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28th May
2009
written by Sean Noble

Wow!

The Arizona budget battle is about to go nuclear.   Various news outlets are reporting on a strategy memo prepared by Gov. Brewer confidant Chuck Coughlin at Highground that lays out a $225K campaign to target 18 legislative districts to pressure legislators to support a yet to be released budget from Gov. Brewer.

Team,

Attached is the legislative strategy docs that were handed out and discussed briefly at the meeting. This strategy is based on the launching of a budget next week that the coalition would be able to support. We would like your input on the strategy as well as the targeted legislators who should be part of our outreach efforts. If you have any questions, please let us know.

As we near the end of the fiscal year (June 30) the pressure is ramping up to get a budget done to fix the structural deficit that has become the legacy of former Gov. Janet Napolitano. The rub is that Brewer wants a billion dollar tax hike and the legislature wants to balance the budget without raising taxes.

 

There are two fascinating points.  One, it’s obvious that Gov. Brewer and her team do not expect a serious primary opponent.  (The only other explanation for her to target fellow Republicans is that she is not running for election in 2010, but that is dismissed by nearly everyone in town).  This may change that dynamic.

 

Two, look at the folks who are a part of this pro-Brewer, anti-legislator effort.  The name that jumps out the most is Republican Party Chairman Randy Pullen.  It is stunning that Pullen is participating in a campaign that literally goes after incumbent Republican legislators when we are going into an election year that is critical to maintaining Republican majorities in the House and Senate.

 

How does the party, on one hand, support the effort to criticize and pressure Republican members, while on the other hand claim to be the vehicle for legislators to help them get re-elected?

 

It makes reason stare.

 

My guess is that the legislature is not going to take this laying down.  They will fight back, and the irony is that many of the legislators closest to Pullen are on the target list.

 

Just when you thought it couldn’t get any more strange…

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9 Comments

  1. Dan
    28/05/2009

    I called a contact at a paper and it’s not what it’s being made out to be. There is no budget yet to back. He said the full memo did not make it out to be that the plan was to go after legislators and doesn’t even mention the Governor in it.
    In any case, all parties better be at the table working on something because right now everyone looks incompetent.

  2. Steve
    28/05/2009

    Uh, where does this approach say “anti-legislator?” How is this any different than any other lobbying effort? Legislators act shocked, but if any sort of budget is to be approved, don’t you think that ultimately the legislators would like their constituents to hear about it?

  3. 29/05/2009

    Sean,

    I found out about the “effort” against the legislators (myself included) late this afternoon along with several Republican Senators. Our budget analyst shared it with us, but did not disclose where he got it. I was told that it was NOT Pullen… I guess it doesn’t matter, as I later found out that at least half the press pool had seen the document before I did.

    This begs many questions, some of which you have already covered. But here is a couple more that have us all scratching our heads…

    1. Who sends this kind of sensitive document out via electronic medium with their Lobbying firm’s name on it? Highground folks are far too smart for that “mistake” to happen under their watch. Doesn’t add up.

    2. Where is the quarter million dollars coming from to fund this grandiose strategy against legislators who dare to disagree with the Governor? Who is fundraising for it?

    3. If the document is dated May 26, and Pullen was on the distribution list (as I am told-though I obviously can’t confirm, not being on the list myself), then why in the heck did we NOT get it from him? This is the part I really don’t get. If this is a political committee of some sort doing this (supposedly separate from the Governor), then why in the world would the party chairman not alert Republican legislators the very minute a copy of the attack plan fell into his possession?

    A lot of things don’t add up here. Very strange, indeed. But, you are right in your guess that the legislature will not take this lying down. Bumpy road ahead!

  4. […] other twenty-plus people who also received the email weren’t even mentioned in Noble’s blog post, titled “AZ GOP Gov. Brewer And Team Launch Campaign Against Republican Legislators“. […]

  5. Diogidog
    29/05/2009

    Sean: Here’s the rest of that quote. Why are you so dirty set against AZ Republicans, yourself?

    “The rhetoric here is standard political spin from an experience hand. With the entire Legislature elected every election, when are we ever not “going into an election year that is critical to maintaining Republican majorities in the House and Senate.”? Never. But his language is designed to imply that Pullen’s involvement is made so much more shocking because of its timing. We could note that the campaign targets Republican and Democrat districts, which would make Noble’s portrayal of this effort strictly as anti-Republican as yet another exaggeration, except that to do so is to miss the much larger error. Randy Pullen and the AZ GOP will have no role in this effort, and Noble could have found that out by just making a phone call and asking. That’s what the bloggers over at Gila Courier did as part of their coverage, and its a long distance phone call for them.”

  6. SAMIAM
    29/05/2009

    “… Noble pulls out the long knives to try and take another slice off of his old nemesis, GOP boss Randy Pullen. Two victories as State Party Chairman later, we’re pretty sure that Pullen is over Sean Noble. Noble, and his readers, would be well served if Noble would finally get over Pullen.”

  7. […] on who to attack for this latest development.  Once again, it has become a crapfest with people taking shots at Pullen and others stepping up to defend him.  Hell, it could rain tomorrow and the blogs would be flowing […]

  8. Frank Coz
    29/05/2009

    It’s not worth mentioning the other lobbyists on the memo. They don’t claim loyalty to the GOP. Randy does.

    Randy has already backed Brewer’s plan. This just shows he’s going to help implement it.

    For those keeping score:
    – AZ GOP endorses Brewer tax plan
    – State party E.D. arrested at party office
    – State party E.D. involved in silly fight over a happy hour group.
    – Lewd pictures of state party E.D. posted on Internet
    – State party chairman part of team to pass tax hike
    Coming soon:
    – The Joel Fox file to be released.

  9. John Doe
    01/06/2009

    So let me get this straight. It is perfectly fine to violate a core tenant of the conservative republican platform and advocate for higher taxes, but calling for immigration reform makes you a traitor to the cause and unpatriotic. I gueas Joe Biden was right when he said that it was your patriotic duty to pay taxes. If Brewer and COughlin weren’t so afraid of the education lobby, they would stand up to the government bureaucrats and reduce spending.

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