Tuesday, August 31, 2010

AZGOP using AZ Green Party as patsies

...by doing something that they did in 2008 in a few select districts.  It worked then (costing then-Rep. Jackie Thrasher her seat), so they've expanded it.

From the AZ Republic -
The state Democratic Party is alleging possible voter fraud in what it called a scheme to undermine its candidates by recruiting "sham" Green Party hopefuls.

In a complaint filed late Monday, the party seeks an investigation by federal, state and county law-enforcement officials.

The complaint names Rep. Jim Weiers, R-Phoenix; Steve May, a Republican candidate for the Legislature; and a House Republican staffer as complicit in an effort to register at least a half-dozen people as Green Party members so they could run as write-in candidates in last week's primary election.
Note: Weiers is a candidate in the same district as Thrasher.

The Republicans are denying any wrongdoing, but their disdain for the standards of behavior (aka - "laws") that govern elections seem to have led them to be less than subtle when they went about their machinations.

The Arizona Green Party itself caught on to the scam, as evidenced by this press release listing which candidates that they actually endorse, and which ones that they consider to be "carpetbaggers" -
Claudia Ellquist, AZGP state co-chair, stated, "There are several Green Party candidates that are actively opposed. We strongly advise all registered Arizona voters to not waste their votes on these individuals during the August 24th Primary Election or the November 2nd General Election (assuming they advance)." The offices include: Governor, Secretary of State (write-in), Treasurer (write-in), Corporation Commission (2 write-in candidates), U.S. Congress (CD 5, write-in), State Senate (LD 10, 2 write-in candidates), State Representative (LD 17, write-in), State Senate (LD 17, write-in), State Representative (LD 20, write-in), State Representative (LD 22, write-in), and State Senate (LD 23, write-in).
Some interesting patterns emerged from a little research from a few weeks ago (so it is possible that some of this has changed, though that doesn't seem likely) into the candidacies cited above -

- Ryan Blackman, the faux-Green running as a write-in for CD5, gave the same address as the faux-Green running for LD17 as a write-in, Clint Clement.  Which isn't illegal.  What is interesting, however, when one finds out that Blackman isn't registered to vote anywhere in the state, much less at his listed address.  Clement *is* registered to vote.  He has never done so, however.  In addition, while he filed as a Green Party write-in on July 13, he modified his party enrollment on July 19.

- Thomas Meadows, the faux-Green running as a write-in for State Treasurer, filed on July 15, giving a Tempe P.O. box as his campaign's mailing address and 420 S. Mill Ave. in Tempe as his committee address.  He registered to vote on July 16.

- Theodore Gomez and Benjamin Pearcy, the two faux-Greens running as write-ins for the Arizona Corporation Commission, gave the same combo of mailing/committee addresses as Meadows.  Both registered their candidacies on July 15.  I couldn't find any evidence that Gomez is registered to vote at all (caveat: that's a common sort of name and he could have registered under a nickname like "TJ" or something similar); Pearcy was registered to vote prior to getting involved in this scheme and just updated his partisan affiliation on July 14.

BTW - for those readers who aren't familiar with Tempe, "420 S. Mill Ave." is the location of Starbucks store #11573Umm...Starbucks' locations aren't known for either their office or residential components.  Just sayin'...

Bonus BTW - "4/20" is a popular verbal shorthand is some videos linked later in this post.  It refers to the unofficial "National Pot Smokers Day" of April 20.  "Two birds, one stone" and all that - they can refer to a favorite place and a favorite activity at the same time. 

- Anthony "Grandpa" Goshorn, the faux-Green running for LD17 State Senate, lists the same mailing address, but has a committee address in Scottsdale.  He changed his partisan affiliation on May 17.  That is the earliest change date for those in on this scheme, but he was also one of the first involved.

Originally, he was going to run as a ballot-qualified Green candidate for LD17 State Representative, but his petitions were challenged and he withdrew from the race on June 16.

- The faux-Greens running for LD10 State Senate, Christopher Campbell and Gail Ginger, modified their partisan affiliations on July 15.  According to the AZRep article linked above, Ginger has dropped out the race in favor of Campbell.

- Drew Blischak, the faux-Green running for LD20 State Representative, modified his registration on July 13.

- Michelle Lochmann, the candidate for State Treasurer, modified hers on July 15.

I wasn't able to do similar research on the suspect candidates from outside of Maricopa County, though they exhibited the same pattern in regards to their filing dates, filing their candidacies on July 14 and 15, the last two days that someone could declare a write in candidacy for the August primary election.

In addition to the write-ins, the ballot-qualified Green candidate for Governor, Larry Gist, also looks to be part of the scheme.  While his campaign has almost no cash on hand, it has loads of debt, mostly to ethically-challenged R operative Derrick Lee (info here and here).

Many, but not all, of the suspect candidates, are acquaintances of Republican former legislator Steve May.  For example, his video talk with ACC candidate Pearcy can be found here (but view it soon, before May takes it down).

May's ties to Goshorn are illustrated on this screenshot of his Facebook page -

May has displayed his contempt for the laws of this state and those who enforce them, as shown in this video, where he encourages someone to damage public property (@1:50 in the video) and has given the same person a t-shirt (@ 2:39) that May has designed and sells that says "Welcome to Mill Ave.  Our Cops Suck".

Note: All of May's uploaded videos can be found here on YouTube.  Catch 'em while you can...

It seems that the AZGOP is running on empty this year.  Their positions of "no taxes for the wealthy", "no regulations for large corporations", and "bupkus for everybody else" are unsupportable in Arizona's cratered economy, so they have settled on a campaign plan of demonization (SB1070), distraction (lies and name-calling), and sleaze (this scheme).

They are hoping that the state's voters won't notice that they have nothing positve to offer to Arizona.

More to come...


Thane Eichenauer said...

"There is no vast Green-wing conspiracy here," May said.

He is very right. Schemes like this are likely to continue so long as Arizona continues to utilize the first past the post election system.

The day instant runoff voting or approval voting is implemented behavior like this will disappear.

Richard said...

This is great investigative reporting. Thank you.

As someone who registered as a Green in 2008 (after briefly being a Republican so I could run a joke write-in campaign for Congress) and was a Green Congressional candidate (without party endorsement) in AZ-06, I've known for only about ten days that I could possibly be on the November ballot and am stunned.

What I would like to see is someone ask why the Secretary of State disqualified from the November ballot a 2008 Green write-in candidate who apparently did get at least one vote. See the Arizona Republic:
In Tempe, after David Corl withdrew his petitions to run as a Green Party candidate for a District 17 House seat, William Enzweiler mounted a write-in campaign for the Green nomination.
Enzweiler changed his party registration to Green from Republican on July 24, the same day he filed to run. However, he failed to get enough write-in votes to make the Nov. 4 ballot.

Also, you'd think the Green Party would have at least had its gubernatorial candidate selected before they did the hard work of getting petitions to get 2010 ballot status. They were not savvy in doing this, especially since they'd been burned in 2008, causing electoral mischief that cost one Democrat her legislative seat.

There are several legislative remedies:

Eliminate the provision in ARS 16-645 that allows write-in candidates to win a primary on a "plurality" - in other words, a single vote.

Require that anyone registering to be a primary candidate of a political party to be a member of that party for a specified period of time: a year, preferably. That would not eliminate the problem - people can plan ahead - but it would ameliorate it to some extent.

cpmaz said...

Richard -

I don't know the details of the 2008 DQ specifically, but I do know that Enzweiler was a Republican who changed his registration to Green Party to do exactly what was done this year.

By 2010, he had returned his registration to R and ran for Justice of the Peace in the Kyrene Justice Precinct. In a three-way primary, he came in third.

Back to the DQ, and this is just speculation on my part, but in 2008, the AZGP had a ballot status similar to the Democrats, Republicans, and Libertarians, so the requirement that write in candidates get a certain minimum number of votes to qualify for the ballot may have applied at that point.

When the AZGP lost that status, then regained it provisionally, the lower threshold then applied.

Or it could just be the Republicans playing games.

Richard said...

I've just read the attorney's letter of complaint and am amused to find myself on the list of the write-in Green candidates who were formerly Republicans (although for me, it says the date of my party registration is "Unknown" while the others are all recent [May, June, mostly July] 2010 registrants).

Of course Arizona's Sixth Congressional District is so Republican in registration and orientation that a Green candidate could hardly spoil an election where no Democrat has gotten more than 35% of the vote since it was configured in 2002.

If I am on the November ballot and see any evidence (polls, support from the state Democratic party or DCCC) that the Democratic candidate can beat Rep. Flake, I would withdraw and support her. But that's not going to happen, as is known by anyone who knows anything about politics (which apparently excludes the Arizona Green Party officials who interviewed me and then voted not to endorse me, worried apparently that I wouldn't be "campaigning" in the District or appearing at congressional candidate forums).

In commenting on this story on an out-of-state blog, someone wrote simply, "Arizona = lost cause."

It's also hard for me to discern what exactly is illegal about the activity complained of in the letter. The GINO candidates followed Arizona law.

Richard said...

I don't see how the AZGP status changed. In 2008 it was not a party entitled to "continuous representation" on the ballot any more than it is now. Both times it petitioned onto the general election ballot. To have the same status as the other parties in 2008, its 2006 gubernatorial candidate would have had to get 5% of the vote - and there was no Green candidate for Governor, or anything else, in 2006.

Richard said...

What's really funny about the returns so far in the Green Party Congressional primaries is that there were a lot more write-in votes in Districts 1 (143 votes so far), 7 (107 votes) and 8 (73 votes) where nobody filed - than in Districts 3 (46 votes), 5(36 votes), and 6 (46 votes) - where write-in candidates (including me) filed!

Luisa Evonne Valdez for House of Representatives, LD15 said...

I find it interesting that he while denying his involvement, Steve May continues to incriminate himself and admit affiliation to these faux greens, as seen in my recent conversations with him posted on my blog at http://luisa4greenaz.blogspot.com

cpmaz said...


I know. I cited that conversation in my latest entry, discussing the tendency of the faux-Greens to not even bother to vote for themselves.

Honestly, I'm not surprised that they did this (the whole pirate candidate thing), but that they actually thought that no one would notice.

Lauren said...

D17 Democrats are raising funds to inform voters about May's nefarious character. Please help and consider a donation (no matter how small) at www.actblue.com/page/d17

Lauren Kuby
Chair, D17 Democrats