Clean Elections shenanigans in LD10

30 Apr 2009 07:04 pm
Posted by: Donna

Tedski’s got a post up today about Rep. Doug Quelland’s little problem with overspending his Clean Election limits in the 2008 election. If it’s proven he committed campaign finance violations, he could be removed from office.

But let’s not forget he wasn’t the only candidate in that district who gave local political junkies cause to cast the fish-eye. Last month Sarah Fenske wrote a hard-hitting investigative piece on Clean Elections excesses and Margarite Dale was not spared:

Strangely, Dale’s campaign also chose to spend a full $10,500 on “polling/research.” Consultants say that’s rare in a legislative campaign; polling is much too expensive when you’re seeking grassroots support.

Even odder: Dale chose to use National Research, a polling firm in New Jersey. Among the few Arizona pols listed on the firm’s Web site as past clients? Jim Weiers himself.

So did a big chunk of Margarite Dale’s funding go to help her supposed “opponents” figure out the lay of the land? It certainly looks that way, and when New Times reached Dale by phone last week, her denials were fairly unconvincing. How did she come to hire the New Jersey firm? Dale couldn’t say. Did she share the data she gathered with her Republican “opponents”? Dale didn’t know.

“I don’t know what the big thing is,” she said. “Everything we paid for with Clean Elections money was exactly within the confines of what we were supposed to be doing. Everything we got, we used for my campaign. I did run a campaign, and I got 3,000 votes. You don’t get 3,000 votes by doing nothing.”

When pressed about her ties to Weiers, Dale grew audibly annoyed. “I thought this was about my experience in the campaign,” she said. “I’m kind of done. Thanks.” Then she hung up.

Dale’s numbers are a little off. She got 2,358 votes, not 3,000. But that was unquestionably enough to make a difference. Jackie Thrasher lost her House seat by a fraction of that — just 553 votes.

$10,500 in polling for a Green candidate in Phoenix, Arizona. Yeah, right.

3 Comments

  1. Comment by Eli_Blake on May 1, 2009 10:37 am

    It’s entirely in character (and it’s been done before) for Republicans to recruit pseudo-liberals to run as Greens in order to siphon votes away from the Democratic candidate.

    The best way to fight it is to research the candidate’s background quickly. Sometimes there are actually some committed Green Party members who nonetheless are on speaking terms with Democrats and don’t want their party hijacked and used as a weapon to elect conservative Republicans. They could do a lot more in raising a stink about it and getting coverage than Democrats (who are presumed by the press to always make this kind of charge about Green Party members whether it’s true or not) ever could.

    A good example, if we got a liberal to change parties and run as a Libertarian mainly in order to attack the Republican as a big spender or some similar attack designed to siphon votes from the right, you know darn well that real Libertarians would be the first ones out there exposing the fraud (which they should be, and that’s one reason why we don’t do that– the other reason being that we tend to have more respect for the system than Republicans do.)

  2. Comment by Donna on May 1, 2009 10:56 am

    That’s the thing, Eli, the real AZ Green Party did cry foul on Dale from the very beginning. Fenske talks about it in the New Times piece and the Republic reported on it. Her connections to Weiers and Quelland were well known but the Dem party didn’t do too much about it and Jackie Thrasher was too gracious. Dale was also doing a bunch of ads on the now-defunct KPHX, which may have been enough to draw some hardcore lefties from LD10 to vote for her.

  3. Comment by GooseGander on May 1, 2009 11:18 am

    Running fake libertarian candidates? What a superb idea!

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