J.D. Hayworth held a fundraiser this weekend to retire the legal debt he accumulated while clearing is name in the Abramoff case.
Normally I don’t attend events in Paradise Valley because residents get nervous when they see my 2000 Honda Accord driving through their neighborhood. I’ve since solved the problem by putting a lawnmower in my trunk and tying down the lid. PV residents now wave and smile as I drive by.
However, I was unable to attend this event because of a family commitment. From all reports, the event was successful—no final report on how much money was raised, but there were nearly 300 people in attendance plus about 150 who sent checks, and the number is well into six figures.
Hayworth’s political stock rose dramatically last week when Rasmussen released a poll in which Hayworth was in a statistical tie when paired in a Republican Primary with Senator John McCain.
Hayworth, a conservative former U.S. congressman who now is a popular radio talk show host in Phoenix, is reportedly interested in the race but has not formally declared for it. He captures 59% of the male GOP vote, while McCain wins 58% of female voters.
Younger GOP voters like Hayworth more than their elders. McCain has a solid lead among the relatively small number of moderate and liberal Republicans in the state while Hayworth picks up a plurality (48%) of conservatives.
The Poll results were, of course, a major national news story and recieved extensive coverage. I've printed a representative example from the Wall Street Journal and included some pictures of the fundraiser--since I wasn't in attendance, I've had to improvise the captions, but sources tell me that I'm at least close.
A new Rasmussen poll shows the Arizona Senator in a dead heat with potential GOP primary challenger J.D. Hayworth. Mr. Hayworth served as a congressman from 1995 to 2006, when he lost in a squeaker to Democratic Tempe Mayor Harry Mitchell, who prevailed by hounding Mr. Hayworth over his ties to disgraced lobbyist Jack Abramoff.
Mr. Hayworth now runs a popular Phoenix talk radio show. Though he hasn't formally declared his candidacy, he has expressed interest. According to Arizona Republic columnist Dan Nowicki, Mr. Hayworth is partly motivated by a "long-standing grudge" against McCain aide Mark Salter, whom he has accused of trying to "blackmail" him in 2005 into ceasing his criticism of Mr. McCain's comprehensive immigration reform bill by threatening to publicize Mr. Hayworth's Abramoff connections.
For his part, Mr. Hayworth now says his problems with Mr. Salter would have no impact on his decision about whether to challenge Mr. McCain. "No, I would never run for office, quote, out of spite, but I do have a profound disagreement with Senator John McCain over the concept of amnesty, whether he wants to call it comprehensive immigration reform or a pathway for guest workers to remain," said Mr. Hayworth.
A recent poll showed a majority of Arizona voters consider immigration reform a more urgent priority than health care reform. Polls also show them broadly supportive of Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio, whose rigorous enforcement of immigration laws prompted a Justice Department civil rights investigation. Nonetheless, 74% of likely GOP primary voters continue to view Mr. McCain favorably, even as 67% say the same of Mr. Hayworth. In a direct match-up, Mr. McCain leads by a small 45% to 43% margin in the Rasmussen poll. Mr. McCain has to worry, though, that 16% of Republicans still don't know enough about Mr. Hayworth to venture an opinion about him. And Mr. Hayworth has to worry about Mr. McCain's massive war chest -- some $12 million already raised for the 2010 election.