Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Arizona Republicans accuse RNC chairman Ken Mehlman of lying

Rep. Jim Kolbe (R, AZ District 8) is not running for re-election, so there are five Republicans seeking the nomination. Republican National Committee Chairman Ken Mehlman, in a meeting with four of those five and a representative of the fifth in Tucson on March 30, told them that the RNC would not intervene in the primaries, but rather would devote its funds to assisting the campaigns of whoever the local Republicans of District 8 selected to represent them. The RNC changed its mind, however, and spent $122,000 on advertising for candidate Steve Huffman, its preferred candidate.

Randy Graf, who is the current front-runner for the nomination, issued a joint press release with the other Republican candidates (minus Huffman) condemning Mehlman and the RNC for their dishonesty and broken promise.

Huffman has criticized Graf for being slow to fire a campaign manager who had a conviction for "corrupting young girls" but has in turn been embarrassed by allegations that his own campaign treasurer, Bill Arnold, took photos through the windows of the home of Huffman's ex-wife, state senator Toni Hellon. The photos were used to create a website apparently designed to discredit her if Huffman were to have run against her for her state legislative position. Hellon has sued Arnold for invasion of privacy, but apparently supports her ex-husband's nomination.

Graf is also a member of the Minuteman Project.

District 8 is fairly evenly divided between Republicans and Democrats, with the former having about a 5% advantage. Looks like it will be a dirty race.

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