Sylvia Allen, Professional Fuitcake, Faces Sane GOPer-Turned-Indie Tom O'Halleran in LD6
So how does a crazy lady like Sylvia Allen become a member of the Arizona Legislature?
Some dude has to fall off a horse. Literally.
Back in 2008, it was state Senator Jake Flake, uncle of now-U.S. Senator Jeff Flake and former Speaker of the state House, who got bucked from his horse, breaking eight of his ribs and landing him in the hospital.
Rightwing wackadoodle Sylvia Allen back in the Legislature? Laissez les bons temps rouler!
Though he was expected to recover, a couple of weeks later, he died of a heart attack at the age of 72.
Allen, a real-estate agent and then-head of the Navajo County GOP, reaped the reward.
Flake was running for re-election unopposed in the Republican primary. Allen was appointed to replace Flake, both as a candidate and officeholder, and she went on to best the Democrat in the general election with about 54 percent of the vote.
During her time as a state Senator, Allen let her freak flag fly, earning widespread ridicule both for herself and the Grand Canyon State with a string of stupidities perhaps unparalleled in the annals of modern Arizona history.
Recently, Twitter titan Robbie Sherwood, pitchman for Progress Now Arizona, authored a top ten list (which easily could have been a top 20) giving us a hilarious stroll down bad memory lane, recounting such timeless Allen classics as publicly declaring that the Earth is only 6,000 years old to insisting that so-called "chemtrails" are poison to advocating wingnutty conspiracy theories such as the one about the U.N.'s "Agenda 21" usurping U.S. sovereignty.
While chair of the state Senate Border Security, Federalism and State's Sovereignty Committee (you know, the crazy committee), she allowed Mexican-hating anti-Semite Glenn Spencer to give "expert" testimony about sealing the border with technology he just happened to be pimping. This, over the vociferous objections of the state's Jewish community.
Additionally, she argued for uranium mining near the Grand Canyon, and for a nuclear waste dump in Arizona. One of her pet projects was funding a state-sponsored militia of armed sandbillies on the Arizona border (as opposed to the Arizona National Guard).
Of course, she follows the Teabagger line on all other issues, like opposing Medicaid expansion, and fighting carbon emission standards set by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, because there's no such thing as global warming, natch.
Following redistricting, with her polls in the gutter, Allen decided to stand for Navajo County Supervisor, instead of re-election to her Senate seat. Republican State Representative Chester Crandell ran instead for that spot, handily beating Democrat Tom Chabin in the 2012 general.
But like Nietzsche's eternal return or Yogi Berra's deja vu all over again, Crandell, like Flake before him, had a date with a horse that didn't work out.
Crandell was found dead on his ranch this August 4 after, as ABC 15 reported, "he failed to return from a ride on a young colt he was training."
Granted, Crandell was pretty nuts, too, though he didn't garner the headlines that Allen did.
Anyway, on August 30, the Republican precinct committeemen of LD 6 unanimously chose Allen to replace Crandell on the general election ballot. (Crandell had been unopposed in the primary, you see.)
Thus, making it at least the second time I know of that Arizonans picked a horse's ass to replace a legislator who died from falling off a horse's ass.
LD 6, which encompasses some relatively civilized areas such as Sedona and Flagstaff, now has the opportunity to say nay, instead of neigh, to this crazy horse by voting for her opposition, Republican-turned-Independent Tom O'Halleran.
O'Halleran was already preparing to take on Crandell as an Indie, with local Democrats choosing not to field a contestant and thereby split the sane vote. See, O'Halleran is a centrist, a former Chicago homicide detective and business owner who served eight years in the state Legislature, both in the House and Senate.
A common-sense sort of pol, O'Halleran has backed Democrats against ideologues in the past, and is known for his command of issues such as education and managing the state's water supply.
According to his website, he believes that "problem solving is a sign of strong leadership" and that our model of government is "based on the principal that, as a nation and a state, we are stronger and more successful united."
He thinks Common Core is a step in the right direction and opposes impractical ideas such as trying to take forest land over from the federal government.
O'Halleran supports Governor Brewer's Medicaid expansion, and is against trying to repeal it in the next session. During a long interview on Joe Harting's talk radio show on northern Arizona's 105.1 FM, O'Halleran offered the following, rational explanation for why even Obamacare haters should be for Brewer's expansion plan.
"If you say no to [the Medicaid expansion]," said O'Halleran, "what you're saying to to the federal government is...we don't want our taxpayer's money [coming] back to us. That $1.6 billion you were going to send to us in the next six months? We don't want that. We don't want to take that $1.6 billion and have the multiplier effect of two or three times."
He also points out, quite rightly, that saying no to Medicaid expansion only means a shifting of the burden, to paying for more uncompensated care and higher insurance rates.
Asked about standards set by the EPA (a creation, by the way, of Republican President Richard Nixon via executive order) and global warming, O'Halleran had this to say:
"I believe something is going on with the climate. I don't know if it's cyclical or [carbon dioxide emissions], but I do think if 90-something percent of the scientists in the world say that CO2 is a threat, then we have to look at it as a threat and start to do something about it."
Heresy! Why this man must be a communist, a member of ISIS, a liberal or worse still, a RiNO.
Actually, he's something far more radical in Arizona politics: an intelligent, moderate Republican who cannot win in a GOP primary because he's not insane in the membrane.
Can he win as an Independent? Against a basket case like Allen, maybe.
The district still leans Republican, but with help from pro-business independent expenditure committees, with Dems and Indies and some Rs voting for him, and with Allen's history as a fruit loop, surely it's possible.
Craig McDermott over at lefty Blog for Arizona says the LD 6 general will be "the most-watched legislative race in Arizona," opining that, "Andy Biggs' senate presidency may depend on the outcome."
I must confess, however, Allen would be a godsend to scribblers like me, as she's certain to make herself the butt of endless jokes, which she's proven quite capable of doing heretofore.
Problem is, in making herself the punch line, she makes Arizona the punch line as well, and we really don't need any help in that regard.
I'm willing to give her up. But first the citizens of LD 6 have to determine they don't want this meshuggeneh representing them.
In other words (sigh), I ain't holding my breath, though I remain ever hopeful.
Got a tip for The Bastard? Send it to: Stephen Lemons.