Rich Crandall Appointed Wyoming Education Director: Will Russell Pearce Try Replacing Him?

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State Senator Rich Crandall of Legislative District 16, a non-wacko conservative and one of the Republicans who backed Medicaid expansion this year, has been appointed by Governor Matt Mead of Wyoming to lead that state's Department of Education.

Mead's office made the announcement in a press release late Wednesday, praising Crandall's "background in education policy and innovation" and his "insight into classroom instruction and uses of technology."

Wyoming's gain is Arizona's loss, as Crandall has been part of a group of Sand Land GOPers who've helped moderate Arizona's political discourse, moving it away from the brink of ideological insanity.

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Breaking ranks with the walking PayDay bars in his party has been par for the course for Crandall, who I once saw lecture now-Senate President Andy Biggs on the economic chaos that would ensue should Biggs's dystopian proposal to do away with AHCCCS become law.

That was a couple of years ago. Talking common sense to craziness has been a hallmark of Crandall's political career. That and huevos.

I texted my congrats to Crandall and wondered when he would be resigning from the senate to begin his new gig.

"Thanks, Steve," he wrote back. "It doesn't start for awhile, so I won't be resigning anytime soon."

That's a little vague, and should make some wannabes out there sweat. Previously, Crandall had signaled that he would be leaving if he got the job. But there was always the possibility he might stay if the deal fell through.

It's a cause for concern because Crandall's successor will be chosen by the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors, and it's been rumored by many that Pearce wants to end up in that seat.

East Valley insiders anticipate that Pearce, who currently lives in LD 25, will wait till next year to run in the LD 16 GOP primary for state Senate. But they do not discount the possibility that Pearce may seek the BOS appointment to fill out the remainder of Crandall's term.

LD 16's Republican precinct committeemen will select three names, from which the BOS will choose a replacement.

And, alas, LD 16, which has Tea Party/Constantin Querard-creation Kelly Townsend as a representative, put the nut in wingnutty.

These are some serious Mexican-hatin', Agenda 21-fearin' moonhowlers, by all accounts. They worship Pearce like a god and would sacrifice their firstborn to him.

So, if Pearce wants it, he'll top the list.

Never mind that Pearce likely would endure the humiliation of being rejected. The current makeup of the BOS, even with its 4-to-1 majority of Rs, does not favor Pearce.

But Pearce is a glutton for punishment and seems to thrive on conflict. He may not be able to help himself.

The wiser move would be to wait for the 2014 GOP primary. Pearce will have to find a "residence" in the district, but that shouldn't be too difficult. His bro Lester is loaded and can hook him up with a new "home."

Then all would depend on who runs against him in the primary. Pearce ain't a shoe-in. His 2011 recall, his 2012 loss in the LD 25 primary, his legacy of hate, and his penchant for dirty tricks and lies will all work against him. Not to mention, his near-fatal case of hoof-in-mouth disease, which I have recently illustrated in this blog.

A strong candidate with substantial financial backing can best Pearce. But neither can the old bigot be underestimated. Like a shark, he keeps moving forward, always in attack mode, until he is beaten back by a more powerful animal.

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