Kathy Hoffman’s anti-police rhetoric becomes focus of superintendent debate

PHOENIX — Kathy Hoffman, a Democrat running for state superintendent of public instruction, came under fire several times during Wednesday’s candidate debate for using anti-police rhetoric against her opponent.

Each candidate began the debate by introducing himself and herself. Republican nominee Frank Riggs talked about his career in and out of the education field. He served on the U.S. House Committee on Education and Workforce and chaired a subcommittee on early childhood in the 1990s and discussed his military and law enforcement experience before that.

“I served three years in the United States Army,” Riggs explained. “I served seven years as a police officer. When I was Ms. Hoffman’s age, I was working full-time as a sworn police officer.”

Hoffman, the Democrat, interjected with an eyebrow-raising response.

“What we don’t need as state superintendent is a policeman,” she said.

Riggs, surprised by the disparaging comment, laughed.

“I don’t find his laughing to be appropriate,” Hoffman said. “It’s absolutely condescending to attack me as a teacher and to treat — this kind of condescending giggles is unacceptable.”

The anti-police rhetoric came up again later in the debate after Riggs cited one of Hoffman’s recent tweets implying that school resource officers are racist.

“I strongly disagree with the plan to double funding for school police officers,” Hoffman wrote on Twitter in April. “Why? Discrimination does not stop at the school doors.”

Riggs criticized the Democrat’s tweet and countered that he is “proud of [his] service” as in law enforcement.

“That was a direct slur against law enforcement officers suggesting that somehow a school resource officer would discriminate against minority students,” the Republican said. “As a former law enforcement officer, I know law enforcement officers are colorblind in the way they perform their duties. She really ought to apologize to the law enforcement profession for making that demeaning comment.”

“First of all, no one is colorblind,” Hoffman, the Democrat, responded. “To say that we should be colorblind and that there’s no discrimination in our schools is shocking, in fact, coming from someone, anyone with that type of experience.”

Hoffman has also received widespread criticism for hiring Noah Karvelis — a controversial political activist and self-avowed socialist — as her campaign manager. She attempted to separate herself from the activist in a previous debate. Hoffman used public “Clean Elections” funding to pay Karvelis more than $25,000 for his part-time work on her campaign.


Suspicious out-of-state PAC propping up Christine Marsh in LD28

PHOENIX — A suspicious out-of-state political action committee appears to be quietly influencing the state senate race in Arizona’s 28th legislative district in an effort to prop up Democrat Christine Marsh.

In a little-noticed press release dated July 13, 2018, Marsh mentioned to supporters that she had been endorsed by a group called “Future Now USA.” Just three days later, a PAC called “Future Now Fund – AZ” filed its first campaign finance report with the Arizona Secretary of State.

The campaign finance report is illuminating.

From May 2018 through June 2018, the PAC was quietly raising money from a number of “small donors,” giving it the appearance of a grassroots operation. However, further analysis of the group’s finances reveals that nearly 92 percent of the “small donations” — 225 out of the 245 total contributions — come from individuals who live in New York. The remaining eight percent of contributions come from individuals who live in East Coast states such as New Jersey and Pennsylvania.

In fact, not a single donation comes from Arizona.

The same can be said for the group’s second campaign finance report: All but 12 contributions come from individuals who live in New York. Not a single donation originates in Arizona.

The vast majority of the PAC’s funds come from another out-of-state group called the “Future Now Fund,” which is based in Washington, D.C. The “Future Now Fund” donated $110,000 to the PAC in two increments of $60,000 and $50,000.

It is unclear why the PAC — which collected sums of money from seemingly random people in states like New York — is attempting to influence a faraway state senate race in LD28 or what its East Coast donors are interested in accomplishing here.

The PAC has transferred its funds to six political candidates, but only two of those candidates live in Arizona. (The other four are running for office in New Hampshire.) Christine Marsh is one of those mere two candidates. Her campaign received several thousand dollars from the PAC just three days before she issued the little-noticed press release on July 13 mentioned above.

Why the PAC singled out Marsh for a donation remains a mystery. The group’s next campaign finance report, expected to be filed later this month, will shine more light on its funding sources.

Marsh, who has indicated that she supports the #AbolishICE movement, is running against Republican State Senator Kate Brophy McGee, who currently represents the 28th district.