Meghan McCain Expects to be "Crucified" in HBO Movie Game Change

Categories: Election 2008
Meghan McCain is not a fan of the new movie being made about her family.
Meghan McCain, the overly vocal daughter of Senator John McCain, does not expect the upcoming HBO movie about her family and her pop's failed bid for the presidency in 2008 to paint her in the most positive light. In fact, she expects to be "crucified."

As we mentioned earlier this month, Hollywood actually has taken an interest in McCain's landslide loss and is making a movie based on John Heilemann and Mark Halperin's bestselling book, Game Change, in which the authors air some of the McCain campaign's dirty laundry -- namely, Sarah Palin and her continual battles with campaign staffers.

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David Schweikert: Driven Into Politics Because of Arizona Heat?

Categories: Election 2008

David Schweikert back in the day

​David Schweikert might just have stumbled into politics because it was "too hot outside."

That's the story that Lois Fitch just told New Times at Schweikert's campaign headquarters in Scottsdale.

Fitch, a former American History teacher at Saguaro High School, started the Teenage Republican Club there about 30 years ago.

Schweikert, a junior at the time, was walking a friend to a club meeting.

"He just stayed in the doorway and wouldn't leave," Fitch said. "We wanted to start the meeting, so I said, 'Either come in, or leave.' It was too hot outside, so he decided to come in. And that was the beginning of his political career."

Schweikert, a Republican, is running against Congressman Harry Mitchell in Congressional District 5.

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Court Won't Stop Joe Arpaio From Attacking Tom Horne in TV Ads

Categories: Election 2008


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Photo illustration: Ray Stern
Sheriff Arpaio scolds Tom Horne and Rick Romley in a TV hit-piece masquerading as a 2012 election ad.
​A Maricopa County Superior Court judge has declined to stop Sheriff Joe Arpaio from pounding Tom Horne and Rick Romley in a televised attack ad.

Judge John Buttrick stated in his ruling on the matter this morning that state election law provides remedies for complaints like Horne's, and an injunction against the ads isn't warranted.

State election officials have already stated publicly that they are checking into the legality of the ads.

Neither the content of the ad nor the way Arpaio's spending his campaign cash was addressed by Buttrick's answer to Horne's request for a restraining order.

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Dan Saban Loses Appeal of Defamation Lawsuit Vs. Sheriff's Office

Categories: Election 2008


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Image: Dan Saban
Dan Saban's defamation lawsuit against Sheriff Joe Arpaio, like his SmartCar, had no get-up-and-go.
​Dan Saban, who ran twice against Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio, has lost his appeal of a failed defamation lawsuit he filed three years ago against Arpaio and his office.

The Arizona Court of Appeals on Thursday upheld the September 2007 trial-court ruling against Saban's lawsuit.

The Appeals Court ruling seems to affirm that when it comes to political mud-slinging, there are few limits on the amount or toxicity of the mud.


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Ron Paul Renegade Roughed Up by Police at John McCain Campaign Event

Much to our dismay, the Ron Paul Revolution apparently isn't over, and at a John McCain campaign stop in Mesa on Saturday, the "revolution" was televised.

Cameras rolled as a man, who identified himself only as Alex, was tossed out of the event -- where former vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin was speaking on McCain's behalf -- for screaming and yelling as Palin tried to give her speech.

After getting the boot, ABC 15 cameras watched as three men -- one a plainclothes police officer -- wrestled the man to the ground as he threw a tantrum reminiscent of the whole "don't tase me, bro" debacle.

Alex, however, wasn't getting electrocuted, he was just being a pussy.

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John McCain's Top Aide Believed Cindy McCain Affair Rumors, Book Claims

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The National Enquirer says this is Cindy McCain's boyfriend -- and John McCain's chief strategist apparently believed it.
Mark Weaver, the top campaign strategist for Senator John McCain, believed rumors that McCain's wife Cindy was having an affair with a Tempe man, according to a new book hitting stores this week.

Game Change, the new behind-the-scenes look at the 2008 presidential campaign by veteran reporters Mark Halperin and John Heilemann, is already generating lots of talk among political observers. Its authors paint devastating portraits of everyone from Elizabeth Edwards (who apparently isn't quite the saint we've been led to believe) to Bill Clinton, who supposedly told Ted Kennedy that "a few years ago," Barack Obama "would have been getting us coffee." Yikes!

Phoenix's own Cindy McCain isn't immune from the book's reach, either.

According to a short excerpt of the book in Atlantic magazine's blog, McCain aides confronted Cindy about her rumored affair with a Tempe used-car salesman:

"The man was said to be her long-term boyfriend; the pair had been sighted all over town in the last few years," the book says. "Members of McCain's senior staff discussed the unsettling news, and their growing concerns that Cindy's behavior had been increasingly erratic of late. [John] Weaver and others suspected that the Cindy rumor was rooted in truth. It was upsetting, Weaver believed, but not a threat." 

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Judge Unseals Search Warrant on Joel Fox/ SCA Raid

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​Pinal County Superior Court Judge Robert Carter Olson today unsealed the search warrant and other documents in a criminal investigation into a campaign finance scandal linked to the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office -- pulling back the curtain, in part, on an investigation that is clearly both active and serious.

Olson acted at the request of this newspaper, which filed a motion to intervene in the six-month-old case last week. Though the documents have previously been sealed by court order, the Arizona Attorney General's Office, which has quietly been working the case all that time, did not object to New Times' request. Though Dennis Wilenchik, the lawyer representing the officer at the center of the probe, Sheriff's Captain Joel Fox, had previously argued against public disclosure of the documents, his associates did not do so in court today.

Attorney Michael Meehan filed a brief on New Times' behalf; the paper's longtime counsel, Steve Suskin, was in the courtroom today.

The documents show that agents raided Fox's Gilbert home March 31 -- and that its investigation is very much ongoing.
"Is it your avowal that this is still an active criminal investigation?" Judge Olson questioned the assistant attorney general, Todd Lawson.

"It certainly is," Lawson replied.

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Captain Joel Fox Expected to Deliver SCA Donation Checks Today to County Elections

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Captain Joel Fox had to 'fess up and spill the names of the cagey SCA donors behind a Republican Party smear campaign, but he still hasn't turned over the contribution checks.

Today's the big day, according to Jeffrey Messing, the lawyer hired by the Maricopa County Elections Department to hold fire to the feet of Fox and the SCA.

The settlement agreement allowed Fox a reasonable amount of time to get the checks, and that time has passed. Fox told Messing last weeks that he has the checks but hasn't given them up yet, Messing tells us today. Messing says that if Fox doesn't deliver the checks by this afternoon, he'll whack (our word, not his) the sheriff's deputy with a civil sanction. County officials are expected to post the checks online after they receive them.

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Steve Ellman's Other Campaign Donation Controversy; SCA Contributor Accused of Similar Scheme in '04

Image: City of Glendale
Steve Ellman

Valley developer Steve Ellman must feel a bit of deja vu.

Years before we broke the story about his big contribution to the SCA, Ellman knew what it was like to be under suspicion of using the Republican Party to funnel money toward a specific political candidate.

"The recent revelation is consistent with Mr. Ellman's tactics," says former Scottsdale Councilman David Ortega. "It looks like typical Ellman cover. That's what I thought when I saw it."

Ortega, who has an architecture practice in Scottsdale, tells New Times it's possible he may have been targeted by Ellman in 2004 after making strong statements against the developer's former plan to develop the site of the old Los Arcos Mall using subsidies from the city. He doesn't know for certain that Ellman attacked him while he was running for mayor. A complaint over the incident filed by a citizen and submitted to the state Attorney General's office apparently went nowhere.

As the East Valley Tribune reported in September of 2004, Ellman made a $25,000 contribution the Maricopa County Republican Committee in the spring of that year -- the largest individual contribution the committee had seen in six years.

Six days after the donation, the committee formed a group that hammered Ortega in mailers and phone calls to potential voters, ultimately spending about $18,000 on the effort. Mary Manross was re-elected as mayor. 

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Sonoran Alliance Blog and Readers Strike Critical Note on SCA Contribution

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We asked for comment, we got comment -- from the Sonoran Alliance blog, anyhow.

Turns out Shane Wikfors (pictured), who runs the blog, considers church-mate Dan Saban a friend. Who knew? Wikfors slams the infamous attack ad on Saban as "disgusting." And although the blog's only unmasked cowboy (there's also one unmasked cowgirl) doesn't quite level both bores on the SCA, he does seem to understand something has gone wrong:

Incidentally, if the ad was really an independent expenditure, anyone close to either candidate who gave to the effort for or against either of the candidates could be interpreted as violating campaign finance law.

In fact, at least half of the people involved with the SCA are close to the candidate in question, Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio.

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