AZCentral.com's Political Insider has coverage here.
Other folks have written at length on this, but I haven't really seen an explanation of "why"? What was the motivation to cut corners here?
The AZ GOP is all but broke (or will be if they do as they've said they will and return the money) and unable to do much to help their legislative and statewide candidates, so why take this kind of heat and humiliation for a couple of well-funded incumbents?
I mean, according to their most recent campaign finance reports for the period ending September 22, Joe Arpaio has over $390K cash on hand and Andrew Thomas has nearly $200K (compared to $46K and $162K for Dan Saban and Tim Nelson, their respective challengers.)
Why is the state GOP throwing state candidates under the bus in favor of a couple of county-level candidates? Flush-with-funds county candidates who have large taxpayer-funded staffs to draw upon to work for their campaigns (i.e. - the contact for the shadow group behind the embarrassing contributions is Joel Fox, a captain with the MCSO for Arpaio)?
Something tells me that the AZ GOP's reorganizational meeting after the election will be a contentious one, especially if current state
His election to the state chair's position in 2007 was a close call, and many people were worried about the impact that an extremist state party leader would have in a state that's growing ever more moderate.
Looks like those worries were well-founded.