, 40 tweets, 9 min read Read on Twitter
I am, once more, a guest of the Pima County Republican Club. Here to listen to @kelliwardaz speak today, coming back to #Tucson after cancelling an appearance a few weeks ago.
Today’s conversation - whether @kelliwardaz addresses it in her speech or during the question and answer session - is likely going to focus on Ward’s support to refer a sales tax increase to the ballot, letting the voters decide.
There is something new today here at the Pima County Republican Club’s official meeting space at the Sabbar Shrine Temple - they opened up an adjacent room to accommodate more people. It’s early, but there are easily 40 people here already to see @kelliwardaz.
As always is the the case with #Tucson political meetings, people operating on #TucsonTime means the crowd swells right as the meeting starts. I’d revise the crowd count to 65 people here to listen to @kelliwardaz.
For those of you that are follow me on Twitter and read these mini-Twitter marathons, the members of the Pima County Republican Club are largely welcoming to me - despite a strict policy requiring that the individual speaker to decide whether the press can attend.
The one exception to this rule is @senyorreporter, the only #Tucsonan that I know of that is formally banned. I continue to lobby for him to be allowed back.
The fifth Republican to say he is running for #AZ02 - a former Vietnam era Marine and former border inspector - announces here at Pima County Republican Club. His name, I think, is Michael Ligon. #AZ02 #2020
.@kelliwardaz takes the stage, and gives me a minor shout-out to me, asking if I can hear her.
2018 wasn’t a good year, @kelliwardaz notes, reminds the room that Republican lost the Senate seat, some house races and nearly, the statehouse. Says the Arizona GOP is working on their ground game, recruiting PCs in every county.
In Pima County, the number of Precinct Committeemen (and women) has doubled since 2018, Ward notes.
Ward’s plan for PCs - give them a list of 125 Republicans in their district, wants them to make connections and help those Republicans get the truth about candidates, initiatives and navigate away from “fake news.” “We have to sell Republican ideas to our neighbors,” Ward says.
.@kelliwardaz notes data is key, says the RNC is willing to share key election data with Republican PCs in Arizona, saying they need to have facts in the ground to be effectively in their communities.
Ward suggests that snowbirds, those who can’t be deeply involved in politics should volunteer for a AZ GOP organized Trump campaign group.
.@kelliwardaz talks about running candidate boot camps, says she wants Republicans to run for office everywhere including in Democratic strongholds - specifically mentioning #AZ03.
Well, the honeymoon is over. Ward blasts the “mainstream media” as not getting it right, quipping that I might agree with her. (I didn’t respond.) She says that the AZ GOP is pushing social media outreach, engagement.
Ward says she will help Republicans to create a secondary account on Facebook, a political account that “the grandkids can’t see.” Says it is a political account, not a “fake” account.
Mentioning #covfefe incident, Ward says she prefers Facebook over Twitter. Says Twitter is full of Liberals looking to attack conservatives.
And more attacks on the mainstream media, singling out the Arizona Republic. Ward brushes off a suggestion from the crowd that I get everything wrong too.
There are two people filming Ward, I assume they are with Ward herself. (I am not filming her.)
Occasionally one of the two women who are filming keeps turning the camera on me. It sure why, I am sitting in a corner.
Asked about her support for sales tax increase, Ward blasts “fake headlines” saying that she supports the only Republican education plan - which she calls a “dead horse” - and her support was only to put it on the ballot.
She adds if said horse made it to the ballot, she’d vote against it.
“We have to talk about education from a Republican perspective,”
Ward tells the Pima County Republican Club.
She says Republicans need to be at the table when it comes to discussing education.
Ward says that the left and “the media” want to attack her, equating many of the stories about her as “fake news.”
.@kelliwardaz says she has heard disturbing things about #TUSD, saying a Republican teacher was politically bulled for not wearing a Red for Ed T-shirt’s, suggesting the administration put a difficult, violent student in his classroom to punish him.
This account about a science teacher in TUSD, offered by Ward, has not been independently verified. If you have information on this, please send me an email jferguson@Tucson.com.
Ward suggests the online petitions to admonish her is “short sighted” and isn’t productive. But, she says, it is their right to offer up the petition for public discussion.
“The school boards is where the power is,” @kelliwardaz says, encouraging Republicans to get involved, and to run for office.
“I don’t want to raise the taxes on the people,” Ward says, but she says that she is willing to consider cuts in the state budget to better fund schools.
She didn’t offer any specific examples.
There is still significant pushback here today from locals in the room who are angry that Ward even supported referring the tax increase to the ballot.
“I think this a mistake, Kelli,” one Republican PC (from Cochise County) tells Ward directly in a fiery speech. “You are creating issues that divide the party.”
“I am trying to give you advice,” he shouts. “It is a loser for the (party.)”
Ward fights back, says that without a Republican proposal on the ballot, saying that the Invest in Ed proposal will be only education initiative on the 2020 ballot and that “the Supreme Court can’t save us” this time.
Going roughly 10 minutes over the usual time, Ward tries to end her speech on a optimistic tone, saying she wants to fight to unify the Republican Party so that they can win in 2020.
“My biggest nightmare is that we lose the legislature in 2020,” Ward tells the audience. She says that Republicans - in this scenario - would have wished a true Republican proposal was on the ballot in 2020.
Repeatedly, Ward says she makes mistakes. Asks Republicans to forgive her as she forgives others.
The mystery Republican attacking Ward earlier in my thread? It was @FrankAntenori.
This ends my live tweeting from the Pima County Republican Club. Thanks for reading my tweets.
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