Feathered Bastard

Randy Pullen Out as Arizona GOP Chair

Randy Pullen, chairman of the Arizona Republican Party, has announced via Twitter that he will not seek reelection at the next state party meeting on January 22.

This follows the news that Pullen had not been elected a state committeeman from Legislative District 11. Normally, someone would have to be a state committeeman to run for chair of the party.

Republican insiders tell me that Pullen was considering some sort of contingency plan, but ultimately decided to throw in the towel in a fit of disgust, as the state GOP dominated the recent elections, and he feels there's no gratitude for his efforts.

Could this signal an attempt by moderate Republicans to swing the party away from the insane, Mexican-bashing nativism that has thoroughly infected it over the past several years? Pullen was always a hard-right ideologue, committed to the concept of "attrition through enforcement," the nativist buzzphrase for a not-so-subtle version of ethnic cleansing.

Last year, Pullen beat out GOP moderate Lisa James for the party chairmanship. James was backed by almost all of the top elected party leadership. But the base of the Republican Party is mostly white and, sadly, rabidly anti-immigrant. Pullen smeared James as being "pro-amnesty," and with that smear, effectively secured his ultimate win.

I think it's interesting that Pullen threw in the towel so quickly, though maybe he had no alternative under the rules. Could it be that he got a talking to from party bigwigs?

So, the tuskers secure a supermajority, elect the biggest bigot in the state, Russell Pearce, to be state Senate President, and yet die-hard nativist Pullen gets handed his walking papers. Wacky.

There is one wild card worth considering. Pullen was knee-deep in the 2008 Sheriff's Command Association scandal, the one that slimed Sheriff Joe Arpaio's nemesis Dan Saban with a dirty campaign ad funded by some millionaire Joe-backers, and MCSO command staff, such as Chief Deputy David Hendershott and Captain Joel Fox.

The scuttlebutt out there is that indictments of some of the players in that scandal will be coming soon from the state Attorney General's office. With the SCA scandal's details to be revived in the near future, it's better for the GOP if Pullen is on his way out. Particularly when indictments are imminent.

I should point out that Pullen has asserted he acted appropriately. Still, his association with that campaign ad continues to taint him, and the Arizona Republican Party in general.

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