Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery apparently either was asked for his endorsement or offered it -- depending on whom you ask -- to Pastor Warren Stewart's District 8 campaign.
We asked Stewart's campaign, and we didn't get a straight answer at first, other than getting informed that Stewart and Montgomery never had a conversation.
Well, today, Mario Diaz, the campaign's consultant, rejected the endorsement. A little later, however, a spokesman for Montgomery called New Times to say there never was a formal endorsement.
"The Warren Stewart campaign appreciates Bill Montgomery's endorsement, but we are not accepting the endorsement," Diaz tells New Times. "We are not accepting it because his philosophy of enforcing the law and his priorities are not parallel with those of Pastor Stewart's."
Diaz said there are better ways to expend county resources other than chasing after taco vendors.
Jerry Cobb, a spokesman for Montgomery, tells New Times there was only "a discussion" about an endorsement and added that it was Stewart's campaign that reached out to them.
John 8:32, anyone?
No matter whom you believe, this is a peculiar situation.
First off, District 8, the one that Pastor Stewart is trying to win, has a 60 percent Latino population.
Secondly, Montgomery pushes for the harshest penalties against immigrants who cross his path -- a stance that almost ensures that they sit in Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio's jails for months or get deported. Read more about Montgomery's un-evenhanded justice in these articles by New Times reporter Stephen Lemons.
And, Stewart sits on the board of Promise Arizona, a nonprofit group that leads marches, prayer vigils, and peaceful protests against the suffering that immigrant families are facing under policies such as Montgomery's. Stewart also sits shoulder to shoulder with people like human-rights and immigrant-rights activists Salvador Reza and Carlos Garcia on the Black/Brown Coalition of Arizona.
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So the air is clear. Sort of.
There still is the matter of a maximum campaign contribution -- $430 -- that Stewart's campaign accepted from Jason Rose, a political consultant for Joe Arpaio, who has built his reputation on terrorizing the Latinos and the immigrant community.
And the proud endorsement of Vernon Parker, former mayor of Paradise Valley, failed candidate in Arizona's Ninth Congressional District, and supporter of state Senate Bill 1070.
"No campaign, in the history of campaigns, has ever relied only on the support of people who agree with the candidate 100 percent of the time," Scott Phelps, former press secretary for Phoenix Mayor Phil Gordon, explains on behalf of the Stewart campaign. "This one is no different. Some of Warren's supporters fundamentally disagree with him on one or more issues, while fundamentally agreeing with him on so many others. That will always be the case. Warren stands where Warren stands, his integrity always in tact."