Feathered Bastard

Dems Don Bivens, Maria Weeg Get Love from Sonoran Alliance; Sean McCaffrey Leaves AZ GOP

Maria Weeg, aka, "the Weeg-ster": Her resemblance to erstwhile Dukakis campaign aide Susan Estrich, is striking.

It's gotta be cold comfort for Arizona Democratic Party Chairman "Dandy" Don Bivens and Executive Director Maria Weeg to be getting love from the ideological Cro-Magnons over at the Sonoran Alliance blog. After all, Bivens, at least, is up for re-election, as are all other state party office holders come this January 24, at the Dems' reorganization meeting at the Wyndham Hotel in Downtown Phoenix. Weeg is staff, but she serves at Bivens' discretion, and if Bivens knows what's good for him, he'll be handing her the pearl-handed revolver and letting her have the office to herself for a few days. The reason? Check out this Sonoran Alliance blog post, which is spot on, for all the wrong reasons.

"Republicans are endorsing the Arizona state Democrat Party's leadership for another term. Under the leadership of chairman Don Bivens and Executive Director Maria Weeg, local Democrat candidates throughout Arizona did terribly, losing seats in the legislature to conservative Republicans and getting beat badly in races for Maricopa County Sheriff and County Attorney. Keep it up Bivens & Weeg, you fooled the local newspapers (which no one reads anymore anyways, why bother when you have sites like this and this) that had predicted the Democrats would pick up seats in the legislature, not lose them. Remember the Democrats bragging over the past couple of years about how much money they had raised, and how they had registered more voters than Republicans? I couldn't keep track of all the articles in the mainstream media gloating about this, there were so many. When the real results came in, all their bragging was was just empty bragging."

Heh. This is pretty funny, though as someone not happy to be riding Arizona's reactionary nighttrain to oblivion, I would rather Bivens and Weeg take a powder and amscray. There is one problem with SA's analysis, however. It assumes that the Dems could not have won locally as they had been crowing they would beforehand. I disagree. The Donkeys could have won, but they blew it, as I pointed out in my recent Bird item, "Local Losers." Now it's time for someone to pay the piper, and as Nappy's scramming for the B.O. administration, the local D's need to clean house of all of her flunkies.

(There is a rumor Weeg might leave with Janet, acquiring some government job herself, either in Homeland Security or elsewhere. For the Dems' sake, I hope that rumor is true.)

While we're speaking about people leaving, I just got the news that my pal and all-around class act Sean McCaffrey -- Weeg's counterpart over at the Arizona Republican Party will be saying sayonara to his post as Executive Director of the state GOP come the end of January. McCaffrey said he's interested in doing some political consulting, and didn't want to commit to his post for the next election cycle.

May be a good move for him, as various GOPers will be jockeying for position in the near future, and need the assistance, considering the coming donnybrook of a primary for Governor in 2010, and so on. Also, there's no guarantee GOP Chairman Randy Pullen will survive a challenge to his position this time 'round, so McCaffrey could be getting out while the getting's good. Though McCaffrey denies this is the case, and says his last duty will be getting Pullen reelected to his post.

I like McCaffrey. He's a staunch defender of the Republican faith, and a guy you can argue with long and hard, yet still remain on good terms with. That's a rare quality in our era, no matter what party or political belief you're fighting for. I've also gotta give him major points for doing a lot more with a lot less than what Weeg had to work with in the way of resources.

Below is the GOP's press release on McCaffrey's departure:

Phoenix, AZ--Arizona Republican Party executive director Sean McCaffrey said he was thankful for Republican victories across Arizona in the 2008 elections, and announced he would be concluding his tenure at the state party at the end of January 2009.

"We were successful this election cycle because we had strong candidates, a strong message, and a strong organization that stayed focused regardless of what the opposition sent our way," McCaffrey said.

During his tenure as executive director, the Arizona Republican Party:

· Increased its legislative majority in the State House from 33 to 35 Republicans;

· Increased its legislative majority in the State Senate from 17 to 18 Republicans;

· Increased elected Republicans statewide at the local and county levels, including an increase in elected Precinct Committeemen of more than 17-percent;

· Increased the size of the donor-base by more than 23% (more than 5,000 net new donors).

"We were outspent 5-to-1 or more by the Democrats in our target districts but the team Sean McCaffrey assembled and the operations we put into place simply overwhelmed the money Democrats were throwing into the campaigns," said Randy Pullen, Chairman of the Arizona Republican Party. "If you run smarter races and better campaigns, we proved it was possible to close the resource gap."

"I am grateful for the opportunity to have been a part of Chairman Pullen's team here at the Arizona Republican Party and I'm very proud of the accomplishments we've achieved," McCaffrey said. "I look forward to working closely with Chairman Pullen and Republicans across the state to build on those victories in the future. We clearly have the opportunity to expand these majorities and that's very exciting."

McCaffrey said he intended to remain in Arizona in order to focus on government relations, communications and public affairs opportunities, including Republican campaigns. McCaffrey said he may set up his own communications and lobbying firm, or join an existing company.

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Stephen is a former staff writer and columnist at Phoenix New Times.
Contact: Stephen Lemons