Arizona Republican Party Chairman Randy Pullen was re-elected yesterday at the parties Statutory Meeting held at Camelback H.S. in Phoenix. The election was a repeat of 2007 but not as close. Pullen's opponent, political consultant Lisa James, lost by only four votes two years ago. The vote, as I recorded it when announced was Pullen 521, James 475, other final numbers are going around, up or down one or two points either way, but it was clear that Pullen won.
It wasn't just Randy Pullen that won yesterday, it was a great victory for the grassroots of the GOP, which Pullen clearly represented or maybe it would be more accurate to say that James clearly represented the special moneyed interest who hire lobbyist and consultants like her, in this particularly case, the Wake Up Arizona Coalition, which was formed to oppose enforcement of Arizona employer sanctions law against knowingly hiring undocumented workers, which James' husband, Gordon James, is a member.
There are many different characters and types in politics, one type is the mercenary. A mercenary is someone who serves merely for wages, they really have no loyalty except to themselves and the almighty dollar. Of course they would never call themselves mercenaries, they use titles such as lobbyist, political or public relations consultant, government affairs consultant and, some are even politicians, they work for who pays them. This is not to say that everyone with one of those titles is a mercenary, there are some very principled people in politics and some make a living as consultants and even as elected officials. As politics as become more and more like a business however, more and more of the participants are really just mercenaries.
Lisa James is a mercenary, she makes her living as a hired gun, she works for who pays her. If you go to the Arizona Secretary of State's web site, at http://www.azsos.gov/ and search campaign finance, contributors, and go as far back as the web site allows, 1998, you will find that Lisa James has never given a penny to the AZ GOP or any candidate, not in 1998, 2000, 2002, 2004, 2006, or 2008. She listed running the 2006 AZGOP Victory Program, for which she was paid $100, 000, as a qualification for her as state chairman, but still she wont contribute a single penny to any political candidate or party. Randy Pullen on the other hand has a long history of voluntary political work, for which he was never paid and, making political contributions.
There is another word that political mercenaries use to describe themselves, and that is as professionals and, those of us that are not in it for the money they refer to in a condescending manner as volunteers. Some of the people who are in it for the money I sometimes refer to as the hired help.
Yesterday the grassroots volunteers won and the Arizona GOP didn't slip into the hands of the mercenaries and those that pay them. The Arizona Republican Party still represents the average citizen and not the big money special interest and control of the Republican Party in Arizona is still from the bottom up under the leadership of principled people like Randy Pullen and not from the top down under the control of mercenaries like Lisa James.
Correction- see comments