Posted by AzblueMeanie:
Blog for Arizona told you about the Martha McSally gambit: her campaign was telling voters to vote for Ron Barber in the Special Election to defeat Jesse Kelly so they could vote for her in the August GOP primary.
(Anecdote: The hand-count auditors who audited the Special Election ballots in Pima County last Saturday tell me that there were some write-in votes for Martha McSally. These votes were not counted because McSally was not a qualified write-in candidate, so we will never know how many voters cast their ballot for McSally).
On Monday, POLITICO reported that Ron Barber staffer claims strange encounter with GOP aide - POLITICO.com:
In the waning days of last week’s hard-fought Arizona special election, Democrat Ron Barber’s aides said they received some unsolicited advice from an unexpected source: the campaign of a Republican who covets the House seat Barber will soon be sworn into.
On the Thursday before the election, a top aide to Republican Martha McSally, a retired Air Force officer and a tea party favorite, approached a Barber aide at an event on the University of Arizona’s Tucson campus. That’s when something strange happened, according to the Barber campaign: The McSally aide, spokesman Sam Stone, offered the 22-year-old Barber staffer advice on how to beat Jesse Kelly, the GOP nominee who was running against Barber in the special election.
Stone had plenty of reason to want Barber to win: His boss, McSally, is a candidate for the Southern Arizona seat in the regularly scheduled November election. Had Kelly defeated Barber, it would have all but ended McSally’s hope of winning the seat because she would have had to run against an incumbent Republican. A Kelly loss, on the other hand, would have made her the odds-on favorite to rival Barber in the fall.
Stone offered the Barber staffer his business card, which on the back had the following hand-written suggestions: Focus on social issues during the race’s final days in order to win the support of still-undecided independent and Republican women. Stone also told the Barber aide, according to her written recollection of the conversation, “We really want to see you win,” adding: “To be honest, I still want a job, so really go after those social issues, particularly abortion, with women who haven’t voted yet.”
Stone’s advice, she said, included releasing a mailer on the Monday before the election highlighting Kelly’s conservative positions on life issues.
[B]arber’s campaign provided POLITICO with a copy of Stone’s scribbled-on business card, along with time-stamped copies of emails, which the Barber staffer immediately sent to her superiors, detailing the conversation Stone had with her. The campaign provided the emails but asked that the aide not be named, saying she relayed the encounter to her bosses out of obligation but did not want to become enmeshed in controversy.
Sam Stone, of course, denies everything ("That wasn't me I tell ya, that was my Doppelgänger"):
In a phone interview and follow-up email exchange, Stone denied that he had offered the aide any advice. He said that he only had “a quick friendly chat” with her and that he provided her with his card in case they need to be in contact in the future. Stone denied writing advice on the back of the card.
“I had zero actual data on the Kelly/Barber race. The [National Republican Congressional Committee] and Kelly’s team were certainly not about to share information with a rival, and we didn’t do any polling of our own,” Stone said in an email. “I did speak briefly with one of his staffers. I gave her a card and exchanged pleasantries, asked how they felt they were doing. In the end, the point is this: I had nothing to give them.”
Riiiight. Dylan Smith at the Tucson Sentinel reports on the emails that POLITICO only referenced in its reporting. Barber camp: McSally staffer gave tips on beating Kelly:
Barber's campaign described the conversation as something more.
"We really want to see you win so we can actually have a real election in November because I hate slam campaigns," Stone told the staffer, according to an email account she wrote following the conversation.
"And to be honest I still want a job so really go after those social issues, particularly abortion, with women who haven't voted yet," Stone told the staffer, according to the email, which was provided to TucsonSentinel.com.
The email said the staffer didn't engage in a discussion of the campaign.
"There was some smiling and nodding and 'Yes we really hope to win in the special' from me as well but I didn't say anything more than that or like 'Thanks for helping us slam Kelly! We hope to run against you instead!,'" she wrote.
"He definitely was talking more," the staffer recounted.
* * *
The staffer's email account said that Stone told her Barber should "seriously consider the information on that card."
* * *
McLeod said he has never seen communication between rival parties such as the Democrats allege Stone offered.
"It's like, 'here's how to beat my party's candidate in the general election, so my candidate who lost the primary has a chance to come back,'" he said.
"I was just taken aback," McLeod said. "It's pretty odd" for a staffer to try to give campaign advice across party lines.
Stone declined to comment on why the Democrats would put the story out.
"I don't want to speculate on what their motivations are," he said. "We don't want to see this kind of campaign at all."
Well let me help you out. There is a civil war within the GOP, and this kind of backstabbing conniving makes you a persona non grata among Tea-Publicans, Sam. It only fuels the GOP civil war. Maybe the media villagers will cease with the "Democrats in disarray" meme and switch to the "GOP in disarray" headline instead.