Keith Bee II is banking on name recognition in the Republican primary for the District 5 Justice of the Peace race.

His father, Keith Bee, is leaving that same office, and the younger Bee, 21, is asking voters in campaign material to help him continue the “family legacy of trusted service.”

Bee is in a fight for his nascent political life with lawyer Doug Taylor, who has been practicing law in Tucson since 2001.

And while Bee isn’t a lawyer and has never taken the Bar exam, he tells the voting public he has an associate’s degree in the administration of justice from Pima Community College and has completed the pro-tem judge training.

“I am the only life-long Republican candidate for Justice of the Peace,” Bee notes in his campaign materials. Also, he said he is the chief financial officer for his family’s business, Bee Line Transportation.

Bee said the fight should be about politics — noting in bright red fact check that his political rival was registered until 2017 as a Democrat.

However, voter registration records show Bee has only got a year on Taylor, registering to vote in 2016 as a Republican.

Both men in their campaign material list endorsements from retired judges.

A late entry into the race is Alisa Cunningham, wife of Tucson City Councilman Paul Cunningham, in what is a direct response to Bee’s candidacy. She would be a write-in candidate.

“The Republicans are trying to nominate a 20 year old (Keith Bee) by duping voters into thinking that he is his father,” Cunningham wrote in a recent mailer announcing her campaign. “Would you want a 20 year old kid with no formal education deciding your lawsuit?”

CD1 race blows up

A conflict between two of the GOP candidates in Congressional District 1 primary erupted in full view Thursday.

Steve Smith, a state senator, held a news conference where he and his supporters demanded that fellow candidate Wendy Rogers leave the race. Their reason: Her attacks on Smith were false and too personal.

“This is nothing more than a character assassination on a man who I’ve known for years and who has the highest morals, integrity and values,” said Justin Harris, president of the Arizona Police Association. “Wendy Rogers should step down from this race to spare the Republican Party any more embarrassment.”

Rogers’ team scoffed at the call and said Smith made it because “he knows he is losing.”

She said the team stands by a radio ad in which she accuses Smith, who works for a talent agency in the Phoenix area, of placing ads on a modeling website that has been used for human trafficking. The agency also has produced photos of scantily clad teen models, she said.

“Everything she’s insinuating is complete lies,” Smith said.

The winner in the dispute could be the third Republican in the race, Tiffany Shedd of Eloy.

Attacks clear on Garcia

Supporters of Gov. Doug Ducey are making clear what their campaign will be about if Republican Ducey and Democrat David Garcia win their primary elections.

It will be about the border.

The campaign to paint Garcia as soft on border issues began when Garcia said he would favor replacing Immigration and Customs Enforcement. Ducey’s team said that meant he supports the “Abolish ICE” movement, although what he really said was more subtle.

It went on when, at a Netroots Nation meeting in New Orleans last weekend, Garcia told the assembled:

“Just imagine treating our southern border as an asset and not a liability. Just imagine our Dreamers, who in my opinion represent the best of our American values, finally having the ability to contribute, study and learn in the only country they have ever known. Just imagine, no wall in Southern Arizona. Just imagine that on Nov. 7 when Trump opens up his Twitter account, and sees that in Arizona of all places, the good people of Arizona have just elected a guy named Garcia governor of Arizona.”

Ducey’s team jumped on the phrase “no wall in Southern Arizona” to suggest he was calling for open borders, though Garcia later clarified he was talking about rejecting the new wall Trump wants.

Heinz, Kirkpatrick

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dig deep

Two of the top Democrats in the Congressional District 2 race are still locking horns with only weeks to go before the Aug. 28 primary.

Ann Kirkpatrick and Matt Heinz are each pouring a ton of money into misleading ads that seek to exaggerate their voting history on gun issues.

Kirkpatrick’s campaign has killed a lot of trees putting out mailers attacking Heinz for his support of House Bill 2640 in 2012, saying Heinz “sided with the NRA” when he was serving in the Legislature.

The bill in question said while a state’s Game and Fish commission had the authority to place restrictions on hunting and fishing, it didn’t have the authority to limit the size of the magazine of the firearm used for hunting.

He says the Kirkpatrick campaign is desperate if it trying to distort what comes down to a bill about hunting.

“Look how far they had to dig to find something,” he said.

Heinz has backed a television ad that attacks Kirkpatrick’s record in Congress, going back even further to run video of her proudly saying that she had an “A” rating with the NRA. It is accurate, but only if we stay in 2010.

Kirkpatrick, who is quick to note that former CD2 U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords endorsed her, said she has changed her mind on gun legislation, particularly after the mass shootings in Tucson and at Sandy Hook Elementary School.

Rapping Kelli Ward

A new video was published online this week that shows U.S. Senate candidate Kelli Ward doing a karaoke rap, apparently in a bar. The rap was the classic 1982 song by Grandmaster Flash, “The Message.” Memorable line: “Don’t push me ‘cause I’m close to the edge.’”

The critics who posted it suggested it was evidence of character flaws on Ward’s part. Maybe. But heck — we’re not sure why Senate candidates can’t let their hair down and sing karaoke. Besides, who would have guessed that Ward of all people knew the lyrics to that song?

Contact reporter Joe Ferguson at or 573-4197. On Twitter: @JoeFerguson

Contact columnist Tim Steller at or 807-7789. On Twitter: @senyorreporter


Joe has been with the Star for six years. He covers politics as well as the city of Tucson and other municipalities in Southern Arizona. He graduated from the UA and previously worked for the Arizona Daily Sun.


Tim Steller is the Star’s metro columnist. A 20-plus year veteran of reporting and editing, he digs into issues and stories that matter in the Tucson area, reports the results and tells you his opinion on it all.