A group of Republicans are throwing their support behind Richard Carmona, a lifelong Independent who registered as a Democrat to run for the U.S. Senate.
It's not surprising, given that Carmona was tapped by President George W. Bush to serve as the nation's 17th U.S. Surgeon General and was courted over the years by Republican operatives to run for Congress on the Republican ticket.
These days, among the Republicans willing to cross party lines and endorse Carmona, a decorated Vietnam veteran, are the former mayors of Scottsdale and Tucson, Sam Kathryn Campana and Bob Walkup, respectively.
It's easy for Americans to fall for Carmona, an appealing candidate who overcame obstacles early in life -- his family experienced homelessness, he dropped out of high school, and had a hard time getting into college -- but achieved notable success as a vascular surgeon and deputy for the Pima County Sheriff Department.
Campana and Walkup are co-chairing the Republicans for Carmona committee along with former state Representative Pete Hershberger, Tucson Vice Mayor Steve Kozachik, Art Mollen, president of the Southwest Health Institute, and former Arizona Corporation Commissioner Kris Mayes.
Similarly, a cadre of Democrats have pledged to support Congressman Jeff Flake, a Republican, who is running against Carmona for the seat being vacated by retiring Senator Jon Kyl.
Democrats backing Flake, who is endorsed by Kyl, McCain and other prominent Republicans, include Yuma County Sheriff Ralph Ogden, David Brown, former Apache County Supervisor, Page Mayor Bill Diak and Richard Lunt, Chairman of the Greenlee County Board of Supervisors.
On RepublicansforCarmona.com, Hershberger touts his support for Carmona because his "only commitment will be to making decisions based on reason and the best science. He's not running to keep a party in power, he's running to serve Arizona."
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