Tom Steyer ballot proposal crashes and burns in Arizona Senate: “We’ll be stuck with the higher costs … higher taxes”

PHOENIX — The controversial ballot proposal tied to Democratic mega-donor Tom Steyer suffered another defeat this week as Arizona lawmakers moved forward on House Bill 2005.

The Arizona State Senate voted Wednesday to approve the legislation, which seeks to establish specific penalties that can be assessed to public service corporations in response to alleged or actual violations.

A political group tied to Steyer, the Democratic donor, frantically lobbied state legislators in the run up to the vote. The group ran paid advertisements on social media throughout the week and published at least 14 tweets during Wednesday’s debate urging lawmakers to vote “no” on the bill.

The group also advocated a “yes” vote on an amendment proposed by Democratic State Senator Juan Mendez, which would have dramatically increased government-reporting requirements on energy companies involved in the public policy process.

Republican State Senator Sonny Borrelli — who introduced the House Bill 2005 striker last week during a contentious hearing before the Senate Government Committee — slammed Mendez’s proposal as a “hostile amendment” intended to derail the legislative process. Democratic State Senator Martin Quezada claimed, “Yes, it may be hostile,” but said that he would support it.

The “hostile” amendment failed on a 12-15 vote. (Republican State Senator Bob Worsley recused himself from the votes under Rule 30.)

Members of the legislature then debated House Bill 2005 more broadly, often invoking the controversial ballot proposal connected to Steyer.

Republican State Senator Sylvia Allen told lawmakers that the ballot proposal would devastate her district’s economy and reminded her colleagues that the legislature would not be able to tweak the proposal if adopted, even if it resulted in harmful or unexpected consequences, because of the Voter Protection Act.

(Click Here To Watch Sylvia Allen’s Testimony.)

“If we ever get in a situation which we wish we could go back, we won’t,” Allen said. “We’ll be stuck with the higher costs of our utilities. And we’ll be stuck with higher taxes.”

Republican State Senator Steve Smith, who supported the legislation, stated that “whatever language may or may not come up by way of a ballot initiative will directly cause a constitutional conflict” in Arizona.

The Arizona State Senate approved the legislation on a 16-12 vote. It now heads to the Arizona State House.


Steve Farley politicizes tragic death after Uber accident: “We need new leadership”

PHOENIX — Democratic gubernatorial candidate Steve Farley politicized the tragic death that occurred this week after an accident involving a self-driving Uber vehicle, saying that Arizona needs “new leadership” in the Governor’s Office next year.

Farley, a state senator, currently serves in the state legislature. He is running for the Democratic Party’s nomination in the race for governor.

On Monday, Arizona experienced a tragic fatality involving a self-driving vehicle — the country’s first since the technology came onto the market. The vehicle struck and killed a 49-year-old homeless Tempe woman, who will remain unnamed on this website for her friends and family’s privacy, as she crossed the street out of the crosswalk on Mill Avenue.

Farley quickly pinned the blame on his potential general-election opponent, Governor Doug Ducey, citing the governor’s stance on regulatory policy.

“This ‘low regulatory environment’ has now led to a fatality,” Farley wrote on social media. “I have been warning for years — Ducey has a dangerous desire to allow flashy out-of-state corporations to operate without oversight.”

“We need new leadership,” the Democratic candidate wrote in a follow-up tweet, adding the “#AZGOV” hashtag, which refers to the 2018 gubernatorial race.

Others issued less political statements.

The Governor’s Office said that “our hearts go out to the victim involved,” while Dara Khosrowshahi, Uber’s chief executive officer, called the incident “incredibly sad news” and promised Arizonans that the company is “thinking of the victim’s family as we work with local law enforcement to understand what happened.”

David Garcia, Farley’s opponent in the primary race, has faced similar criticism.

The Arizona State University professor was confronted on the radio earlier this month for unnecessarily politicizing a grassroots event organized by teachers.

Farley and Garcia — who have received dueling union endorsements from the American Federation of Teachers and Arizona Education Association, respectively — will face each other on the primary ballot in August 2018.

A version of this article first appeared at The Farley Report.


Kyrsten Sinema quietly unloads another $33,000+ in tainted money

PHOENIX — Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Kyrsten Sinema quietly unloaded more than $33,000 in tainted campaign contributions, marking the second time in one year that she has done so.

Sinema is running for her party’s nomination for the U.S. Senate seat being vacated by Senator Jeff Flake next year.

The incumbent congresswoman’s campaign quietly got rid of $33,800 from a Democratic donor whom the Arizona Republic reports “has come under scrutiny after a male escort died of a drug overdose at his California home last year.”

“The latest problem involves the death of Gemmel Moore, a 26-year-old homeless man whom the Los Angeles Times described as a male escort who overdosed in Buck’s West Hollywood apartment in July,” according to the newspaper. “In August, the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department opened an investigation into the matter after Moore’s mother and friends raised doubts about whether the drug was self-administered …”

Sinema unloaded the $33,800 in two increments. The first disbursement ($18,800) appears in her campaign committee’s most recent filing with the Federal Election Commission, and the second disbursement ($15,000) appears in her leadership PAC’s most recent filing with the agency.

The Democratic candidate came under fire in 2017 for accepting tens of thousands of dollars from individual affiliated with the controversial website Backpage, which was investigated by a U.S. Senate committee regarding the facilitation of sex trafficking.

Sinema was found to be “the biggest individual beneficiary of their donations in Arizona” and subsequently donated the money to charity — but not before one charity returned the money after discovering the original source.

Sinema will face Deedra Abboud — who is under pressure for refusing to correct a “completely untrue” claim promoted by her campaign — in August 2018.


Democrat Deedra Abboud slammed for ‘completely untrue’ blog post, refuses to issue correction

PHOENIX — U.S. Senate candidate Deedra Abboud is refusing to correct a blog post on her campaign website despite being called out by the chairman of the Maricopa County Republican Party for promoting an outright falsehood.

Abboud, an underdog candidate, hopes to fill the U.S. Senate seat being vacated by Senator Jeff Flake next year. She currently is campaigning against Congresswoman Kyrsten Sinema for the Democratic nomination in that race.

Abboud published a tweet over the weekend claiming that the county Republican Party’s website said the Democrat has “terrorist ties.”

“Even with media attention, the Maricopa County Republican Committee’s website still includes an explicit statement that I have terrorist ties while promoting a ‘counter-protest’ at an event in Wickenburg that I will attend on Saturday,” Abboud tweeted.

But the website she referred to — it isn’t affiliated with the county committee.

“Wow,” Christopher Herring, the chairman of the Maricopa County Republican Party, responded. “Completely untrue. No such statements exist on our website. The @MaricopaGOP has no involvement in any ‘counter-protest’ being organized.”

Herring was quick to point out that it wouldn’t have taken Abboud much time to figure that out on her own. One click away from the website’s landing page is a clear disclosure about who runs it.

“The content has not been paid for by the Maricopa County Republican Committee, the Arizona Republican Party, by any candidate, candidate’s committee, or any other political committee,” the website states. (That disclosure has been on the website since at least 2014, according to publicly available archives.)

Abboud later admitted to the mistake after Herring kept up the pressure on social media. The Democrat apologized for “misunderstanding the connection” but contended that her “confusion was reasonable” — and then criticized Republicans for being “more interested in pointing that out [her mistake] than condemning the behavior.”

“Seems like this #AZSEN candidate caught herself in a lie,” Herring tweeted. “Now claiming she didn’t try to make it seem like a private blog was the R party’s website.”

“Time to delete the tweet and post a correction,” he added.

Abboud will compete against Sinema — who is facing criticism for her opposition to the tax reform package and her political ties to the controversial website Backpage — in the primary election in August 2018.

Abboud’s tweet and blog post remain uncorrected at the time of this article’s publication.


Oops! AZ Dem Party’s tone-deaf GIF shows Pennsylvania shooting missile at CD-08

PHOENIX — There’s nothing quite like an accidental nuclear missile to make constituents feel safe.

After Democrat Conor Lamb won the special election in Pennsylvania’s 18th congressional district earlier this week, the Arizona Democratic Party tried to capitalize on the victory by claiming that momentum is in their favor.

The state party sent out several fundraising emails to supporters making the case that, if Lamb can win in Pennsylvania, Democratic congressional candidate Hiral Tipirneni can win in Arizona.

“Last night, a SOLID TRUMP district elected a DEMOCRAT in Pennsylvania’s special election,” one of those emails said. “The next big special is RIGHT HERE in Arizona and we’re going all out to make sure Dr. Hiral Tipirneni is the next Democrat to SHOCK the political world.”

But the GIF embedded in the middle of that email . . . caught recipients’ attention.

What was likely intended as celebratory fireworks moving westward looked a lot like Pennsylvania shooting a missile at Arizona’s eighth congressional district, culminating in explosive sparks and all.

Last week, the Arizona Democratic Party sent out another email begging donors for “a spare room or bed” or even a “top bunk” for out-of-state operatives looking to influence the state’s special election.

Tipirneni — whose prospects of winning have been called a “pipedream” by the Arizona Republic’s liberal columnist — was mocked this week for accidentally holding a “Meet & Greet” event for prospective constituents outside of the congressional district that she’s running to represent.

Tipirneni will face Republican former state senator Debbie Lesko on April 24.


CD-08 Democratic candidate Hiral Tipirneni accidentally holds campaign event in wrong district

PHOENIX — Democratic candidate Hiral Tipirneni held a campaign event Thursday evening to hear what the residents of Arizona’s eighth congressional district are looking for in their next U.S. representative … but she accidentally held the event in the wrong district.

Tipirneni, an underdog candidate running for the open U.S. House seat formerly held by Congressman Trent Franks, advertised a “Meet & Greet” for prospective supporters of her campaign.

“Join the Maricopa County Democratic Party at a Meet and Greet with Dr. Hiral Tipirneni for Congress,” the invitation said. “Let’s talk about important issues facing our country and Congressional District 8.”

The problem? The event — located at 14301 North 87th Street in Scottsdale — wasn’t held the district Tipirneni is running to represent. The “Meet & Greet” took place in Arizona’s sixth congressional district, far away from families eligible to vote for her.

According to screenshots taken by the National Republican Congressional Committee, recipients of the invitation weren’t pleased. “Yes, something in the west valley would be nice,” one Facebook user comment. “Scottsdale is farther than I want to travel,” said another.

“Before trying to impose Nancy Pelosi’s far-left agenda of higher taxes, socialized medicine, and weak borders, maybe Hiral Tipirneni should learn where the district she’s running in is actually located?” suggested Jack Pandol, an NRCC spokesman.

The Republican National Committee also weighed in.

“Hiral Tipirneni is not only out of touch with the values of the voters in the 8th district, she’s not really sure where the district is even located,” RNC spokeswoman Christiana Purves added.

Tipirneni has been an outspoken opponent of President Donald Trump’s immigration policies since securing the Democratic nomination in February, dismissing the idea of a border wall as “not the answer” and recommending that the proposed funds be spent on “clean energy” and “renewable energy sources.”

Laurie Roberts, a liberal columnist for the Arizona Republic, recently called Arizona Democratic Party chair Felecia Rotellini “delusional” for suggesting that Democrats will win the heavily Republican district.

Tipirneni will face Republican former state senator Debbie Lesko in the general election on April 24.


David Garcia quietly fundraises with Alec Baldwin in Beverly Hills

PHOENIX — Democratic gubernatorial candidate David Garcia quietly attended a fundraiser Thursday co-hosted by Hollywood celebrities like Alec Baldwin and Alyssa Milano.

The fundraiser was first reported by the entertainment-business trade magazine Variety. It was attended by two other Democratic candidates, Stacey Abrams and Andrew Gillum, who are running for governor of Georgia and Florida, respectively.

The same trio attended an event in Washington, D.C., last month, where they received an endorsement from People for the American Way, a liberal group with ties to the secretive Democracy Alliance donor club.

Thursday’s fundraiser, which took place at the Beverly Hills home of Heather Thomas and Skip Brittenham, was co-hosted by entertainment figures like Alec Baldwin, Rashida Jones, Norman Lear, Alyssa Milano, and Tracee Ellis Ross, according to the magazine, noting that “Hollywood has given lopsided support to Democrats for decades.”

Thomas, an actress, and Brittenham, a lawyer, have become major donors to Democratic candidates and causes over the years, contributing thousands of dollars to the campaigns of Senator Elizabeth Warren, former Senator Al Franken, and others.

The fundraiser’s co-hosts also are notable supporters of liberal causes. Baldwin is best known these days for his recurring impressions mocking President Donald Trump on Saturday Night Live, while Milano has ramped up her political donations, contributing to the failed campaigns of Democrats like Jon Ossoff and Brianna Westbrook.

Garcia — whose campaign was criticized earlier this month for having “trampled on” a grassroots demonstration organized by teachers — recently lost the endorsement of the American Federation of Teachers to his Democratic primary opponent, State Senator Steve Farley of Tucson.