Tuesday, August 10, 2010

CD8: Reading Tea Leaves. Plus: Former Ukrainian Prime Minister Julia Tymoshenko Figures Into The CD8 Race

Posted By on Tue, Aug 10, 2010 at 3:10 PM

Julia Tymoshenko
  • Julia Tymoshenko
Robert Mayer, a one-time organizer of the Tucson Tea Party, has launched a campaign to discourage people from voting for CD8 Republican candidate Jesse Kelly.

Mayer, who has stepped away from tea partying to take a job campaigning for a health-care initiative on November ballot, sent out an email last week saying he’d support either Jonathan Paton or Brian Miller in the Congressional District 8 race. He pointedly left Jesse Kelly off the list.

That somehow got turned around as an endorsement of Jonathan Paton and Jesse Kelly by Arizona Daily Star reporter Andrea Kelly, who wrote a big Sunday bio piece of the CD8 candidates. Oops.

Andrea’s goof, combined with a considerable backlash toward Mayer from Jesse Kelly’s supporters, led Mayer to send out a lengthy email asking Jesse Kelly 13 questions about his record. Several of Mayer’s concerns are based on reporting done in the pages of Tucson Weekly.

Mayer says he just doesn’t think Kelly is a very good candidate.

“I think Jesse Kelly is a phony,” Mayer says. “He certainly isn’t who he says he is, and I don’t think he has the knowledge to have any core beliefs.”

Kelly’s response, via email: “My primary opponents must be very desperate if all they have left are baseless personal attacks.”

Meanwhile, a new website, JesseKellyforstimulus.com, has gone up with similar questions about Kelly’s background.

The site is anonymous, but it has a companion Facebook page that’s being purportedly administered by Julia Tymoshenko, a former Ukrainian prime minister who probably has not developed a sudden interest in Southern Arizona politics.

Here are Mayer's 13 questions:

13 Questions for Jesse Kelly that must be answered before you vote

Hi everyone,

As the co-founder of the Tucson Tea Party, I have had the great pleasure to meet and get to know many of my fellow Tea Partiers. I hope, in the course of the past year and a half, that you have come to trust what I have to say. And I hope you know that I would not say anything at all if I was not concerned for the direction of our country and our congressional district.

The Tucson Tea Party does not make any endorsements, which has precluded me in the past from publicly asking questions or criticizing the candidates so that people may make up their own minds. However, given that I am no longer serving in that capacity, I cannot stay silent any longer.

I have deep concerns about Jesse Kelly as a candidate for Congressional District 8 against Rep. Gabrielle Giffords. This is because there are many questions surrounding Jesse Kelly about his background and integrity that have either gone unanswered or the answer has been insufficient to allay these concerns.

I am presenting these questions to you below with an explanation so that you can ask Jesse Kelly's campaign for yourself. If Jesse Kelly cannot answer these questions from the people who may vote for him, then he certainly won't be able to answer them when Gabrielle Giffords crushes him with them.

1) Why won't Jesse Kelly release his full military performance evaluation? Jesse Kelly says that he was a squad leader in the Marines, but his campaign has lied about releasing his full evaluation, and then only released his discharge papers. Brian Miller and Jonathan Paton have both released their full performance evaluations to the Pima County GOP, but Jesse Kelly either has not or will not. What is Jesse Kelly hiding?

2) Why won't Jesse Kelly release his high school transcripts? Jesse Kelly failed his classes and dropped out of college during his freshman year. Therefore, we know that he has a high school level education. Even back then, how well did he do in U.S. History and Government?

3) Why does a man who just registered as a Republican, and has never voted in a primary or municipal election in his life, think that he should be a United States Republican Congressman? Jesse Kelly becamepolitically active for the first time in his life the day that he filed to run for Congress. This suggests that he never paid attention to the issues atall until Obama became president. His campaign manager and policy advisor, Adam Kwasman, is the person who crafts all of Jesse Kelly's positions. (Just ask him an in-depth policy question and see if he can fully answer it without rhetoric and one-liners).

4) How can Jesse Kelly possibly oppose earmarks and stimulus funds when his father's company receives tens of millions of dollars in stimulus funds? Don Kelly Construction, the company of Jesse Kelly's father, bids on and lobbies for projects that receive earmarks and stimulus funds. Just one of their projects alone, the Pima County sewer pipeline project, received $2 million in stimulus funds. While many construction companies bid on public works projects, it is safe to say that Don Kelly Construction may not even be in business if it weren't for stimulus funds propping up the company's projects. How can we trust that Jesse Kelly will actually fight against earmarks and stimulus funds if his family's business relies on them?

5) Has Jesse Kelly actually managed any construction projects in Jesse Kelly's bio says that, "I currently manage multi-million dollar construction projects for the family business, Don Kelly Construction, in Tucson." Given that he has been campaigning full-time since day one, one must question whether Jesse Kelly truly manages any projects or if he is just taking a stimulus paycheck from his father to run for Congress.

6) Has Jesse Kelly ever attempted to be successful in the private sector without relying on the success of his father's company? Most of us don't rely on our father to be successful in life; we work hard and try to make our own way. What has Jesse Kelly ever done in the private sector that wasn't handed to him?

7) Will Don Kelly Construction refuse to bid for projects that take stimulus dollars and earmarks if Jesse Kelly becomes a Congressman? This question speaks for itself. It would be unacceptable to have a sitting Congressman from CD-8 whose family business - with an office in Tucson -takes stimulus dollars. It is a huge, corrupt, conflict of interest.

8) Why did Jesse Kelly refer to himself as a Libertarian Republican less than a year ago, but now calls himself a "solid conservative"? Jesse Kelly appeared on the Fox News show of Judge Andrew Napolitano in September, 2009, claiming to be a Libertarian Republican. In 2010, he claims to be a "solid conservative" and lambasts Brian Miller for his libertarian leanings. So which is it? This suggests to me that Jesse Kelly really has no core, fundamental beliefs, and has just been making it all up based on what sounds good as he goes along. Many Republicans have called themselves conservative to get elected to Congress, only to turn their backs on the people later. What will happen if Jesse Kelly makes it to Congress?

9) Did Jesse Kelly's campaign manager, Adam Kwasman, try to bribe Brian Miller to get out of the CD-8 race and run for state legislature? Readthestoryfor yourself and make up your own mind. But from what I understand, it is true, and Adam Kwasman went to great lengths to cover this up.

10) Why did Jesse Kelly lie about receiving an endorsement from Congressman Mike Pence? This one is just bizarre. Read the story here . Early on in the campaign, JesseKelly listed Congressman Mike Pence as an endorser of his campaign. However, the endorsement disappeared from Jesse Kelly's campaign website when Congressman Pence issued a statement saying that he never made an endorsement inCD-8.

11) How is it that Jesse Kelly can blast Senator McCain, yet sought Senator McCain's personal endorsement less than a year ago? Jesse Kelly says that he is a solid conservative, going as far as endorsing JD Hayworth for Senate against John McCain. But did he seek out McCain's endorsementfirst, only to turn on him when he didn't get it? This is a really bad case of sour grapes that just goes to show Jesse has only recently called himself conservative to ride the tea party wave.

12) How can Jesse Kelly blast the Republican establishment insiders ,when he personally sought and received contributions from Jim Click in 2009?Jesse Kelly sent out an email on March 3, 2010, bashing the Republican establishment, but he attended an event hosted by Jim Click inJuly,2009, at the Westin La Paloma resort where Click gave a maximum contribution to Jesse Kelly's campaign. This is also where he met Senator McCain for the first time, before seeking his endorsement.

13) Why has Jesse Kelly's position on the border shifted multiple times, and always in front of different groups? Jesse Kelly's main position on the border is the build a double-layer fence. Or is it? First , on April 3, he only considered troops on the border as a stopgap measure. Second , on April 5, he suddenly didn't have a position on National Guard troops. Third ,on June 1, he released a fundraising statement supporting National Guard troops on the border. However, that very same day , he said he opposed using armed forces on the border and supports hiring more Border Patrol instead. The cherry on top is when he says in the linked article that, "I'm not one of those politicians who've spent my entire career talking out of both sides of my face."

I suggest that you either call or email Jesse Kelly's campaign at (520) 888-VOTE (8683) or info@votejessekelly.com and ask them these questions.

I think that it is important that these questions finally hit the public light, as they have mostly only been known to campaign insiders and activists. We must have full information if we are to make the right choice in our primary for CD-8. A mistake could lead to yet another crushing defeat from Gabrielle Giffords.

Jesse Kelly has a huge credibility gap in terms of his core beliefs, his integrity, and his fitness to beat Gabrielle Giffords and serve in Congress. I would not be sending this to you unless I truly believed that these questions represent holes in his candidacy that would ultimately lead to his defeat in the general election against Gabrielle Giffords. With $2milliondollars in the bank, she will spend her money to exploit his hypocrisy and lack of accomplishment.

Jesse Kelly has claimed that he is the "tea party candidate" in the raceforCD-8, but frankly, a man with such a lack of experience and credibility on the issues should never be considered the tea party candidate. He gives a great speech, but completely lacks substance. He is against the Republican establishment now only because he failed to receive their endorsement early in the race. Many Republicans have been voted into office who fit this profile, and they all quickly lose touch with their base. I believe that, because Jesse Kelly lacks a depth of knowledge on most major policy issues and has simply made up his positions as he's gone along, he can be quickly co-opted by Republican leadership once the fight against President Obama is over.

This is why I have recently urged Tea Partiers to look into Brian Miller and Jonathan Paton , also running for Congress, and vote for one of them on the August 24 Republican primary based on whom they like better. Both of these men have the experience, education, and integrity to serve us well in Congress.

Thank you for your consideration. Let us pray for a positive outcome on August 24 and November 2.

Robert Mayer
Co-Founder, Tucson Tea Party

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