McCain’s Grip On AZGOP Tightens, Seaton Raising Questions

Questions have arisen about the control Sen. John McCain’s operatives maintain over the Arizona GOP in response to controversy surrounding a possible replacement for the terminally ill politician. Specifically, the appearance of Jon Seaton at the Party’s headquarters has raised concerns about impartiality this primary election season.

For years, what has become known as the “McCain Machine,” has crushed efforts by the grassroots members and their chosen candidates. McCain ruled the Party with an iron fist and when he wasn’t hurling epithets at conservatives, his machine was ginning out compliant precinct committeemen.

The presence of Seaton, a political consultant with East Meridian Strategies, provides evidence to some that while McCain’s grip on health deteriorates, his grip on the Party is still strong.

McCain maintains control

“Regarding questions as to what Jon Seaton aka a McCain Operative is doing in the AZGOP office in the absence of Exec Director Matt Kenney,” wrote Frosty Taylor this month in her popular website, MCRC Briefs. “An interesting message/photo came in yesterday claiming the photograph was Seaton giving hand signals to the AZGOP elite at the January mandatory meeting during the discussion on the removal of AZGOP Chairman Jonathan Lines. People in the know are concerned that Seaton is in AZGOP headquarters make sure Sen. John McCain maintains control of the state party.”

Taylor refers readers to a post about AZGOP Communication Director Ayshia Connor’s explanation of Seaton’s presence:

Several Of You Have Inquired as to what Jon Seaton is doing at the AZGOP HQ. Seems he was recently observed working at Executive Director Matt Kenney’s desk while Kenney is recuperating from back surgery. Kyle Pierce is the interim executive director appointed by Chairman Jonathan Lines, according to Communication Director Ayshia Connor.

As to Seaton, Connor explained, “Seaton has experience managing victory programs and is a former Regional Political Director with the RNC. He has helped coordinate the relationship between the AZGOP and RNC, and spoken at a few field training sessions. Beyond that he has no formal role at the AZGOP. When he’s in the office he sits wherever there is a free desk.”

Seaton was a national field director for Sen John McCain’s Presidential campaign overseeing grassroots activities and communication strategies. He also served as President George Bush’s Associate Director for Political Affairs.

The State Party previously reported that Matt Kenney had been replaced by Kyle Pierce as Executive Director, so Connor’s claim that Kenney was still Executive Director and was simply on medical leave reinforces the belief that Seaton has stepped into Kenney’s place and Pierce’s promotion was solely for public consumption and does not reflect the actual organizational structure. Subbing Seaton in for Kenney makes some sense as Seaton and Kenney worked closely on McCain’s Grassroots’ PAC to drive conservative precinct committeemen out of the party.

Not only was Seaton McCain’s guy, he ran Lindsey Graham’s presidential campaign, and he was a senior official with John McCain’s Super PAC that targeted conservative precinct committeemen.

During his successful run for the chairmanship of the AZGOP, Jonathan Lines had promised Party members that he would not hire Kenney, an aggressive McCain operative. Lines broke that promise and Party members say he doubled down on his betrayal by allowing Seaton access others are denied.

McCain’s chosen

The McCain machine operates in part to ensure that populist or conservative candidates do not make it out of Republican primaries. Only the most mega-corporate-friendly candidates and their consultants are granted access to all of the Party’s resources.

McCain’s stable of candidates this year include Tiffany Shedd, running in CD1, Rep. Martha McSally, running to replace Sen. Jeff Flake, Lea Marquez Peterson, running in CD2, and Governor Doug Ducey.

Popular challengers State Sen. Steve Smith, former State Sen. Dr. Kelli Ward, Brandon Martin, and former Secretary of State Ken Bennett are generally denied equal access to the Party apparatus.

In the case of Ward and Bennett the attacks from the Republican “establishment” have been blistering.

Related articles:

Gosar Joins Bennett In Rejecting Cindy McCain, Salter Gets “Infantile”

McSally’s A-10 Action Claims False, Columnist Misleads Public

McSally’s Account Of Fellow Pilots’ Deaths, Relationships Questioned


  1. McShame will NEVER give it up. His ego is too big to let go. He has seldom (unless it was to his personal benefit) done what his constituents paid him to do. I became a Republican just to try to GET HIM OUT!! He’s done nothing for anyone but himself his whole life.
    I just hope the REAL truth about this piker comes out before his spin-artists make him out be a god!

  2. There are 2 candidates in his stable that I won’t go near and that’s Lea Marques-peterson & McSally. Lea has only showed up to 1 forum and had to read her answers from a clip board. Just how McCain likes ’em, dumb & pliable. Brandon Martin has been hitting it out of the park. He’s an Army vet of Iraq & Afghanistan, military intelligence & interrogator. Just had a debate in GV and Morales is the only other candidate to show up. McSally is nothing but a McCain sycophant open border big $$$ gal. NO NO & HELL NO!

  3. Perhaps McCain Machine floundering will give Dr. Ward a chance to win. I certainly hope so!

  4. I made a big mistake putting Johnnie McCain in, please forgive me – as I rot in hell for that and being pro-abortion.

    • Pro-Abortion – as in the landslide shift of law in Ireland. They proclaimed themselves and liberty.. one country off the bucket list of – I’d like to

  5. Here is one thing that no one has mentioned aobut our illustrious Governor. He’s just slimey enough to resign and get himself appointed or appoint himself as the next Senator and then we’d be sutck with Michelle Reagan as our new Governor. Do we really want her in charge?

  6. The election of Ducey or a Republican replacement is vital to the State in that the then seated governor may very well appoint a Senator before 2020.

    • While a Dem gove may choose to appoint a RINO they must appoint a republican.

      Governors are responsible for appointing a replacement for vacancies in the U.S. Senate. The appointed senator must be from the same political party as the former senator and would serve in the office until at least the next general election.

  7. I hope Ducey is out and Bennett is in. This nonsense has to stop. Let’s give Bennett a go.

  8. I find McCain’s continuing control over the Arizona GOP employing deceit and chicanery disdainful. He hasn’t represented Arizona Republicans for many years now ignoring how we wish him to vote and instead pushing his own thoughts and opinions continually.

  9. I want to know who is going to force McCain to resign. I’m tired of that seat remaining open when the Senate is doing our business. I’ve had enough of McCain and his egotistical methods. He needs to stop his control antics and tend to the business of dying.

  10. Doug Ducy may want to rethink his idea of appointing Cindy McStain to take Thug’S place! the people of Arizona deserve someone who will represent them NOT more of the same hatred spewing from Songbird! Let the People decide! Just remember, We won’t forget!

  11. The McCain machine has cost Crazy Senator Jeff Flake his seat, with a whole lot of help from Flake. Looking towards November, is there any doubt that after his collaboration with Redfored for an ill conceived education funding increase during an illegal strike by the teachers and with the assent of the school districts (an exercise in irresponsibility by all concerned) that Ducey will lose his seat? The only real question is will McCain and Ducey`s manipulation of the GOP in Arizona cost Republicans a Senate seat AND control of the State legislature?

    • I think the Repub have a good chance holding on to the senate! While McSally isn’t perfect, I think she’ll win the primary & beat the Dems! The dems have leaned too far left, imv!

  12. This is very, very alarming to hear! President Trump won the state by 48.1 to Clinton 44.6 giving Trump 11 electoral votes! McCain won his senate seat 53.7 to kirkpatrick 40.8. I think its evident that McCain appealed to Democrats with his point spread. FTR, I did not vote for either. Trump, yes! McCain, no! So …. Conservatives have been left to fend for themselves. Now I know why! Its time to break the stronghold!

  13. Back in 2009 when McLame was running for the Senate again after he threw his presidential bid to Obama, I was a Precint commiteeman for LD10, his campaign manager contacted me demanding that I give McCain my endorsement for senator and I told the guy to go to hell. McCain threw his presidential election and I was never going to vote for him and there is no way in hell i would endorse him. I was removed 2 days later as a PC in that district for refusing to give him my endorsement. I endorsed the one he was running against at that time.

  14. And you were expecting what from the vindictive, arrogant,dying old man????????? Simply give up and turn his seat over to the people to elect someone that might not be a swamp creature???? Silly you.

  15. John McCain showed his true colors when the Tea Party was in full swing. We were sent a letter requesting a donation, to which I replied my husband and I are proud Tea Party people. We never heard from McCain again.

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