Christine Jones and firearms? Sounds like a fine way to spend a Saturday.
Such was my thought when I found out Jones, a contender for the GOP nod for governor, would be at Shooter's Vault, a gun shop in North Phoenix, for a campaign meet-and-greet.
See, I had a few questions for the 45-year-old former corporate attorney for GoDaddy.com, not the least of which was why she would have anything to do with sleazy Pinal County Sheriff Paul Babeu.
Babeu's been using the "crisis" of unaccompanied minors from Central America to creep back into the good graces of Fox News and appear on less partisan outlets to denounce Obama and all those brown kids crossing the border.
But this is the same guy who posed half-naked for a selfie that he posted on the gay pickup site Adam4Adam.com under the handle "studboi1," who had an undocumented Mexican boyfriend, who employed that undocumented boyfriend as a website manager for his ill-fated 2012 congressional campaign, and who allegedly threatened to deport the guy after the relationship went south and the dude supposedly threatened to expose Babeu's then-closeted sexuality.
A thoroughly discredited individual, who cynically orchestrated a recent redneck protest of undocumented kids headed for a boy's camp in Oracle (children who never materialized, thankfully), Babeu's glommed onto Jones' campaign as her top immigration adviser, appearing with her at some events and taking center stage in her latest campaign commercial.
"Border security is what I deal with every day," Babeu tells us in the ad. "That's why I'm supporting Christine Jones for governor."
For those new to town, Pinal County is not on the border. But I digress.
As opposed to the commercials in which Jones promises to "send Obama the bill" for her $270 million border plan, Babeu assures us that Jones has "a realistic plan" and, as a former CPA, "has a solid way to pay for it."
Forget about the massive budget shortfalls Arizona faces for the next couple of years or the $1.6 billion owed to schools because of a recent court decision.
Ignore that yawning black hole. Focus instead on Babeu's shiny bald head.
Anyway, when I arrived at the gun shop, there Jones stood before a wall of AR-15s with a group of about 20 or so, all of whom wanted to kvetch about illegal immigration.
The funniest was one guy with a heavy foreign accent saying that he came here the right way and that all those illegal rugrats should be shipped back home, no exceptions.
Ah, America -- where even immigrants can be anti-immigrant.
My turn came, and I asked Jones where the heck she was gonna get that $270 million her border plan was supposed to cost.
She gave me some shuck-and-jive about how her plan would pay for itself in the long run.
But in the short run, where does the cash come from, considering the state's budget?
"In your budget session . . . you make that your highest priority," she told me. "You start with the things that really matter to you. [Then] you're going to be left with stuff that's going to fall off the table that you're not going to pay for. It's going to be painful, but I'm just telling you at the moment that we cannot afford not to do it."
She claimed there were "huge pickups" that the state could make in "efficiency" because of "duplicating spending."
Still, what would she cut to get the $270 million?
"Some of it is going to have to come out of the state agencies that have a bunch of middle management," she said.
Not through layoffs. But through "technology solutions" and normal attrition.
"I'm going to look like a complete genius," she promised, "because it's not very hard."
Whew, that's a load off my mind.
Following the Q & A, folks approached Jones to chat. I did likewise, identifying myself when my turn came.
I asked her about Babeu's scandal with the undocumented boy toy. To her credit, she didn't run away, like some politicians I know.
"Well, I think it was a mistake," she acknowledged.
And the profile for studboi1 on Adam4Adam.com, with such need-to-know info about his penis as "7 inches cut" and the racy pics?
"I'm not sure of the context for that," she admitted. "I never asked him . . . I don't know, Steve, I really don't know. But what I know is, I'm the least perfect among us. I'm just a sinner among all the other sinners. If you find a perfect candidate, I'd like to meet him."
Jones identifies as a Christian. In one YouTube video I've seen, she speaks to young Christian adults about their importance as citizens of the kingdom of God and about trying to bring about heaven on earth through, um, the political process. (Yikes!)
Also, in her campaign ads, she describes herself as an "unapologetic conservative," which is odd considering that she once worked for a company, GoDaddy.com, that registers porn websites, among many others.
"[You're] talking about porn at GoDaddy? Give me a break," she told me. "Less than onequarter of 1 percent of all of GoDaddy's revenue came from adult sites. Not porn, anything to do with adults."
I tried to get confirmation of this with GoDaddy but was unable to by the time this column went to press.
Jones helped sell GoDaddy in July 2011 for $2.25 billion. Shortly before that, GoDaddy announced that it would register porn sites through the new premium domain Dot-XXX -- designed (obviously) with porn purveyors in mind.
Dot-XXX actually is owned by Florida company ICM Registry, and GoDaddy is one of ICM's "accredited registrars."
In one 2011 news item, Jones is quoted as saying GoDaddy was "agnostic" on the subject of the new Dot-XXX, while GoDaddy's then-owner, Bob Parsons, told another outlet his company would "give our customers what they want."
Which doesn't bother me -- but ain't Jones supposed to be a good, Christian right-winger?
"Look at when I left the company," she said. "I fought [Dot-XXX] for 10 years."
Jones cashed out from GoDaddy, the biz known for its sexually sophomoric Super Bowl ads featuring gals with glandular excesses, at the end of May 2012.
That was about a year after GoDaddy started doing the new dot-XXXs. And about a year after the company sold.
So far, Jones has lent more than $2 million of her own dough to her campaign and spent nearly as much. I pointed out that some of her wealth can be said to have come from the registration of porn sites.
She didn't disagree. Instead she went on a tirade about her main rival in the primary, Doug Ducey, and controversies over Ducey's leadership of Cold Stone Creamery.
Which will have to wait for another day.
Back when Jones departed from GoDaddy, some speculated it had to do with the debacle over the amazingly unpopular Stop Online Piracy Act, which GoDaddy initially backed while other Internet giants, like Google and YouTube, opposed it.
The move backfired, causing some entities and individuals to dump GoDaddy for other registrars. GoDaddy ultimately ate crow and reversed itself. Because of such popular outrage, SOPA never became law.
Jones denied writing SOPA's actual language but admitted she was involved in pimping it.
"By the way, you understand SOPA had nothing to do with censorship?" she asked me.
She should try telling that to the folks online still ticked by Jones' involvement in a bill that would have expanded civil and criminal liability when it comes to copyright infringement.
For Jones in the primary, SOPA probably is more of a problem with libertarians, while social conservatives can't be happy with her making bucks off adult entertainment.
On the other hand, if Babeu can get away with his icky doings, maybe Republicans will forgive Jones' profiting from the flesh pits of porn.