Feathered Bastard

Democrats Up Sleaze Ante Against Jerry Lewis in LD 26

There should be some law of the political jungle that says if you call someone a liar, you at least have to say what the lie is.

See also: -Liberal Democrats Tar Republican Jerry Lewis, Borrowing a Page From Extremists They Claim to Loathe -Russell Pearce's Vanquisher Jerry Lewis Slimed by Democrats

That was my first thought on seeing a recent e-mail fundraising appeal (after the jump) from Randy Keating, chair of the Legislative District 26 Democrats, who are gunning to boot Jerry Lewis from the state Senate, and promote state Representative Ed "Mr. 40 Percent" Ableser to Arizona's upper house.

The fundraising e-mail starts off by making some generic comments about how "they" are playing "rough," and are "blanketing" LD 26 with "ugly attacks."

Moreover, "the press" is playing up the "myth of the moderate senator," and is obviously in the can for Lewis.

Keating claims Ableser and his running mates, House candidates Andrew Sherwood and Juan Mendez, can't match the Republicans in cash. Well, they might be able to, if they weren't running, ahem, "clean."

That claim seems pretty disingenuous, considering that an independent expenditure committee calling itself the Arizona Accountability Project has dumped $75,000 into robocall and mailer attacks on Lewis in LD 26.

Ds have a registration advantage over Republicans in the district, so you've got to figure that Ableser must be some really weak cheese if it takes such a colossal effort to get him over the hump.

After a bit of rambling, Keating makes the following unsubstantiated charge:

"While Jerry Lewis was telling lies about Eddie yesterday, D26 volunteers made 9,000 phone calls to tell voters the truth."

Er, "telling lies"? So what, pray tell, would these "lies" be?

Lewis is known for his integrity and honesty, and so far he has resisted doing a hit piece against Ableser in retribution for the one Ableser and his pals did against Lewis, accusing him of being a "Tea Party puppet," and of "endorsing Russell Pearce," when Lewis is the fella who defeated Tea Party-icon Pearce in the 2011 recall.

So I rang the number listed for Keating's treasurer, Kristin Gwinn, on the LD 26 Dems' campaign finance report. I told Gwinn why I wanted to chat with Keating and asked her to have him call me back. She said she would.

As of yet, I've received no response.

I e-mailed and sent Facebook messages to Keating. I even went so far as to leave a public message on his FB account with my cell number.


I phoned someone higher up at the party, asking if they could give me his cell phone number or get him to call me. This person checked with Keating, then got back to me, saying he was afraid to talk with me.

Not sure I buy that.

By contrast, take a look at the flyer above that Lewis has been sending out. Its message is startling to anyone familiar with the bloodsport of Sand Land politics.

After addressing the fact that he's been targeted by a ton of negative fliers being mailed to LD 26 households, he gets to the meat of the matter.

"As I did last year," he states, "I have run a clean and honest campaign focused on issues that are most important to you. To do otherwise would be contrary to my personality and conscience."

Additionally, he avers that, "I believe that honesty and respect should not take time off during campaigns."

If Lewis pulls out an upset victory against Ableser in LD 26, it will be because of his Mr. Smith Goes to Washington attitude toward politics, and because the Dems' smears have backfired.

And what a grand victory that would be.

PS: It's terribly amusing to see die-hard Democrats post to their Facebook pages arch-conservative columnist Rob Robb's recent blog post about how Lewis really is an extremist, you know, like him.

Thing is, this is the same far-right muttonhead who labeled the recall of Pearce an "abuse of power" and defended sham-wow candidate Olivia Cortes' spot on the ballot.

Next these wacky liberals will be posting pics of Pearce himself, and championing him as an enemy of Jerry Lewis! Sigh. It's enough to make you want to end your subscription to Mother Jones.

Randy Keating's fundraising message:

KEEP PHOENIX NEW TIMES FREE... Since we started Phoenix New Times, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Phoenix, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Stephen is a former staff writer and columnist at Phoenix New Times.
Contact: Stephen Lemons