Republicans Clean House, Well, Senate, Really

As reported in the Arizona Daily Star yesterday, newly elected Senate President Tim Bee has gotten rid of four staffers: Greg Jernigan, Rob Dalager, Mark Swenson and Nick Simonetta. One capitol observer also told me that another staffer has also been let go, but I haven’t been able to confirm this.

A couple of things are going on here: one thing is the obvious, Bee would like to hire his own allies. This is natural and expected. Bee also needs to show that his leadership will be different than that of Ken Bennett, and this is the best way to show it right away.

There was dissatisfaction with the control that these staffers had over legislation. For example, Swenson (a former Tucson reporter) was often refered to as “Senator 31” because of the virtual veto power he had over legislation, often exercised on the narrowest ideological grounds. Many Senators were unhappy that unelected staff were making decisions that should have been left to those that had been elected.

Even though Bee is showing backbone here, some at the capitol are already saying that he wouldn’t have done this without the consent of newly elected majority leader Thayer Verschoor.

I’m wondering if this is the first of many staff decimations on the Republican side. I have heard complaints from Republicans about two long time, high profile consultants, Constantine Querard and Nathan Sproul. Querard consulted with campaigns in LD 26 and Randy Graf’s congressional campaign, all of which were Republican seats that went Democratic. The style of the campaigns were cookie-cutter Maricopa County conservative campaigns that would have been sucessful had they not been waged in more moderate, albeit still Republican, areas in Southern Arizona. Sproul was the one of the architects of Proposition 107, the anti-gay marriage measure that was supposed to bring Republicans to the polls but its language was so broad that it narrowly lost. The campaign for the measure was nearly invisible and had little effect on Republican turnout. One blog, Arizona 8th, called for Sproul’s exile last week. Both of these consultants have been touched by scandals over the last couple of years as well.

CLARIFICATION – I had spoken to an activist in Phoenix who named an Alan Richardson as someone else who was terminated. I put his name as one of the people who Bee cut in my original post. I recieved an e-mail from a capitol staffer who told me that he’d never heard of the guy. I took his name off of the post. I then recieved an e-mail from Richardson, who refered to himself as “low-level” (which may be why the other person didn’t know who he was) and said that he had submitted a letter of resignation before the election.

2 thoughts on “Republicans Clean House, Well, Senate, Really

  1. Tedski,

    You have your facts wrong again. Constantine produces campaign materials, pamphlets, mailings, commercials. He is not a financial consultant and was not the treasurer of the candidates that had troubles. Your accusation is like casting aspersions on the person who cleaned the carpets for David Burnell Smith.

    His work in LD 26 was not the reason that they lost. Each candidate made his own decisions up there. The most fateful one being to challenge Toni Hellon. (Sorry, that was not Constantine’s decision.) Combine that with the sour mood from the CD 8 primary and the national mood and you had some tough headwinds. Further, one of the candidates gave the press so much to work with it was not even funny.

    Constantine had very little to do with the Graf campaign. For that race you should correctly reference Steve Aiken and R.T. Gregg.

    As to Sproul, there is not much to say about a retromingent.

  2. Senator Bee had told me once during the election cycle that it infurated him (This might just be my word, I can’t actually see Senator Bee mad) when he would overhear staffers in the hallway talking about the need to push for their legislation. Bee told me that staffers are not supposed to have any legislation. They are supposed to be doing the bidding (once again my word) of those who have been elected by the people. So, I’m glad to hear that Bee has already started his House (Senate) cleaning.

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