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2018 Scrum

A recent article discussed fear within the Christian community that Christians were losing the culture war and would soon be losing their rights as well. The writer interviewed Jim Phillips, the senior pastor of North Greenwood Baptist Church, to find out why events are moving against Christians with such speed.

“Sadly, Christians have often wimped out and grown silent instead of being bolder for the Gospel,” he said. “Christians get subdued into thinking they’re not supposed to rise up.”

It was easy to be reminded of that quote as we watched virtually the entire Republican field for Governor run for the hills in the debate over SB1062, the religious liberties bill that was advocated for by the Center for Arizona Policy and was supported by 50 out of 53 Republicans in the legislature. Conservative Republicans supported the bill, but so did moderate Republicans like Frank Pratt, TJ Shope, John McComish, Steve Pierce, Bob Robson and Adam Driggs.

Upon passage however, Democratic lawmakers and their allies in the homosexual lobby kicked their public relations machines into high gear and the media happily engaged in a feeding frenzy to declare SB1062 the next SB1070. And why not? SB1070 was great for ratings!

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Arizona State Senator Michele Reagan is one of the most likable people in all of state politics. She has her own style and compelling nature that is refreshingly authentic in an age of political clones. Reagan has been a dynamic and effective representative for her district that covers much of Scottsdale.

And for years it has been known she has wanted to be Arizona’s next Secretary of State. And she would likely do a fine job. Screen-Shot-2013-10-30-at-10_34_40-AM2-78220_641x340

But sometimes in politics things just break against you. And when they do it’s OK to re-evaluate. And it should be the responsibility of a consultant to shoot straight rather than walk a candidate into a wall.

Let’s take stock.

Yesterday, Reagan reported having about $100,000 in cash on hand for her Republican primary run. That’s a new definition of pissing in the wind with the well-funded Wil Cardon facing her for the GOP nomination and Terry Goddard ready after that as one of the more formidable Democrats to ever pursue the post. And this amount very likely defers a good amount of campaign expenses relegating her real total to less than spun.

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So the Arizona Republican Party censured John McCain this past weekend. If they were hoping this would dissuade the senior senator from re-electing it may have had the opposite effect. After all, a man who withstood the Vietcong probably chuckles at the potbellies of rightward lunacy. They remind us that just because one can do something, doesn’t mean it is wise to do so. One Ted Cruz is just enough.McCain, John-012309-18421- 0004

Still, the Censurists do speak to the long-time detachment and disregard many Republicans have for John McCain. He is at once so damn impressive yet also such a petulant ass. The kind of guy that is both a great American symbol for resilience yet also one that would yell at the construction worker he hired for not building a monument to himself fast enough.

Evidence can be found in the numbers. Despite spending some $26 million in the 2010 Republican primary against J.D. Hayworth who raised a fraction of that amount McCain only won the Republican primary by a little more than 20 points. Fast forward to 2012 when Jeff Flake and Wil Cardon spent a relatively similar amount in that U.S. Senate primary but Flake won by 50 plus points.

And this gets us to a key point. The 2012 U.S. Senate race occurred at all because Jon Kyl decided three terms was enough; that others could carry on his good work, in their own way. And Arizona would be just fine. He left at the top of the Republican Senate world, like Bobby Jones atop the golf world some 80 plus years ago. He knew when it was time to leave. He knew there was more to life than title and ego.

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Billy Crystal watching Meg Ryan faking it was one of the most memorable movie scenes in recent memory.

It’s fair to say that’s how engaged Republican primary voters are feeling as they evaluate whether upstart Christine Jones is faking her espoused conservative bona fides or whether she really has the financial resources to become a player in the 2014 Arizona Governor’s race.  jones-governor

Fife Symington clearly had the personal dough to be competitive. He actually became an Arizona Governor. He wasn’t faking it. Buz Mills appeared to have the jack too, before pulling out of the 2010 Governor’s race because of the unique circumstances of SB1070.

Wil Cardon was soundly defeated for the U.S. Senate in 2012 but he too showed a real bank account. If Christine Jones doesn’t have the same depth she is an immediate also ran.

Judging from her very aggressive fundraising efforts we question how much there is really there. The 2013 financial reports due Friday should shed some light. But so too does a refresher course on Buz Mills’ effort.

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Tough on crime and tough on illegal immigration. That’s Andrew Thomas in a nutshell. What’s not to like? As a candidate for Governor, Thomas hopes to appeal to the most conservative voters in a split field and capture the GOP nomination. From there, he would look to ride the Republican voter registration advantage to a brand new office on the 9th Floor, from where he would wage war on corruption in the government and the judiciary. Light your torches!

But each news cycle’s coverage of settlements of lawsuits against Maricopa County related to Thomas’ conduct as County Attorney erodes confidence that Thomas is capable of winning a fight against corruption, not to mention an election.thomas_20100818180053_320_240

Thomas claims to have been hard on the trail of massive corruption within Maricopa County and for the sake of this post we are going to assume that he was sincere and correct. He indicted a lot of people for a lot of things. We can’t say they were guilty of anything though because they were not convicted. Seriously. Ever. Not any of them as near as we can tell. And we’ve really searched the news clippings hard. Was it because Thomas quit as County Attorney in the middle of these prosecutions to run for Attorney General? Or was it because the indictments and investigations were a really bad idea? Or were they simply really badly executed?

Based just on the number and size of the checks Maricopa County is writing to settle lawsuits filed by the “victims” of these acts, we’re going to concede it might be any or all of the above.

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We all remember the sound of Charlie Brown’s teacher, that muffled, mumbling sound no one could much listen to for longer.

That’s the way just about every Republican candidate sounds these days. Ronald Reagan was great. I am a conservative not a moderate. I can recite my poll tested talking points with the best of them, hopefully with more money.

Is this what modern candidates and political consultancy has come to?kemp

As Arizona holds its State GOP Convention this Saturday in Tempe we should ask ourselves is it time for a change?

For nearly thirty years Republicans have been wedded to this model. It’s boring and increasingly ineffectual.

Interestingly, there have been detours. And they have been successful.

George W. Bush developed his own “compassionate conservative” vernacular and won an election he was not expected to in 2000.

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Canals have a rich history in Arizona. Used for transporting water along the desert landscape, canals have been bringing new life to the area for hundreds of years. Now, the Grand Canal has the opportunity to restore this feeling of new life throughout Phoenix and make the canal another reason to enjoy the state’s largest city.

A $10.3 million grant was given to the City of Phoenix from the Department of Transportation to refresh the Grand Canal. This refresh will be an upgrade to the surrounding neighborhoods as well as a potentially powerful tourist attraction for Phoenix. 

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*How poorly was a political campaign run? One can usually tell by how long it takes to get campaign signs down post-election.  One MONTH after four of the six Scottsdale bond proposals failed “YES” signs are still up.  To those who ran the campaign show some respect to those you tried, and failed, to persuade.

*The number of photo radar cameras in Paradise Valley is getting out of control.

*It appears to be a 2-person race in Glendale for Mayor. Incumbent Jerry Weiers has raised about $90,000.  Upstart Mark Burdick a respectable $26,000.

*State Representative Jeff Weninger is the prohibitive favorite to succeed current Chandler Mayor Jay Tibshraeny

*As is the case with their emerging battle nationally, Arizona campaigns for Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio are setting the pace in Arizona with an impressive number of endorsements

*Former Scottsdale City Councilman Bob Littlefield, most recently defeated in a Republican primary for the Arizona House of Representatives, has filed to run for Mayor against Jim Lane.  Littlfield had considered running for the Arizona Corporation Commission and as an independent for another run at the Arizona House.  Lane has already raised over $150,000 for his final and term limited bid for office. 

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The good news is that after heavy revisions to a flawed Ritz-Carlton resort and residences plan introduced earlier this year it’s now in a positive place, and nearing approval.  Anecdotal and polling information all demonstrates overwhelming support for the project.  And there appears to be a solid majority of supporters on the Paradise Valley Town Council two weeks before a scheduled December 17th vote.

The bad news is that Vice Mayor Paul Dembow, who purportedly has higher political aspirations, is showing leadership qualities far short of such ambition.

When he first ran for the Paradise Valley Town Council Dembow ran on a platform vehemently opposed to approval of the Montelucia Resort at Tatum & Lincoln.  He even ran newspaper ads with the universal “no” sign slashed over the hotel’s name.  He lost.  Two years later he won, running on a pro-resort platform.

Subsequently he rightfully voted for a plan to revitalize the old Mountain Shadows Resort property.  The plan is dense, the densest one ever approved in Paradise Valley, and far more intense than that now being proposed for the Ritz.

Yet, despite the public support – including the support of the largest HOA closest to the site -- and substantial tax revenue the project would mean -- Dembow still appears to be uncommitted.  Indeed, the Ritz revenue could offset and mean reductions in tax increases Dembow approved while on council.

Why this convolution?

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By Shikah Dalmia
Senior Analyst at the Reason Foundation

With Congress stuck among the contradictory demands of labor, business and talk-radio restrictionists, neither George W. Bush nor Barack Obama has been able to move the needle on immigration reform. Meanwhile, as the economy gathers steam, states face a tight labor market at all skill levels.

There might be a way forward, if Congress enacts legislation to give states standing waivers or permission to craft their own guest-worker programs. It sounds radical, but several states, red and blue, have already been trying to do this.

California, New Mexico and Kansas have passed resolutions or drafted legislation to issue guest-worker visas to undocumented aliens. Three pending bills in Texas would let state employers hire foreign workers from abroad on temporary work visas. Utah’s conservative legislature overwhelmingly approved legislation in 2011 to let undocumented workers obtain a two-year visa. But Utah’s program has been postponed, because immigration is a federal function and states would need federal waivers. President Obama has stonewalled Utah’s waiver request.

One way to release states from the partisan whims of administrations would be for Congress to erect a statutory architecture under which states could implement their own guest-worker programs. Canada has done this through its highly successful Provincial Nominee Program.

Read entire article here.

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An early morning jog on a neighborhood canal is one of the oldest and most common forms of exercise in Arizona. Imagine if that jog could span from Scottsdale to Tempe to Phoenix. Starting in early 2016, using the canals to get around the city will be a reality.

The Canal Multiuse Path Improvement project, predominately in Scottsdale, is reaching its final stage, a 2-mile portion between Chaparral Road and the Indian Bend Wash. Once this portion is finished, it will complete a 17-mile loop connecting communities around this great state.  This means that those early morning jogs can turn into all day walks to explore the next city over.

The path improvement project began as a means to help travelers with wheels, such as mothers with strollers, use the canal with the new concrete path. A second function for this concrete path is to reduce the dust that is kicked up from those using the canal.

The new path will span 10-feet wide and will have an unpaved portion next to it that will allow runners and horseback riders to still use the canal. The concrete portion will only be on the west side, leaving the east side of the canal unchanged for recreational purposes. This means the best of both worlds for those who consider the canal system an exercise or recreational must.

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The Sanctuary Resort in Paradise Valley is a beautiful property run by respected industry veterans.  Indeed, it’s one of the finest small hotels in Arizona, if not the best.

The one amusing exception seems to be its disregard for Sun Devil fans.  Curiously, bar management shuns ASU football on its televisions for games in Gainesville and the like.  Higher-ups may want to have a chat with staff as come summer time the locals not the Floridians keep the place in business. But we digress . .

The Sanctuary’s class is why ownership and management’s conduct at a recent Paradise Valley Town Council meeting about the proposed Ritz-Carlton resort was a real head scratcher.  Sitting in the back of a packed hearing room, predominantly of supporters, they resembled the kind of people movie theaters have to run ads about before the show, so people can best enjoy the featured presentation.

Snickering, whispering, eye-rolling, their competitive jealousy of the Ritz proposal was disappointing to observe. After all, earlier in the night the General Manager of another Paradise Valley hotel, the Camelback Inn, told Ritz backers he was rooting for them and the good it could do the town.  A recent economic impact report submitted to the town said the Ritz and related development could generate a staggering $5.3 million annually for the town. 

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Last Tuesday, Seattle voters approved of an unprecedented measure that will dramatically overhaul how local candidates running for mayor, city council, and city attorney raise campaign funds.

Under Initiative 122, Seattle became the first city in the United States to try taxpayer-funded “democracy vouchers.” These vouchers work in a relatively straightforward manner. Each registered Seattle voter will receive four $25 vouchers to give to a candidate, or candidates, of their choice. The plan is funded by the city’s real estate taxes as voters authorized a 10-year, $30 million property-tax levy to pay for the vouchers.avote

A candidate can decline to accept vouchers, but if they accept them, they agree to follow certain guidelines. First, the candidate accepting vouchers must take part in at least three public debates. Additionally, the candidate will have to accept lower campaign contributions and to limit campaign spending.

Seattle’s plan could be a new way to approach campaign finance in Arizona following frustrations with the state’s “clean elections” system and its matching funds being struck down by the United States Supreme Court.

During every election cycle, we hear stories of large corporations and wealthy individuals increasingly using their financial resources to dominate Arizona’s political process. Many Arizonans have become complacent with elections, arguing that they feel out of touch with their political candidates. Indeed, Arizona’s 2014 election turnout was anemic.

If a democracy voucher-like plan is adopted in Arizona, democracy could return to the hands of people, and not just the powerful. There is no doubt that democracy vouchers will give every registered Arizona voter more influence over the political process and will give more political voice to Arizonans of modest financial means. The influence of big money may be curbed and the political voices of Arizonans of modest financial means could be amplified.

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It is no secret that the US Department of Veteran’s Affairs has been dealing with a scandal or two. Thanks to whistleblowers like Dr. Katherine Mitchell, the internal issues came to light as well as the shocking knowledge that our veterans are not receiving the proper care they deserve. 50 veterans passed away due to lack of care.

Sen. John McCain has worked tirelessly to improve the Phoenix VA, even to the point where he begged President Barack Obama to come and see the scandalous activity for himself. As a veteran, McCain has made it his mission to clean up the VA and ensure that all veterans receive the care they deserve.Clinton1web_2831249b

Hilary Clinton seems to disagree that the issue at hand is at a scandal level and is more at an uh-oh level. She believes that the whole thing was blown way out of proportion and that it wasn’t as bad as it was made out to be. With the election coming up next year, it is good to know that the lives of veterans are not high on her priority level.

The next question to ask is: How many veterans have to die from lack of proper medical care in order for an issue to be worth her time? 100? 500? 1,000? These are men and women who have risked their lives and lost limbs so that she has the right to say that the scandal was overblown. This must be her way of saying thank you.

Clinton is basing her beliefs on a survey completed by veterans who were actually given care in 2013. The problem with these surveys is that they were given to the veterans who had no issue getting appointments and receiving care.

If she based her beliefs on the survey taken in 2014, she would see that the number declined from an 83 percent satisfaction rating to 55 percent. Also she would see that 70 percent of the VAs nationwide falsified information.

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On October 28th the message below was sent out to businesses in downtown Scottsdale.  There’s probably more than a few alarm bells going off.

After all, what problem would shrinking Scottsdale Road from two lanes to one lane through a vibrant downtown solve?  Are city planners just looking for something to do?  Is there one-lane envy of Mill Avenue in Tempe?

At a time when downtown Scottsdale is bustling with activity we can think of few things to screw it up quicker than this idea.  Maybe the outreach will reveal a compelling vision.  After all, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg once shut cars out of Times Square over a great outcry, only to be rewarded with acknowledgement that the idea might have been good after all once implemented. Scottsdale-Sign-547x198

But where the discussion likely heads are those fearing a new attempt to inject light rail into Scottsdale.  For many years a passionate and influential group of downtown business owners has feared the possibility, and let it be known over their dead bodies.  But two of the ringleaders of that opposition – Mike Fernandez of Pottery Paradise and Tom Silverman of the Chapparal Suites hotel – have sold their properties.  And the Scottsdale City Council now includes at least two passionate advocates for such a system.

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Dierks Bentley’s popular restaurant and bar, Whiskey Row, hopes to join Gilbert’s Heritage District very soon. There are already two other popular locations in the Valley, Scottsdale and Tempe. So why are the residents of Gilbert worried about this establishment?

Noise. That’s right, the residents of Gilbert are worried that Whiskey Row will be too noisy and will not be a good addition to the Heritage District. Gilbert residents are apparently not fans of a good time. They would rather have a quiet boring town than one full of life. Whiskey-Row-01-no-logo1

The Scottsdale and Tempe locations have established reputations for loud music booming from the building into the early hours of the morning as well as attracting party people. Yet this is due to the locations of both buildings.

Old Town Scottsdale as a whole is known as an entertainment district, so the Whiskey Row fits that description. This is the same for Tempe, as that location is known for the college students it attracts.

The Heritage District is known for the family friendly atmosphere and establishments to go along with it. Whiskey Row plans on changing the focus of this location to one that puts the restaurant before the bar. An expanded food menu has already been created for this location and the liquor license purchased is for restaurants specifically.

Apparently the assurances of Riot Hospitality Group, operators of the Scottsdale and Tempe locations, are not enough. Not only have they made clear that they intend to create a family friendly atmosphere, they also intend to follow all city noise ordinances.

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It’s been 33 years since John Rambo took on the world.  It’s been only a week or two since former Phoenix City Councilman Tom Simplot fired the first shots in the 2019 Phoenix Mayor’s race.

Two capable people have made it known they want to replace the term-limited Greg Stanton. Simplot and current Phoenix City Councilman Michael Nowakowski.  Both would be strong candidates and make Phoenix history.  Simplot would be the first openly gay Mayor, Nowakowski the first Latino.

Simplot also serves as the CEO of the Arizona Multihousing Association.  He knows what’s going on in apartment world.

So when Deco Communities and its high-powered lobbyist lost a recent City of Phoenix bid to build a new apartment project on city owned land in downtown Phoenix, Simplot saw an opportunity to sully his potential opponent.

The resulting coverage in the Arizona Republic (click here) reads more like insinuations than a disconcerting investigative report.

Read closely – understand what’s really going on – and it appears there is neither smoke nor fire.  Arizona’s most influential political blogger agrees. (Click here)  

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There are always great stories in any school district.  A wonderful teacher.  An enterprising student.  A feel good sports team.

The Scottsdale Unified School District is no different.

But the problems infecting the one time model of public schooling are a shocking indifference to malaise.  And that’s to put it kindly.

Last year the district again lost some 1,000 students.  Once proud campuses look skeletal.

At the helm presides David Peterson, as he has for years.  He knows how to ask taxpayers for more money.  It’s unclear whether he knows how to do anything else, including reversing losses. 

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My name is Alex Meluskey, and I'm running for the U.S. Senate in Arizona against John McCain because a seat in the U.S. Senate is more than just the comfortable job of one man. Arizona deserves better.

As a husband and father I am running out of a deep calling to stand for our Constitution and our Bill of Rights -- to stand for and revive our military, to stand with our veterans and fix the broken VA system, and to foster strong national security policies to protect the American homeland. These are some of the strong conservative principles that I stand for.

I have fought for conservative values my entire life, as a true champion of tax reform, the FAIRtax State Director in Arizona, and a syndicated talk show radio host.

I know firsthand the struggles of small businesses even during good economic times. My life has been about my family, and instilling those valued conservative principles into mine and Roberta's children.

John McCain has been in Washington for more than 32 years, which has clearly put him out of touch with the citizens of Arizona. John McCain is Hillary Clinton’s favorite republican and the Obama administration’s partner in foreign policy, and as you know, he is running for re-election in 2016.

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MESA, Ariz. (October 22) – Maricopa County Supervisor and Chairman Steve Chucri today announced his first major endorsement, Governor Doug Ducey, in his re-election effort.

"I've known Steve Chucri for many years, and he is exactly the kind of leader we need at Maricopa County – one who has applied private sector principles and a sharp business acumen to solving county problems and increasing the level of service for residents while also protecting taxpayer dollars,” Governor Ducey said. “As chairman of the Board of Supervisors, he has taken a conservative-minded approach to governing and led with integrity and transparency. Given his record of accomplishments during his first term, I'm proud to endorse Supervisor Steve Chucri for a second one and I look forward to continuing to work with him."

Chairman Chucri was elected to his first term in 2012 and has served as chairman since January of 2015.

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By Bob and  Kathy  Littlefield

Dear Friends:

Councilmember Guy Phillips just announced he is running for re-election to the Scottsdale City Council in the 2016 city election. We are supporting Guy and urge all of you to do so also. While we don’t agree with Guy on every issue, he has been a strong and consistent opponent of the parasitic development, supported by the City Council majority, which threatens Scottsdale’s special character and high quality of life. He has also been a fierce opponent of the wasteful spending that plagues our city government. We need to keep Guy’s voice on the Scottsdale City Council.

Unfortunately the special interests will be pulling out all the stops to defeat Guy. No doubt they will try to drown him in a tidal wave of special interest campaign money. So Guy will need lots of help. You can contribute to Guy’s campaign online via PayPal or by a check made out to “Committee to Elect Guy Phillips.” You can mail checks to Guy at 7131 E. Cholla St., Scottsdale, AZ 85254.

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By Sheriff Paul Babeu

Friend,

We’ve been saying it for years … Washington, DC needs a new sheriff in town. There’s cleaning up to do.

It’s time to arrest all the spending and debt created in Washington.

It’s time to arrest the flow of illegal immigration into this country that makes a mockery of the rule of law.

And it’s time to arrest the ambition of professional politicians who toe the establishment party line and only reach across it to grab a campaign contribution from special interests.

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By Scottsdale Councilmember Virginia Korte

PLEASE VOTE YES FOR SCOTTSDALE BONDS!
Since 1989, Scottsdale’s citizens have demonstrated great foresight, fiscal responsibility, and logical long-range planning having passed capital bond projects totaling over $700 million dollars.  Such purposeful investments resulted in the funding of what continues to make our city thrive and our citizens’ quality of life stellar: libraries, parks, senior centers, public safety, transportation needs, a Cactus League baseball stadium, cultural and visual amenities, and so much more.

The financial impact of the 2015 bond’s approval ($95.5 million) will vary from resident to resident; the average value of a home in Scottsdale is $371,000; thus, a successful bond election will cost each household $3.50 per month.  While the

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Arizona Republicans Want To Replace John McCain With A True Conservative! It is Time For John McCain To Retire!

By Restore American Liberty

Conservative Kelli Ward is officially leading John McCain for the first time in the polls! In a recent poll from independent firm Gravis Marketing, Kelli Ward was the choice of 45% of registered Arizona Republican primary voters while John McCain only garnered 36%. Approximately one fifth of voters still remain undecided. This poll is a huge shift from the May numbers that showed Kelli Ward trailing John McCain by 13 points. Momentum is on the side of Kelli Ward!

It is still early in the race and John McCain will soon launch a massive attack campaign. The establishment does not want John McCain to lose! Lobbyists and big money donors are prepared to do anything to attack Kelli Ward. Will you help fight back? Please contribute $25, $50, $100, $250, $500, $1000, or more, to support Kelli Ward with voter contact and advertising! With your help, Kelli Ward can defeat John McCain!

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