Tempe Wingnut Is the Ideal Man to Run the County GOP -- and Here's Why

Times are a bit tight in my world. No, I ain't talkin' about my post-holidays pants size.

In 2012, I lost some of my favorite whippin' boys.

In May, neo-Nazi J.T. Ready pulled an Adolf and blew his brains out after he'd killed four innocent people.

Former Maricopa County Attorney Andrew Thomas, who, along with Sheriff Joe Arpaio, once regularly assaulted the county's body politic, got himself disbarred, the death penalty for lawyers and politicians who are lawyers.

What about recalled, disgraced ex-state Senate President Russell Pearce? The grizzled hater is a two-time loser after his double-digit GOP primary defeat by nice-guy businessman, and now state Senator-elect, Bob Worsley, in Legislative District 25.

Russ remains first vice chair of the Arizona Republican Party, but he lacks power.

In fact, the toothless lion was lucky to get himself on the state committee from LD 25 this year, as that district now firmly is in the hands of moderate Rs, or as their detractors call them, RiNOs (Republicans in Name Only).

That's a story in and of itself. Suffice it to say that outgoing Maricopa County Republican Committee Chair Rob Haney attempted to nullify the election that put the moderates in power.

The nativist midget was foiled when the RiNOs sought an injunction in federal court to stop him. Like most bullies when confronted, he backed off like a little bitch.

But back to Pearce, whom I was hoping might make a bid for chair of the Arizona Republican Party on January 26, during its state committee meeting.

The current chair, teabagger Tom Morrissey, is on his way out, and there's been some speculation that Pearce might challenge the candidacy of Robert Graham, a handsome newcomer who has racked up a stack of endorsements from both moderates and wingnuts.

Graham, a successful entrepreneur and CEO of his own wealth-management firm, may be able to unite the state GOP's factions, as well as raise money, which Morrissey sucks at. And that would be boring for my column.

Pearce has been a larger-than-life villain who accomplished some really bad stuff in the Legislature. He is the personification of the anti-immigrant movement, both in Sand Land and in the United States.

If he ran and lost later this month, he'd become a three-time loser. If he ran and won, he'd return to being my verbal punching bag. Either way, I win.

Alas, on December 31, in a surprise move, Pearce swallowed a dose of reality and endorsed Graham. And though Pearce's word is as solid as Silly Putty, I doubt he'd be so dumb as to betray his endorsement and run from the floor on January 26.

So what am I left to write about? Yeah, sure, there's Arpaio, whose name now is a synonym for Methuselah. I have to whack him around in print. No way around it.

But, for now, the thrill is gone.

Which is why I'm endorsing right-wing extremist and all-around tool A.J. LaFaro for GOP county chair.

LaFaro, Haney's pick, natch, has put together a slate of candidates for MCRC offices that are up for grabs at the county GOP meeting on Saturday, January 12.

He calls the slate "Team LaFaro." Wags call it the "Crazy Town" ticket.

That's because LaFaro has an impressive record of moon-howlin' antics and reactionary statements stretching back more than a decade.

Hell, I could write oodles about the guy. He has the potential to be a great villain.

Already, he's one ornery mofo. Take an e-mail LaFaro is said to have sent out, recently published by Jeff Vath's Politico Mafioso blog.

In it, LaFaro blasted former state Senate President Steve Pierce and current state House Speaker Andy Tobin, both RiNOs by LaFaro's standards

"Pierce and Tobin should be thankful the Republicans here in Arizona haven't built a gallows in Prescott's town square," LaFaro wrote.

Sounds like a real bad-ass, huh? His history suggests otherwise.

For instance, LaFaro spearheaded the disastrous 2001 recall effort against then-Tempe Mayor Neil Giuliano, an openly gay Republican, who had the temerity to suggest that folks might not want to donate to the Boy Scouts because of its anti-gay stance.

LaFaro scored enough signatures for the recall, but Giuliano beat back the challenge on Election Day by a 2-to-1 margin.

Though LaFaro claimed otherwise, many figured him for an angry moron who didn't like homosexuals.

One of that opinion was Tempe City Councilman Dennis Cahill, who allegedly called LaFaro a bigot, a homophobe, a fascist, and a Nazi — while LaFaro solicited signatures outside public spots in Tempe.

Um, like, so what, right? Well, LaFaro went into court and, amazingly, scored an injunction against harassment. Cahill was ordered to stay away from LaFaro, even in public places.

This, because Cahill exercised his First Amendment rights under the U.S. Constitution to tell LaFaro exactly what he thought about him.

Cahill appealed to the Arizona Court of Appeals and won. The court found that in two of the three alleged incidents where Cahill had made such remarks about LaFaro, he did not say them directly to LaFaro.

Judge John Gemmill chastised the lower court judge for "abuse of discretion," and vacated the injunction because it "impermissibly limited Cahill's right to freedom of speech."

This gives you a small window onto the hypocrisy, nut-jobbery, and outright wussiness of LaFaro.

Apparently, he still doesn't cotton to any sort of non-hetero fun.

"I don't believe in gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgenders, all right?" he explained while campaigning before a group of Ron Paul Republicans in September.

At that same meeting, LaFaro told RPers that he considered himself a "constitutional conservative" who leans "more toward fiscal issues."

Highly ironic, both on the First Amendment end and regarding the fact that the failed recall of Giuliano cost Tempe an estimated $90,000.

LaFaro ain't much of a fundraiser, either. His Arizona Citizens Tired of Public Employee Unions pulled in a mere $149.74 for the entire year, according to disclosure forms on the Tempe City Clerk's website.

The money was used to oppose now-Tempe Mayor Mark Mitchell. During the campaign, LaFaro publicly fumed about some pro-Mitchell signs and how he and a brigade of citizens were gonna tear 'em down because they were illegal.

They weren't illegal. The brigade never mustered. And LaFaro's pick, Michael Monti, lost.

So LaFaro is a narrow-minded loser with no vision who can't raise money for squat and who's hell-bent on continuing the civil war between his camp and the RiNOs.

Seems he's got anger-management issues, too.

Perfect for my purposes.

There's some nice lady named Lisa Gray running against LaFaro. She heads up the "Arizona Party Builders" slate.

Jeez, do we really want county Rs to build their party further?

As this column shuffled off to press, LaFaro had not returned phone calls and e-mails.

I did get a hold of Dennis Cahill, who now lives in Prescott. I asked him what he thought of his old nemesis' candidacy for county party chair.

"He's major knucklehead," Cahill shot back. "If they elect him, then the Republican Party has really gone down the tubes."

Yep, LaFaro has my wholehearted support.

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