Politico Mafioso's Jeff Vath, the GOP's "Badass Blogger," Dies following Ulcer Surgery

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Jeff Vath, aka "TonyGOPrano" with U.S. Senator Jeff Flake...

One of Arizona's most influential bloggers, Jeff Vath, the man behind the widely-read, GOP-centric Politico Mafioso blog, passed away Tuesday night at John C. Lincoln Hospital in Deer Valley. He was 52.

According to his wife of 24 years, Mary Anne, Vath's death was due to complications from surgery on a perforated ulcer. He never recovered from the operation.

Vath's premature demise leaves a tremendous void on the political scene, one that will not easily be filled. His colorful, take-no-prisoners approach to Republican politics under the guise of "TonyGoprano" earned him many fans among mainstream Republicans, and perhaps just as many detractors on the far right.

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Vath's wraparound with the title he so richly deserved...

Indeed, Vath made no secret of his allegiances, subtitling his blog, "Leader of the McCain Mafia," and offering unequivocal support for politicians such as U.S. Senator Jeff Flake, U.S. Senator John McCain, state Senator Bob Worsley, and others.

I knew him as an ally in the fight against former state Senate President Russell Pearce, and as a moderating influence in the state GOP. A lifelong Arizonan, he was devoted to politics and to his party, and he worked tirelessly to oppose the extremist elements he saw dragging the Arizona GOP and his state down.

One of those he worked to get elected is Robert Graham, chairman of the Arizona Republican Party. Graham was saddened greatly by Vath's passing.

"It's a big loss for friends, family, and Arizona and Arizona Republicans, to lose a guy that was so selflessly committed to the cause," Graham said when I reached him by phone. "Not everybody agreed with him, but...those that he supported loved him, and cared for him as a friend. And we'll all miss him."

His widow Mary Anne told me that Vath died peacefully, with his family around him. She said that since Vath fell ill she'd been receiving messages of support from numerous politicians and movers and shakers in the Republican Party, including Governor Jan Brewer, with whom Vath was friends.

"I feel like he went out at the top of his game," she told me. "His brother said, `Politics was his religion,' and I told him he was right. Jeff had three passions: politics, sports and his family."

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15 comments
benavidez41
benavidez41

@mandymountain, I happen to be an independent, whether that matters or not in this conversation, out of respect for my friend I will not in gage about his political beliefs. First and foremost he was a human being, Husband, Father, Brother, Son and friend, may he rest in peace! If you would like information regarding any arrangements I can put you in touch with his grieving widow of 24 years. Obviously you're a Democrat therefore the Jackass represents you well....end of conversation!

phana24
phana24

Jeff and I went back to old AOL chat rooms where we mercilessly bashed Hillary Clinton in the 2000 Senate race.  While I was one of his Neanderthal "opponents" we always had a great respect for each other.  God Bless Mary Anne and his family in their time of loss.  Please know that you and Jeff will be in our prayers. 

MandyMountain
MandyMountain

Who? He certainly looks like an elephant, so perhaps that's the cause of his political affiliation?

MaskedMagician1967
MaskedMagician1967

So very sad to lose a moderate voice in the Republican Party. RIP Mr. Voth....

WhoKnows
WhoKnows topcommenter

"Robert Graham, chairman of the Arizona Republican Party"

Where did I hear that name before?

Hey Jaffy, can you help here?

bash2
bash2

Jeff Vath was a friend and an ally for almost 6 years. 

I liked Jeff a lot. He had a biting humor and we fought like cats and dogs about the rivalry between UofA and ASU as well as the differences within the Republican Party. I owed him at least a case of beer on bad bets we made on the UofA ASU rivalry. 

But I owed him much more for spreading my message to so many Republicans and other persuadables around the state. I will never know if he always agreed with my commentaries he helped produce dozens of You Tubes for but he did a great job and made a difference in elections because he helped touch thousands. There are so many Republicans who also owe him a debt of gratitude.

Anyone who felt Jeff was not conservative enough did not know Jeff or really understand who he was. Jeff supported Republicans. No , not all of the same Republicans readers here might have supported but he was always a conservative at heart. 

Jeff deeply loved his wife and family. He spoke so proudly of his children and grand children. He battled health issues for some time and we frequently talked about his efforts to live a more healthy life. He was a relatively young man who may not have reached his measure in years but he packed alot of good works while he was here along side all of us working in elections to serve his country. 

I think God may be a Republican and if he is I hope he will ask Jeff to handle his blogging for his good causes.

See you on the other side my amigo.

tucsondogs
tucsondogs

Jeff will be missed by all who called him friend, and he had more friends than most.  Jeff was a man with solid principals, he lived what he preached.  God Bless the Vath Family.

phana24
phana24

@MandyMountain  I would expect nothing less from a jackass who probably supports the Imbecile Occupying the White House.  I knew Jeff from back in the 90s on old AOL chat rooms.  Despite my becoming a Tea Party Neanderthal, Jeff and I maintained a very friendly and occasionally a bit contentious relationship.  Jeff will be missed as even his political opponents concede according to the article.  You will most likely never be missed.  Jeff may have been overweight, but I suspect you are coyote ugly, and Jeff could have gone on a diet.

benavidez41
benavidez41

@MandyMountain, you're an asshole Jeff was a friend of mine, to make a comment like that, goes to show what type of individual you are! The man just passed and that's all you have to say, shame on you!

MotherJones
MotherJones

@WhoKnows There's a Bob Graham who used to be US Senator from Florida. Not the same guy obviously.

MandyMountain
MandyMountain

@benavidez41 Still looked like a porcine Republican. How about you? Better an asshole than a damned fool Republican, too.

WhoKnows
WhoKnows topcommenter

@MotherJones 

hint:  "whois" has a name attached to Jaffy's little website.  That name is Robert Graham.

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