutes later. She also arrived 45 minutes late for her own event.”
McSally refused to debate Republican challengers in 2014 for the Congressional District 2 seat she now occupies. Ward invited McSally to debate in January. So far, McSally has ignored calls from Ward and Republicans to have a public discussion of the issues. While her decision to ignore the calls for debate surprises no one, it has been a source of humor. One GOP activist said this weekend, “She had a debate with Lou Dobbs last week, and lost.”
It is McSally’s lack of awareness about Arizona politics that has surprised most precinct committeemen. Her campaign announced this week that former AZGOP communications director Torunn Sinclair would be joining her team. Sinclair outraged precinct committeemen recently when she seemed to attack Frosty Taylor, the editor of the popular GOP website;, MCRC Briefs. Taylor’s site, which features a calendar of most GOP events and commentary from activists and candidates, is read across Arizona. MCRC Briefs has earned a reputation for sharing information by all candidates. As a result, GOP activists have come to count on it for getting the word out. Sinclair went after Taylor for not posting her information immediately. At the time, Taylor had taken ill.
From MCRC Briefs:
As Some Of You Noticed yesterday’s 12-19-17-Briefs was very short and posted later than normal. A health issue prevented me from getting to all of the incoming Monday e-mails which resulted in these e-mail messages from AZGOP public relations spokesman Torunn Sinclair on Monday evening and Tuesday morning; however, I didn’t see them until yesterday afternoon:
11:19 am Tues, Dec 19: “Frosty, Would love an explanation as to why you didn’t include my comments in the briefs today. If I don’t hear from you, I’ll be forwarding this chain on to all relevant parties as proof of your partiality. Torunn”
Editor’s Note: No newsletter, blog or newspaper is obligated to print/post anyone’s commentary the day it’s received. Editors still have the option of deciding whether to post or reject commentary/articles for their publications – not the submitting author.
Sias’ commentary/questions in the 12-18-17 Briefs are reflective of many grassroots PCs who are frustrated over the AZGOPs leaderships alleged disregard for the current bylaws, the reported secrecy of the current bylaws committee meetings, and still not seeing a draft of the proposed bylaws changes for review prior to the January 2018 mandatory meeting. The disappearance of the current bylaws from the AZGOP web site in the midst of the nearly year-long upheaval over the bylaws committee created more concern. It is also common knowledge that grassroots PCs are expressing concern about phones not being answered at AZGOP headquarters when they are attempting to get answers to their questions. The systematic cleansing of the conservative grassroots workerbee PCs – over the past five or six years – is the basis for a lot of the internal distrust we are now witnessing throughout the party. If indeed I’m partial – as charged – then my alleged “partiality” is on the side of the hardworking grassroots PCs/voters “right to question” and “right to know” if shenanigans are going on behind the scenes. – ft
McSally touted her effort to “save the A-10 Warthog” in her grand opening speech. She told the small crowd, “My biggest accomplishment is saving the A-10; saving the Warthog. Had the Obama administration gotten their way, literally all the A-10s would be mothballed right now. All of them; based on their plans. They would all be in the Boneyard,” said McSally referring to the airplane storage unit at Davis Monthan Air Force Base.
Contrary to McSally’s claims, Capitol Hill sources told the ADI in March, that due to McSally’s inability to work well with others and her focus on the Senate seat, the A-10 took a massive hit. In fact, the A-10 received only enough money to replace 3 sets of wings in the unpopular Omnibus Bill. McSally was the only Republican in Arizona’s Congressional delegation to vote for the massive budget.
McSally has repeatedly made the claim that she “has continued to fight to modernize the fleet by ensuring that Congress provides funds to re-wing the remaining A-10’s that need new wings in order to keep the entire fleet in the air and in the fight through 2030 and beyond.”
“McSally’s victory march is misleading,” one Capitol Hill insider told the ADI in March. “The newly released budget provides funding for the rewinging of only three planes. While three sets of wings; installed 3 years from now, is better than nothing, it certainly is not a reason to celebrate.”
The ADI revealed that McSally is hiding the “fact that she has lost 110 aircraft in the fleet. Secretary Wilson has no choice but to park these aircraft due to a lack of a long term wing replacement contract. According to the A-10 System Program Office based at Hill AFB UT, A-10s will start being grounded due to wings in FY19.”
In March, GOP activist Archie Dicksion, advised Shope in an opinion piece on the Arizona Daily Independent, that precinct committeemen were disappointed that he had refused to hear their bill HB2012. Shope, chair of the House Rules Committee as refused to “bring the bill before the committee for consideration,” according to Dicksion.
Related articles: McSally’s A-10 “Victory March Is Misleading”
“On Wednesday, I placed a call to his office,” wrote Dicksion referring to Shope, “to ask why he is holding the bill. Patty, his Legislative Assistant did not put my call through to Rep. Shope, and had no explanation of WHY the Bill is being held. No reason at least that she was willing to share with me. I asked that Rep. Shope give me a call so we could discuss the matter. I have received no call from him at this time.
Dicksion’s bill, which has widespread support from the GOP’s grassroots, would prevent the use of proxies in Arizona Republican Party elections. For years, Sen. John McCain, who some say is the creator of McSally’s political career, has used proxies to maintain control of the AZGOP leadership positions.
McCain’s “machine” controls the assets and access to assets through the Party’s leadership on all levels. McCain’s “machine” has recruited less-than-active Republicans to become precinct committeemen. The precinct committeemen in turn, turn their votes (proxies) over to McCain operatives, who then vote pro-McCain leaders.
What McCain and his bevy of candidates do not control are the precinct committeemen yet. Dicksion made in clear that they are the people candidates need. “Consider, if we have a 1000 P.C.’s state wide and they spend only 10 hours per year walking their neighborhoods and talking to neighbors, that is 10,000 hours per year of free advertising,” wrote Dicksion. “How much would it cost the party to get that much coverage on television, radios, newspapers etc. By the same token if you have 1,000 proxies just how much time will they contribute? The purpose of limiting proxies is to force the recruitment of P.C.’s that will be active not just a piece of paper.”
McSally, like McCain, is not popular with the grassroots. However, like McCain, McSally doesn’t believe she needs them to win the Republican Primary. It makes sense then, according to one precinct committeemen, that she would have no problem “dissing” them at her grand opening and other events.