Feathered Bastard

Joe Arpaio's Birther Bud Tom Morrissey Punks Out of GOP Chair Race; Russell Pearce Could Still Play Spoiler to Bob Graham

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.

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