Friday, September 24, 2010

Schweikert campaign dusting off old tricks and gimmicks

Perhaps feeling the heat from the success of the recent video released by Harry Mitchell's campaign showing a number of Republicans from CD5 publicly expressing support for the Democratic incumbent, the Schweikert campaign has released its own video showing bipartisan supporters for their candidate.

...Well, make that bipartisan "supporter" (singular) because there is only one person in the video.

Anyway, when Mitchell first ran for Congress in 2006, a similar group of Republicans stepped forward to support the Tempe icon, and then-Congressman JD Hayworth responded with a single Democratic supporter, Craig Columbus, the 2002 D nominee in CD5.  Columbus ran a high $ and ugly primary campaign while virtually rolling over in the general election.  He has been characterized by one long-time Democrat in the district (not me - his candidacy was before my time as an active Democrat) as a "Republican in everything but name."

The "Democrat" recruited by the Schweikert campaign is similarly suspect.  His name is Charlie Harrison, a noted gay rights activist and a self-proclaimed "very liberal" Democrat.

After that, however, his political activities and associations become a little murky.

In the 1990s, he was indicted for perjury as a result of his involvement in the infamous AZScam scandal (Phoenix New Times article here).  Maybe not the best person for Schweikert, with questions surrounding his own ethics, to associate with.

He has contributed money to various political candidates and causes over the last decade.  Some of the recipients of his largesse included long-time Latino activist Alfredo Gutierrez during his 2002 run for the D nomination for governor and a 2006 campaign against an anti-LGBT ballot question.  He's also contributed to Republicans Trent Franks, Roberta Voss, and Sue Gerard.  Voss and Gerard I can sort of understand - they're relatively moderate by the standards of the AZGOP.  But Franks?  Trent freakin' Franks???

More recently, he has been involved in a tiff with the U.S. Forest Service over some "recreational residences" in the Tonto National Forest near Carefree (AZ Republic background here; Phoenix New Times coverage here).  Some of his anger with Mitchell may stem from Harrison's inability to persuade any of AZ's delegation to influence the Forest Service to ignore federal law and its own rules regarding the cabins.  Harrison has also lobbied Franks and Senators Jon Kyl and John McCain to no avail on his pet issue.

However, he has targeted his public anger to the sole Democrat that he has contacted, Harry Mitchell, and has uttered nary a peep about the Republicans.

His association with Schweikert is curious, too. 

Schweikert is running as a generic Republican/tea party candidate espousing a platform that is anti-choice, anti-education, anti-social safety net and worse, yet Harrison supports Schweikert while refering to himself as a "liberal."

And he calls on other "liberals" to vote against "liberal" Harry Mitchell.


Two points here -

1.  I am a liberal Democrat and proud of it.  Anybody who has read this blog knows that.  I am also a fan of Harry Mitchell and proud of it.  Anybody who has read this blog also knows that.  But I have to say, Harry Mitchell is no liberal. 

He's a career public servant.  Throughout his career, from his decades of teaching high school in Tempe to his terms in Congress representing CD5, he has focused on representing the best interests of the people he has served.  I may not have always agreed with some of his votes and positions, but have always had absolutely no doubt that he tries to do the right thing.

He isn't a liberal, but he is a decent man.  Instead of attacking Mitchell for that, Republicans (and liberal-on-one-issue folks like Harrison) should support him as an example of something that ALL elected officials should aspire to.

2. David Schweikert may be a decent man at heart (the jury is still out on that.  Vulture investing will do that), but he's no liberal, or even a moderate who would be acceptable because he is a decent public servant (using public office to give a no-bid contract to a friend will do that).

Harrison may proclaim himself to be a "very liberal Democrat" but the inconsistencies in his campaign contributions (Trent freakin' Franks???) and his support for a candidate who will actively work against him and the causes that he supports over a single personal grievance only speak to Harrison's naivete (a description of him from the New Times' piece on his involvement with AZScam).

Personally, I think he is being petty, but since I haven't met Harrison, I'll stick with the description of people who have met him.



kenny said...

I haven't met him either, which is funny, he being a "noted gay activist," and all. Seriously: never. heard. of. him. ever.

cpmaz said...

Not being a part of the LGBT community, I can't speak to the likelihood of every gay person knowing every other gay person (I'm pretty sure it doesn't work that way, though :) ).

However, a quick internet search found articles about his involvement with the late Barry Goldwater's public expressions of support for LGBT issues in the 90s.

Those articles and a couple of the pieces that were linked in the original post referred to Harrison's activities and that he was "notable."

Alicia said...

That video wasn't released by the Schweikert campaign. It was independently made by, who has nothing to do with Schweikert and became famous for her sticky note videos about McCain.

cpmaz said...


Perhaps not (I'm not in a position to say whether or not AngryRightWingHousewife is employed by/associated with Schweikert), but the timing of the release was definitely interesting.

harrymitchellwatch said...

I will confirm Alicia's comment. Judy at did produce and release the video independent and without any knowledge or coordination with the Schweikert campaign. The video was a response to the Mitchell ad touting the support of three RINO Republicans.