Republican Operative’s Midterm Strategy: Recruit the Homeless to Run in Arizona

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Canidate May Photo: SteveMay2010.com

Arizona's Democratic Party filed a complaint with prosecutors after Steve May, a local Republican operative, recruited "drifters and homeless people" who hang out on Mill Avenue, a "bohemian" commercial strip next to Arizona State University, to run on the Green Party ballot. In a rhetorical loop-de-loop as novel as his campaign strategy May, a Republican candidate for the state legislature, admits his strategy could draw votes away from Democrats, but insists his effort to recruit disenfranchised people (literally) off the street for an opposing party is a real political movement. It's so legit, in fact, that May stopped by the Starbucks where the "Mill Rats" congregate to hold an impromptu rally to talk about just how real it was. Surrounded by "a motley crew of people who were down on their luck, including a one-armed pregnant woman named Roxie," May shouted to Anthony Goshorn, a 53-year-old man with a long white beard running for State Senate, "Are you fake, Grandpa?" Goshorn replied, "I'm real."

Arizona Democrats are complaining that they don't have the resources to put candidates on every state ballot, which means write-ins like the Mill Rats could coast through primaries. In an unfortunately worded comment against this practice, Jackie Thrasher, a former Democratic legislator who lost reelection in 2008 after a Green Party candidate with possible GOP ties joined the race, said, "What’s happening here just doesn’t wash. It doesn’t pass the smell test.” We guess this is considered an acceptable campaign strategy in a state where this is considered an acceptable governor.

Republican Runs Street People on Green Ticket [NYT]