Robert Graham: “Why I Am Running for a Second Term”

Legislative District 18, Phoenix Republican Leaders Endorse Robert Graham for Second Term as AZGOP Chairman
January 16, 2015
Recently Elected Republican Party Leaders Throughout Maricopa County Endorse Robert Graham for Chairman
January 22, 2015
Show all

Robert Graham: “Why I Am Running for a Second Term”

PHOENIX – Chairman Robert Graham of the Arizona Republican Party today announced additional details about his accomplishments and desire to serve the Arizona Republican Party for an additional term. Graham is actively campaigning in an election to be held at the biennial meeting of the State Committee on January 24, 2015 at the Grace Community Church in Tempe.

Robert Graham: Why I am running for a second term

Political campaigns are not for the faint of heart. Campaigns are competitive and vigorous, as they should be! Americans are tough and in a Republic, standing for election and asking for votes in order to represent others is a big responsibility.

If you have questions, feel free to call me directly. My cell phone number is 602-318-3073.

I am running because I feel a strong sense of duty to the Republican Party, our platform, and this state. I ran two years ago for the same reason. I felt a calling in my life to serve in a substantive way. Many friends and political folks told me I was crazy for a number of reasons. “You will make enemies,” “You won’t make everyone happy, and some won’t agree with your decisions,” “There is no money in that,” “It is a thankless job,” “Parties don’t have any influence anymore” and “The state party has no money.”

Even with all the negativity, I ran for State Chairman anyway! It has been a privilege to serve the Republican people of Arizona, and I still feel the same today! The opportunities for the party and our state are great! Realizing our potential while protecting our principles and values has been the center-point of my motivation and my last two years as Chairman.

As conservatives, we must fight for the best outcome of our great state and nation. We must fight with principles, resources, messaging and a plan designed to move our party forward. I feel like my first term as chair has been successful. Together we significantly improved our technology and accelerated well beyond the progressive Democrats, we have regained and are building strong bonds through our outreach initiatives, we have involved and offered leadership to young Republicans across the state and we are once again winning elections at all levels. We haven’t been able to do everything defined in the plan, however we have made tremendous progress leading to historic victories.

One new and great asset that has been built within the AZ GOP over the last two years is the ability to measure our progress. By measuring we can clearly illustrate our accomplishments and areas that need improvement. Real data with real outcomes will help shape the years to come. We must keep the momentum.

Here is a link that measures some of our progress by the numbers.

2015 will be a year of hard work to better position our state for more Republican victories. As the State Chairman I will be working with our newest county and district chairs to win local elections, find solid candidates, mentor young leaders, and continue our outreach to new communities. All of the above mentioned items draw us together and help to reseed the party from various communities, the youth and young leaders.

This past week I was honored to witness our Republican legislature open their session. It was deeply rewarding to see so many conservatives excited about a state of the state address from our new Republican Governor. Thank you to all of you for making this happen. By circulating petitions, gathering $5 contributions, emailing friends and family, knocking doors, donating dollars, phone calls, pounding signs, and other important activities…we won! It was your consistent and enthusiastic efforts that led to victory.

Frequent attacks

Questions are great…however, I feel that anonymous sniping is cowardly. Here are my thoughts about legitimate issues that have arisen.

Resolutions Committee – The AZGOP bylaws state that resolutions can be brought from the floor or sent to the Resolutions Committee. The bylaws ask for representation from multiple counties and they state that all resolutions should be submitted to the Resolutions Committee 45 days before the state meeting.

The challenge we have witnessed with the Resolutions Committee rests on complying with the 45 day deadline. First, my staff and I were late requesting volunteers for the Resolutions Committee. The hard fought general election coupled with the McSally recount pushed our ability to communicate the need for volunteers right up next to the deadline.

This dynamic was only compounded by the difficulty finding volunteers for the committee. The challenge to find volunteers was not due to lack of interest…it was due to the fact that many counties and LD’s had not had their state committee elections and/or they had not been certified by their counties. This fact precluded counties from referring volunteers for the resolutions committee until they were eligible state committeemen.

This fact and my attempt to be a strict follower of our bylaws highlighted the fact that the current bylaws are almost impossible to comply with given the statutory and bylaw guidelines set forth. In an attempt to give every state committeeman a voice and on the advice of legal counsel, I extended the resolution deadline by two weeks. Two resolutions were submitted on time (within the 45 days) and 10 were submitted within the two-week extension (outside the 45 days). After my extension was communicated the resolution committee met and overturned my extension unanimously by an 8-0 vote. The committee understands the difficulty to compliance with the current bylaws, however the committee wanted to adhere to the written rules. I support their decision.

This challenge further highlights the need for changes to our AZ GOP bylaws to assure there is ample time for committee structure and resolution submission.

American for Responsible Leadership – “You broke the law” — not even close!

I founded and for some time ran an organization named Americans for Responsible Leadership (ARL). This organization was dedicated to fight and defend our conservative values. We fought labor unions head on and worked to keep states like Arizona and California from raising taxes.

ARL raised significant funds from local and national donors. In Arizona, we were the LARGEST contributor to stop former liberal former Phoenix Mayor Paul Johnson’s attempt to bring the state the top 2 primary that would have killed our party.

Additionally, ARL was the largest contributor to the No on 204 campaign, led by then Arizona State Treasurer Doug Ducey to kill a billion dollar permanent sales tax. A tax that was said to go to children and schools…but had ZERO oversight or control by our legislature. It was a billion dollars slated for special interests. ARL was very successful in Arizona. Prior to that, we fought against liberals in the Phoenix elections. ARL also played a critical role in protecting Gov. Scott Walker when the unions tried a recall against him. We were successful in Wisconsin. We were advancing conservative principles by fighting for what is right.

Prior to running for State Chairman I resigned as President of ARL but stayed on as a board member. A few weeks prior to the general election of 2012, ARL made a sizable contribution to the Small Business Action Committee of California. The contribution was to fight the single largest tax increase in California’s history and to fight for paycheck protection from labor unions. Both were ballot measures and the intent was to bring the fight directly to the progressives. Every donation we made to further the conservative cause was reviewed and approved by legal counsel.

To say it candidly, we woke the sleeping bear. The progressive Democrat leadership which includes Gov. Jerry Brown, AG Kamala Harris and the FPPC were not happy about strong, conservative opposition within their state.

Harris, California’s liberal attorney general (the lady who is now going to run for Barbara Boxer’s Senate seat) decided in an act of political theatre to go after our organization, try to silence conservatives in their state, and make a name for herself as liberal activists.

After a thorough investigation by the FPPC and the AG’s office they declared that we acted in good faith and no criminal wrongdoing was found. Additionally, this was not a criminal matter to begin with and it is dishonest to suggest otherwise. I have a letter from the AG clearly stating there was no wrongdoing, which I am happy to share. Actually, my attorney encased the letter into a trophy, which I proudly display on my desk.

AZGOP Finances and Audit – Perhaps the most disappointing attack is the recent call by Lori Urban and her slate to audit the AZGOP. Lori Urban’s treasurer candidate launched this attack recently. We have an open door policy at headquarters and Lori and her treasurer candidate have never asked to meet with AZGOP Treasurer Timothy Lee or anyone on my team about party finances. We report our finances each month, as required by law. The finances of the institution are complex because we deal with financial ratios that are handed down from the federal government, and have multiple accounts and pools of money we raise dollars from. Timothy Lee has done a great job with all of the complexity and has served honorably, without any compensation, for almost a decade.

The folks who only now, less than a week before an election, who neither understand state party reporting, nor care about the carnage they are trying to leave behind, should be ashamed of themselves. Timothy Lee is an honorable leader and I’m happy to have been able to serve alongside him.

Conclusion

While I am happy to offer to serve, it saddens me to see Republicans criticizing anyone that is fighting against the progressive movement. Russell Pearce, a real conservative cause fighter, said that I should wear this experience with pride. We need more conservatives with the courage and willingness to fight the good fight. A leader is willing to take heat for a principled fight…I would do it all over again if asked! In fact, I have been asked to run for a second term and that’s why I now respectfully ask for the votes of the State Committeemen of the Arizona Republican Party to support me for a second term as Chairman.

Endorsements

Bruce Ash

National Republican Committeeman

Diane Douglas

Superintendent of Public Instruction-Elect

Sharon Giese

National Republican Committeewoman

Seraphim Larsen

Pinal County Republican Committee Chairman

Joe Arpaio
Maricopa County Sheriff

Delos Bond

Apache County Republican Committee Chairman

Russell Pearce

Former Arizona Senate President

Jonathan Lines

Yuma County Republican Central Committee Chairman

Gary Morris

Gila County Republican Committee Chairman

Eric Morgan

Legislative District 22 Chairman

Rim Country Republican Club

Joan Lang

Representative Brenda Barton

R-Payson

Donna Alu

Lolly Hathhorn

Gila County Republican Committee Vice Chairman

Jeff Oravits

Flagstaff City Council Member

Representative Warren Petersen

R-Gilbert

Andy McKinney

Star Valley Town Council Member

James Dutton

Yavapai County GOP Chairman

Jean McGrath

Maricopa Community College District Board Member

 Tom Forese

Corporation Commission Commissioner

Andy Biggs

Arizona Senate President

Sergio Arellano

Chairman, Legislative District 2 Republican Committee

Robert Hancock

Chairman, Legislative District 4 Republican Committee (Pima)

Brad Johns

Chairman, Legislative District 9 Republican Committee

Parralee Schneider

First Vice Chairman, AZGOP (Pima County Resident)

Ian Murray

Legislative District 25 Republican Committee Chairman

John Rhodes

Graham County Republican Party Chairman

Joy Staveley

Coconino County Republican Committee Chairman

Senator Kelli Ward

Legislative District 5

Senator Sylvia Allen

Legislative District 6

Congressman Paul Gosar

Congressional District 4

 Irene Littleton

Pinal County Republican Committee Chairman

Vince Manfredi

Legislative District 4 Chairman (Pinal)

John Acton

Pinal County District 7 Constable

Bill Beard

Pima County Republican Committee Chairman

Michael Ebert

Pima County Republican Club Chairman

Executive Committee (unanimous vote)

Pima County Republican Party

Congressman Trent Franks

Congressional District 8

Councilman Sal DiCiccio

Phoenix City Council District 6

Rep. Jill Norgaard

Arizona House of Representatives
Legislative District 18

Comments are closed.