What we'll be serenading the Pearce folks with this Tuesday evening...
In what smells like a classic attempt at voter suppression, the conservative Safeguard Arizona's Future PAC, which previously backed wackjob loser JD Hayworth in the 2010 Republican U.S. Senate primary, is doing robocalls to Democrats in Legislative District 18, encouraging them to cast a "protest" vote by writing in a candidate on the ballot.
Thing is, by doing so, an elector would be throwing away his or her vote. According to state law, a write-in candidate must register with the Arizona Secretary of State, otherwise a write-in vote is meaningless.
Maricopa County Elections Director Karen Osborne confirmed to me today that no one registered with the SOS' office as a write-in candidate in the LD18 recall, so there are none on the ballot.
The robocall, as received by LD18 Democrat Kerry Torres, states the following, read by a man with a Latino-accent:
"Voters beware: If you plan to vote this Tuesday, you should know that both candidates for state Senator, Russell Pearce and Jerry Lewis, are Republicans. The only other candidate, Olivia Cortes, was forced to withdraw last month.
"You can protest this one-sided election by writing in your own candidate. This message is paid for by the Safeguard Arizona's Future PAC, because we believe a well-informed voter is the best voter."
Riiight. Maybe that's why the robocall fails to "inform" voters that Olivia Cortes was herself a Republican, as well as a sham candidate placed on the ballot by Tea Party members in order to assist their wingnutty God, Russell Pearce.
You can also listen to the sound clip, here.
(Posted with the assistance of my own personal "Q," New Times clubs editor Benjamin Leatherman, aka "fanarchy.")
I'm sure it's no mistake that the narrator happens to sound like a sub for Dos Equis' Most Interesting Man in the World.
Torres explained she captured the audio through her computer phone service.
"Torres is my maiden name," she explained. "I have to wonder if I used my married name [which is Anglo] if I ever would have received the call."
John Giles, chair of Pearce-foe Jerry Lewis' campaign for state Senate, issued a statement characterizing the robocall as misleading and a stab at voter suppression by the PAC's chairman Ron Ludders.
"Why would Ron Ludders want to encourage people to vote for candidates who were not Republicans?" Giles asks in the press release. "Isn't he part of the party faithful? This is yet another reason why voters want a fresh voice in Mesa."
The right-wing Sonoran Alliance blog identifies Ludders as the former leader of the North Phoenix Tea Party.
I called Ludders at his home, and he acknowledged the robocall as being from his PAC. He said the intent was to inform voters, not deceive them. He claimed ignorance of the fact there are no registered write-in candidates in the LD18 race.
As for a the narrator with the Latino accent, Ludders stated that it was a member of his group, but would not say who. He also denied that the robocall was an attempt to suppress the Democratic vote.
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Whatever. If Ludders and his crew really think such eleventh-hour shenanigans will work, they're wrong. Pearce is headed for defeat in LD18, and it's actually because of such Tea Party monkeyshines that his political career is doomed.
Heh. Fire up that old Paul Leka hit, Na Na Hey Hey Kiss Him Goodbye.
UPDATE: Ms. Torres sent me a new version of robocall. Same script, but this time no Latino accent. Listen below if you like.