Friday, October 30, 2020
This year, Pima County voters will decide a new District 1 Supervisor after Republican Ally Miller held the seat for eight years.
Now, Republican Steve Spain and Democrat Rex Scott are vying for the Pima County Board of Supervisors’ seat in District 1, a position that determines a wide range of public policy in the county.
The district, representing Marana, Casa Adobes, Oro Valley, and the Catalina Foothills, has reliably voted for Republicans in recent decades. This year’s Republican candidate, has a history as a political pundit penning right-leaning opinion pieces for the online Arizona Daily Independent.
Spain has been unabashedly critical of the current Pima County Administrator Chuck Huckelberry. In an analysis of Pima County elections results in the 2016 general election, he criticized the election of District 4 Supervisor Steve Christy, calling him “the county establishment’s token quasi-Republican rubber stamp.”
“This, naturally, secures the position and malfeasance of Chuck Huckelberry, the nearly-half-a-million-dollar-a-year puppet of Diamond, Lopez, Click, Mehl, and the other members of the cabal that has this town by its short hairs,” Spain wrote.
But the latest campaign filing reports reveal Spain’s campaign for district supervisor took $12,000 from Humberto Lopez, Jim Click and David Mehl — presumably the same “members of the cabal” Spain mentioned.
The contributions from these individuals comprised 19% of Spain’s total campaign contributions as of Oct. 17.
The Spain campaign’s 2020 pre-general report shows he received $5,000 from Jim Click, the owner of several car dealerships in Tucson and Green Valley, on Oct. 8.
The third-quarter campaign finance report shows a $5,000 contribution from David Mehl, the owner of real estate development company Cottonwood Properties, on Aug. 27. Humberto Lopez, the president of real estate development and investment company HSL Properties, Inc., contributed $2,000 on Sept. 24.
As of Friday, Spain has not responded to Tucson Weekly’s request for comment.
The only entity Spain mentioned in the quoted portion of his 2016 article whom he didn’t receive funds from is “Diamond,” which presumably refers to the late legendary land speculator Don Diamond, who died in 2019.
Rex Scott’s campaign received $1,950 from individuals associated with Diamond Ventures, the company founded by Don Diamond.
The private company’s Vice President Priscilla Storm contributed $500 on Oct. 6. On Sept. 14, Diamond Ventures’ President David Goldstein gave $1,000. The company’s principal who oversees philanthropy, Helaine Levy, gave $200 on Sept. 10, and Chief Financial Officer William Kelley gave $250 on Sept. 9.
Since the last reporting date Oct. 26, Scott’s campaign had received $128,568.82 in total contributions, and Spain’s campaign received $61,842.05.
“There is no Clean Elections option for county elections, so we have to play by the rules that are set in front of us, and that means taking money from folks who are interested in the races,” said Adam Kinsey, a consultant for the Rex Scott campaign. “That's not the problem, the hypocrisy is when you slam these people and say that those contributions will result in actions as an elected official. When you say that they are buying the county administrator, they are buying these politicians, when you make claims like that, and then you take the money yourself, that's where we're got a problem.”
The Democratic candidate in the race for district 1 posted Spain’s comments about “the cabal that has this town by its short hairs,” and the revelations from his latest campaign findings on a website listing the Republican candidate’s past statements as a political pundit.
“We know that Steve Spain is largely unknown to most voters. But we know that he also has an incredible body of work that's out there in the public sphere, because he's been blogging on this sort of alt-right blog, the Arizona Daily Independent, for years,” Kinsey said. “Rex is a career educator, and he does not want to go negative. He does not want to mud sling, he does not want to make any baseless political attacks. So he said, one thing we can do is just share what Steve Spain has put out into the world with the voters and let his words speak for themselves.”This article has been edited to include an additional quote from political consultant Adam Kinsey as well as the Scott campaign's fundraising totals.