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5th February
2009
written by Sean Noble

Last week’s budget deal at the Arizona Legislature included a little drama.   Rep. Sam Crump and a few other members decided that they were going to test Speaker Kirk Adams.  This kind of thing is not new.  Just ask Newt Gingrich how often he was tested by any number of the 74 freshmen that comprised the Revolutionary class of 1994.

The difference between what the 1994 Freshmen were pushing and what Crump and his pals were pushing has everything to do with intent.  The motivation of the ’94 crowd was to truly limit the growth of government.  It appears that the motivation of the Crump Clan was to literally wrestle power away from the sitting Speaker.

As a result of the dust-up, Speaker Adams threatened to boot Crump from his Chairmanship of the Government Committee.

Crump will remain as Committee Chairman, but my guess is that there were some conversations about success as a majority coming by working together – not pulling a power play. Actual policy disagreements are fine, but don’t try to take power, unless you have the means to succeed.

In 1997, a small group of Congressional Republicans attempted to stage a coup against Newt Gingrich.  The plan was to give Gingrich the ultimatum that he had to step aside because Dick Armey had the votes to replace him.  The plan went awry when Armey realized that the group wanted Bill Paxon (who was NRCC Chairman) to become the new Speaker.  Armey then went to Newt and foiled the plan.  Paxon lost his post and the rest of the group was marginalized.

The buzz at the State Capital has been that Crump flirted with the idea of getting Democrats to join his clan to try to get himself elected Speaker.  Now, setting aside the insanity of such a plan, becoming the next Randall Gnant is not exactly a political path Crump should emulate.  (Although Gnant was before Crump’s time, so he can be excused for not knowing that saga).   I’m doubtful Crump would entertain such a suicidal move – he’s fairly young and smart, so there is no sense in ending it all this early in his career.

The bottom line is that some eager freshmen got caught up in the moment with someone slightly senior to them, and they are lucky to have come out of it in one piece. In fact, Crump showed class by saying he didn’t want to be “a problem child.”  

It also shows that Adam’s style of leadership can, in the end, unify the caucus and enable the legislature to advance a principled, conservative agenda.  And that is very different than what Gingrich was able to accomplish.

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3 Comments

  1. AzRep
    05/02/2009

    Crump and his people couldn’t care less about the state Republican party, they care about themselves and have used a single issue to divide the party and propel themselves to a temporary position of (admittedly extremely limited) power. By failing to cut them off at the knees yesterday, Adams has sewn the seeds of his own downfall. The analogy to Gingrich is instructive. Gingrich scapegoated Paxon and let everyone else involved off lightly. This was duly noted by other young turks and less than a year later, our own Matt Salmon took Gingrich down. By letting Crump get away with no real consequences, Adams has given the inmates the key to the asylum and the young man will now learn a valuable but painful lesson.

  2. Money wasted on fancy food for lobbying by Science Foundation Arizona:

    105990 SCIENCE FOUNDATION AZ

    Expenditure Detail:
    1 Food or beverages 2/2/2008 121.12
    Beneficiary:
    102237 CLARK, DOUG

    On Behalf of:
    105990 SCIENCE FOUNDATION AZ

    Expenditure Detail:
    1 Food or beverages 2/2/2008 121.12
    Beneficiary:
    102235 ADAMS, KIRK

    On Behalf of:
    105990 SCIENCE FOUNDATION AZ

    Expenditure Detail:
    1 Food or beverages 2/2/2008 121.12
    Beneficiary:
    102168 CRANDALL, RICH

    On Behalf of:
    105990 SCIENCE FOUNDATION AZ

    Expenditure Detail:
    1 Food or beverages 2/2/2008 121.12
    Beneficiary:
    101113 REAGAN, MICHELE

    On Behalf of:
    105990 SCIENCE FOUNDATION AZ

    Expenditure Detail:
    1 Food or beverages 2/2/2008 121.12
    Beneficiary:
    101131 ALLEN, CAROLYN

  3. LD 6 PC
    24/02/2009

    Thank you Senator Harper for shining some daylight.

    What a slanted article! Actually, what happened is Rep. Crump read the contract. Crump concluded the legislature was completely within its rights to reclaim $22.5 Million of the taxpayers money. The Arizona Federation of Taxpayers (AFP-Arizona) is quick to thank Rep. Crump and all the legislators who stood with him. The Legislative District 6 Republican Committee unanimously commends Rep. Sam Crump and Rep. Carl Seel for their actions advocating for all Arizona taxpayers in cleaning out the 21st Century Fund.

    And Sean Noble wants to turn all that positive Republican news into an unwarranted hit-piece on Rep. Crump? Armey, Paxon, Gingrich? I thought we were talking about Rep. Crump and the $22.5 Million he saved Arizona taxpayers?! Crump did not set out for a power play against Speaker Adams–that was all Adams’ idea. And Adams was very quick to reverse himself. “Noble Thinking” would do well to take a page out of Adams’ playbook and do the same.

    Thank you Rep. Crump and all Arizona legislators who stood with you. And by the way, that does not include the very misinformed Sen. Gorman who arrived at a different conclusion regarding the terms of the contract than did Attorney, Rep. Sam Crump. Um…I think I will go with the legal opinion of Attorney Crump on that one. Thanks mucho anyway, Sen. Gorman.

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