The Yellow Sheet confirms the rumor that Andy Tobin’s campaign manager, Craig Handzlik, has abruptly departed Tobin’s congressional campaign. Given his monthly salary of $7,500, it’s difficult to take seriously the spin that Handzlik has taken leave “to pursue other opportunities and remains supportive and helpful to the campaign.”
Tobin’s free-fall CD 1 campaign is hoping to revive itself by bringing on Bill Cortese, a senior associate at New Jersey’s Mercury Public Affairs. The group’s stated political strategy is, “Mobilize the message and unleash the power of persuasion. Take control. Define the issues. Frame the discussion. Win.”
Given Tobin’s penchant for pomposity, such tactics may fall on deaf ears. As seen in this Arizona Capitol Times piece, Tobin wants unbridled control, which is why he refused to engage in a Q & A 2014 legislative session wrap-up interview —- a first for the widely read publication.
Cortese, Tobin’s new manager recently worked as a political director for Chris Christie’s 2013 re-election campaign —- allowing Christie to be seen in a chummy stroll with Obama —- a move that won’t fly in Arizona. He was also campaign manager for hothead and ethically challenged U.S. Rep. Michael Grimm prior to leaving that campaign last month after Grimm was indicted by federal authorities on 20 counts relating to tax evasion and hiring illegals at his New York restaurant.
Seeing Red AZ recently covered some of Tobin’s own problems, including late payment of property taxes nearly 30 times between 2000 and 2014 and an embarrassing intra-party censure by Republican leaders. That accounts for the establishment team of Sens. McCain, Flake and Kyl coming to his aid by hosting a high dollar fundraiser for the union-supporting Tobin. John Boehner also headlined a fundraiser.
Bringing in eastern consultants likely gives a sense of assurance to the Stetson wearing New York native Tobin, who oddly poses as an Arizona cowboy.