Thursday, October 5, 2006

Randy Graf: Playground Bully No One Wants to Play With. (AZ-8)

Randy Graf, Republican candidate from Arizona's 8th congressional district, has been facing some tough times of late.

At first he was heralded by the extreme right as the golden boy of the anti-immigration movement. His primary victory in Sept. was viewed as a validation not only for the Minuteman Candidate, but the movement he had helped to start. The victory was all the more sweet for the minuteman types due to the strong opposition from party leadership. Fearing Graf's radical views would hurt the party, they had endorsed his opponent, Steve Huffman, to the tune of $200,000, but he still prevailed.

Yet, after a very brief honeymoon, Graf and the party hierarchy went their separate ways.

Two weeks ago, dismal poll numbers coupled with a new controversy revolving around Graf's possible ties to white supremacist David Duke, led the Republican National Congressional Committee to all but pull the plug on his campaign.

On Sept 21 they announced plans to cancel all scheduled funding for Graf advertising after October 3. With more than a month to go before the election, the pullout left Graf with a $1 million hole in his campaign budget.

Now it appears the Arizona bully-boy has been relegated to tagging along with the more popular kids in hopes of reviving his faltering campaign.

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The campaign trail turned into the campaign caravan for Sen. Jon Kyl Monday.

Kyl spent the day trekking across Southern Arizona to meet with supporters at various campaign events.
Much to the surprise of Kyl's staffers, however, Republican congressional candidate Randy Graf tagged along.

Graf appeared at an event in Marana, then followed the senator to SaddleBrooke, where Kyl spoke to about 50 supporters. Graf was able to get a few words in at the event's closing, but many were clearly surprised he was there. In fact, by the time Graf got the microphone, about a third of the crowd had left.

Kyl has endorsed Graf, and Graf's campaign had asked if he could join Kyl at SaddleBrooke.
For whatever reason, Kyl staffers didn't get the memo.

"We were surprised," said Kyl spokeswoman Vicki Mata Myles.

She said Graf's campaign had contacted Kyl's Tucson office sometime last week.

In any event, Graf was supposed to speak at the beginning of the forum and not the end, throwing off some of the Saddle-Brooke residents, she said.

Graf's campaign spokesman, R.T. Gregg, insisted Graf didn't crash the forum."They knew we were coming," he said. "We were invited.

Arizona Daily Star

Even a visit from Karl Rove last Friday didn't turn out as expected for little Randy.

Head cheerleader Karl showed up showed up in Tuscon to lead a little pep-rally for Arizona candidates. Yet in the end Graf walked away empty handed.

Karl hammered away on the familiar Republican talking point; "Democrats can’t be trusted to fight the War on Terror" accusing the Democratic congressional leadership of a “cut-and-run philosophy on terror.”

Conspicuously absent from Rove's little speech was any mention of the one topic the single issue candidate needed him to talk about: immigration. No mention of building walls, the invasion from the south, closing the borders or any of the topics Graf has built his whole campaign upon.

The Bottom line…Karl did nothing to help the beleaguered Minutemen.

Graf now lags behind his opponent, Gabrielle Giffords, not only in the polls but in fund raising. Giffords, had raised nearly $1.2 million for the race even before the primary. Graf on the other hand had yet to surpass $500,000 in campaign funds according to the most recent Federal Election Commission filings of August 23. He also had just $82,000 cash on hand—Giffords had more than $300,000.

In the polls Graf's prospects look even worse. Although a just released Reuters poll puts him only eight points behind his Democratic challenger, a Tuscon Weekly/Wick poll done during the same period shows Gifford's lead at 18%. Either way you cut it Randy's in big trouble.

Who knows what Randy will do next.

Maybe he'll just continue to tag along with the big boy candidates – whether they want him to or not. That is until they tell him to go home…his mommy's calling him.


Anonymous said...

Randy will find some office to run for. He is really good and will be successful in whatever he choses.

Anonymous said...

"really good" at what? Alienating his base? Losing elections? Gambling at Desert Diamond? Repaying debts to Mexican nationals? Indeed, he is a born leader.