Unethical indeed. Ringer? Perhaps. Regardless, GOP Congressional candidate Shelley Kais (Arizona CD2) continues to conduct her campaign in a manner that inspires an almost painful raising of eyebrows. After watching her and her people in action for the past couple of months, I felt compelled to write the following Letter to the Editor, addressing it to both the Sierra Vista Herald and the Arizona Daily Star.
If either newspaper publishes it, I’ll post an update to let our readers know. In the meantime, here’s the text.
To the Editor:
I make no bones about being a Chuck Wooten supporter in this year’s Congressional primary campaign, but I’ve tried to watch Shelley Kais (Chuck’s competitor, along with Martha McSally) objectively. Unfortunately, it hasn’t been easy.
Some time back, Mrs. Kais accused Mr. Wooten of being a “false Republican” and questioned the validity of signatures gathered to put him on the ballot. Upon investigation, it was discovered that the MVD had made a clerical error when Chuck moved to Tucson several years ago. He was, is, and always has been a staunch Republican and had filled out his voter registration form as such.
Shelley Kais acknowledged this in a later address to the Benson Tea Party on April 19, where she and Chuck Wooten both spoke. I know. I was there. She concluded by saying, “Chuck Wooten and I are both Republicans. Our opponent is (Democrat) Ron Barber, not each other. We’re all Republicans here.”
Wait. It gets worse. At the Pima County Fair in April, I volunteered at Chuck Wooten’s campaign booth for 9 of the 11 days the Fair was open. When CD2 voters stopped by the booth and were willing to sign Chuck’s petition, we Wooten supporters were careful to ask whether or not they’d already signed for anyone else. We explained to them that they could only sign for one candidate. Yet several voters whom we’d apprised of the law were kind enough to swing back by the booth later…to tell us that the Kais people (including Shelley’s husband) had deliberately encouraged them to sign Shelley’s nominating petition as well–in blatant contravention of Arizona election law.
The only reason for them to do such a thing would be an attempt to invalidate the signatures for Chuck, as both signatures are thrown out if the Secretary of State cannot determine which came first. The people manning her booth were advised by our staff in no uncertain terms to cease and desist this unethical practice, though we have no way to know for sure if they did or not.
And now the clincher. Mrs. Kais turned in her signatures yesterday and let it be known that she intends to pursue legal means to attempt to invalidate certain signatures for Chuck Wooten. This will not affect Mr. Wooten’s candidacy in any material way–he gathered many more signatures than the required minimum and has an ample margin no matter what–but Mrs. Kais has taken this stance a month after declaring publicly that Chuck’s eligibility to be on the ballot was no longer an issue.
To my mind, this raises serious questions in addition to the obvious hypocrisy. Is Shelley Kais, who once worked with Martha McSally, a ringer? (Let’s hope not; that would constitute election fraud.) Or is she merely unethical?
I don’t presume to know the answers. I do know it would be far healthier for our District if she would campaign on the issues as Chuck Wooten does.
Update: June 5, 2014. The Sierra Vista Herald published the letter today on page A4 under the title, “Keep the campaign on issues”. Here’s a photo.