Monday, February 5, 2018

Martha McSally is Worse Than Jeff Flake

Arizona’s Republican U.S. Sen. Jeff Flake has announced he’s not running for reelection, so several candidates have jumped into the open race to replace him. There are currently three frontrunners. GOP Rep. Martha McSally, a combat pilot who served in the U.S. Air Force, former Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio, and former Arizona State Senator Kelli Ward. Ward made a name for herself launching an unsuccessful conservative challenge to Sen. John McCain in 2016.

McSally is the darling of the GOP establishment. She was elected to Congress in 2014, representing a swing district seat formerly held by Gabrielle Giffords. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell recruited McSally last year as one of several moderates to run for the Senate. “We are going to be supporting people who can actually win,” he said in his year-end news conference critical of conservative candidates. “But we have got some great candidates out there and you're familiar with them, Martha McSally …” His Senate Leadership Fund super PAC intends to spend considerable money supporting her run.

McSally is a member of the Republican Main Street Partnership, a group of moderate Republicans in Congress. McCain is also a member. Her voting record is less conservative than both Flake and McCain. The Heritage Foundation rated her 61 percent this session. They rated Flake 88 percent and McCain 66 percent. The American Conservative Union gives her a lifetime rating of 66 percent. Flake has a lifetime rating of 93 percent and McCain has 81 percent. FreedomWorks gave her a lifetime score of 60 percent. It rated Flake 93 percent and McCain 69 percent. Mark Levin’s Conservative Review gives all three of them an F.

McSally did not endorse President Trump in the 2016 presidential election. She supports DACA. In 2015, she voted against an amendment to a spending bill that would have ended DACA. In 2017, she sent a letter along with nine other members of Congress to Speaker Paul Ryan, asking him to find a legislative solution to DACA.

Three leading conservative organizations oppose her; the Club for Growth, the Senate Conservatives Fund and FreedomWorks.

Conservatives have complained about McCain’s moderate record for years. Recently, they’ve been highly critical of Flake too. Why would they elect someone who will be even more frustrating? McSally would be better off serving Arizona in the House, being in a difficult swing district for the GOP to maintain ahold of.

McSally is a strong fundraiser so will be a formidable candidate. Polls show she has a reasonable chance at winning the Republican nomination since Arpaio and Ward are splitting the conservative vote. After Arpaio joined the race, Ward dropped to 19 percent in the latest poll. Arpaio came in at 22 percent and McSally at nearly 31 percent.

If Trump makes an endorsement, it will make a significant difference. There is a small chance Trump might endorse McSally. He backed Luther Strange over the more conservative Roy Moore in Alabama’s Senate race, believing Strange was more electable in the general election. The winner of Arizona’s Senate primary will face a formidable challenger in the general. Democratic Rep. Kyrsten Sinema is a relentless campaigner who has positioned herself as a moderate in recent years. There is a concern that Ward is not well-known enough to defeat Sinema. However, at least one poll shows Ward defeating Sinema in the general. Arpaio has been attacked so much through the legal system that there is concern baggage will hurt him in the general.

But Arizona is still a fairly red state. The GOP controls both houses of the state legislature, all 11 statewide offices, both U.S. Senate seats and four of the eight U.S. House seats. This past year, Guns & Ammo ranked it the No. 1 state in the country for Second Amendment-friendly laws. Americans United for Life ranked the state No. 1 for pro-life laws.

People are tired of lukewarm GOP Senators McCain and Flake. It will come out during the general that Sinema once received the Vladimir I. Lenin award from the Arizona Federation of Taxpayers for being the most far left member of the state legislature. A real conservative can defeat her. It’s not necessary to settle for a Republican to the left of McCain and Flake.  

Saturday, January 27, 2018

A Lefty, Out-of-State Professor Explains Arizona’s Senate Race — And Gets It Wrong

Political scientist John A. Tures claims popular sheriff Joe Arpaio can’t win the election for Arizona’s open seat in the U.S. Senate. He thinks the Democrats will probably take it no matter who the Republicans nominate. The red state will start turning blue.
We’ve heard this before. As a long-time politically active resident of the state, let me tell you: He’s wrong.  

The Democrats’ Uphill Battle

Tures, who teaches at LaGrange College in Georgia, opines in the New York Observer on the race to replace the seat being vacated at the end of the year by GOP senator Jeff Flake. (President Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner owns the Observer, but it mixes liberal and conservative writers.) The weekly newspaper titled the piece “Even Joe Arpaio Can’t Keep Arizona Republican.” 
Okay, no. Democrats have the uphill battle. Every couple of years, the party and the national media predict that Arizona will turn partially blue, and every time the results prove them wrong. Arizona is pretty red. Tures claims the state “is weakening as a stronghold for Republicans.” He doesn’t really back this up.
What’s Tures’ argument? Hillary Clinton “narrowly” lost the state 45.5 percent to 49 percent. That’s not a very narrow margin in a presidential race, especially with a Republican candidate many conservatives opposed. Throw in Libertarian Gary Johnson’s 4 percent and the right had an even bigger margin of victory.

The Real Evidence

What’s the real evidence? The GOP controls both houses of the state legislature, all 11 statewide offices, both U.S. Senate seats and four of the eight U.S. House seats. This past year, Guns & Ammo ranked it the No. 1 state in the country for Second Amendment-friendly laws. Americans United for Life ranked it No. 1 for pro-life laws.
With the exception of a few House districts gerrymandered to elect Democrats, it’s hard to turn seats blue. Democrat Ann Kirkpatrick thought she could defeat GOP Sen. John McCain in 2016, and left her fairly safe House seat to challenge him. She lost big, 53 to 40 percent.
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What about the state’s “moderate Republican” senators? Arizona tolerates John McCain in part because of his connection to Arizona’s late Barry Goldwater. McCain took Goldwater’s Senate seat after he retired. He has tried to emulate him in several ways. The American Conservative Union gives him a lifetime rating of 82 (out of 100). Flake has a lifetime rating of 97. He was also the first director of the Goldwater Institute before entering Congress. 

Kelli Ward a Strong Candidate

Tures claims that the frontrunner until Arpaio entered the race, conservative Kelli Ward, could be defeated by the likely Democratic candidate, Rep. Kyrsten Sinema. Ward’s “attacks on McCain will be remembered by citizens who love their longtime senator,” he says.
Well, Arizonans have a love-hate relationship with McCain. They respect his years of military service and as a P.O.W., but they don’t really like him. He’s known for his down and dirty political tactics and bad temper. He’s distrusted for purging the party of conservatives. One of the main conservative blogs in Arizona just wrote a post referencing his terminal brain cancer entitled “McCain: Incapable of doing job, lacks grace to retire.” With McCain not in the race, most voters won’t care about Ward’s previous criticism of him.
The likely Democratic nominee, Kyrsten Sinema, was once given the Vladimir I. Lenin award by the Arizona Taxpayers’ Association while serving in the state legislature for having the most far left voting record.
Tures cherrypicks a poll that has Sinema leading Ward by seven points in the general election. It was done by the moderate polling company High Ground, which doesn’t look favorably on conservative candidates like Ward. Other polls show them tied within the margin of error. One has Ward leading by one point.

The Liberal Sinema

The liberal Sinema has portrayed herself as a moderate in recent years. How not-conservative is she?Even now, after years of being a “moderate,” her ACU lifetime rating is a solidly low liberal score of 15. The Arizona Taxpayers’ Association once gave her their Vladimir I. Lenin award for for having the most far left voting record in the state legislature. 
Tures plays into the dishonest picture of Ward created by her former opponent McCain’s supporters. He says she held a townhall to discuss whether chemtrails were poisoning Americans, earning her the nickname “Chemtrail Kelli.” Tures wants to picture her as a crank who can’t win a state-wide election.
The reality is, she brought in two employees from the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality to refute the notion. The irony? McCain once told a constituent he would look into the man’s concerns about chemtrails. If anything, he deserves the nickname “Chemtrail McCain.”
Tures mentions former congressmen Matt Salmon and Ben Quayle as potential candidates who might beat Ward for the nomination. Quayle was beat after only one term in office, the only incumbent freshman GOP representative to lose reelection in 2012. He won’t seriously challenge Ward. Salmon served two sets of terms in the House, easily winning reelection. He would be a formidable candidate, but Arizona insiders think he won’t run.

Tures Underestimates How Arpaio Shakes Things Up

Now we get to the current star of Arizona politics, controversial former sheriff Joe Arpaio. Tures calls him a “liability” after his legal battles with the federal government. However, many Arizonans know the Obama administration targeted him for combatting illegal immigration. The nationally renowned sheriff lost reelection as Maricopa County Sheriff because left-wing billionaire George Soros poured $2 million into the race to defeat him.
Tures doesn’t even get the Democrats’ side right. He describes Deedra Abboud, an attorney and Muslim-American activist, as a credible threat to Sinema in the Democratic primary. She’s not. Abboud has virtually no statewide name recognition. The Democratic Party is subtly throwing its support behind Sinema.
The real story in the race is that with Arpaio entering the race, he splits the conservative base vote with Ward in the primary, leaving GOP Rep. Martha McSally to do fairly well with the moderates.
The real story in the race is that in the primary Arpaio splits the conservative base vote with Ward. GOP Rep. Martha McSally will do well with the moderates. She’s the only other strong candidate in the race. She has compiled a dismal 67 percent lifetime rating with the American Conservative Union, even worse than McCain’s 81 rating.
Arizona isn’t likely to vote blue in this senate election. It’s still a pretty safe Republican seat. But with the battle between Ward and Arpaio for the conservative vote, the state might end up with another “moderate” Republican senator. One even more liberal than John McCain. That’s not blue, but it’s not pure red either.

Follow Rachel on Twitter at Rach_IC.

Thursday, January 11, 2018

Tim Jeffries decides not to run for governor


 January 11, 2018 

Good and glorious day to you, Governor. 

I have heard from approx. 2,000 DES colleagues since my ouster the day before Thanksgiving 2016. The calls, messages, emails, letters, gifts and meetings continue to bless me in amazing ways. The daily exchanges with DES friends and partners highlight what we both know: Something truly special was in the works for 633 days at DES. Subsequently, I want to thank you again for the opportunity to serve and love so many Arizonans. I also want to share the following with you, some of your team members, and ultimately the thousands of good folks who support and love me. 

Some Thoughts re. My Present and Future 

1) My beloved family continues to hurt regarding the malicious lies, betrayals and injustices surrounding my forced resignation. Thankfully, it is finally clear to me they have suffered enough. Consequently, I have decided not to launch a personally-funded, “no holds barred” independent run for Arizona Governor in 2018. 

2) Instead, I will focus on my private business ventures, numerous charitable causes, and projected investments in political action committees of my choosing. 

Some Final Thoughts re. Our Shared Past 

1) On Friday, 10/21/16, you shared Kirk Adams stated there would be Federal and State investigations of DES finances. I clearly remember passionately rejecting this abject lie. No surprisingly, the FBI and Arizona AG never showed up at DES because there was absolutely zero financial malfeasance. I hope you now clearly see the malicious slander leveled against me was vicious political treachery designed to destroy me and reward others’ corrupt deceit.

2) Per your specific direction, DES leveraged State Personnel Reform to “weed out the worst, and reduce the size and cost of government.” ADOA approved every termination because the DES HR chief was an ADOA employee even before I arrived at DES. Furthermore, DES did not have a No-Hire List. ADOA had a No-Hire List. DES had nothing to hide. ADOA was the one hiding. 

3) The 8 former DES employees that the Arizona Republic deceitfully showcased as victim martyrs were all terminated legally. They were at-will employees. Several of them were terminated for causes they would not dare not release to the press. None of them returned to DES. The aggregate demographics of everyone terminated during my tenure aligned with DES employee demographics. There was absolutely, positively NO DISCRIMINATION at DES. 

4) Based on a pre-existing DPS-DES agreement, I utilized state planes for state work just as other agency directors did and still do. No objection was ever offered by Henry Darwin. During my 19 to 20 flights, I traveled to every corner of Arizona, and visited every DES location and site. I held over 500 colleague townhall meetings, and met with over 400 community partners. Based on solid financial analysis, it cost significantly less to use air travel in some circumstances instead of spending endless hours burning precious time in a state gas-guzzling SUV. 

5) It is a noble tradition in the high technology industry that executives always pay for this, that and the other thing. So, Mary Frances and I invested over $50,000 of our own money to celebrate, honor, love and care for scores of DES colleagues. We were especially blessed to aid several female DES colleagues in heart-wrenching circumstances. 

6) DES Guns and Ammo: Please know my unflinching commitment to justice and fervent resolve to further clear my good name. I will not bow to state power, abuse, intimidation and money. Mary Frances and I have the financial resources to contest and vanquish the “guns and ammo” injustice all the way to court and any subsequent appeals. As my college football coach at Santa Clara University often said, “There is no back door at the Alamo.” 

Governor, my passionate work, efforts and successes were in plain sight of the thousands who followed me, including you, your team, and the Arizona legislature. It was also in plain sight of the vulture press who ultimately reveled in ravaging me so publicly. I had no secrets. I stand by my overall body of work, including lessons learned. I was a good soldier and leader. 

I truly wish you well, Governor. I share your desire to see Arizona thrive. I will keep you, your family, team and public service in my prayers. I look forward to crossing paths with you at the Child Help Gala this Saturday. 

Faithfully in Service, 

Timothy Jeffries 

Monday, December 18, 2017

Efforts to Get Illegal Immigrant Smugglers – Not Illegals – Go Too Far

A young handyman in southern Arizona has been charged with allegedly smuggling illegal immigrants. There’s just one problem. The evidence overwhelmingly shows he was actually trying to transport them to the border patrol. Under the Obama administration, emphasis turned to targeting human smugglers instead of illegal immigrants, due to the politically correct climate dealing with illegal immigrants. Derrick McCoy, a 20-year-old handyman, is the latest casualty of this misguided approach.

The Arizona Daily Independent extensively covered the story. McCoy was asked to watch over the property of nearby neighbors Billy and Anna Grossman while they were out of town. Living in close proximity to the border between the U.S. and Mexico, the Grossmans are concerned about illegal immigrants and smugglers intruding, as well as wildlife. The couple was especially concerned about theft. The Grossmans have two horses, four dogs and five cats.

Sure enough, McCoy received a text message from neighbor David Robinson at 8:30 a.m. on November 11, alerting him that illegal immigrants had been seen near the property of two women and in front of the Grossman’s home. The women saw four Hispanic men in camo, who looked like the four men who had stolen a truck from one of their husbands four months previous. McCoy said that law enforcement takes 35 to 40 minutes to respond to incidents located there, since the Grossmans live in such a secluded location, so he thought he’d better go right over. He was told that the border patrol had been called already, so he did not bother calling them.

McCoy drove over to the Grossman’s property in his SUV and confronted the men. Only one of the four could speak English. When one of the men became belligerent, McCoy pulled out his gun and told them all to lie on the ground. Next, he told them to get into his SUV. He intended to drive them to the border patrol. They got into the car and lied down. A border patrol agent said a camera captured them getting into the SUV. While driving, McCoy said one of the men asked him if he would take them to Tucson. Since he was in a precarious situation with all four of them in his car, he said sure – even though he had no intention of letting them off the hook.

After a mere two minutes of driving, McCoy encountered several border patrol vehicles on the road. McCoy says he stopped immediately, got out of his car and told an agent there were illegal immigrants in his vehicle. The border patrol tried to claim afterward that McCoy tried to hide the fact that four grown men were lying down in his vehicle. They claim he told the men to “get down.” The illegal immigrants alleged afterward that they offered McCoy $200 to drive them, which McCoy denies agreeing to.  

The border patrol filed a federal criminal complaint against McCoy on November 13. He faces three to five years in prison if convicted. None of the border patrol agents are named in the complaint, an apparent anomaly. McCoy has been offered a plea deal.

The case against McCoy doesn’t pass the smell test. The Arizona Daily Independent sarcastically observes, “The idea that anyone with an ounce of sense would stop his vehicle for about 15 law enforcement vehicles and then lie about whether there were four grown men in his vehicle is worthy of a Marx Brothers comedy movie, but does not resemble anything that would happen in the real world, when an officer is in contact with an honest, sober citizen.” Why would McCoy try to evade the border patrol when he knew they’d already been called and were on their way? The border patrol saw the text message McCoy received. McCoy says he sees the border patrol in the area sometimes every day, sometimes only once a week.

The ranchers and farmers who hired McCoy could tell he didn’t move to the area in order to become a human smuggler. He was there to assist them, which included protecting their property from illegal immigrants and smugglers. The locals had nothing but good things to say about him to the Arizona Daily Independent. Neighbor David Robinson made a video with McCoy documenting what took place. McCoy lives with the Hargraves. Coni Hargrave believes his version of the story. “He just shoved his boots on and ran out of the house,” she said. “His main intention was to get them away from Billy’s so they wouldn’t take anything from him. He was responsible for Billy’s property while Billy and Anna were out of town.” John Hargrave watched the scene unfold from his front window as McCoy drew his firearm and had the illegal immigrants lie on the ground.

Misleading the illegal immigrants into briefly thinking he wasn’t going to turn them over to the border patrol, because McCoy was nervous about his safety being outnumbered and driving, is not the same as human smuggling. McCoy was performing the exact opposite of smuggling – he was turning the illegal immigrants in.

What this likely comes down to is some border patrol agents think they have to do something about illegal immigration, but since arresting illegal immigrants is considered politically incorrect, they are turning to arresting human smugglers instead. Since McCoy is white – so there won’t be a massive outcry – he’s an easy target. John Hargrave says, “It’s a feather in their cap. They can say they caught a smuggler. It looks good on paper, in other words.”

Billy Grossman goes one step further in his analysis, “They’re more after Americans than they are illegals,” he said. Ed Ashurst, a ranch manager and author who writes extensively on border issues, wonders why the border patrol didn’t arrest the four men before the confrontation, since they must have seen them on camera. This is a case of Orwellian, gross over prosecution, and it is horrific they have to ruin the life of a young man with an impeccable reputation in order to accomplish their politically correct agenda.

Monday, December 11, 2017

Surprisingly, Republicans and Conservatives Shouldn’t Fear a National Popular Vote

Republicans are hesitant to switch from our winner-take-all state laws allocating electors to the electoral college to using the National Popular Vote. The National Popular Vote Plan would award all of a state’s electors to the candidate who wins the most popular votes in all fifty states. There is a fear that such a move will benefit Democrats, since Democrats won the popular vote even though they lost the elections in 2000 and 2016. But the truth is, Republicans are likely going to lose their ability to win the necessary swing state of Florida in the future, and they can win the popular vote by campaigning differently.

The demographics of Florida are changing. More and more illegal immigrants are entering the country. Additionally, Puerto Ricans are flooding the country due to economic chaos and humanitarian crisis following Hurricane Maria at home. When they enter the U.S., because they are American citizens they can vote, and they vote overwhelmingly Democrat. Hillary Clinton had an almost three-to-one edge among Puerto Ricans in Florida last year. Both illegal immigrants and legal Puerto Ricans are counted in the census which is used for determining how many congressional seats and electoral votes Florida receives. This will soon result in an increase in Florida’s electoral votes, which will lean more Democratic as increasing numbers of Puerto Ricans vote (this doesn’t even take into consideration possible illegal immigrant voter fraud).

It is true that Democrats Al Gore and Hillary Clinton won the popular vote but lost the election. But those weren’t true popular vote elections. The Republican candidates they lost to put all their efforts into a handful of swing states, and did a better job campaigning there than the Democrats. In contrast, Clinton’s campaign unwisely campaigned in non-swing states such as Arizona, while ignoring the swing state of Wisconsin. If there was a true popular vote election, the Republican candidates would run a completely different type of campaign, likely focusing on mobilizing their base in rural areas and red states. Regardless, Republicans still won the popular vote in 2004.

A presidential election using the National Popular Vote is not a radical proposal. Critics contend there would need to be a constitutional convention to amend the constitution in order to change the state-based, winner-take-all rule that most states use to send their electors to the electoral college. This isn’t necessary. The electoral college can remain. All the constitution says about electing the president is in Article II, “Each State shall appoint, in such Manner as the Legislature thereof may direct, a Number of Electors….” In order to change the system, individual states would merely need to revise state law to send their electors based on the National Popular Vote for the presidential candidates instead of winner-take-all. Currently, all states but two, Maine and Nebraska, have winner-take-all systems to send their electors to the electoral college.

Critics also claim that using the National Popular Vote in presidential elections would favor big cities over rural areas. This isn’t correct. Only one-sixth of Americans live in the 100 biggest cities. In contrast, in the current unfair winner-take-all system, only a handful of states decide presidential elections, the swing states. The 10 most rural states aren’t included, nor are 12 of the 13 smallest states. The winner-take-all system does not represent the vast majority of Americans. By the time voting results come in from key swing states, many voters on the West coast don’t bother voting because their votes essentially don’t count. This hurts minor candidates on the ballot in those states.

Under the current system, presidents shower pork on the swing states in order to get their votes. During the 2004 election, President Bush advocated for and got a trillion dollar expansion of Medicare in order to entice votes from the large population of senior citizens in Florida. Presidents take steps to help the coal industry in order to influence Pennsylvania, and the ethanol industry to help Iowa. Battleground states are twice as likely to receive exemptions from No Child Left Behind as fly-over states and twice as likely to have natural disasters declared.

There is another criticism that a rogue state secretary of state could frustrate the National Popular Vote Compact by refusing to certify the results. This is invalid, since plenty of federal and state laws prohibit that elected official from doing so.

Voter fraud will become more difficult under a National Popular Vote, because crooked party operatives will no longer be able to focus their efforts on just a handful of states, and the windfall of electoral votes for their illicit efforts will be smaller. For the same reason, it also reduces the possibility of recounts.

What did the Founding Fathers prefer? Not winner-take-all. The Founders debated various methods of the electoral college and almost adopted the proportional system at the Constitutional Convention. They never debated a winner-take-all system. As the states began to adopt winner-take-all, in order to ensure that their favorite sons like Thomas Jefferson won, Missouri Senator Thomas Hart Benton warned in an 1824 Senate speech, “The general ticket system [winner-take-all], now existing in 10 States was … not [the offspring] of any disposition to give fair play to the will of the people. It was adopted by the leading men of those states, to enable them to consolidate the vote of the State.”

There are a significant number of prominent conservatives who understand what is taking place demographically so they support direct presidential elections. They include former congressmen Tom Tancredo (R-CO), Bob Barr (R-GA), former House Speaker Newt Gingrich (R-GA) and eight former national chairs of the conservative American Legislative Exchange Council. 

So far, 11 states have passed laws implementing the National Popular Vote Compact, and it has passed in at least one chamber of 12 other state legislatures, four of which are red states. It will go into effect when enough states have passed it to total 270 electoral votes. When polled (by a left-leaning polling company), 74 percent of Americans support direct presidential elections. This breaks down to 75 percent among Republicans and 78 percent among Democrats. The left naively thinks direct presidential elections will benefit Democrats, assuming that large urban areas will decide elections. This bipartisan support means there is a good chance it will happen.

The purpose of the National Popular Vote bill is to make every voter in every state politically relevant in every presidential election. This is the only way to right size the political influence of battleground states. Clinging to the winner-take-all system is a losing strategy for Republicans. Under that system, they will likely lose Florida by 2020 or 2024 due to demographical changes. It is better to take our chances with a direct presidential election than suffer certain defeat with the unfair, outdated, flawed current system that can and should be reformed. 

Reprinted from Townhall