I'm waiting for a call back from Andrew Chavez, proprietor of Petition Partners, about a rather odd message on his company's Twitter account, announcing that a recall of Sheriff Joe Arpaio is to commence this Thursday, and claiming that $1.3 million has been committed to the project.
I say it's rather odd, because Randy Parraz, President of Citizens for a Better Arizona, the group responsible for the successful 2011 recall of ex-state Senate President Russell Pearce and the group considered most likely to recall Joe (up until now), seemed genuinely surprised when I phoned him about the Tweet.
"We have not filed anything [regarding a recall of Arpaio] and we have no relationship with Petition Partners," Parraz told me.
Parraz did know who Chavez was, however, as Petition Partners helped gather signatures for him when he ran for the U.S. Senate in 2010 Democratic primary.
Asked if CBA was planning to recall Joe, Parraz was noncommittal, and would only state that, "Of couse we'd like to see [Arpaio] recalled."
But, he added, that's not the same as actually committing to such a campaign, which would require well over 300,000 signatures of qualified electors in Maricopa County.
You might remember that in early 2011, Republican-turned-Independent Gila monster DeeDee Blase had a group that jumped in to recall Pearce, just ahead of Parraz's group.
Blase's effort eventually disintegrated.
Not casting aspersions, mind you. I just would like a little more info before forming an opinion. This is Arizona, after all.
UPDATE 11:01 PM:
Just noticed this post by Mitch M over at his Arizona Politics blog.
MM reports that he spoke with Chavez, and that Chavez told him, "his firm is not handling the paid petition circulating portion of the recall effort, but that he is confident that the petition is to be filed this week."
Huh? But there's more:
Chavez "determined the dollar amount by doing some calculations on what circulators would need to be paid per signature and the expected compensation for the circulating company (which he identified).
And Chavez tells Mitch M. that "he does not know who has committed that amount of money."
Sorry, but my bullshit detector is working overtime now. Why would you Tweet that $1.3 million is committed when you don't know that for certain? None of this makes any sense at this point.
UPDATE 1/30/13 8:35AM:
Chavez emailed me the following this A.M.:
"Sorry about yesterday, afternoon was very busy. Wish you would have simply waited for me to call than to call me out via my company's twitter feed."
Tough cheese, Andrew. Next time, get back to me the same day, especially when your company publicly leaks a rumor about someone else's effort.
Parraz phoned me this morning to tell me that a recall committee named Respect Arizona will file today at Maricopa County Elections. On Thursday, there will be a press conference.
An attorney named William James Fisher will chair the committee, according to Parraz. I called Fisher's law office and left a message for him. I'll let you know if he gets back to me.
Parraz said that his group Citizens for a Better Arizona is all for it.
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"We're excited to see people like William James Fisher come forward to recall Arpaio, and we support the effort," he told me.
Parraz insists that Chavez and Petition Partners have nothing to do with the Arpaio recall.
Confusing? For the moment, yes. But then the recall of Russell Pearce began inauspiciously as well.