McSally rep quits amid 'advice' flap

Barber campaign says he wrote, handed over note on beating Kelly
2012-06-20T00:00:00Z 2012-09-20T09:00:01Z McSally rep quits amid 'advice' flapBrady McCombs Arizona Daily Star Arizona Daily Star
June 20, 2012 12:00 am  • 

The campaign spokesman for Republican congressional candidate Martha McSally is out after he reportedly offered campaign advice to a staffer of Democrat Ron Barber.

The unsolicited advice - apparently jotted down on a business card - provided tips to the staffer on defeating fellow Republican Jesse Kelly.

Sam Stone decided to step down as communications director to do what's best for McSally, said Christian Morgan, her campaign manager and spokesman for now. But McSally wasn't pleased that Stone offered advice to Barber's campaign, Morgan said.

"Obviously, a staff member for the campaign lending aid and support to Mr. Barber's campaign was not what Martha wants," said Morgan, who added that McSally offered her support to Kelly during the Congressional District 8 campaign.

McSally's campaign issued a news release Tuesday announcing the resignation and thanking Stone for helping to launch the McSally campaign during the CD8 primary.

McSally thought it was "outside of the bounds" for Stone to give any kind of help to Barber, a Democrat who holds many of the opposite views of McSally and other conservative Republicans, Morgan said.

Problems began for Stone after Barber's campaign revealed this weekend that Stone approached a Barber aide at the June 7 University of Arizona Bio5 conference and offered her advice on how to beat Kelly, whom Barber defeated in last week's CD8 special election.

Stone reportedly handed the staffer a business card with a handwritten note on the back. The note says that Republican polling showed Barber was down 3 percent, and that the only room to move is on "social issues (abortion)." The note suggests to "target" independents and Republican women, according to a copy of the business card Barber's staff provided to the Arizona Daily Star and other media outlets.

"We never asked McSally's campaign for their advice or for further information," said the Barber campaign in a statement about the encounter.

Stone would not comment about the encounter or his resignation. Kelly declined to comment, via his spokesman, John Ellinwood.

Stone told Politico he only had a "quick, friendly chat" with the Barber staffer and denied offering any campaign advice. Stone said he was not privy to any Republican polling on the race and denied writing advice on the back of the business card.

McSally, who finished second to Kelly in the CD8 Republican primary April 17, filed her papers to be on the ballot in the newly drawn Congressional District 2 - in which Barber is also running - but said she would withdraw if Kelly beat Barber in the June 12 CD8 special election.

After Kelly was soundly defeated by Barber last week, McSally reaffirmed her candidacy for CD2, and launched her campaign with Stone as her spokesman. But, less than one week into the campaign, she'll move forward without him.

Contact reporter Brady McCombs at 573-4213 or bmccombs@azstarnet.com

Copyright 2014 Arizona Daily Star. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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