GOP moves to punish Woods for endorsing Dem in AG's race - East Valley Tribune: Politics

GOP moves to punish Woods for endorsing Dem in AG's race

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Posted: Thursday, October 7, 2010 6:37 am | Updated: 5:31 pm, Thu Oct 7, 2010.

Maricopa County Republicans are moving to politically neuter a former state elected official.

The party's Executive Guidance Committee is set to vote Thursday to rescind the internal party voting privileges of Grant Woods. He got those privileges by being elected by his neighbors as a GOP precinct committeeman.

Woods' offense is that he is publicly endorsing Democrat Felecia Rotellini for attorney general over Republican contender Tom Horne. Woods, who was state attorney general for eight years, said he believes Rotellini is far more qualified to run the state's largest law firm.

But Rob Haney, who chairs the Maricopa County Republican Committee, said that is political heresy coming from a precinct committeeman. So he is invoking a rule which automatically revokes voting privileges for committee members who do not toe the party line.

Woods was unapologetic for his action and said the rule makes no sense.

"According to you, if there were a hypothetical race between Thomas Jefferson, Democrat, and Lindsay Lohan, Republican, I could not endorse Jefferson over Lohan,'' he wrote to Haney.

Haney said Woods can endorse whoever he wants -- but not as a member of the party committee.

"If you feel that the candidate is not worthy and you want to speak against it, then you should resign your position as a Republican precinct committeeman,'' he said.

Woods, however, said he will be staying on, even if he doesn't get to vote. But he didn't seem terribly disturbed by that.

"I am disappointed that I won't be able to vote on your important resolutions on 'issues' such as secession from the union and the never-ending pursuit of the president's birth certificate, but I will get over it,'' Woods responded to Haney.

As it turns out, Woods is part of the reason the rule exists at all. Haney said it was enacted after 11 Republicans -- including Woods -- endorsed Democrat Janet Napolitano in her successful bid for a second term in 2006 against Republican Len Munsil.

This year, though, Woods is back in the fold, at least in the gubernatorial race, backing incumbent Jan Brewer and is co-chair of her campaign against Democrat Terry Goddard.

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