Gary Whalen Is the Second Would-Be Candidate to Withdraw from the Phoenix City Council Race This Year

After going to considerable effort to qualify for the August 30 ballot, a Tea Party candidate in Phoenix City Council's District 1 abruptly pulled out of the race June 15 after New Times reported that he'd pleaded guilty to charges stemming from his arrest in January for assaulting a man police identified as his "ex-boyfriend" and "intimate partner."

Gary Whalen ended his campaign to represent residents living in northwest Phoenix with a brief note to the Phoenix City Clerk on June 15: "I officially withdraw from the Phoenix City Council race. Please ensure that my name does not appear on the ballot. Thank you."

Phoenix election officials say they can't remember a time in recent history that a candidate resigned after qualifying for the ballot. Whalen's campaign collected at least 200 signatures, the minimum required.

Gary Whalen dropped out of the Phoenix City Council race after his January arrest became public.
New Times photo illustration
Gary Whalen dropped out of the Phoenix City Council race after his January arrest became public.

Whalen, 42, was one of three candidates challenging the district's current representative, Councilwoman Thelda Williams. He pledged "conservative leadership," had a blog page on the Greater Phoenix Tea Party Patriots' website, and noted on his own now-defunct website that he was educated at the Legionaries of Christ Seminary in Connecticut.

Local political experts say that Whalen was a legitimate candidate who was expected to give incumbent Councilwoman Williams a run for her money. (Williams had raised about $17,000 as of last December; the next campaign filing's not due 'til the end of this month, so there's no way of knowing how much Whalen had raised.)

According to a Phoenix Police Department report, Whalen came home from a bar sometime after 9 p.m. on January 23, apparently intoxicated, and kicked in his 27-year-old roommate's locked bedroom door, grabbed a piece of broken molding, and whacked repeatedly at his former partner, striking him only once on his "inner left thigh."

The ruckus was apparently so loud that Whalen's neighbor called 911, telling police that he heard "Gary's voice screaming and yelling" at someone in the house and "crashing sounds coming from inside."

When cops arrived at Whalen's house, they found his roommate locked out, standing in front of the home in his underwear.

The roommate, Daevon Turner — who identified himself as Whalen's ex, according to the police report — told police that he was lying in bed when Whalen started pounding on his bedroom door "with such force that it eventually broke." Whalen told him to pack up his belongings and get out. As he tried to get dressed, Whalen picked up a piece of wood from the broken door and started swinging it at him.

Whalen hit his victim hard enough to leave a "swollen bruise" on his "inner left thigh," according to the police report.

Police wrote that Whalen was "extremely rude and uncooperative," smelled of alcohol, and that his speech was slurred. He refused to open the screen door through which he was talking to cops. When they asked him whether he "kicked in a bedroom door or if he had struck . . . [his roommate] with a broken piece of wood," he refused to answer and said only that "the black male . . . was a transient and this situation was over with."

When they asked him why a "man wearing only his underwear was standing in his front yard," Whalen said he didn't know the man and that he "must have got dropped off out front."

Cops tricked Whalen into opening the door, telling him that if he would just give them some clothing for the man standing in front of his home, they would leave and "be done with this call."

Whalen walked away and came back to the door with a blue bathrobe. When he opened the door to hand the officer the robe, the officer grabbed Whalen's wrist and arrested him.

Inside the house, cops found that the bedroom door was busted and confirmed that Turner did live with Whalen, based on mail addressed to him at the home. Whalen's neighbor also told cops that he'd seen Turner at the house and believed he did live there.

(Turner agreed to meet with New Times on Monday, but he didn't show up for the interview.)

Police handcuffed Whalen, took him down to the local police precinct, and booked him into the Fourth Avenue Jail.

"I asked Gary if he understood his Miranda warning, and Gary stared at me," the police officer wrote in his report. "I asked Gary several more times if he understood . . . Gary stared back at me with no expression."

Whalen had signed up to run for the District 1 seat just four days before his arrest. He reached a plea agreement on May 11 that dismissed the charges against him after he completed counseling sessions in a domestic violence diversion program.

An arrest for domestic violence might make it tough for any politician running for office. Make that a domestic violence arrest involving another man and you've got a real political problem. Whalen had aligned himself with the Tea Party and reportedly was expected to get a nod from the group in the August 30 Phoenix election.

While philosophies among individual Tea Party groups vary, it's safe to say that most members have conservative views on social issues such as homosexuality.

"If the reports are accurate and this did happen, neither the domestic violence nor the ex-boyfriend [were] going to ingratiate Mr. Whalen with the social conservatives," Michael Bailey, one of the leaders of the Greater Phoenix Tea Party Patriots, said a day after Whalen pulled out of the race. "You're just not going to carry that crowd."

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10 comments
Herm
Herm

What a douche

Andy
Andy

Nah, no bias here, just reporting. Just for shits and giggles, who was the first?

Going Independent
Going Independent

And who was the first? Headlining a story that" Gary Whalen Is the Second Would-Be Candidate" - and then not saying anywhere who the first was is really bad writing. Sloppy at best.

Marcy
Marcy

Russell Pearce would welcome Whalen back into the Republican fold, getting drunk and beating your wife/girl/boyfriend is part of the Republican conservative philosophy.

Marcy
Marcy

Is he another Tea Bag party member who rants and raves about "illegals"?

Je5terJackson
Je5terJackson

More proof that The Phoenix New Times has bigger journalistic balls that the Arizona Republic. Toothless old nudniks work for the Republic, paper of record my ass!

WhoKnows
WhoKnows

This is yet another story that no media outlet other than the NT has said a word about! Why not?

 
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