Posts Tagged ‘John Shadegg’

7th May
written by Sean Noble








Yes, former South Carolina Governor was kind of a laughing stock after it was revealed that he had disappeared to Argentina for a few days to spend time with his “soul mate.”

And yes, his press conference to explain himself was one of the most painful political moments in history– actually more painful than the infamous Rep. Enid Greene Waldholtz 5-hour press conference of 1995. (Long before the days of YouTube, unfortunately, I couldn’t find video of it.)

But, defying conventional wisdom and the odds, Sanford has been elected to represent the 1st district of South Carolina in a special election.


Sanford was one of the revolutionaries of 1994.  I was lucky enough to have a front row seat to the early days of the Republican Revolution and to watch the likes of John Shadegg, Sam Brownback, Steve Largent, Mark Neumann, Matt Salmon, and Mark Sanford work to implement the mandate that they felt they carried to reform Washington.

They fought Newt when he tried to compromise with Clinton.  They held the line on spending, leading to the one time in 40 years that federal spending actually went down in real dollars (although it was for only one year).  They were the true believers.

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Sometime after Mark Sanford was elected Governor of South Carolina, he graciously accepted an invitation to speak at a conservative conference in Reno, NV.  The conference organizers were awe-struck when he insisted that he travel alone, in coach, and refused a car service.  He flew into Reno by himself (no entourage, no security detail), grabbed a cab, and checked himself into the hotel.  It was quintessentially Mark Sanford – low key, regular guy.

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Congress needs more Mark Sanfords.  Yes, he is flawed.  But few great leaders are not flawed in some way.  They are human.

What I know is that the country will be better off with Mark Sanford back in Congress.



3rd December
written by Sean Noble

The Obama campaign has repeatedly claimed that they view Arizona as an opportunity to “expand the map” for their electoral strategy.

They are smoking crack.

The last time a Democrat Presidential candidate won Arizona was Bill Clinton (with 47% of the vote, to Dole’s 45% of the vote) in 1996 – and that was only because Ross Perot’s 8% showing siphoned off votes that would largely have otherwise gone to Bob Dole.

This New York Times article breathlessly reports how there are many things that point to the possibility of an Obama victory in Arizona: Sen. Russell Pearce being recalled, Daniel Valenzuela being elected to the Phoenix City Council, a Democrat being elected Mayor of Tucson.

Poor Helene Cooper doesn’t realize how absurd her examples look.

Sen. Russell Pearce’s loss in the recall election had nothing to do with Hispanic voters – in fact, Jerry Lewis’s margin of victory demonstrates that Lewis won among Republicans in that race.

Daniel Valenzuela won… wait for it… “an overwhelmingly Latino district.”  It’s like saying that Hispanic support for Democrats is surging because Ed Pastor got re-elected.

And Tucson?  Enough said.

Yes, the Hispanic population has grown by big numbers in the last decade – but it isn’t even at its high point, which was about three years ago.

There is something that is really important to understand when it comes to the Hispanic vote in Arizona.  They just don’t turnout in large enough numbers to sway a statewide race.

To wit: in 2008, Rep. Ed Pastor won in a landslide with 72% of the vote in Congressional District 4.  That 72% consisted of 89,721 votes.

That same year, Democrat candidate Bob Lord only garnered 42% of the vote against Rep. John Shadegg.  That 42% consisted of 115,759 votes.

So you have a losing Democrat in CD3 getting 26,000 more votes than Ed Pastor who wins in a landslide in his majority-Hispanic district.  That is a turnout problem, and it’s not going to be fixed anytime soon – especially by a President who has not delivered the hope and change that he campaigned on in 2008.

However, I hope and pray they spend millions in Arizona in their futile effort.  It means less money will spent in true battleground states.

So, welcome to Arizona!  Maybe your campaign spending will help boost our economy!




20th February
written by Sean Noble

Back in 2004 Dr. Tom Coburn, who had been a member of the revolutionary class of 1994 and then left Congress under a self-imposed term limit pledge, decided to run for the U.S. Senate. In early September I got a call from Congressman John Shadegg saying that my help was needed in Coburn’s Senate race.

A couple days later I flew to Tulsa and then drove to Muskogee, Dr. Coburn’s hometown and where the campaign headquarters was located. For the next eight weeks I lived in the Holiday Inn Express while I worked on the campaign.

The Muskogee Chamber of Commerce recently produced a video to Merle Haggard’s classic “Okie from Muskogee.” It brought back memories of the good ol’ days.

Thanks to Curt Price for passing it along.

12th February
written by Sean Noble

Patrick Kennedy’s announcement that he will not seek reelection in November will be the complete end of the era of Camelot. As the son of the late Senator Edward Kennedy, his departure from Congress will mean that for the first time in five decades that a Kennedy will not serve in either the House or the Senate.

I have my own little personal story about Patrick Kennedy. I was in the conference room of the Resources Committee during a hearing and briefing Congressman John Shadegg on some issue before the committee. We were eating sandwiches when a young guy set down a packaged salad from Cannon carryout and walked away. Shadegg needed some salt for his sandwich and so I figured I could take the salt packet out of the salad of the staffer and gave it to Shadegg.

The young guy walked back to sit down and eat his salad, and I looked up and realized that it was freshman Congressman Patrick Kennedy. Here I thought he was a staffer (he’s barely older than me – so at the time he couldn’t have been older than 26 or 27) and took his salt packet.

I never got to apologize to him for that. So, Mr. Kennedy, I’m sorry, and I owe you a salt packet.

Here is Congressman Kennedy’s video announcement of his retirement.

1st November
written by Sean Noble

There has been a lot of buzz about the NY-23 Congressional special election to fill the vacancy left by John McHugh becoming Secretary of the Army.

Initially, GOP party leaders hand-picked a moderate/liberal State legislator who was pro gay marriage, pro choice, anti-gun, etc. This caused some fervor among rank-and-file Republicans and support for the Conservative (there is a Conservative Party in New York with a ballot line) candidate. A number of national Republicans bucked the Republican National Committee and the National Republican Congressional Committee by endorsing the Conservative over the Republican. Sarah Palin, Tim Pawlenty, Dick Armey and others rejected the Republican. Even Republican members of Congress bucked their leadership. Arizona’s own John Shadegg was an early endorser and contributor to the Conservative candidate Doug Hoffman.

The Republican candidate, Dede Scozzaffa, pulled a shocker and suspended her campaign, leaving Hoffman to go head-to-head with the Democrat.

The Hill wrote a story about Hoffman’s candidacy potentially being a concern to less-than-conservative incumbents who may face primaries from the right in the upcoming election. I was quoted at the end of the story:

“Now is the time for Republicans to realize that returning to our principles of smaller government, lower taxes, traditional values and more freedom is not only the right thing to do, it will pay huge dividends at the ballot box,” added Sean Noble, a GOP consultant in Arizona. “If party leaders had half a brain they’d jump out in front of this mob and call it a parade.”

In a bizarre twist, the Republican candidate who dropped out, turned around and endorsed the Democrat over the Conservative candidate. This creates a big problem for the GOP leadership, who had put tons of money into the race defending her and hitting the Democrat. For those who endorsed Hoffman, it’s sweet vindication that they did the right thing.

23rd September
written by Sean Noble

“The only poll that counts is the one taken on Election Day.”  It’s a line used thousands of times a year, and I’m pretty sure it was first used by the late Stephen Shadegg – campaign extraordinaire and father of Arizona Congressman John Shadegg.

So the latest poll to pop up, showing Goddard wiping the floor against any Republican in next year’s Governor’s race, should be taken with a grain of salt… or better yet, with a salt lick.

Here is the totality of what you need to know about the efficacy of the poll:

“The pollster is known as a Democratic firm, and the survey was automated and done via telephone.” (emphasis added)

So this was an autodial, robo-call?  It is a known fact that Republicans have less tolerance for automated phone calls than Democrats (ok, maybe not a “known fact” but anecdotally, it takes more calls to Republican households than Democrat households to get the same number of respondents on a robo-call survey – trust me, I’ve seen it.)

Given that this was an autodialed robo-call, (which would cost all of about $500 to conduct) I find it a little surprising that Arizona Republic reporter Matt Benson would write on it – and wait until the 11th graph of the story to indicate that it was a robo-call survey. 

I’ll make Matt a deal – I’ll commission a robo-call survey of 600 Arizonan’s and I’ll give him the exclusive to write the story – which I expect to be as long as this one.

You’ve got my number Matt.

30th July
written by Sean Noble









There is a handsome man who works as the Legislative Director for Congressman John Shadegg, Paul Edattel.  But he’s not quite handsome enough.  He just missed the cut as one of Capital Hill’s “50 Most Beautiful” by coming in at 51.

Better luck next year Paul!

1st June
written by Sean Noble

 One of my political heroes is Dr. Tom Coburn, U.S. Senator from Oklahoma.  I got to know Dr. Coburn when he was elected to the U.S. House as part of the 1994 Republican Revolution.  For the next six years he led the charge against wasteful spending, health care reform and transparency in government.  Then, holding to a self-imposed three-term limit, he retired from Congress and went back to the full-time practice of medicine (a family practitioner in Muskogee, OK).

In 2004 he decided to run for the open Senate seat vacated by retiring  Sen. Don Nickles.  I had the distinct privilege of spending the last two months of the 2004 election cycle in Oklahoma helping get Dr. Tom elected to the Senate in what became one of the fiercest Senate races in Oklahoma history.  I used to joke with people in Oklahoma as I traveled around coordinating the campaign that “I don’t know anything about campaigning, but I did stay in a Holiday Inn Express last night!”  It was relevant because I did, in fact, live in a Holiday Inn Express in Muskogee, OK for 62 nights in a row (I spent the last few nights of the campaign in Tulsa).  I had a hard-boiled egg and a cinnamon roll nearly every morning.

My roommate and side-kick during that campaign was communications pro, Mike Steel (no, not that Michael Steele) who is now the Communications Director the U.S. House Republican Leader John Boehner.  We spent an unhealthy amount of time together and I will never hear a Big and Rich tune without rollin’ across Oklahoma in a rented Monte Carlo running the campaign with a cell phone and a blackberry. (It was my work on the Coburn campaign that led to a Washington Post profile of my wife Julie in a story about the toll politics can take on families, and how my wife has earned sainthood for tolerating my work schedule.)

Coburn amassed a great team of people to help him in that race.  The Oklahoma contingent included Mike Schwartz, Curt Price, Jerry Morris, Brian Treat, Greg Treat, Courtney Cox, Jane (now Treat), Martin Updike, John Hart, Tyler Faught, Tim Barr, Patrick Wyrick, Derek Sparks, and others who, embarrassingly, I can’t remember names.  Chairing the victory operation was one of the nicest guys I’ve ever known, Mike Willis, and he had Austin and some others helping him.

The out-of-towners included me, Steel, Jason Miller and also Jon Lerner doing the polling and John Brabender and Rob Aho doing the media. There were a ton of others that came in towards the end, and Congressman John Shadegg spent a lot of time on conference calls assisting with strategy.

All this walk down memory lane came as a result of Dr. Tom’s announcement on Monday that he will run for re-election.  A video of his announcement is here.

All you need to know is in this video produced by the folks at Brabender Cox:

21st April
written by Sean Noble

At 2:54 p.m. EDT on Tuesday, the Arizona Republic posted this story about John Shadegg and his thoughts about the economy and recovery.  Less than 3 ½ hours later, the left-wing website, TPM (Talking Points Memo) posted this.

Not sure what hang-time we’re looking at here. But is Rep. John Shadegg yet another GOP rep. moth to the Rush flame, with this comment today in an interview with the Arizona Republic

Shadegg disagrees with radio commentator Rush Limbaugh, who has said he hopes Obama and his liberal policies fail.

“I sincerely hope he creates the strongest recovery possible,” Shadegg said. “It is petty to worry about who gets the credit when people are losing their jobs and their homes.”

As for Limbaugh, Shadegg said, “I think he is an entertainment personality who is an interesting factor in American politics. I agree with much of what he says on some issues, but not on other issues.”

We do have the always perilous ‘entertainment personality’ description and the suggestion that Rush is “petty”. On the other hand you have to thin gruel walk-back of saying Rush is an “interesting factor” and an expression of agreement on some issues. Really close to the line.

What say you? Do we have another self-criticism session coming?

This is why the Democrats continue to own the debate about most issues lately – they are just that much better than Republicans at the guerrilla-web tactics.  Thankfully, there are some up-and-comers within the Republican ranks – it’s just that 20-somethings tend to be more left-leaning than conservative, and if you are over 30, it’s too late for you.

16th March
written by Sean Noble

In what is the most obvious signal that Congressman John Shadegg will run for re-election, Lisa James has joined Shadegg’s Phoenix office as Deputy Chief of Staff.


Lisa is a long-time political pro, who brings an impressive skill set to round out Shadegg’s staff.  She is very well respected, a hard worker, solidly conservative, and has huge cache with a broad cross section of the business/political world.


In some ways, I have mixed feelings about this development.  I’m a huge fan of Lisa and I want John Shadegg to continue to be a major player in Congress.  What causes me pause is that she is such a great pick.  Having been Shadegg’s top staffer for so long, I think bringing in Lisa will expose my shortcomings.  The Shadegg operation is going to take it to the next level.


Make no mistake, this is a huge development which freezes more than a dozen political careers of people waiting in the wings for Shadegg to exit.  I guess they’ll have to continue to wait.