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Steve Gaynor at a Trump rally in Mesa October 19, 2018.EXPAND
Steve Gaynor at a Trump rally in Mesa October 19, 2018.
Gage Skidmore/Flickr

Arizona Anti-Spanish GOP Candidate Courts Hispanic Votes In Spanish

This post was updated on November 2 to include audio.

Steve Gaynor, the Republican candidate for Arizona Secretary of State who has called for ballots to be only in English, has radio advertisements and a campaign website en español.

Has Gaynor had a change of corazon by courting voters in Spanish?

Anyone who tuned in to Stella Paolini’s show airing on KPHQ (107.5 FM) radio between 8 and 9 a.m. on weekday mornings might have caught the ad in Spanish for Gaynor.

His Spanish-language campaign website can be found at nosotroscongaynor.com, which translates to "we with Gaynor." The website was created September 27, online records show. Its content and layout are very similar to Gaynor's English-language site, gaynorforsos.com, which was created on January 25.

Gaynor received significant blowback for saying during a candidate forum in August, “Ballots, information pamphlets, all the material in our country, should be in English.”

Confronted with the audio of his own remarks from August during an interview Tuesday with KTAR (92.3 FM) News, Gaynor acknowledged that he had made those comments. He added, “But what I’m saying to you is, as a public official, I would uphold the law.”

He also said, “It would be great in our country if English was predominant.”

Gaynor is hardly the only candidate in this campaign season who is running advertisements in Spanish in an attempt to court Hispanic voters. But juxtaposed with his preference for English-only ballots, his hypocrisy can't be overlooked. As Phoenix New Times pointed out in a recent feature article on Gaynor's candidacy, the Paradise Valley resident also put a trespassing warning in Spanish at the gate of his mansion.

Laura Madrid, the general manager of KPHQ, said that the ad buy was 30 spots over three weeks on Paolini's show. She said she could not provide audio or transcripts of the advertisements.

Paolini, when reached by phone on Wednesday with a request for information about the ads, described Gaynor as a friend.

“That’s a lie,” she said, when his remarks about how ballots should be only in English were mentioned. She then asked if she could call New Times back. But when she did, she asked with whom she was speaking and hung up. She did not answer a subsequent call or return a voicemail.

Major Spanish-language radio stations in Phoenix do not appear to be airing ads bought by Gaynor. KNAI (101.9 FM), said it was not airing any. A Univision representative said that its records indicated that Gaynor had not bought time on any of its stations in Phoenix, of which it has four. Entravision, which owns two stations in Phoenix, did not respond to a message.

Spanish-language audiences have been hearing a few things about Gaynor, however — from people who oppose him. Since mid-October and through November 5, the ACLU of Arizona has been running Spanish-language radio ads that it hopes will warn voters about Gaynor’s views. Those ads are being aired on Univision stations, KNAI, and others, although not on the station that airs Paolini's show.

Gaynor is a businessman with no previous experience running for or holding elected office. His campaign is almost entirely self-funded. The latest campaign finance report, filed October 29, show that of the more than $2.5 million he’s raised, $2.35 million came from his own pocket.

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