As I watched the primary returns on Election Night at the elegant home of state Schools Superintendent Tom Horne's press secretary Amy Rezzonico, some pencil-neck pundit on the flat-screen opined that Bill Montgomery, now county attorney-in-waiting, didn't owe jack to his deep-pockets patron Sheriff Joe Arpaio.
Ffffpt! I nearly lost my Diet Coke through my nose. Doesn't owe Joe? After Arpaio spent hundreds of thousands of dollars to slime Montgomery's opponent in the GOP primary, interim county attorney Rick Romley?
Montgomery owes Arpaio like a bookie owes the mob. And Arpaio's strong arm, Chief Deputy David Hendershott, is the guy who's gonna come collect.
Of course, Chandler Mayor Boyd Dunn deserves at least a nice thank-you card from Montgomery. Dunn eventually left the race and backed Romley, but his name was already on the ballot. So the nearly 12 percent he pulled was 12 percent that wasn't going to Romley.
With the combined help of Arpaio's pricey TV buys and Dunn's imbecilic, short-lived candidacy, Montgomery scored 50 percent against Romley, whom many thought might take the contest on name-recognition alone.
Not bad for a human cipher whom practically no one had heard of before Arpaio backed him.
After the primary on his Sunday Square Off show, Channel 12's Brahm Resnik (no, he's not the dork pundit mentioned above) pressed Montgomery about being Joe's boy.
Resnik mentioned the infamous tape recording made by Maricopa County Supervisor Don Stapley during a closed-door confab with Montgomery. You know, the one where Monty suggests Joe belongs in a nursing home?
Montgomery was also reminded of his statement to Stapley that someone needed to tell Hendershott "no."
Could Monty really tell Hendy nyet, wondered Resnik? Crikey, could he look Sheriff Joe right in the snout and say, "Perdóname, Jose, no can do?"
"Telling people 'no' when it comes to drawing lines [on] my duties and responsibilities, that's really for me a no-brainer," Montgomery assured Resnik.
Funny, I never heard Monty say no to Arpaio's sleazy ads, something along the lines of, "No thanks, Joe, I want to win, or lose, on my own merits."
Nah, Montgomery did his deal with diablo. He's bought and paid for. Like Farmer Brown's heifer gone to market.
The hapless county Dems failed to field a candidate in the race, so Montgomery will two-step to victory in November, unless in a fit of mass psychosis (or clarity, depending on your POV), the voting public goes mad for Libertarian Michael Kielsky.
Between November 2, 2010, and 2012, when he'll be up for re-election, should Monty show an ounce of spine, Arpaio & Co. will have another Stepin Fetchit lined up to replace him.
County Republicans? They mostly march in lockstep with Arpaio these days, as long as he continues to persecute Messcans. Monty knows he has to kiss the boot heels of our decrepit top constable and his chief deputy or retire to private practice. There is no other option.
So let the indictments of county officials begin anew! I feel bad for 'em, but at least Monty's antics will mean job security for one rogue columnist I know.
There was much to delight in, as a writer, from the election returns, and on a personal level as well. Not the least of these was watching former Sith Lord and ex-Maricopa County Attorney Andrew Thomas pull his version of the Edmund Fitzgerald. But more on that in a sec.
The most pleasurable experience, by far, was watching Barry Wong come in dead last in the GOP primary for Corporation Commission.
Wong, a backstabbing hypocrite who, despite being the son of immigrants and apparently a recipient of birthright citizenship (you know, the thing in the 14th Amendment that tuskers want to do away with), suggested that Arizona cut off utilities to anyone here sans docs.
Maybe his fellow Repubs didn't vote for him because they regarded him an "anchor baby." Ah, sweet irony.
Delicious as well were the wins of GOP wanna-be state Treasurer Doug Ducey, CD3 Republican Ben Quayle, and CD8 wingnut dark horse Jesse Kelly.
Kelly turned out Republican establishment fave Jonathan Paton, and even Kelly's own party reckons he'll be clobbered by Democratic Congresswoman Gabby Giffords. Thus, the Dems hold fast to at least one U.S. House seat.
Ducey is a fraud, a guy who's skipped on paying his property taxes, refuses to fully disclose his financial holdings, and whose record as CEO of ice cream behemoth Cold Stone Creamery has been compared by detractors to that of a Ponzi scheme practitioner. Democrat Andrei Cherny will devour him like a pint of Ben & Jerry's.
Obama-bashing, a fresh face, and a marquee name allowed Dan Quayle's boy to eke out a win in a crowded Republican ticket. And I wouldn't be shocked if it carried him to victory in conservative CD3.
But what Democrat Jon Hulburd can count on is this: Anyone who used to slum it with The Dirty's Nik Richie and purportedly pen articles under the Boogie Nights pseudonym "Brock Landers" has other skeletons or Clinton-esque bimbo eruptions on stand-by.
What Hulburd needs is a few choice pics of "Landers" doing a bong hit — or worse — and the race is over. Get those private detectives digging, man!
The most boring stuff occurred in the primaries for U.S. Senate and governor. Don't get me wrong, the Nagasaki-like end of tea party darling J.D. Hayworth's political career was fun, but expected.
The flip side of Hayworth's loss is, we're stuck with John McCain 'til he suffers from cardiac arrest on the Senate floor.
Not that any of the Dems vying to be McCain's foil could have bested the barracuda in the general election. But the donkey-kongs managed to pick the worst possible candidate: silver-spooned scoundrel Rodney Glassman, who promised to pour millions into his run but has come through with only $500K of the family's fortune so far.
Add to that, the fact that Glassman's staffers have been fleeing his campaign as if it were infected with MRSA, and you know the D's bought a lemon. Or the lemon bought them.
Erstwhile New Times scribe John Dougherty was Glassman's superior in every way, which is likely why he scored a respectable 23 percent. Well done for a political newbie.
The governor's race? About as thrilling as a handful of muscle relaxants. Unless Attorney General Terry Goddard receives a personality transplant and starts slashing at Governor Jan Brewer like a serial killer, she'll ride SB 1070 into her first four-year term.
Which brings us to the race to replace Goddard as AG and Andrew Thomas.
Consider this, Thomas had a great gig as Sheriff Joe's own personal attack poodle. Pursuing their political enemies with indictments and RICO suits, harassing county employees, ginning up conspiracy theories against judges. What else could a corrupt county prosecutor ask for?
But hubris got the best of poor Andy, and he did his impersonation of David Hasselhoff's career arc.
As a result, interim County Attorney Rick Romley revealed something we would not have known otherwise: a grand jury rejected Thomas' bid to prosecute county officials on sham charges. Yet, Thomas' minions kept pressing the matter, undeterred.
GOPers at the Horne watch-party mentioned above, and elsewhere, told me they would rather vote for Felecia Rotellini, who eventually earned the Dems' AG nod, than Thomas if he won.
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Fortunately for Sand Land Republicans, state Schools Superintendent Tom Horne pulled out a win after days of a vacillating vote count. Horne is as likable as Thomas is not, though he's just as conservative as Thomas and, as he's proved, knows how to prevail in a knife fight, even when his opponent has Joe Arpaio's endorsement and moolah backing him.
Rotellini, a banking regulator under ex-Governor Janet Napolitano, would have rather run against Thomas, who was and still is under the shadow of an FBI investigation and possible disbarment. Horne, on the other hand, is only marred by a few middling traffic tickets.
Can the Italian upstart take the Canadian-born Horne? I've seen Rotellini attack her rivals with the ferocity of an enraged mastiff. She's no slacker. Horne will use her opposition to SB 1070 against her, but she will battle 'til the last drop of blood. The Dems, in this race at least, could ask for no better.