Russell Pearce's Revenge Candidate? Ralph Heap's Consultant Chris Baker Says No
In Legislative District 25, where the Republican primary is what primarily matters, the word on the street has been that orthopedic surgeon Dr. Ralph Heap, GOP primary challenger to state Senator Bob Worsley, is the cat's paw of Mesa's Pearce clan.
Back in 2012, Worsley bested recalled, disgraced former state Senate President Russell Pearce by 12 points, effectively putting a stake through Pearce's desire to return to the state Senate after being defeated in the 2011 recall election by fellow Republican Jerry Lewis.
Unlike Pearce, who comes with baggage galore, Heap is a relative unknown, save for his being a well-off doctor, a factor that no doubt increases his appeal to country club Republicans, who regard Pearce as a caged gorilla.
So is Heap really Pearce's "revenge candidate"?
Pearce and Heap share a moment . . .
That's what some in LD 25 have been telling me. The evidence? His campaign allegedly was being "managed" by Pearce's nephew Talmage Pearce and advised by that vision of Republican darkness Constantin Querard, who ran Pearce's disastrous 2012 campaign and also, um, "helped" Pearce to defeat in the recall.
Arizona Republic's Mesa columnist John D'Anna seemed to confirm what I'd been hearing when he wrote in a January 17 piece that, "I'm told that Heap's day-to-day campaign operations are being managed by Talmage Pearce under the tutelage of controversial GOP operative Constantin Querard."
Heap's first campaign finance report was filed January 30, and recorded a $250 cash payment to Querard's Discessio, LLC for "Professional Services - Consultants."
And there is evidence that Talmage had been stumping for Heap, forwarding news of Heap's candidacy to Tea Party stalwarts with the following message:
"I am very excited to tell you that Dr. Ralph Heap has announced his candidacy for the Arizona State Senate in LD25. I encourage you all to attend Dr. Heap's campaign kickoff tomorrow night at the Red Mountain Tea Party.
"He would love to meet all of you and I encourage you all to support him in his campaign for the Arizona State Senate. He will do an excellent job of representing those of us who live in Legislative District 25 and I support him 100%."
When I contacted Talmage, he admitted to helping Heap by posting supportive messages on Facebook, and 'fessed to the e-mail when asked about it, but he denied any official role.
"I'm not managing Ralph's campaign," he told me. "I don't work for Ralph."
The phone number I had for Heap was not responsive, so I sent him an e-mail.
The reply came from Chris Baker of the Blue Point consulting firm. Baker has worked for Congressman David Schweikert and Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery, among others.