Behind the scenes: Robert Graham’s exclusive Exec. Meeting

May 2, 2015

This is what actually took place at the April 18, 2015 CLOSED AZ GOP Executive Meeting.  The transcript is taken directly from a recording:

AZGOP Executive Committee transcript

The issue of closed primary elections has been front and center on this site for some time, along with the duplicitous actions of AZ GOP Chairman Robert Graham who failed to substantively respond to the resolutions that were overwhelmingly passed by elected state delegates at the January 2014 and 2015 AZ GOP Statutory Meetings.

Instead of being voted on at the April 18, 2015 executive committee meeting, state chairman Robert Graham, carrying McCain’s water, shut out Precinct Committeemen and scrapped the issue opposed by…..John McCain.

* Transcript: H/T Arizona Freedom Alliance


Robert Robbed of memory on closed primary

May 1, 2015

The rest of us still have our wits about us. The symbol of the Republican Party is the elephant, noted for its long memory

Those of you who still read the daily fishwrap might have felt your jaw unhinge over what passed for a column by Robert Robb.

Robb claims that having a closed primary in 2010 wouldn’t have made a difference in the U.S. Senate race in which conservative former Congressman J. D. Hayworth challenged the self-identified “maverick” and amnesty proponent John McCain.  

And if you don’t buy that load of baloney, Robb throws another curve, opining that even though the Republican Party would be on sound legal ground to close the primary, to do so would be nothing short of a “PR blunder.”

Want more? He adds that a “non-partisan” or Top Two Primary which does away with parties selecting their own candidates to run in the General Election, would provide an actual solution. He blasts Republicans who desire a return to the closed primary system where registered Independents don’t have a hand in selecting our candidates, as “hard-bitten” and “hardliners.”

Robb writes the “GOP brass, however, have decided not to pursue such a court case,” completely ignoring  the fact that the “brass” are McCain operatives, aware that he benefits from having outsiders choose our candidates. The divide in the Arizona Republican Party over this major issue separates grassroots conservatives and the party elites as few issues have.

Robert Robb must think we’ve forgotten his prior stance on this critical election component.

 In July 2012 Robb had an entirely different mindset, in a column opening with these words:

A little honesty and sobriety is in order about the top-two primary system initiative that apparently will be on the November ballot. The purpose of the initiative should be stated plainly and bluntly: It is to reduce the influence of conservative Republicans in Arizona. The rhetoric used to sell it will be more lofty. There will be a pretense of deploring extremism on both sides of the political divide. But what’s driving the initiative isn’t a concern that the Democrats who get elected in Arizona are too liberal. It’s a call-to-arms reaction to a bone-deep belief that the Republicans who run Arizona are too conservative.”

Could job security be responsible for Robert Robb’s double-talking turnaround? His newfound opinion coincides with yesterday’s announcement of a shakeup of the honchos at the Arizona Republic as it undergoes a major “corporate transition.”

For a genuine insight into the compelling need to close Republican primaries refresh your memory with our April 13 post A. J. LaFaro dispels Robert Graham’s myth on closing Primary. It includes a letter to the members of the AZ GOP executive committee sent by immediate past Maricopa County Republican Chairman A.J. LaFaro, in which he lays out the case in detail. 

Closed primary resolutions were overwhelmingly passed by elected state delegates at the January 2014 and 2015 AZ GOP Statutory Meetings. Yet instead of being voted on at the April 18, 2015 executive committee meeting, state chairman Robert Graham, carrying McCain’s water, shut out Precinct Committeemen and scrapped the issue opposed by…..John McCain.

Get it?


Another AZGOP Exec. Comm. Member voices frustration with Graham

April 28, 2015

To: AZ GOP Chairman Robert Graham

cc: Members of the AZ GOP Executive Committee

It has been just over one week since the Executive Committee (EC) of the Arizona GOP met to conduct its business. I have had a chance to read some of the commentary on what became a marathon Executive Committee meeting of almost 6 hours. But upon reflection and based upon my desire for the Republican Party to succeed in the future after being very active in the Party for over 50 years, I feel it is my responsibility to report what I observed. The EC did a great disservice to the over 1300 State Committeemen who voted overwhelmingly for a Resolution to restore our closed primary system in partisan elections by filing a lawsuit with the Arizona Courts and working with the Legislature to pass new legislation.

In this marathon meeting, almost 2 hours was spent discussing this one agenda line item, Close Primary. Mr. Chairman, when we got to this agenda item you spent over 35 minutes discussing all the reasons why we “could not” file a lawsuit to restore our previously closed primary system. Then you opened up the floor for discussion. I realized later that we were mis-directed and forced to re-debate the issue. This discussion/debate in reality was “Out of Order”. We were not there April 18th to discuss the merits of filing a lawsuit, it had already been debated and discussed back on January 24th at the AZ GOP Statutory Meeting. At this Jan. 24th meeting the Resolution, after spending over half an hour of debate, was passed by an overwhelming majority of the State Committeemen (SC) present (1321 present in person or by proxy). Again, we the Executive Committee were given an order to execute an approved Party Resolution. We were to proceed with closing our Primaries in a two-fold approach, legislatively and by lawsuit. It was not our purview to re-debate, only to execute. I tried to do that. I am the member who made the motion to set aside $75K in our budget (3% of a $2.5M budget) to fund the lawsuit effort. I had mentioned to the body that there were two ways to do this: 1) either go over budget on the legal expense line item or 2) fund it as its own project. It was suggested to me to fund it separately so I made the motion. It failed to pass.

However, there was no plan on how to go back to the State Committeemen, the party members that elected all of us, on why we were not going to do what they directed us to do back in January. The Resolution passed was to close our primaries. This must be dealt with, not kicked down the road or ignored. I believe that each of us has a responsibility to the SC’s who elected us, in my case the SC’s from CD4. They overwhelmingly supported the Resolution. We still have a problem with non-Republicans voting in our Primaries that was not even addressed at the EC mtg. All we heard were reasons why we could not file a lawsuit.

Before I make a couple of recommendations, I must share a few more comments. We were told that the Libertarian Party lawsuit is different than the one we would file. The Libertarian Party was able to explain severe burden or risk, that their election results could be skewed by Independents voting in their primaries. I agree. But that has also started to happen in our Republican Primary. Just look at the 2014 Republican Primary results for State Senate in LD25. The winning Republican candidate won by 1646 votes. The number of Independents who voted in that election was 4316, more than enough to influence and determine the winner. Add to this the fact that over $500K was spent on electioneering in that State Senate Republican primary and its not hard to conclude that big money could also influence Independent voter participation in our Primaries. Remember, there are 24 other LD’s that have Independent voter registration within 10% of the total Republican registration in those districts. So I believe we will see more elections where Independent voters determine who wins in our primaries.

Another point about Independent Voters involved in the Republican Party’s Political business. Less we forget, it was just the ONE INDEPENDENT member of the Independent Redistricting Committee who decided the election boundaries for all 30 legislative districts and 9 congressional districts in Arizona. How did that work out for fairness to Republicans!

I can also imagine that the members of the Libertarian Party are sure glad that their leaders didn’t come to the same conclusions about fighting open primaries that the leadership of the Arizona Republican Party has displayed. Can you picture what some of the discussions were like back in 2002 when the Libertarian Party debated whether to go to court:

We Libertarians can’t go to court to fight the Arizona Constitution, it will cost us millions!

It will take years to deliberate with no guarantee of success.

And who will pay for our primaries if we shut out the Independents; we will have to pay for our own primaries!

We need to form a Fundraising Committee to pay for this expensive court action, but there are only 27,000 registered Libertarians across the whole state of Arizona!

We may have a case of severe burden on our Primary results, but again, we would be going against the Arizona Constitution and who can win a court case against a Constitutional law?

Why file a court action anyway to close the Libertarian Party Primary, we will never win!

It is time Mr. Chairman, for all of us as the AZGOP Executive Committee to provide the leadership we were elected to provide by properly responding to the Resolution of the State Committeemen and proceed with a legislative action plan as well as a legal action plan to protect our Republican Primary selection process with closed primaries. I offer my help in that endeavor. Remember, Democrats file lawsuits all the time against Arizona laws and have a great batting average.

I have fought for the Republican Party and what it stands for and will continue to do so. And in case you chose not to proceed with an appropriate response to the party members, then I would like to be appointed to the next Bylaws committee that reviews the Continuing Bylaws of the Arizona Republican Party. Either we need to remove the ability of passing Resolutions as a Party because they are not followed through by the Chairman and the Executive Committee or the Resolutions section needs to be revised so that it is clear that Resolutions are binding on the Party and require regular updates to the Party until they are enacted upon and completed.

Sincerely,

Don M. Ascoli

Member At Large CD4

AZ GOP Executive Committee

Background reading:

April 18, 2015: Republican PCs threatened with arrest at AZ GOP HQs & UPDATE  First person accounts of April 18, 2015 AZ GOP newly closed executive meeting by LD 28 PCs. It garnered  63 comments from readers.

April 13, 2015: A.J. LaFaro dispels Robert Graham’s myth on closing Primary

April 5, 2015: Need more proof of McCain chokehold on AZGOP?  Robert Graham closing meeting to elected Precinct Committeemen, shutting down information flow


Dare challenge McCain? Attacks on Sen. Ward begin

April 27, 2015

Arizona State Sen. Kelli Ward has accomplished more in her four+ decades than most folks ever aspire to in a lifetime. In addition to representing the residents of Lake Havasu City as a two-tem Republican lawmaker, she is a mother of three, a family doctor, and a military wife married to a Colonel in the Arizona Air National Guard. Her husband Michael serves as Arizona’s State Air Surgeon.

Exceedingly accomplished, Sen. Ward, now a physician, previously worked as an environmental chemist. She holds an undergraduate degree in psychology. (Bio here)

But none of her successes are enough to keep her out of the grinding gears of the McCain Machine. Though not a declared candidate, Kelli Ward has committed the unpardonable sin of opening an exploratory campaign for U. S. Senate earlier this month, “testing the waters” for a possible run. 

Conservative elected state committeemen who censured McCain at their 2014 Statutory Meeting know all too well the ferocity of his retaliatory tactics. Keeping his distance, he uses surrogates to accomplish his disreputable deeds. His efforts to rid the Arizona Republican Party of dedicated precinct committeemen, elected by their Republican neighbors in their own precincts, resulted in a devastating blow to the grassroots election efforts. As FrontPage magazine reports, under the guise of the benign sounding “Arizona Grassroots Action PAC,” San Francisco-based Democrat McCain donors helped raise nearly $300,000 to oust and replace elected conservative committeemen —- the backbone activists of the AZ GOP —- who voted in a stinging rebuke to censure McCain.

Make no mistake. The coordinated attempts to marginalize Sen. Ward are underway. Within short order after her exploratory announcement came the choreographed “chemtrail” conspiracy hype from the team of slicksters at the McCain-endorsing newspaper. Its assigned sycophantic McReporter Dan Nowicki, created a vaporous contrivance that was followed by a supporting column by leftist pap peddler, EJ Montini.  She’s already been subjected to cartoonist Steve Benson’s toxic hit pen.

The latest in bogus contrivances is the attempt to declare her unfit for using a photo her husband took of her in her senate office on a fundraising email sent out to supporters. Over half a page in the daily is devoted to this effort. The accompanying Nowicki article illustrated the concern with a 6 ½ x 7 ½  inch depiction of the photo. The last sentence in the unintelligible article notes “Secretary of State Michele Reagan’s office signaled it won’t likely pursue the issue.”

A recent edition of the Mohave Valley Daily News quoted McCain saying he was aware that Sen. Ward is considering running against him.

Feigning joviality, he said, “I always enjoy a good campaign and have had a lot of good, exhilarating campaigns and I’m certainly looking forward to another campaign.” 

Translation: I will use whatever means and spend whatever is necessary to brutalize anyone who dares cross me.  

This time it could well be a woman who runs rings around him in the brains department and is not likely to fear the man who has spent decades in Washington D.C. giving aid and comfort to Democrats.

Haven’t you had enough? 


Tonight’s CAP gala could have tense moments

April 25, 2015

Doug McDucey among featured speakers

The much-anticipated Center for Arizona Policy (CAP) “Reclaiming Hope,” high-dollar soiree at the Arizona Biltmore Resort this evening will be memorable for even more than the keynote address by noted conservative author and commentator Dr. Charles Krauthammer. Also scheduled to address the attendees is Gov. Doug Ducey.

CAP’s president Cathi Herrod endorsed Ducey during his 2014 campaign and extols him on the Center’s website, saying his “priorities are growing the economy, creating jobs, improving outcomes in K-12 education, and balancing the budget. A committed husband and father, Gov. Ducey stands on his pro-life, pro-family values.” 

It’s those last words, “pro-family values,” that could well be giving Herrod a case of buyer’s remorse. Again, from the CAP page advertising the event, are these words: “In 2008, Cathi led the YESforMarriage Coalition that spearheaded the successful passage of Proposition 102 to define marriage in the Arizona Constitution as only the union of one man and one woman.” 

Herrod is a lawyer and successful lobbyist, with many conservative, faith-based, pro-family victories under her belt. But she was dealt an unexpected blow by Ducey earlier this week when he reversed Arizona Department of Child Safety adoption practices that blocked same-sex couples from adopting or providing foster care to children in Arizona.

In his statement Ducey said, “I have made it abundantly clear since day one that my administration is unambiguously and unapologetically pro-adoption. With 17,000 children under the state’s care, we need more adoption in Arizona, not less. That’s why I feel strongly – as I have said many times before – that all loving families should be able to serve as foster parents and adopt. I also have said my administration will follow the law.”

 Ducey added, “Practices have been brought to my attention that do not match those priorities, therefore, I’m instructing the Arizona Department of Child Safety to immediately ensure that all legally married couples in Arizona are able to jointly serve as foster parents and adopt. All children deserve a loving home, and under my watch, I’m committed to making sure government encourages that.”

Ducey also stuck his finger in the eye of another former endorser, Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery, when he vetoed legislation (HB 2296) supporting Montgomery’s practice of denying free legal aid to same-sex couples seeking to adopt.

Though this fact might have flown under Herrod’s radar, while attending ASU Ducey worked for Hensley & Co., Cindy McCain’s Anheuser-Busch distributorship. His longtime relationship with the McCain’s has obviously influenced his political persona.

This is not the first time Herrod has been disappointed by the cabal with whom she has worked to develop a good relationship. Let’s hope it’s the last. This linked post is from Nov. 2013. 

 


McCain hosts Sedona shindig: Your invitation is in the mail

April 23, 2015

Well, not actually.

Although John McCain wants your money and your vote, he doesn’t want YOU. According to the website, “registration for this invitation-only, closed-press event is full.”

These are the high-profile folks you could have mingled with at the third annual weekend conference, if only you had made the cut. As you nose around the site, be sure to take a gander at the high dollar donor list, with categories ranging from “$100,000 and above” down to a paltry “$24,999 and under.” The McCain Presidential Campaign and Bloomberg Philanthropies are among the eye catchers, but San Francisco-based Democrat donors Lisa and Greg Wendt, should ring a bell or two. As FrontPage magazine reports, under the guise of the benign sounding “Arizona Grassroots Action PAC,” the longtime McCain contributors helped raise nearly $300,000 to oust elected conservative committeemen —- the backbone activists of the AZ GOP —- who voted in a stinging rebuke to censure McCain in 2014. Colorado businessman Gregory Maffei and the Wendt’s wrote the PAC’s largest checks.

 Leftist Democrats are integral to McCain’s programs. Last year, Hillary Clinton, who McCain has referred to as a “rock star,” was featured.  Past speakers besides Clinton, have included “Vice President Joe Biden, Actor/Director Ben Affleck, CEO’s from major corporations and Presidents, Prime Ministers, Foreign Ministers, experts and civil society leaders from around the world.” This year even Actress/Cougar Demi Moore who co-founded a group fighting sexual exploitation of children, will be in attendance.

While National Security is prominently featured on McCain’s Sedona Forum agenda, not a word is mentioned about border security or the fact that besides not having a clue who is entering our country, we are losing our national identity as reported Wednesday by the Washington Examiner. The newspaper points to recent U.S. Census figures that indicate a record 51 million immigrants in 8 years will account for 82% of U.S. growth. The Center for Immigration Studies analyzed the statistics and concluded that by 2023, one in seven U.S. residents will be an immigrant, rising to one in five by 2060 when the legal and illegal immigrant population is expected to total 78 million and minorities will be the majority.

Staring 80 in the eye, the egotistical and mean-spirited McCain is running for yet another six-year-term. We have a choice. Get onboard.


Republican PCs threatened with arrest at AZ GOP HQs & UPDATE

April 18, 2015

First person account of April 18, 2015 AZ GOP newly closed executive meeting by LD 28 PC

Republican Party elected Precinct Committeemen attempted to gain entrance to the Republican Party executive meeting this morning  They were told that they were not authorized to attend the meeting.

The Republican Party PCs very calmly stood in the parking lot of the Republican Party Headquarters. They were met by Maricopa County Sheriff Deputies who threatened to arrest them for trespassing if they did not leave the parking lot.

The committeemen were told they could stand on the public sidewalk and they moved to the sidewalk as requested. I  (James Alberts ) asked the deputies who told them to arrest us for trespassing . They said their supervisor who was not at the Republican Party office.

I suggest that they go ahead and arrest me. I’m a registered Republican, and a Republican Party PC. I asked if there was an member of the Republican Party executive staff in the building who would come out and order me off the property. Deputies were very polite and said no we have our orders to arrest anyone refusing to leave the 24th Street Republican Party property in Phoenix.

We were considered protesters and forced to leave the property. When the Republican Party Sergeant-at-Arms (Alberto Gutier) came out of the building I reentered the property and identified myself and asked to be arrested for trespassing. At that time the Sergeant-at-Arms told the deputies not to arrest me, saying that I would cause a field day for the Democrats.

I responded by saying, “No, Robert Hussein Graham and the executive staff are causing the Democrats to have a field day with this, not me!”

James Alberts

PC LD-28

 

For additional background on this deplorable state of affairs, read Need more proof of McCain chokehold on AZGOP?

Update-tag

James Albert’s wife Carynn, who is also an elected precinct committeeman has written her own account expressing the thoughts of many frustrated and disillusioned precinct committeemen:

I am a new PC and eager to stay involved in my Precinct and Party (although no one from my LD has ever reached out to welcome me, or even send me the meeting schedule). Unfortunately, my ability to attend meetings or volunteer has been significantly curtailed by a recurrence of Oropharyngeal cancer, for which I am currently in treatment.

In an attempt to maintain the integrity of the vote, I believe strongly that only members of a given party should be allowed to vote in that Party’s Primary Election. Consequently, I was pleased when a motion to close the Republican Primary passed during the State meeting this year. However, four months later, I have been disappointed that Chairman Graham has not moved forward with this motion. I understand implementation will take time and money; however, I have not seen any updates or proposed timelines from the Chairman. I’m certain that I wasn’t alone in thinking that this topic may be on the Agenda of the Executive Meeting on 4/18. So when on Easter night Chairman Graham tweeted to LD 18 PC Peggy McClain to “get a life,” I was more than disappointed. That type of response from the State Leader of our Party to a concerned PC is inappropriate and unacceptable. Disenchanted, I began to believe as others, that perhaps Chairman Graham has no intention of implementing this resolution.

For those reasons, I decided to attend the Rally at AZGOP HQ on April 18th with my husband. Once we parked our vehicle we attempted to check-in for the meeting as Observers with the two women stationed outside. They were polite, but confirmed that the meeting would not be open to PCs, as it was closed to all but Party Executives. Shortly thereafter, my husband and I were approached by uniformed MCSO Deputies who asked if we were there to protest that the meeting was closed. We answered yes, and the Deputies very politely told that we could not be on the property and that we must stand on sidewalk. The Deputies further advised us that if we remained on the property that we could be subject to arrest. I was dumfounded. As a registered Republican who has been welcomed to attend other meetings, or volunteer my time at Republican HQ,
suddenly at the discretion of the Chairman I was no longer welcome to even step foot on the property! It’s my understanding the Party doesn’t have a regular income; it is funded by donations. So in essence, the hard earned money donated by my fellow Republicans, was used to hire off-duty MCSO Deputies, to keep me away from my Party’s HQ.

Once we were positioned on the sidewalk, obviously there was no place to sit. I had planned to rest in or on my car as needed, but since it was parked in the Party’s parking lot, that was no longer an option. There were a few large rocks I could have used to rest upon, however, they were located on the Party’s property, and being in ill-health, and unable to risk arrest, they too were out of the question.

After today, you can add me to the ever-growing list of people who will no longer donate to the GOP. I cannot in good faith allow money I donate to potentially be used against me should I question or disagree with my Party. Heck, as long as the Primary remains open, I just may re-register as an Independent. At least the never-ending robo calls and emails asking for money would finally stop.
Carynn Alberts
Precinct Committeeman
LD 28


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