Chris Simcox's Life Arc Mirrors the Nativist Movement's Demise

Chris Simcox cleans up well. Long ago, he ditched his scraggly redneck look — worn jeans, American-flag baseball cap, unshaven face (sometimes with half a cigar in his mouth), a pistol tucked down the front of his pants — for business attire (or at least a clean, collared shirt).

On a sunny day in April 2009, dressed sharply in a gray suit with a starched, white collar and a gold silk tie, lapel sporting an American-flag pin, there was something boyish about him, despite the mustache, the new glasses, and the fact that he'd turned 48 the previous November.

If you knew nothing about Simcox's past or the reactionary, anti-immigrant minuteman movement he became identified with, you might have found him appealing. Particularly, as he faced a scrum of reporters on the lawn of the Arizona House to announce his bid to run in the Republican primary against U.S. Senator John McCain.

Brian Stauffer
Right-wing power clique: Simcox (second from left), circa 2007, with former Arizona legislator Russell Pearce, Maricopa County Attorney Andrew Thomas, and Sheriff Joe Arpaio.
Right-wing power clique: Simcox (second from left), circa 2007, with former Arizona legislator Russell Pearce, Maricopa County Attorney Andrew Thomas, and Sheriff Joe Arpaio.

"I'm not a politician; that's pretty darn clear, I think," Simcox explained, family and supporters standing behind him. "We're activists, grassroots activists, and we're not at all satisfied with the representation that we have in Washington, D.C., especially our senior senator."

McCain recently had lost the 2008 presidential election to Barack Obama, and the far-right faction of the Arizona GOP was ready to be rid of him as the 2010 election approached. Viewed by GOP extremists as soft on immigration, McCain seemed vulnerable in a state where the immigration issue dominated political discourse.

And who better to take on McCain than the photogenic co-founder of the Minuteman Project — the citizen militia that became a media sensation in 2005 and catapulted Simcox, a former kindergarten teacher and wannabe actor from Los Angeles, to cable news stardom.

Fox News' Sean Hannity and CNN's Lou Dobbs were Simcox fans, and Simcox had garnered powerful allies, such as Arizona state Senator Russell Pearce, Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio, County Attorney Andrew Thomas, and Colorado Congressman Tom Tancredo.

Sure, there had been dissension within the ranks of Simcox's Minuteman Civil Defense Corps, claims of financial hanky-panky, misused funds, and an "Israeli-style" border fence that morphed into a boondoggle. But Simcox, whose enemies call him "the Little Prince," was handing off the MCDC to longtime gal pal Carmen Mercer so he could run for the Senate. And it was clear that "this border-security issue," as he called it, would be front and center in his campaign. It was "the most critical issue that we face here in our state," he declared.

He vowed to "challenge McCain on this issue" and "represent working-class people . . . working Joes . . . who have put our sweat and toil in this country."

Following the speech, with his young, pretty wife, Alena, keeping watch on their two daughters nearby — one a year old, the other 2 — a reporter asked Simcox if he was anti-gay marriage.

"I'm not anti-anything," he replied, looking uncomfortable fielding a non-immigration question. "I am pro-family values and pro-husband-and-wife marriage."

A year later, Simcox's marriage was in shambles, with Alena telling the county Superior Court that Simcox, in a drunken rage, had menaced her with a gun and threatened to kill her, the children, any police who responded, and himself. She later told the Phoenix Police Department that her husband had choked and punched her and had abused her son by another marriage.

Alena was granted an order of protection against him, and she was awarded sole custody of the girls. Simcox already had dropped out of the Republican primary for the Senate in early 2010, throwing his support behind talk-show host, former congressman, and anti-immigrant extremist J.D. Hayworth, who in turn gave Simcox a job as an "adviser."

Once Simcox's alleged threats toward Alena became court record, he was booted from the Hayworth campaign, and his downward spiral continued. At one point, Simcox, crying poverty, sued Alena unsuccessfully for spousal support.

In July 2011, it got so bad that Simcox filed to have his name changed from "Christopher Allen Simcox" to "Christopher Simcox Allen," because, he told the court, "untrue Internet postings . . . impede my ability to be employed."

Simcox later withdrew the petition and seemingly kept his head down for a couple of years until he was arrested in June and accused of molesting two girls under age 10, one of them his own daughter.

Now, Simcox sits non-bondable in a jail run by his erstwhile political colleague, Arpaio. He faces prosecution by a County Attorney's Office headed by Bill Montgomery, a Minuteman supporter who once reportedly went on patrol in the desert with Simcox's group.

If found guilty of the most serious counts, Simcox faces a possible sentence of life in prison and will share the ignominy of other desert vigilantes who have victimized children, including convicted child killer Shawna Forde and late mass-murdering neo-Nazi J.T. Ready.

Whether or not he beats the rap he currently faces — a plea deal is on the table — the arc of Simcox's rise and fall mirrors the wax and wane of the anti-immigration movement he embraced.


At Villa Salerno apartments in late afternoon to early evening, children's voices greet visitors around nearly every corner.

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26 comments
DNichols
DNichols

@Jimigilchrist;

This Great Nation of Immigrants doesn't need Racist Vigilantees Idiots patroling our Borders Period!

This should be the Sole Responsibility of our Government.

No one should be  killed in the Desert by Sick Vigilantee Whacko's. (Example Eloy Arizona.)

Simcox is a Sick Child Molesting Bastard that Molested his own Child Daughter,among other Children.

Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery should be charged with Shielding this Peice of Child Molesting Trash because they are Border Dating/Patrolling Life Buds!

You Idiots and your Racism/Hate have not only Crashed America Economically since January 2008 and the start of the I.C.E. Deportation/Incarceration Programs, You have caused a resurgence of Racism, and Hatred worse than in the 1960's

Why don't you worthless Idiots find a new hobby, just not Child Molesting?!

To: Good, and Brotherhood, not Racism/Hate.

jimgilchrist
jimgilchrist

This article is one of the more credible pieces of propaganda written by a Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) minion.  The author did a reasonably good job putting this story together, and appears to have a higher-than-normal caliber of journalistic instinct and talent.  However, to rely on information from David Holthouse for some sources of his information puts the veracity of the author's writings at risk.  

Holthouse is a pulp-fiction writer who has seldom written anything truthful or factual about me or the Minuteman Project.  He just plagiarizes what other incompetent journalists (propagandists) have written without serious verification of its content.

Other than including references to poorly skilled journalists like Holthouse, this article ranks as one of the seemingly more objective ones about Simcox's unfortunate alleged past, in my opinion.

Insofar as the minuteman movement's presence, it is very much alive and well, but still needs to rid itself of some of the eccentric, counter productive zealots who still remain within its ranks.  While the actions of people like Simcox and Forde have brought negative publicity to the immigration law enforcement advocacy movement in general, it is but a remote cause for the movement's lack of mojo during the past few years.  

Rabid infighting among immigration activists on my side of the debate is the real source of the movement's slowdown.  My organization has even had to successfully sue members of the movement to prevent them from seizing, exploiting and plundering the movement for their own apparent sinister motives.  The consequences of infighting is that it is difficult to garner serious attention and support from politicians and the electorate because what use to be a debate over an "issue" becomes an ongoing rhetorical donnybrook among persons who used to be cooperative allies.  No one wants to go to a party if they think a hockey game is going to break out.

Jim Gilchrist, President and Founder, The MinutemanProject

-a multiethnic immigration law enforcement advocacy group-


lardosardo
lardosardo

Well now OK that makes a lot of sense dude.


www.AnonWorkz.tk

papahutch2000
papahutch2000

Hardy har har har.  I hope someone asks him what he knows about the murder of rancher Rob Krenz.  It had to have been done by some minute man nutso.  Rob was well-armed. They didn't like each other.  Does anyone still care? i DO

DNichols
DNichols

In the photo of the "Bigot League" Arpaio seems to be the smallest Midget of a Bitch in the group?

Looks like he is pissed off at the World for being a short little Bastard?

And the Woman that Half Minute Man Simcox has his hand on appears to be Far older than the Pre-School girls he likes to date?!

Arizona's G.O.P.sure has some "Real Winners" in our Politics.

robert_graham
robert_graham

Now what would you be saying if it were the Mexican flag instead?

mikefrombisbee
mikefrombisbee

Is that Crazy Al Garza on the extreme left (ironic)? The one that split off from Simcox in 2009 to form his own self-styled "patriots" group?

eric.nelson745
eric.nelson745 topcommenter

Hey, I volunteer to stick the needle into that bitch Shawna Forde.

WhoKnows
WhoKnows topcommenter

Why really surprises me (but then again it shouldn't), is that Simcox had ANY support from the GOP and it's "leaders" in AZ.  I actually thought the GOP here was at least smart enough to distance themselves from a guy with a long history of being a real loose cannon and a nutjob.  But then again, they like Pearce and Arpaio.

MaskedMagician1967
MaskedMagician1967 topcommenter

Chris Simcox is disgusting, vile and atrocious.

I hope Simcox is convicted and he rots in hell for his crimes.

And two of the politicians in that photo have been booted from public service thanks to the people. The MCSO shurf needs to fall from grace the same way twice-disgraced, corrupt, narcissistic and mentally sick Pearce did and the way Candy Andy did....

MaskedMagician1967
MaskedMagician1967 topcommenter

Robert, the Italian and Irish flags are similar to the Mexican flag.

You got something to say about Mexicans, Irish and Italians?

WhoKnows
WhoKnows topcommenter

@robert_graham Deport all the folks that claim to be Irish and wear green and wave the Irish Flag on St Patty's Day!  And also deport all the Italians that get awards from Italian groups, like, for example, Joe Arpaio!


Isn't that right Jaffy?

DNichols
DNichols

@Robert Graham:

Is something wrong or illegal with a Mexican Flag?!

Do you have Hate issues with any other Flags of the World?

You are a Bigot.

A Bigot standing up for your "Child Molester " Hero.

mikefrombisbee
mikefrombisbee

@Robert_Grahamcracker He is a chicken-choking shit talker who loves to pose as  a bad ass with his computer keyboard, but who is in reality an abject coward and hypocrite. I offered repeatedly to take him on a tour of the border south of Bisbee but he never responded. 

WhoKnows
WhoKnows topcommenter

@Robert_Grahamcracker So, Jaffy got deported from AZ?  Maybe his buddy the Joker will serve the warrant on him anyway!

mrh0202201091
mrh0202201091

Many irish fought along side mexicans in the mexican american war...againts the United States..take a good look at ex mexican president fox...

MaskedMagician1967
MaskedMagician1967 topcommenter

Truth, I fully believe that if we can find a person who is sane, and we work our asses off to raise money, elevate the person's profile, etc. I think we will have someone who is willing to take on the narcissistic old man and put his ass out to pasture.

mrh0202201091
mrh0202201091

         I have a little irish in me...and proud of it...

MaskedMagician1967
MaskedMagician1967 topcommenter

Eric, I think it's because his profile wasn't elevated enough. Plus we really didn't work to get him known to the community.

As I've been saying, let's find a person who is willing to take on the narcissistic old man and work our asses off. We have 3 years before the narcissistic old man is due for a job renewal. Let's use that time to our advantage.

eric.nelson745
eric.nelson745 topcommenter

@MaskedMagician1967 Well, we surely could have pulled it off if Paul Penzone had stepped up and run against the shurf. Why he didn't is a mystery to me.

eric.nelson745
eric.nelson745 topcommenter

@MaskedMagician1967 Jaffy still has a soft spot for AZ. He still posts his bs. If he has really left the area you'd think he'd latch onto some other demagogue.

MaskedMagician1967
MaskedMagician1967 topcommenter

Mr. Grahamcracker, if I remember correctly little Robert HATES California. He claims the state is too liberal for him.

Are you sure he lives in Fresno? Personally I would think he'd live in a more politically conservative state like Alabama or Mississippi?

 
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