I had intended not to go into detail about the specific ways in which high-level leaders of the Arizona Democratic Party had slighted me and offered advantages to the other candidates in the gubernatorial primary. However, a spokesperson for the party released a false statement to explain my leaving, and I can’t let it go unanswered.
Enrique Gutierrez, speaking on behalf of the party, suggested that:
- The party doesn’t choose favorites in the primary.
- I was offered the same things the party has offered Farley and Garcia.
- I asked the state party to promote my appearance on The Daily Show and was miffed that they refused.
- I wasn’t gaining traction with Democratic voters.
Literally none of these things are true. Let’s begin with his first 2 claims. Here are a few stories about the ways in which the party slowed my campaign and helped the campaigns of the other candidates.
- Before any other candidates announced, a few news stories were written that suggested that I did not have the support of the party. Knowing that the party claims not to choose primary favorites, but rather to support all candidates equally, I drafted a press release that explained that fact. In the release, I proposed putting some beautiful words in the mouths of some of the state’s high-level leaders, such as:
The purpose of the Arizona Democratic Party has never been to pick and choose winners and losers in primary elections or to arbitrarily reward longtime party loyalists with greater assistance. The purpose of the party is to support candidates who embody our core belief that Arizona succeeds when everyone gets a fair shot, everyone does their fair share, and everyone plays by the same rules.
I had hoped that by appealing to their stated ideals, they would be inspired to live them as well. But to their credit, it would have been a lie for them to accept these words as their own, so they declined the opportunity. It only took their desire to withhold their support from a sincere candidate to get them to be honest! You can see the full text of the press un-release here. For the record, I expressed substantial willingness to mold the release to their liking, but they were uninterested in doing anything to work with me.
- Early in my campaign, I sent letters to dozens of Democratic politicians throughout the state asking for an opportunity to formally introduce myself but didn’t receive a single reply. I figured maybe the emails ended up in their spam or something. However, in a face to face conversation, a party leader let slip that he knew I had been contacting elected Democrats, something I had never shared with him or other party leaders. So the problem wasn’t that the candidates weren’t getting my letters. Rather, after getting my letters they were approaching the Party for guidance on what they should do and were then encouraged to ignore me. Granted, I was not present for any such conversation, but what I do know is that a party leader had a better idea than I did about what was happening to the notes I sent to Democratic leaders throughout the state.
- The party never shared any media related to my campaign announcement in social media, email, or other distribution, despite doing so for every other candidate. There were a variety of stories that were not related to my disclosures, or that presented my disclosures in a positive light, such as the pieces by the Glendale Star, Huffington Post, and Arizona Week, but none of these were shared.
- A friend in the media shared with me that they had been told off the record that campaign managers for other Democratic candidates were being told by party leaders to tell their candidates not to associate with me, or that there would be negative consequences.
- Before David Garcia even officially announced, the party shared a news article that inaccurately described him as the first Democrat to announce. Obviously, the party knew this was false, but shared it anyway. Bonus fact: Brahm Resnick, the reporter who wrote the inaccurate piece had actually done a piece about me at the time of my campaign announcement just a couple months earlier, so chances are he knew it was false, too. As of this writing, the article remains uncorrected, despite the fact that he and I had a face to face discussion about his coverage.
- At the State Convention, 4 of the 5 announced candidates for statewide office were in attendance: me, Katie Hobbs, David Schapira, and Kathy Hoffman. David Garcia apparently had another commitment. Would you be surprised to know that, of the statewide candidates who were in attendance, all but 1 of them were allowed to formally address the assembly? I was the only statewide candidate in attendance who was not given that privilege.
- Lastly, the anvil that broke the camel’s back came in July. I was informed by email blast that the Democratic Party was organizing a gubernatorial candidate forum featuring Steve Farley and David Garcia. I had not been contacted by the party and asked if I wanted to participate, nor offered an explanation of why I wouldn’t be invited to participate. Another bonus fact: this forum is being moderated by none other than Brahm Resnick. I guess the party rewards you when you do their bidding.
I think it’s fairly obvious that Enrique’s first 2 claims were false: the party does choose primary favorites, and it did not give me the same opportunities it gave other candidates.
As to his other claims:
- I never asked the party to share my Daily Show Segment. A few days after the Daily Show segment, concrete information about Steve Farley’s announcement became available, so I sent an email which included the following text:
My understanding is that Steve is going to announce on Tuesday. I assume you’ll be sharing an article about his announcement via social media, email, etc. as was done for David.
I understand that my coverage thus far may not have met your idea of what makes for a good post, so I can accept that I have not yet been featured in those areas.
However, I’d obviously like the same types promotion that Steve and David get. My question is, how clean does an article have to be for you to share it? [… ] Whatever the parameters, there’s a good chance I can make it happen, and I’d like the opportunity to try.
Again, despite the availability of such articles, nothing was ever shared. I never asked the party to share the Daily Show segment, nor expressed disappointment that they didn’t.
- Grassroots organizers, LD leaders, and individual Democrats from around the state have been incredibly supportive of me. I received invitations to participate in many county level events, including in Santa Cruz, Cochise, and Mohave counties. Several leaders of groups like Indivisible have invited me to their events. I have spoken in many Democratic LD meetings, where I have been warmly received. In these meetings, marches, and other events I have received hundreds of petition signatures, close to 100% of the people I asked (which I recognize I will have to discard given the party switch). I have received thousands of dollars in donations, despite the fact that my fundraising organization is still in its infancy.
Ultimately, It’s Not Really About Me
In short, as I clearly said when I announced the switch, I was not displeased with the support I was getting from individual Democrats, and did not switch for that reason. I switched because party leaders were playing favorites, and I wouldn’t be able to give Arizonans what they want from me if I played along, pure and simple.
In addition to my personal mistreatment, I have been incredibly dissatisfied with Democratic strategy and leadership for the 2018 election cycle. Rather than learning the lessons of 2016, they are doubling down on a failed strategy. Sound policy to confront today’s challenges is an afterthought compared to demonizing the enemy. As they did with me, they alienate many of those who want to help. Then, without their best talent, they are gripped by fear that they can’t win elections based on the excellence of their ideas or their candidates alone, so they resort to deception and underhandedness. Not wanting to be alone in fear, they feel the need to constantly whip up their base in fear. “Trump is evil! McCain is evil! Flake is evil! Ducey is evil!” Not only do they share genuine stories that might be cause for alarm to their audience, but they manufacture stories and misrepresent their opponents’ views. The story of today’s parties is the story of the boy who cried wolf. Millions of people still grab their pitch forks every time the parties raise a false alarm, but fewer and fewer people are able to find satisfaction in those pointless quests.
It is for the millions of voters who have officially left the parties, and the millions more who are fed up but haven’t yet cut the cord, that I am in this fight. I will not abuse your trust. I will not deceive you. I am the best choice for Arizona in 2018. I am prepared to beat anyone else in this race honestly. I know I can count on your help.
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