Opinion: How many election beatings will it take for the Arizona GOP to stop its disastrous lurch to the far right? (Answer: Clearly, more than three.)
The Arizona Republican Party’s purity police are at it again, determined, apparently, to stomp out any and all rogue attempts to appeal to the larger electorate.
Now appearing in the well-worn woodshed: Karrin Taylor Robson and her brother, former Maricopa County Supervisor Andy Kunasek.
They, along with former Paradise Valley school board candidate Susan Matura, were stripped of their voting privileges as Republican precinct committee members on June 6 and encouraged to resign.
This, for the outrage of endorsing independent Kevin Robinson for a spot on the Phoenix City Council over Republican Sam Stone this spring.
“Talk about a political identity crisis,” Maricopa County Republican Committee Chairman Craig Berland said in announcing their punishment. “Why would a registered Republican go so far as to be an MCRC PC in the first place only to publicly endorse a non-Republican candidate when a Republican candidate is running in the same race?”
She backed an independent over Lake's adviser
Possibly because they believed Robinson was the best choice for the job.
Robinson is a former Republican who, like so many others, became an independent a few years ago as the once-Grand Old Party lurched to the far right.
He trounced Republican Sam Stone in the District 6 runoff election in March, winning 62% of the vote.
Stone is a staunch conservative who served for years as then-Councilman Sal DiCiccio’s right-hand man and more recently was Kari Lake’s policy adviser during her failed gubernatorial campaign.
Taylor Robson isn't the only one punished
It doesn’t seem all that surprising that Taylor Robson — who would be governor now had Republicans nominated her instead of Lake — would endorse the more moderate electable choice.
She joins an increasingly long list of prominent Republicans who have been chastised and ostracized by their own grassroots party workers. (See: the late Sen. John McCain, former Sen. Jeff Flake, Cindy McCain, Arizona Republican GOP Chairman Jeff DeWit and, of course, the 18 Republican legislators who dared to vote to expel Rep. Liz Harris from the Legislature.)
Maricopa County Attorney Rachel Mitchell also took a turn in the woodshed last week, censured for daring to seek sanctions against Lake after losing her lawsuit challenging last year's election results.
Again, that is.
The party is hoping to find someone to challenge Mitchell in next year’s Republican primary.
Never mind that she was one of the few Republicans to win on a countywide or statewide ballot last November.
Republicans must want another election loss
Apparently, it takes more than three donkey kicks — in 2018, 2020 and 2022 — to knock the GOP off its disastrous lurch to the far right.
As for Taylor Robson, she seems undaunted by the party’s chastisement, pronouncing herself “proud to have stood with the law enforcement community” in supporting Robinson in the nonpartisan council race.
“It is unfortunate there are some in our Republican Party who seek only to shrink the tent, but my lifelong record supporting conservative candidates and causes speaks for itself,” she said.
It’s more than unfortunate.
It’s downright devastating for a party that used to control every major office in the state. Both U.S. Senate seats, the Governor’s Office, secretary of state, attorney general.
All now inhabited by Democrats, beneficiaries of the support of moderates who used to vote Republican.
But moderation is no longer valued in a party dominated by the far right.
Better, it seems, to lose — over and over and over again — than to compromise on, well, anything.