Its surprising how much you can accomplish if you don't care who gets the credit
We have been systematically talking to State Committeemen about how they plan to vote for AZGOP Chairman. What we hear most of the time is some version of, “I don't really like any of them.” Understood. All come with considerable baggage.
Let's take Frank Thorwald. First, he teamed up with Tim Horn to get a plan of action to run on. Then he ignored an important meeting and just didn't show up with no expanation. Character counts! He seems not to be campaigning for the job, preferring, we think, to believe he will waltz into the job on the reputation of Robert Graham. He is “good friends” with Graham and we are told Graham recruited him to run, promising him the donor list. That is a cherished list! He sits on a Board of which Graham is Chairman. The company is a bit of a nothing company but that isn't the point. Or maybe it is. Small, nothing companies seek out their friends to sit on their boards because there are no others to do it. If you believe that birds of a feather actually do stick together, then a good measure of Frank is the friends he hangs with. Like Robert Graham. A peek at Graham should give you pause.
Here are a few facts about Robert Graham:
He was charged with money laundering in California when he took a charitable 501c3 PAC (tax deductible) and moved the money to a political 501c4 (non-deductible) allowing donors to donate to the c3, deduct the donation, effectively skirting the law on what are and are not deductible donations. Illegal. He used the money to lobby for an issue in California. He was charged. He was fined $1,000,000 to get rid of the case so as not to have it on his record. You can search Robert Graham on this site and find plenty of articles we ran at the time, 2012 forward.
He along with an associate purchased a closed paper mill in Groveton, New Hampshire. The city fathers were told he would demo the buildings for salvage and then build or sell to someone who would build on the land. The mill was a major eyesore and the city fathers wanted it gone. Now. Several years later, the mill still stood and they sued Graham. Eventually, someone else came along recently and built on the land. That was close to a decade it stood as a monument to failure in the middle of a very small town.
He is banned for life from working in the securities business in Massachusetts, the land of broken laws. He convinced an elderly artist in MA to invest her entire life savings that were in two trusts – one for her disabled brother and another for her even more elderly mother. It was $400,000. He used the money to buy the paper mill in Groveton that sat for years and she lost every penny. She had signed a form required by law that she had a low risk tolerance. Meaning, CDs were her investment of choice, most likely.
He money laundered-funds while Chairman of AZGOP. AZRA members combed through his financial reports and found several very obvious problems in the managing of money. The AZRA Treasurer filed a complaint with the FEC. The complaint was pulled, reputed by John McCain. But after McCain was out of the picture, the AZGOP was fined for their misdeeds and will be fined again in the coming months, according to published reports. Not one FEC report he filed was accurate. The FEC doesn't have a sense of humor!
It was also suspected that Graham was using AZGOP money for his personal use. That has not yet been proven but still might be.
Graham was notorious for changing the locks on the AZGOP doors after he shooed all the conservative volunteers, who had been there for quite some time, right out the door. He hired people to take jobs that had paid $0 to $60K a year and paid them $120,000 a year, squandering funds intended for candidates. And no one answered a phone for four years!
He took RNC money in 2016 that was earmarked for electing Trump and used it primarily to get McCain elected.
There are other serious problems with the FEC reports from the four years Graham was there that still plague the AZGOP.
So what does that have to do with Frank Thorwald? Birds of a feather... Frank may not be as dishonest as Graham but he's buddies with Graham and the last, or nearly last, thing AZGOP needs is Graham back influencing decisions.
That brings us to Jonathan Lines. Graham tagged him at the last minute in 2015 to run for AZGOP treasurer and only after others filed intent-to-run forms. Graham claimed he barely knew Lines but we posted photos with them together at Lines parties. Graham couldn't afford to allow a non-advocate to take a look at the books so he brought in Lines at the last minute, who did not even know, so he said, that AZGOP was in hock up to their ears in outstanding loans. Neither did he report that until it came out from others. Birds of a feather... We wonder, were misappropriated funds involved? Just curious.
But let's not stop there with Lines. He kept the doors locked and no one ever answered the phone or returned phone calls. He was the ghost of Christmas past, never seen except at social events. Someone else was running the store with little to no oversight by the “chairman.” What happened in the 2018 elections? That's right. They helped no one who needed it. Money for Secretary of State candidate? Superintendent candidate? Legislators who were in close elections? Nope, nope and nope. They even worked against Maria Syms in LD28 and got a democrat in that seat. They are thrilled.
This past fall, he orchestrated the re-organizational meeting in Yuma in secret. The bulk of the PCs didn't know it was coming, were not given a chance to be nominated for State Committeemen or officers and received their call letters the day of the meeing, some never got one. These are supposed to be sent 10 days prior to the meeting but most chairmen alert their members a few MONTHS in advance. He refused to allow nominations from the floor seeing as how he had already stacked the deck in his favor and then, he had his two sons count the ballots. Nothing to see here, folks. Business as usual. We also covered Jonathan Lines extensively two years ago and you can find out more by searching "Jonathan Lines" on this site.
Really, Gov Ducey. Do you really think Lines deserves re-election? His endorsement may mean the fix is in and if so, whoever trails Lines better call for a roll call vote! By district.
That brings us to Kelli Ward. She has been campaigning hard. But is she the right person for the job? Some think so. They supported her bid for Senator, twice. Between the two above, she stands out in the minds of many. We don't believe she is as conservative as she claims and that is due to the fact that we checked her voting record at the State Senate. She didn't have any outstanding bills and didn't always vote conservative. HB2184 still stands out in our minds. More HERE That was her bill that was given up as a striker to try to strip the Superintendent of her authority. Fortunately, that failed. Search "Kelli Ward 2184" for more info. Her biggest problem is her husband, Michael. Reportedly, he uses several personas on Facebook and has conversations about Kelli between these personas and uses highly inappropriate commentary about people he/they/he doesn't like. Odd and duplicitous, at least. Recently, he was arrested for spitting in the eye of a Ward volunteer. He has done that before and been cited. He has quite a temper that goes off on a whim, a loose cannon, as does she, and anyone could end up a target. Yes, spouses in this position do matter. The AZGOP chairman will be traveling and meeting important political figures at fancy events. Word spreads fast in politics. Many have told us it is her husband that will keep them from voting for her. Others have their reasons. Annoying the RNC results in no money to the AZGOP for the 2020 election. Let that percolate into your thinking.
Our take is that she is the best of the three, but...
Part II to come.
Let us not go for perfection, but rather on a goal to start loosening the stranglehold that the GOPe has on our state party. This includes voting for candidates who genuinely oppose RINOism and pushing very hard to eliminate proxies, the mechanism by which the Establishment controls the voting process.
No more Grahams, Lines and Thorwalds.
...the best of the three, but...
Yup. About sums it up. And thanks for the 2184 mention. That was the point that she lost credibility with me and she won't get it back.
I'm one of those who doesn't like any of these announced candidates. I read the series on Graham when it was posted years ago and again about Lines. It was easy to see neither of these men should ever have been elected. We were warned and we ignored the warning. That was then and now we have a chance to thoroughly review these candidates and also what is coming on the "but..." which is sure to give us another option, hopefully about the new guy Doyle Shamley. I am interested in looking at everyone, not for perfection that doesn't exist but for our best hope that AZGOP will be run properly, efficiently and honestly. And will take the locks off the doors and stop purging conservatives. I'm watching my inbox for the next installment on this article. BTW, everyone I have talked to about Ward say she is running to get the "cherished donor list" for her next run for public office. That is not a good reason to be chairman.
The election will spin around the use of multiple proxies per carrier. I will not be surprised that Lines wins re-election. A roll call by district and/or counties will not assist. Nor would an audit of the election count as there is not any paper trail often referred to as an audit trail. SO yes the fix will be in once again. Proxy abuse is not understood and will remain an issue for years.
The only issue harder for the State Committeemen and PCs to understand is the corruption of the past two chairmen. The AZGOP does not have a Secretary, she resigned. Anyone wonder how, when, the 1/26/2019 call letter goes out???
Only remaining elected official worthy of our trust is the current Treasurer. Also he is honest. Vote for honesty.
Right on, Bruce. I have seen Ward be very dishonest. People don't believe that because she's a great chameleon. Just what we don't need more of. Remember, most people are on their best behavior during a campaign. Be suspicious. So, AFA, are you going to tell us about this other guy?
I'm not a PC anymore but this is shaping up to be an interesting race after all. Sure, best if Shamley had announced earlier but, so? He can win. I would hope SCs would seriously assess who is most likely to see 2020 as an emergency to deal with. SCs have voted in the wrong people since Morrissey and see what a mess the AZGOP is in. Time to take a right turn and try this other guy. Do it for the gipper, ya know?! Stop the emotional voting that has led us to this low point in AZ politics. We need a winner.
You might know but others may not. I never assume anyone knows stuff. Thorwald is pinned to Graham who is on the outs with lines, maybe Lines didn't take orders from Graham. The conservative problem as I see it and have seen it for 20 years is that Republicans fall for the first pretty face that comes along and sounds good. I have asked people what they know about Kelli's voting record since AFA first reported on her. It was easy to check out her voting record and I knew instantly that she was someone's puppet because her record was all over the place. That is not what I expect from a committed conservative. there is MUCH to lose if there is a better candidate and I reserve judgement until I get more info on this new guy. For the life of me, I don't understand the Ward fans who just never know what she is but only what she says she is. AFA could have posted much worse than they did. Rs are such emotional voters and THAT is the real problem. Facts matter to me.
We will go into voting in the next edition of this series but for now, let me say that voting is not like a political primary. The way it is supposed to be done, not that Lines will follow protocol, is the "low man out" system when there are three or more candidates. Will Thorwald drop out like he did two years ago and throw his votes to Lines? Very possible. That changes everything but there would still be low man out voting.... if done correctly.
As far as the last Yuma meeting goes, I was personally told two young men counting the votes were Jonathan Lines' sons. In an email today from Sec'y Bonnie Knight, it was mentioned the votes were counted by Kyle Pierce, Trevor Crombie, and Bradin Anglin from the state office. It would have been nice if Chairman Russ Jones had introduced them at the beginning of the meeting with the usual credentials report which, incidentally, didn't happen this time either. We were never told how many PCs or proxies were present. We were, however, given the opportunity to nominate from the floor for state committeeman. Knight went on to write, "...in an abundance of caution we asked for a recount before releasing the congratulatory letters. Chairman Jones and I observed while Judges Nelson and Hawes recounted and certified the ballots." Bully for them.
Its Ward or another two years of Lines. For me it's a slam dunk Kelli Ward will get my vote.
And thus, you make my point. What if this new guy is extremely qualified with no baggage? You would still vote for the flawed candidate? How does that make sense except to confirm that Rs vote emotionally? This is the attitude that will give Lines the chair again. Congrats!