A blacklist created by a former GOP state senator and a local conservative political consultant is targeting several Southern Arizona Republicans for defeat in the upcoming elections, labeling them as “legistraitors.”
District 9 state Rep. Ethan Orr, District 8 state Reps. Frank Pratt and T.J. Shope, as well as two Republicans running in District 11 — House candidate Jo Grant and Senate candidate Scott Bartle — are being targeted for defeat by the new group.
The Alliance of Principled Conservatives, which is backed locally by former state Sen. Frank Antenori and political consultant Christine Bauserman, labels 15 Republicans as “legistraitors” for backing Common Core education guidelines and last year’s expansion of Medicaid that was supported by Gov. Jan Brewer.
The list primarily focuses on Republicans in the Phoenix metro area, although Orr made the list in an unusual way.
Failing to line up their own conservative candidate to run against Orr in the August primary, the group is telling Republicans to “leave the bubble blank,” hoping enough Republicans will opt out of voting in the District 9 race in November.
This option, however, will hand victories to incumbent state Rep. Victoria Steele and political newcomer Randy Friese, both Democrats.
Orr dismissed the attack, saying the group may have done him a favor, noting he received several new campaign pledges shortly after being attacked by the alliance.
In the District 11 House primary race, Antenori’s group is asking GOP voters to back other Republicans over Grant — Realtor Mark Finchem and small-business owner Vince Leach.
In the District 11 Senate race, the group is blacklisting Bartle, whom the group calls a “future Brewercrat,” and is asking voters to support in the primary current state Rep. Steve Smith, who is running for the Senate seat.
The group endorses District 8 candidate Darla Dawald but calls incumbents state Reps. Frank Pratt and T.J. Shope traitors to the GOP.
The group is an independent expenditure group, although Bauserman, the chair of the alliance, declined to say who is funding the group, or what its next steps would be in the days before the Aug. 26 primary.