PHOENIX — Laurie Roberts, the liberal writer known for her columns in the Arizona Republic, called the state Democratic Party’s chairwoman “delusional” Monday because of how much the time and energy the party is spending on Arizona’s eighth congressional district.
Felecia Rotellini, who served as an appointee of former Democratic Governor Janet Napolitano, was elected as the Arizona Democratic Party’s new chairwoman in January 2018. Since then, the state party has sent out several fundraising emails to supporters about its efforts to “flip” control of the seat from Republican to Democrat.
During an interview this weekend with CNN, Rotellini said of the open congressional seat: “I believe, bottom-line, we can win.”
That interview apparently prompted Roberts, whose columns almost always take a hostile position toward the Republican Party, to publish a response to the Democratic Party’s overflowing optimism about a seat widely considered safe in Republican hands.
“It’s official: Arizona’s Democrats have moved to fantasyland,” Roberts wrote. “How else can you explain the party’s top dog predicting that a Democrat will be replacing Trent Franks in Congress?”
She went on to wonder if Rotellini was “either delusional or it’s just a part of the job description that she’s required to promote this pipedream that Democrats can win in Arizona’s 8th Congressional District.”
Rotellini was immediately mocked upon taking the new job as chairwoman after the state Democratic Party bragged that she would “rip all of the [Republican U.S. Senate] candidates to shreds.”
“Just like she ripped [Mark Brnovich] to shreds in 2014, right?” the Arizona Republican Party’s then-spokeswoman replied, referring to Rotellini’s state attorney general race. (Attorney General Brnovich took office in January 2015.)
The general election for the open congressional seat between Republican Debbie Lesko and Democrat Hiral Tipirneni is scheduled for April 24.
Tipirneni gave her first major interview of the general election on Sunday, when she criticized President Donald Trump’s immigration plan by saying, “The idea of a (border) wall is not going to make us safer.” She suggested that the funding for the wall could be better spent on other things, including “clean energy.”