Politico has a rather interesting story this morning: In the waning weeks of the CD8 Special Election Martha McSally’s Campaign Spokesman Sam Stone approached a Ron Barber aide and offered her encouragement and advise, telling her “We really want to see you win. Really go after those social issues, particularly abortion, with women who haven’t voted yet“.
On the Thursday before the election, a top aide to Republican Martha McSally, a retired Air Force officer and a tea party favorite, approached a Barber aide at an event on the University of Arizona’s Tucson campus. That’s when something strange happened, according to the Barber campaign: The McSally aide, spokesman Sam Stone, offered the 22-year-old Barber staffer advice on how to beat Jesse Kelly, the GOP nominee who was running against Barber in the special election.
Stone offered the Barber staffer his business card, which on the back had the following hand-written suggestions: Focus on social issues during the race’s final days in order to win the support of still-undecided independent and Republican women.
Of course Mr. Stone denies he would ever do such a thing. He claims it was only a “quick friendly chat” and that he gave her his business card just in case they needed to be in contact in the future. But he didn’t bother ask the Barber aide for her contact information.
But Barber’s campaign provided POLITICO with a copy of Stone’s scribbled-on business card, along with time-stamped copies of emails, which the Barber staffer immediately sent to her superiors, detailing the conversation Stone had with her. The campaign provided the emails but asked that the aide not be named, saying she relayed the encounter to her bosses out of obligation but did not want to become enmeshed in controversy.
“On June 7, the McSally campaign approached one of our staffers at an event at the University of Arizona’s Bio5 conference,” Rodd McLeod, a Barber political adviser, wrote in a statement. “Martha McSally’s spokesman advised our staffer about how to beat Jesse Kelly, and he handed her his business card where he had written down some more detailed advice on how to defeat Jesse Kelly. We never asked McSally’s campaign for their advice or for further information. Any suggestion otherwise is ridiculous”.
It’s no secret the McSally campaign would not be heartbroken if Ron Barber defeated Jesse in the CD8 special election. After coming in a surprising second place to Kelly in the CD8 Special Primary – and winning more votes then Kelly on election day – McSally filed for the CD2 primary, but vowed to withdraw if Kelly won the CD8 election. Now that Jesse has withdrawn from the CD2 election McSally is the all but certain Republican nominee- she faces only token opposition from little known political newcomer Mark Koskiniemi. Mission Accomplished.
Ronald Reagan famously said that his “11th Commandment” was to not speak ill of a fellow Republican. I guess he should have mentioned a “12 Commandment” – “And don’t tell Democrats how to defeat your fellow Republican”.
UPDATE: According to the Arizona Daily Star, McSally Campaign Spokesman Sam Stone stepped down from his position today:
McSally’s campaign issued a news release this morning saying Sam Stone resigned as communications director. The statement thanks Stone for helping to launch the McSally campaign during the Congressional District 8 primary but doesn’t address the exact reason for his ouster. Stone decided to step down to do what’s best for McSally, said her campaign manager, Christian Morgan. But McSally wasn’t pleased that Stone offered advice to Barber’s campaign, Morgan said.
Stone has not yet returned calls and emails seeking comment. Kelly declined to comment, via his spokesman, John Ellinwood.
Can’t say I didn’t see that one coming . . .