Battle Royale: Controversial Mary Rose Wilcox Is in the Political Fight of Her Life

Categories: Election 2014

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Jesse Lenz
Mary Rose Wilcox was shot in 1997 by a transient who didn't like her politics.

People say she was hit in a buttock, but she insists the wound was higher than that. Indeed, the gunman's hollow-point bullet shattered her pelvis. It also shattered her desire to remain in public office.

Briefly.

Some family members pleaded with her to walk away from her seat on the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors at the time, but Wilcox decided to continue in the political arena.

"What could I do?" a defiant Wilcox recalls. "If I left, he won. So I went back."

Nearly 20 years later, she's in the final week of her bid for an open seat in Arizona's 7th Congressional District.

She's running against three other Democrats: Ruben Gallego, a Marine and former state lawmaker; Randy Camacho, a social-studies teacher and former Congressional candidate, and the Reverend Jarrett Maupin, a firebrand who's gathering political support from churchgoers in South Phoenix.

Immigration attorney Joe Peñalosa, an Independent, and Joe Cobb, a white Libertarian and perennial political candidate, also are in the race to represent a nearly 200-square-mile district that spans several communities, including Phoenix, Guadalupe, Tolleson, and southern portions of Glendale. It's a safe district for progressive politicos where 68 percent of voters are registered Democrats and 64 percent of 710,000 residents are Latino.

Congressman Ed Pastor, who unexpectedly announced in February that he would retire, served the area for 23 years and easily captured two to four times as many votes as his opponents in the past decade. It's hard to remember a time when Pastor stirred up controversy.

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Mary Rose Wilcox
The August 26 primary race is far different. It's gotten ugly as Wilcox and Gallego have exposed each other's imperfect and messy political pasts, with each trying to cast the other as untrustworthy. It's a battle between Latino royalty in Phoenix: Wilcox (who uses the last name of her husband, Earl) and Gallego, a politically savvy, Harvard-educated, two-term state lawmaker.

But the war of words pales, Wilcox maintains, when she remembers that somebody once tried to murder her.

Wilcox recalls that in 1997 a man stood out in the auditorium where the supervisors convene. He appeared to be extremely uneasy. When the meeting adjourned, she recalls, he walked toward her. She hurried her steps but froze when she felt a gun at the middle of her back. Or was it pointed at her head? She can't remember.

A blood-curdling scream escaped from her lips, jolting a security guard and a fellow supervisor to tackle the gunman, later identified as Larry Naman. But not before he'd fired his weapon.

"It felt like a hot bolt of oil going through my leg. I just felt it explode inside me," she says. "I remember everything swirling around me."

Wilcox says she later told Earl in the emergency room: "I don't want this job anymore. You take it."


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27 comments
rh19541954
rh19541954

I am voting for democrat straight down the ticket, no republicans have impressed me since the one time I got fooled when I voted for Nixon long ago!

Jukes
Jukes

Wow, what a choice.  A thieving grandma too old for the job.  And a hot-headed gun lover too immature for the job.  Thanks for the info.  I'm glad I live somewhere with better candidates.

Ponder
Ponder

She was shot in the ass. Naman hit exactly where he meant to. Shooting someone in the ass is not attempted murder....it's aggravated assault.

No one tried killing this trash heap called Mary Rose Wilcox.

salmo60
salmo60

Every time I see Mary Wilcox, I see someone who looks like Nancy Grace. UGH, appalling.

semperfinally
semperfinally

Terry Goddard would make a fine Governor.


What a pity the Dems are running somebody or other else for that office.


And what a pity that the AZ Dem organization is so impotent that it couldn't even manage to run even a token candidate for every statewide office.


The 2016 Dem Convention is not apt to be held in Phoenix. Duh.

semperfinally
semperfinally

Perhaps, Rep Gallego, has been a bit too enthusiastic for legal marijuana and its underworld sponsors..


He will be very lucky to reach his 40th birthday--whether or not he ever reaches Congress.

semperfinally
semperfinally

Rep. Gallego is a very young man in a very big hurry--and has a lot of money at his disposal--despite only 4 unremarkable years in the legislature. 


Something is off here.

mike2059
mike2059

Mary Rose is the only one in this race who can and will do the hard work to meet the needs of individual constituents and various communities, while standing up for Rights and pushing to complete Comprehensive Immigration Reform in a meaningful way.  She alone will stand up against the cynical rampage of the Gun Lobby.  The tradition of this Community as rights for all have expanded over the years has been that of King and Chavez, not Wayne LaPierre and his stooges. 


That is why brilliant and accomplished Leaders and Legislators such as Rep. Luis Gutierrez, Ed Pastor, and Antonio Villaraigosa have not only endorsed her, they have flown to be Phoenix to be by her side and let us know they look forward to her experience and leadership.  Mary Rose will bring the wisdom and compassion of a Mother and Grandmother to the human needs of her District.

mike2059
mike2059

Ruben Gallego is all talk and no action, unless it's to do the NRA's bidding.  He hasn't done the work to have any real accomplishments, and ditched his consituents in District 27 in about two seconds as soon as the seat became open.  A rank opportunist who wouldn't know the truth if it bit him in the ass!

Nathan Schneider
Nathan Schneider

You don't have to shoot her. Just don't vote for her. Problem solved.

Desertrat1
Desertrat1

She needs to go away! She got her millions from the BS lawsuit...Also don't forget all the corrupt business deals including her involvement with the City of Phx at Sky Harbor......

66rock
66rock topcommenter

The end of my support for her came when she enriched herself with the suit against us county taxpayers. After that and nearly 30 years of her on the public

payroll, it really is time for her to go away. She gives us women and Democrats a bad name, the people can do much better.  

RobertGraham29
RobertGraham29

Fuck Mary Rose Wilcox. She is a disgrace to Maricopa County. She's gonna lose!

manicmartian
manicmartian

No sympathy, he should have shot her in the head.

Jukes
Jukes

@semperfinally I agree it's a pity that the Dems don't even have candidates for some positions.  BUT ... Do volunteer for the party?  Time or money?  Too many people have opinions, but fail to participate in the process. 

arizonaeagletarian
arizonaeagletarian

@semperfinally do you have any idea about what marijuana is and does? It's MUCH safer than alcohol, from personal health and public health perspectives. Fear mongers are caught up in hundred year old propaganda.

mike2059
mike2059

@semperfinally He just did a Fundraiser with FIFE SYMINGTON!!!  In a Hurry and DESPERATE!!!  How the Hell can he call himself a Progressive with Friends like Fife Symington and the NRA???!!!

mike2059
mike2059

@Desertrat1 Read the article, Desertrat.  She won't net a dime.  Arpaio engaged in the most cynical attempt at political destruction in the history of this state----and Mary Rose won!!!  All 44 counts were dismissed, Joe is under Federal Court Order, Andy is disbarred, and she won her suit, which just might cover her incredible legal fees and taxes. This is one tough lady who withstood it all to fight against injustice and racial profiling, and the People know it!!!

semperfinally
semperfinally

@66rock True enough. Many might argue that Ruben's apparent connections to the cartels are  much worse.

MaskedMagician1967
MaskedMagician1967 topcommenter

66, as much as it pains me to say this, i think Wilcox was entitled to the money.

I mean, candy Andy and the miscreants, in concert with the old man, forced Wilcox to spend a shitload of money on a good lawyer to defend her against their (Arpaio, Thomas, Aubuchon and Alexander's) bullshit.

Her lawyer just happens to be a former superior court judge.

arizonaeagletarian
arizonaeagletarian

@semperfinally @66rock dude, you don't seem to have a clue. When MJ is legalized (and it WILL be legalized soon throughout the country) the cartels will be decimated, not enriched.

Have you ever taken an economics course?

DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

@arizonaeagletarian You really are an ignoramus.


Marijuana will NEVER be legal across the U$A in your lifetime. 


"The Cartels" are the same friends, family and relatives that every stoner in the U$A has always purchased their pot from.


Grow a brain.

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