The Daily Agenda: Another day, another round of audit updates
What makes him so special and masterful? ... Paid internships are for Prada capitalists ... And if you're not laying on a floor, you're doing election night wrong.
The new special master in the Senate’s fight with Maricopa County is a familiar name: John Shadegg used to be an Arizona congressman, and he’s well-known within conservative circles. And he also appeared alongside some of the state’s most ardent audit supporters at an early Stop the Steal rally.
The event was held on Nov. 5, when no winner had been declared nationally, but after Fox News and the Associated Press had called Arizona for Joe Biden. Shadegg joined Arizona Republican Party Chair Kelli Ward and U.S. Reps. Debbie Lesko and Paul Gosar, photos of the event show. David Bossie, who used to work on Trump’s campaign, was also there.
This was months before the audit began — at the time, the big refrain was to count all the ballots or to stop the counting, depending on the location and who was winning. The crowd at the event where Shadegg appeared chanted things like “Fox New sucks” and “Stop the Steal.”
Shadegg’s appearance gives pause to at least one member of the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors, which struck the deal to make him special master overseeing the county’s fight with the Senate over routers and other hardware.
Steve Gallardo, the lone Democrat on the board, pointed to Shadegg’s presence at the Nov. 5 event, telling AZ Family’s Dennis Welch that Shadegg cannot be an impartial voice.
"Standing on the same stage as those who were advocating for Trump, now being in charge to have an independent review, an impartial review, it’s very problematic and very troubling,” Gallardo said.
No shit, John?: Former Democratic co-spokesman of the audit and longtime Don Quixote of Arizona election fraud John Brakey, feels bad for the poor fools who got suckered by the audit. It’s not clear if he includes himself in that group. But in an interview with 12 News’ Brahm Resnik, Brakey said Biden won the election and the audit is spreading conspiracies.
Local man runs for governor: In addition to the flowchart we requested of Arizona criminal investigations, we would love a rundown of all the vacant or soon-to-be-vacant offices. Another one to add to the list: Rep. Aaron Lieberman, a Democrat in Legislative District 28, announced yesterday that he’s resigning to focus on running for governor, a fact we had forgotten about until we saw the news.
The word kickoff no longer has any meaning: Speaking of people we forgot were running for governor, Karrin Taylor Robson held a campaign kickoff yesterday. She has already been running for office for months now. She invited former Govs. Jan Brewer and Fife Symington, who both endorsed her campaign.
That’s the best you got?: The Trump machine is striking back against Stephanie Grisham by releasing “embarrassing photos” of her *gasp* laying on the floor. Trump’s favorite British tabloid got ahold of “exclusive” photos in perhaps the most petty story imaginable — a Trump insider told the tabloid they snapped the pics on election night 2020 because “we knew she'd spin a false narrative about the first family when she left, so here is the unvarnished version of what we dealt with when it came to her.” Grisham, for her part, saw the bizarre smear coming and addressed it in her upcoming book. Join our future book club to discuss it further.
The book club will only be open to paid subscribers. If you want to count yourself among them, it’s only $7 per month.
In even weirder Grisham news: In an interview with CNN’s Anderson Cooper, former Melania Trump friend Stephanie Winston Wolkoff bizarrely speculated that Grisham’s new book isn’t shameless self-promotion, but rather the opening bid of a Ivanka Trump presidential campaign. “This might be Ivanka’s next step for her bid for the White House, having Stephanie Grisham do a little dirty work on Melania,” she said.
Perhaps the state can use its money to help: More than 1,600 refugees from Afghanistan should arrive in Arizona in the next six months. But instead of coming through the typical refugee resettlement process, they will come as part of a temporary program called the Afghanistan Placement Assistance Program, reports the AZ Mirror’s Laura Gómez Rodriguez. Refugee aid groups wonder how this will affect access to assistance programs.
Lessons were maybe learned after all: The Republic’s Paulina Pineda has tons more details on the proposed development for the Arizona Coyotes in Tempe. After the yearslong debacle with the taxpayer-funded arena in Glendale, the Tempe deal won’t rely on public financing for the arena and entertainment district, though it would include some funds from the city to come to fruition.
He’s got allies in powerful places: A conservative student group at Arizona State University wants students to be allowed to carry weapons on campus, reports the Republic’s Alison Steinbach. The Young Americans for Liberty chapter at ASU — led by Ryne Bolick, the son of state Rep. Shawnna Bolick and Arizona Supreme Court Justice Clint Bolick — is wading into a longtime debate over guns on campus in Arizona. Some lawmakers have unsuccessfully sought to change the Arizona Board of Regents’ policy that only allows guns on campus if they are locked in cars.
To be fair, most of the lawmakers don’t read the bills they vote on: A law approved by the legislature in 2019 isn’t being interpreted correctly, resulting in people getting stuck in prison longer than they legally should be, a lawsuit filed by LatinoJustice PRLDEF yesterday claims. The plaintiff in the case, Carlos Hernandez, researched the law himself and found he should have been eligible, but he was denied by the Arizona Department of Corrections, Republic reporter Jimmy Jenkins writes.
Who’s paying for all of Brno’s lawsuits?: A federal judge shot down Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich’s bad-faith argument that the Biden administration’s decision to halt border wall construction will result in environmental destruction as more migrants cross the desert. Capitol scribe Howie Fischer reports that the judge held his harshest criticism for Brnovich’s claim that stopping the border is all part of Biden’s “population augmentation strategy.”
What the hell is a paid internship?: The Nation dug into why U.S. Sen. Kyrsten Sinema would work an internship this summer at the Three Sticks Winery, owned by William S. Price III, a cofounder of one of the largest private equity firms in the world, TPG Capital. It could be because she likes wine and all the progressive wineries in Napa Valley were full. Or it could have something to do with TPG Capital’s $6,800 contribution to her campaign and ties to other major donors like Goldman Sachs.
Did you know it’s hot in Phoenix? Vox gave Phoenix’s heat the explainer treatment, showing how temperatures align with poverty in our capital city in a video posted yesterday. The national outlet compared surface temperatures in south Phoenix and north Phoenix, which is cooler largely because of shade trees. We all know it’s hot here, obviously, but the video shares more about how extreme heat affects us and ways people are trying to bring more trees into areas to reduce the effects of heat.
For the very reasonable sum of $1,000 you can spend two hours with secretary of state candidate Mark Finchem at a fundraiser next month that will feature Stop the Steal lawyer Jenna Ellis. A source sent our reporter an invite to the event at the Scottsdale Gun Club, noting it will include an open bar (at a gun club) and “vittles.” We assumed vittles meant squirrel that he road-killed himself, but Merriam-Webster informs us that it means supplies of food, and that the phrase is “now chiefly used playfully to evoke the supposed language of cowboys.”
Democrats in Legislative District 1 will meet via Zoom at 7 p.m. tonight to hear from Arizona Attorney General candidates Kris Mayes and Diego Rodriguez.
A group will meet at La Canasta in Wickenburg for Constitution Tuesday today at 6:30 p.m. to discuss vaccine mandates and border issues.