Dems run from Juan Mendez, who quietly admits to plagiarism

PHOENIX — Democratic elected officials and campaign groups are keeping themselves at arm’s length from State Senator Juan Mendez this week after their colleague publicly admitted to plagiarism.

The admission came after two articles on this website revealed that the state senator had plagiarized a 2014 committee speech while in the Arizona House of Representatives and a 2016 candidate questionnaire while running for the Arizona Senate.

The Arizona Republic independently compared Mendez’s questionnaire answers and committee speech to the third-party sources. When the newspaper tried to contact him (repeatedly) for comment, Mendez refused to answer. Other Democrats did the same.

“Mendez did not respond to multiple messages left on his cellphone,” the Arizona Republic reported. “Senate Minority Leader Katie Hobbs, who leads the chamber’s Democratic caucus, declined to comment on the accusations against Mendez. The state Democratic Party also declined to comment.”

Mendez eventually was pressured to respond, which he quietly did on Twitter — but not before putting a figurative asterisk on the apology by claiming that he was “in a rush” at the time.

“Anything I’ve said truly represents my viewpoints,” he wrote. “However, I will put forth a greater effort to put ideas I support into my own words. While I am often in a rush, that is no excuse to not properly cite my sources. I sincerely apologize for my lapse in due diligence & judgement.”

You can view substantiating research for the respective articles here and here.

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Democrat groups abandon Hiral Tipirneni in CD-08

PHOENIX — Groups affiliated with the Democratic Party have largely abandoned Hiral Tipirneni’s uphill congressional bid, the most recent indication that the party no longer believes it can win Arizona’s conservative eighth district.

Tipirneni, long seen as an underdog in the race against Republican former state senator Debbie Lesko, has suffered from several missteps in recent weeks. The Democrat hosted a campaign event in the wrong district in mid-March and, during a subsequent televised candidate debate, dismissed the pay increases benefiting American workers as a result of tax reform.

Tipirneni’s claim that $1,200 bonuses are “not going to cover anything” was widely ridiculed by Republicans, who called the wealthy Democrat out-of-touch and compared the response to House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi’s “crumbs” gaffe from a few months earlier.

Now, the Democratic Party seems to have noticed — and its willingness to entertain such a candidacy appears to have waned.

In recent weeks, groups affiliated with the party “have left [Tipirneni] to fend for herself,” according to a new article in the Arizona Capitol Times. “All the while, there has been nothing but crickets from the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee — or at least from its pockets,” the article continued.

The Democratic Party’s decision to step away from the congressional race echoes comments made by Laurie Roberts, a liberal columnist at the Arizona Republic, who called the state party’s chairwoman “delusional” for trying to convince people of the “pipedream” that Democrats could win.

Tipirneni painted herself as a moderate Democrat throughout the general election but was criticized for her liberal position on immigration — she said that a border wall is “not the answer” — and support for a “universal coverage” health care system.

“How are you going to pay for this?” Lesko asked at a recent debate, referring to Tipirneni’s position on health care. “You can’t just say, you know, ‘Oh, I want to give free things to everybody’ and not have a way to pay for it.’”

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