GOP blogging badass Jeff Vath of PolitocoMafioso fame was the first to report the news that Arizona Republican Party Chair Tom Morrissey is punking out on his bid for re-election at the party's January 26 state committee meeting, where new officers will be elected.
Morrissey has since issued a statement on the party website claiming the decision is "due to upcoming knee surgeries that will likely require a lengthy recovery period."
See also: -Arizona GOP Chairman Tom Morrissey Says He's Not a "Birther," but Obama's Birth Certificate Doesn't Seem Real -Is Arizona GOP Chairman Tom Morrissey a "Birther"? -Russell Pearce's Leprechaun Rob Haney Flips Out, Invalidates LD 25 Election, Calls the Coppers
Genuflecting before the altar of Sheriff Joe Arpaio, who was one of Morrissey's few remaining backers, does take its toll, I reckon.
Plus, flying the frayed Tea Party banner in 2012 ain't the same as doing so in early 2011, when the Teabaggers were still in full-on attack mode, and Morrissey was their man.
As tempting as it may be to ascribe Morrissey's powder-taking to his recent remarks concerning the authenticity of President Barack Obama's birth certificate, it wasn't a backlash to birthers that caused Morrissey to drop out.
Rather it was the realization that he did not have the support to overcome businessman Robert Graham, who is favored to win the chairmanship.
Heck, Morrissey couldn't even count on the support of Maricopa County Republican Party chair Rob "Hatter-Mad" Haney, who helped Morrissey become state chair in 2011.
This time around, Haney's endorsed Graham, bolstering Graham's all-important crazy-credentials.
See, Sand Land Rs are divided into two camps: Crazy and non-crazy. And many of the crazies have been eyeing Graham suspiciously because he's the successful CEO of his own financial advisory firm RG Capital, and, generally, anyone with enough sense to make money cannot be counted on to be as unbalanced as the crazies want him or her to be.
Which is why I viewed Morrissey's birther comments as an effort to win back some of that crazy support he used to be able to count on.
But even crazies have their breaking point. Morrissey's chairmanship has been disastrous, and many of his fellow Rs loathe him for a host of reasons, including his lackluster fundraising skills.
(For example, at one point, the party HQ's air-conditioning went kaput and couldn't be fixed immediately for lack of funds.)
For the time being, firearms instructor and GOP Legislative District 23 chair Doug Little reportedly will run in Morrissey's stead, representing the Cs. Though even Rs I talk with know little of Little.
Where is two-time loser, recalled ex-state Senate President and GOP First Vice Chair Russell Pearce in all this?
It's rumored that Pearce may still step in, if it looks like Little is a guaranteed loser.
"He remains a threat up to and including the day of the election," one GOP insider told me of Pearce. "He could run right from the floor."
That is, Pearce could be nominated from the floor if he's a state committeeman.
But Pearce hasn't been elected to the new state committee, yet. Pearce's own personal leprechaun Rob Haney had the LD 25 state committee election results thrown out earlier this month when the count didn't turn out exactly the way he wanted. Pearce was among the 152 or so state committee persons elected.
A subsequent review by LD 25 non-crazies revealed that Russell didn't turn in a nominating petition. A new election has been scheduled for early January, and Russ is sure to file the proper paperwork this time.
The non-crazies are now abuzz and may make a serious effort to prevent Pearce getting the needed votes to make it to the state committee. Still, it's hypothetically possible that Pearce could be appointed to fill a state committee vacancy, according to the GOP bylaws.
Ironically, Haney, who is on his way out as chair of the county GOP, did not get elected to the state committee from his district, LD 28.
That's freaking hi-larious considering how Haney's strong-arming LD 25.
Pearce could still end up the chair of the state party come late January, if all his mallards line up. Such a result would be a disaster for the AZ GOP and give Pearce a soapbox to spew hate from.
Though, selfishly, it would be good for me, as kicking Pearce-tail in print has been very good for the brand.