From the Arizona Republic, written by Parker Leavitt -
Organizers of a political event touted as an "Open Mic Forum" for Republican gubernatorial candidates and held at a public high school closed the session to the media Thursday evening.
The event was sponsored by two East Valley GOP committees and held at Campo Verde High School in Gilbert.
In addition to barring the media, the announcement for the forum also stated that it was open only to Republican PCs and their invited guests.
Even though it was an event held in a public venue (a high school), the public wasn't exactly welcomed with open arms.
From the event's Facebook page (emphasis added) -
We are excited to announce the opportunity for folks to come meet and ask questions of ALL the Republican Arizona Gubernatorial Candidates. Come prepared with questions in this once-in-an-election cycle opportunity! All Precinct Committeemen and their guests are invited.
Tyler Bowyer, organizer of the event, posted a comment in defense of the "no media or general public" policy on another AZ Republic story covering the controversy -
I was the organizer, and we didn't have room for the general public. It was a party event and normally would have been happy to invite the public had we a bigger building. The format was such that media and the general public were not admitted.
Full comment (in case anyone believes that the above was taken out of context):
Further down in the same thread, he also reiterated the "no media or general public" policy -
In contrast, the Arizona Democratic Party held a meeting of its state committee a few days later (today, April 12, 2014).
Public welcome, even though there was a guest on the agenda that is considerably higher profile than any of the GOPer candidates for governor -
Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), the once (and future?) Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives.