Arizona GOP standing on shaky ground - East Valley Tribune: Columnists

Arizona GOP standing on shaky ground

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Retired Mesa master police officer Bill Richardson lives in the East Valley and can be reached at bill.richardson@cox.net.

Posted: Thursday, May 13, 2010 4:51 pm

Maricopa County Attorney Rick Romley is being denied access to the Republican Party’s voter registration list that holds contact information for Republican and independent voters.

Romley, a Republican who was appointed to his old job by the County Board of Supervisors, is preparing to run in the next election to complete the term of ex-county attorney Andy Thomas who quit to run for attorney general again.

Arizona Republican Party Executive Director Brett Mecum said Wednesday he wouldn’t comment on the inner workings of the GOP, but did confirm that Romley is being denied access because he has yet to get the necessary signatures to run for office and because of concerns that Romley has endorsed Democratic candidates in the past.

Given the recent actions of other Republicans, that’s a shaky branch to be sitting on.

Mecum has questioned Romley’s support of Democratic candidates who ran against Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio, a lifelong Democrat until he switched parties to run for sheriff in 1992, and Thomas. Romley supported Dan Saban, who ran against Arpaio in 2008 and who switched parties just like Arpaio.

While Mecum is passing judgment on who is a good Republican, he needs to look at his boss — Party Chairman Randy Pullen — who according to news reports in 1998 gave Democrats Paul Johnson and Harry Mitchell $500 and $100, respectively. He may want to interrogate Tempe Mayor Hugh Hallman, a rising Republican star who according to followthemoney.org contributed $300 to Janet Napolitano’s 1998 attorney general campaign. Then there’s Arpaio, who supported his good buddy Napolitano in her first run for governor. She won the election by 1 percent of the vote over Republican U.S. Congressman Matt Salmon. Where would Arizona be today without six years of Napolitano as governor?

Even Mecum himself was accused in December of using voter registration records to find the address of a woman and, according to court documents, “crash a party at her house.” The incident was reported to the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office, which said the matter was turned over to Thomas “to determine whether or not a crime had been committed.”

Improper taking of personal information from voter registration is a felony.

The Republican Party also allowed J.T. Ready, who received a general court martial, imprisonment and a bad conduct discharge from the military, to become an Arizona State Precinct Committeeman and an alternate National Precinct Committeeman.

While the Republican Party welcomes Ready, it disrespects Romley, whose decades of service to his country is heroic and beyond reproach.

Romley has been a Republican since returning from Vietnam. He served in the Marine Corps and was seriously injured while leading a combat patrol south of Da Nang in 1969. He lost both legs.

After years of rehabilitation, Romley, then a single parent of two boys, finished college and graduated from the ASU law school. He began his legal career as a city prosecutor and then spent 21 years at the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office, 16 as the elected Republican county attorney.

Following his service as a career prosecutor he was asked to serve as a special assistant to the U.S Secretary of Veterans Affairs in the administration of President George W. Bush.

In 2001 Romley was named the National Outstanding Disabled Veteran of the Year by the Disabled American Veterans for his accomplishments and service to his country.

This is who the Arizona Republican Party is wary of? What happened to the party of inclusion and Barry Goldwater?

It’s another sad commentary regarding Arizona politics and this one can’t be blamed on the Democrats.

Retired Mesa master police officer Bill Richardson lives in the East Valley and can be reached at bill.richardson@cox.net

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