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2018 Scrum

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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Some politicians just want it too badly. They are just too obvious. Everyone who sees what they are doing knows what they are doing. Yet these same politicians seem to have no idea that they aren’t fooling anyone.

Exhibit A for today is Arizona Secretary of State wannabe Michele Reagan.

For years she has wanted to be elected to statewide office, especially Secretary of State. Facing a daunting primary challenge just to retain her State Senate seat, Reagan decided that 2014 was the perfect time to run for it. The only problem is that after more than a decade in the legislature, she really didn’t have much of a record to run on as related to the SOS office, and what record she was known for was left of center on a host of issues.

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In fact, the Republican Primary for Attorney General may be the ugliest race of any election year in Arizona history. And we are basing that solely on how ugly it already is here in 2013. Familiar faces, familiar tactics, hypocrisy by the boatload, and two candidates who are likely to get lost in all of the mud. Oh yes, and a Democrat nominee hoping all of this comes to pass.

The offending group is the ironically named Arizona Public Integrity Alliance. Don’t bother trying to find out who is paying for their work because their donors are secret. Their Vice President and spokesperson is Tyler Montague who, when we last saw him, was working with liberal bomb-thrower and racial demagogue Randy Parraz to recall conservative Republican Russell Pearce and replace him with Jerry Lewis.

Their target is Republican Attorney General Tom Horne. Their tactic is smear. They want you to know that Tom Horne has been accused of having an affair, was accused of giving jobs to “cronies”, was investigated by the FBI, and took campaign contributions from law firms who do business with the AG’s office.

They are spending a lot of money on ads and mailers designed to soften up Horne before the Republican primary and, to avoid campaign finance laws, they are disguising their attacks as issue ads in support of a newfound agenda to pass two reforms to the AG’s office. One of their early ads has already had to be pulled and redone because it was proven factually inaccurate.

What isn’t clear is if they simply hate Horne, they want to elect his Republican challenger Mark Brnovich, or they want to elect the Democrat candidate Felicia Rotellini. Because AZPIA’s donors are secret, we can’t know where their money is coming from. But Montague’s history of working with Democrats to elect more liberal candidates is well established, and the AZPIA’s attacks are basically rehashes of the Democrat Party’s talking points about Horne.

Republicans across Arizona are rightfully worried about Horne losing the general election to Rotellini in 2014. But they are ignoring that Horne has a largely solid record as AG and that Arizona remains a solidly red state. Rotellini and her allies outspent Horne and his allies in 2010 and he won anyway. It is quite probable that a united Republican Party would be able to defend Horne’s office in 2014. But smear campaigns fronted by Republicans and funded by dark money a year before the election promises to muddy both Republican candidates to the point where neither can recover. Then Arizonans will get to see what Chicago style politics really look like with Rotellini in charge.

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In the 2012 legislative session, the Arizona Legislature raised the contribution limits for statewide candidates from $912 per person once during an entire election cycle to $2,000 per person for the primary election and another $2,000 per person for the general election. The usual liberal suspects sued to stop the change, the Legislature and the Secretary of State's office argued that the changes were great, and the first judge agreed the changes were fine. So the liberals appealed and to the surprise of many, the appellate courts overturned the decision and ordered that the old limits needed to be reinstated. Now the whole battle is headed for the Arizona Supreme Court, except not everyone is on the same sides anymore.

Lo and behold the Secretary of State's office has reversed itself and is now arguing that the old status quo should remain to eliminate uncertainty. We’re not sure how uncertain a decision from the Arizona Supreme Court should be. Supreme Courts tend to have the final say on things, but the Secretary of State’s argument seems to have changed from what is right and Constitutional about the higher limits (and conversely what is wrong and un-Constitutional about the lower limits) to now arguing that it would be more convenient to keep the un-Constitutional limits in place. Ah yes, what to do about that pesky First Amendment, eh Mr. Secretary?

Fire up the conspiracy engines though. Because Secretary of State Ken Bennett is running for Governor using Clean Elections, and the establishment favorite is State Treasurer Doug Ducey, who is running by collecting money the old fashioned way. As it is, Ducey is going to raise a boatload of money, far in excess of Bennett¹s $800,000 take from Clean Elections. If Bennett wins at the Supreme Court, Ducey only gets to collect $912 per person. But if Bennett loses, Ducey can raise it $2,000 per person and that boatload becomes ocean liner huge.

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The entire story would take too long to write, but anyone can go online and find the entire history.

For now, all you need to know is that two groups in Arizona gave approximately $15 million to two campaign committees in California during the 2012 elections.  One group, Americans for Responsible Leadership, is led by former Arizona House Speaker Kirk Adams.   The second group, The Center to Protect Patient Rights, is led by Arizona-based political consultant Sean Noble.

The contributions were what is being called ”dark money” because the original source is concealed.  These sorts of contributions are illegal in California, and the California Fair Political Practices Commission investigated these donations and the groups involved.  The result of the nearly year long investigation is a series of financial settlements whereby the groups involved will pay massive fines and the Commission will allow these groups to continue to conceal the original source of their funds.  Americans for Responsible Leadership and The Center to Protect Patient Rights will each pay $500,000 while the two California committees are being asked to pay nearly $15 million in penalties.

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What do Republican primary voters think of House Speaker John Boehner and why might it matter in next year’s CD1 Primary here in Arizona?  Let’s call it “a Speaker thing”.

Activists in the GOP are largely disappointed with Speaker Boehner and his leadership and they are critical of what they see as his lack of conservative resolve.  They don’t trust him to lead his caucus in a conservative direction if that means taking on established interests.  They expect him to be weak and to cave at the end of each legislative battle.

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Governor Doug Ducey is announcing today a reform to have more money from the sale of state land go into K-12 education.  Here is a link to the Republic's coverage.  At a time of a rising Arizona real estate market this appears, on the surface, to be government innovation at its best.

It is both good policy and good politics as it is a way for the conservative Republican to get more money to schools – his soft spot early in his tenure – and do so without raising taxes and the ire of his base.

But as with most reforms there are consequences, and in this case potentially negative ones to the state’s largest industry:  tourism.  That’s because some of the most attractive state land lies along the 101 Freeway, between Scottsdale Road and WestWorld.  And a big chunk of it is used for Waste Management Phoenix Open parking, as well as Barrett-Jackson which saw record crowds last year. 

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We have not been fans to date of an overly aggressive development plan for a Ritz-Carlton resort and community in Paradise Valley. But even we can admit that the story of last week should have been the signs (finally) that the developer is at least starting to get it by dropping the second “H” in its HGH plan for the Scottsdale Road and Indian Bend Road site.

However, thanks to conduct unbecoming by the Paradise Valley Town Council the story of last week is now its derelict decorum not a plan that is improving but still needs fine tuning.

Let’s refresh. town of PV

Most would agree that having a Ritz-Carlton in Paradise Valley would be a good thing.  Voters thought as much in 2008 when they approved of what was then an aggressive entitlement by a wide-margin.

Most would also agree that some of what has been proposed by Five Star Development in 2015 to advance a Ritz on the site is inappropriate.

But that doesn’t mean that the councilors of Arizona’s most enviable town should employ a  smugness, even rudeness,  to those wanting to invest some $250 million into the community.

The Town Council’s first formal review of plans of the latest Ritz plan’s last Thursday was an exercise not in polite rebuke but over the top commentary, save for the tethered toastmastering of Councilmembers Syms and Stanton.

The night was best exemplified by the atypical performance of Councilmember David Sherf, he of usual sobriety on key policy matters.  Instead, he seemed inebriated on a newfound affinity for soundbites, even referring to the Ritz plan as “ludicrous.” 

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Preservation of Scottsdale’s McDowell Mountains is one of the finest accomplishments by any municipality in the nation over the past two decades.

Resident John Nichols was a part of those efforts.  He is to be commended.

His recent effort via an Arizona Republic letter to editor supporting the David Wright House in Arcadia and deriding critics as “NIMBYs” is not to be commended.

You see, Nichols and his friends rightfully insisted that preservation of the McDowells be just that.  In other words, protect the critters, the land and don’t permit commercialization.  He was right then. He is right now.

Recently, the Nichols-like constituency in north Scottsdale rallied to condemn an effort to relocate Greasewood Flat, a revered bar, on PRIVATE property just OUTSIDE the preserve boundary.

Yet, Nichols now has the audacity to suggest that the forest of signs dotting the lawns of Arcadia homeowners not wanting  a pending abuse of Wright House preservation into something more akin to Celebrity Theater is “NIMBYism?!”  Please.  

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The All American Rejects have 38 million hits on YouTube for their video of “Dirty Little Secret.”  The City of Surprise, Arizona may see a few hits of its own, especially directed by taxpayers, if they continue their quixotic request to seize property from the largest property owner in its downtown.  The Arizona Republic reported on the story awhile back.  Here is a link.

But what hasn’t yet been reported is the potential (and very quiet) diversion of funds from a critical road improvement in Surprise to fund the quixotic legal quest.  Call it Surprise’s very own version of “Dirty Little Secret.”

Once upon a time a California town called Mammoth Lakes entertained similar notions.  Its efforts went down in a blaze of glory, costing the community and its taxpayers millions.  A similar fate could await Surprise and its impressive but at times overly aggressive Mayor Sharon Wolcott.  The wise men and women of Surprise should not and need not become All Arizona Rejects if this effort goes off the rails more than it already has.

 

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Scottsdale is an overwhelmingly Republican city.  This tends to make it innovative on business issues, but an awkward actor when it comes to rapidly changing social opinions about gay marriage and other matters of import to the LGBT community.

Of late there has been a concerted effort to encourage Scottsdale to follow the lead of other Arizona cities and provide greater protections to this community.

It should. But not because of the vacuous argument that a failure to do so will harm its significant tourism brand. That’s almost laughable. Scottsdale-Sign-547x198

The City Council should do so because it is entirely in line with the Republican philosophy those on the council apparently believed in to sign up with the Grand Old Prty in the first place.

Why?

Because a greater mantra heard from Republican leaders in recent years revolves around freedom and liberty.  The reasoning goes policies should be put in place to provide individuals with greater opportunity.  Well, what’s a more important opportunity than that to be yourself? How can it be that a party of freedom doesn’t ultimately protect that decision and indeed permits overt or de facto discrimination when made? 

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Imagine this:  A City of Scottsdale employee perhaps not enjoying a request or opinion from a citizen decides to choke them, in public and resulting in a police investigation.

How long do you think City Manager Fritz Behring would keep them around?  The pink slip likely wouldn’t take as much time as the choke.

Yet, if developers asking for special favors in Scottsdale choke those who disagree with them outside of City Hall that’s apparently OK.  At least to some members of the Scottsdale City Council.

This is not a hypothetical.  This actually happened over the last month.

The craziness concluded Tuesday night when four members of the City Council, including Mayor Lane, voted down the choker’s request for the WestWorld area, as they rightfully should have on the merits.

But three did not.  It’s one thing to be pro-business but to put a choke-hold on common sense is a real head scratcher.

Scottsdale has endured some pitched battles over the years on a whole range of issues.  But never has the decorum been as decrepit as this developer’s.

Let’s hope it’s an exception for those who rule in Scottsdale.

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You spoke, and your leaders listened. With the stroke of a pen, Arizona became the latest in a growing list of states to embrace smart ridesharing regulations that support innovation, expand economic opportunity, and put consumer choice and safety first.

We’ve been proud to play a role in strengthening Arizona’s economy while making it easier, safer and more affordable for more people to move around. And we hope you’ll join us in thanking the leaders, including Governor Doug Ducey, who helped make this day possible.

SIGN THE PETITION THANKING AZ LEADERS

Of course, none of this would have been possible without you. Your calls, tweets, and emails made all the difference and prompted elected officials to adopt regulations that work for Arizonans everywhere. Because of you, uberX is here to stay.

We’ll see you on the road.

Uber On,

Team Uber Arizona

 

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We are fans of the Arizona Republic. We also came into being due to their retreat from robust, community-oriented editorial content.  Today, the Arizona Republic’s editorialists awoke from their frequent hibernation on matters local, reminding us how they can be wrong, not Wright.

Essentially, the Republic chastised the Arcadia neighborhood for its substantial opposition to a developer’s plan to commercialize the David Wright House, designed by the famed father for his son. Here is a link to the editorial.

The opposition appears to be based on the not unfounded frustration that what once seemed a noble effort to preserve and restore a house has metastasized into a commercial development ploy that would make even Donald Trump blush.

According to the Phoenix Councilman who represents the area, Sal DiCiccio, the effort to preserve this house now includes an outdoor performance venue, a “wine bar,” weddings and substantial tourist visitation levels.  Just the way Mr. Frank Lloyd designed the house, Wright?  Not exactly. He designed it as a peaceful retreat for his son with no commercial activity, unlike the current owner Zach Rawlings who is using Wright’s renown for an exceptional commercial development parlay.

We do have to give Mr. Rawlings credit for creativity, even if it now means any home of interest in the City of Phoenix can follow his lead for enrichment and disruption.

Maybe the Rawlings’ Austin Powers-like ingenuity is what led to the mancrush in today’s editorial  It was written by a long-time scribe at the Republic well known for being a reliable tributary for Rawlings’ chief lobbyist.

During the love letter we were regaled to Rawlings’ selflessness and ties to the Valley, with neighbors being scolded for describing him as being someone from Las Vegas.  Shame on they the Republic instructed, not realizing itself Rawlings’ has apparently been registered to vote in Nevada since 2007.

While the Republic is misguided at least they are consistent, trespassing on both white-collar neighborhoods like Arcadia, and blue collar ones alike. 

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About a decade ago far north Scottsdale saw Rawhide relocate to the Gila River Indian Community.  The property now houses a Sprouts, strip center and nursing home.

The venerable Scottsdale watering hole Greasewood Flat is set to be replaced this year with houses, as is Pinnacle Peak Patio.

And while its special nature can be questioned The Borgata was certainly an interesting space.  It’s now going to be condominiums.

All of these properties had compelling reasons for evolution but it’s a fair to ask if Scottsdale is the better for it?

Most would say not. So that begs another question.  Should special Scottsdale places receive special treatment to stay as they are?

Yes.  Perhaps. Maybe. We hope so.

For example, if the Coach House and Rusty Spur go away for the non-descript is Scottsdale enriched?  Perhaps financially but not socially, culturally.  That’s why the activists that sought to keep and preserve an old church now city owned on Indian School Road should be applauded.

Republicans, and Scottsdale is a city full of them, typically don’t like “subsidies” where elected officials get to offer goodies for specific companies to come to town.  Well, what about efforts to keep certain ones that help define its personality.

This could take the form of tax breaks, reimbursements, fee waivers and even city marketing assets for certain businesses and properties specifically reviewed and vetted, first by a citizen’s committee then by a council.  

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It would be far more forthright for developer Jerry Ayoub, who wants to build a dense subdivision in Paradise Valley that happens to include a Ritz-Carlton hotel, to level with the good people in town rather than his current silly rhetoric.

It would go like this:  I paid way too much for the large property at Scottsdale and Indian Bend during Arizona’s real estate heights.  I spent too much on lawyers and lawsuits to keep the property.  And now I have to pay whopping interest payments to Bob Parsons for a cash infusion I needed to hold on.  If you want a Ritz in the shortest term I may be able to deliver one.  But you have to bail me out of my quixotic adventure with development rights not tendered in the locale’s history.  Not by a little bit. But by a lot.

We don’t know if this would be successful but it is terribly relevant. Because what Ayoub needs to put on the property to recoup his investment is extraordinary.  Extraordinarly tall, dense and large. town of PV

So do town officials want to violate everything the community stands for just to get a Ritz now?

The citizenry likely won’t after the political con job behind the proposal becomes more well known.  So let’s discuss and revisit.

Ayoub says the 4-story Scottsdale-approved apartment complex at Lincoln and Scottsdale Road is now causing him to go up, in violation of town principles.  Granted, this was approved by Scottsdale not Paradise Valley but Ayoub as an adjoining property owner could have forced a supermajority vote on the matter, likely killing it.  He didn’t by design. For reasons we are hearing now.  Surely it was no coincidence that both projects share the same zoning attorney either.

The Ayoub camp is actually saying another Scottsdale approval, that for a 4-story condominium project on the old Borgata site influences its proposal too.  What?  That’s like half a mile away. 

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Today, Hall of Fame funny man Will Ferrell is creatively making his way around the Cactus League to showcase a great cause.

That he is here at all, able to move so conveniently from one stadium to another, reminds us all of one of the Valley’s most notable achievements.

The economic impact from spring training is staggering.  Just ask most any local business.  It’s like spring break, bachelor parties and Cooperstown all rolled into one. will-ferrell

But that wasn’t always the case.

Some two decades ago Florida’s Grapefruit League was the favored place for the annual birthing of baseball.

But then Scottsdale City Councilman Jim Bruner stepped in, solidifying plans and funding to stop the Cactus League’s bleeding and the migration of more teams east.

Fast forward to November, 2000 when the Bidwill family, now capably led by Michael Bidwill, prevailed in a countywide vote that also included substantial new funds for Valley spring training stadiums.  The inclusion of such funds in a football focused tax was self-serving.  But so what?

We should be grateful to the Bidwills not only for a winning football team of late, or when a Super Bowl is in town, but each spring, for the Cactus League we have today.

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A Philosophy Enshrined In Opposition To Financial, School & Healthcare Choice

Prospective 2016 GOP nominees for President get asked it a lot.  What does your party stand for?  Ronald Reagan Redux.  Freedom.  American exceptionalism.  Liberty.  Those are a few of the familiar refrains.

It’s not quite clear what Hillary Clinton and the Democrats stand for.  But here in Arizona it is this:  continued indentured servitude of their constituencies. state capitol

More school choice to empower parents?  No way.  That would hurt the public school monopoly, teachers union and bloated administrative bureaucracy.  Besides, parents:  You’re too dumb to make such choices.  We know best.

Or how about health care choices?  Nope.  That gets in the way of their goals for universal health care and one size fits all.  Too many people will get snookered if too many choices exist.

And that brings us to something we opined about last week but the justification for responding further reveals itself with each Democratic demagogue since.  Donkey alert.  Payday lending in Arizona is dead.  And that’s a good thing.

And so is financial choice, the heart of HB2611 legislation sponsored by State Representative J.D. Mesnard.  We can’t have it Democrats say because proposed interest rates on unsecured loans are too high, and those who might advantage them will entwine themselves in debt.  In other words you poorer people with few financial opportunities, you’re too dumb to know what you’re getting into.

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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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