Sunday, March 16, 2008



John Shadegg's political life has been a mess lately. Unable to raise money for re-election legitimately, he allegedly got involved with a money laundering scheme to funnel large sums, above the legal limits, from wealthy Republicans into his campaign coffers. First he denied it and blamed his bad press on bloggers. Eventually the evidence was so overwhelming that he decided to apologize... and blame it on a bookkeeper! When no one accepted that excuse he pouted and declared he was retiring-- which he followed a few days later with a laughably engineered and transparent scheme to get his House colleagues and far right media pundits to beg him to stay. He dramatically announced he was unretiring... and asked for campaign contributions.

He has been embarrassed by the publication of a book that talks about an extramarital affair with another congressman's wife, something he claims has been disavowed by the publisher and is untrue-- and is threatening to sue people who repeat it.

So, badly damaged by all the scandals and facing the toughest Democratic opposition of his life in the person of Bob Lord, Shadegg's childish scheme to announce and rescind his retirement in the course of a few days may have backfired, at least in one regard. Highly respected and very popular former state Representative Steve May has filed to run against Shadegg in the Republican primary. May, a fiscally conservative, socially moderate Republican, who fits the district far better than Shadegg-- who is, across the board, an extremist kook-- is also wealthy enough to spend a million dollars of his own money to take on Shadegg. The Tuscon Citizen speculates that May can't beat him but could damage him so severely that it could give another leg up to Bob Lord.

Interestingly, May, who is openly gay, is a member of the Log Cabin Republicans, and was instrumental in helping defeat Proposition 107, the anti-gay marriage amendment on the Arizona ballot in 2006, when he served as co-chair of Arizona Together, the lead group in opposition to the ballot measure. The measure did even worse in AZ-03 than in Arizona overall. Patrick Sammon, national president of the Log Cabin Republicans, seems to be delighted to take on the viciously homophobic Shadegg and says his group will endorse May. "[W]e’re going to support him and do all we can to help him win."

May is the only Republican among the 4 who had decided to run when Shadegg briefly announced he was resigning, to stay in the race. Shadegg's media allies claim May's candidacy is a vanity campaign, "which can only serve to play the spoiler, soften Shadegg up for what looks like a potentially tough general election challenge... If May runs, it won't be to advance conservative principles."

May has an interesting lifestory. He is a former chapter president of the extremist right-wing lunatic fringe group, Club For Growth but was kicked out when they figured out he is gay. His record in the Arizona legislature was very conservative, although not bigoted. From his campaign website:
From 1999 until 2003 Steve served as a member of the Arizona House of Representatives.  He was chairman of the Ways & Means committee, the Joint Legislative Budget Committee, the Commerce and Economic Development Committee and the Banking and Insurance Committee.  A lifelong Republican, Steve was widely acknowledged during his legislative service as an expert on budget and tax issues.

Steve also served in the US Army’s First Infantry Division as a Nuclear, Biological and Chemical Defense Officer.  He is a qualified nuclear submariner (Silver Dolphins, 1990) and paratrooper (Airborne, 1992).  In 1999 Steve was involuntarily recalled into reserve service and served as the executive officer of a fuel transportation company until April 2001.

On July of 1999 the US Army began proceedings against Lieutenant May under the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” law that forbids members from disclosing their homosexuality.  Though his sexual orientation had been public record and widely reported in the media since 1996, the Army ordered him into reserve service and immediately began discharge proceedings.  Steve fought the attempted discharge for two years until President Clinton and the Secretary of the Army unexpectedly intervened and allowed him to complete the duty to which he was called.

Labels: , , , ,


At 7:39 AM, Blogger merlallen said...

Dolphins and a paratrooper. That's pretty impressive.


Post a Comment

<< Home