Andrew Thomas should be ashamed. I mean it, he should be seriously and throughly ashamed.
Thomas – a candidate for Arizona’s GOP primary for Governor – put out a pretty anti-gay ad. Personally, I don’t like giving bad candidates free media so I’m not posting a link of it or a clip of it here. But rest assured that it offended me, and should offend every gay, every conservative, and really every Arizonian.
In it, Thomas declared his support of SB1062. If you remember correctly, SB1062 was the bill that Governor Brewer vetoed. If she had signed it, the bill would have allowed businesses to refuse service to gays, women, or really anyone they want so long as they stand behind their “deeply held religious believes.” The bill got so much media attention that the NFL threatened to keep the Super Bowl from being here, and people like Mitt Romney came out against it. In the television ad, Thomas called gay activists, such as myself, part of the “gay lobby” and said he won’t be “bullied” by us.
I remember fighting SB1062. But I don’t remember belonging to any part of a “gay lobby.” I remember working diligently on Facebook to get people to call the Governor repeatedly, demanding she veto it. I remember my friends being on the news after organizing protests at the capital. We were the ones that put together all of the efforts for the Governor to veto the bill. But I don’t belong to any sort of “lobby.” I am just a concerned citizen. So are my friends.
Thinking about it, I am pretty sure the NFL isn’t a bully or part of a gay lobby either. And Mitt Romney… Well, he might be a bully, but I am certain he doesn’t belong to any gay lobby either.
I also don’t think I am bullying anyone. Sure, I demand a great deal out of our elected officials but that’s because they so often do things for strictly political reasons.
Supporting SB1042, now, months after it was vetoed, is for political reasons.
Thomas is running for Governor and he’s loosing, bad. To be perfectly honest with you, I wasn’t even aware he was running for Governor. Seriously. Go read my endorsement of Scott Smith, I mentioned candidates like Doug Ducey, and Christine Jones, but I never mentioned Thomas. Had I known he was even running I would have devoted at least a line in that column dismissing him as a candidate.
It’s clear that Thomas is doing pretty bad and is willing to do anything and everything he can to get his stalled, and dare I say, lost, campaign out of the mud. So he did what Arizona Governor Brewer did in 2010 with the racist SB1070 law. She was over 20 points down in her race for Governor back then and knew she needed to do something big to get her campaign out of the mud. So she signed a racist and unconstitutional law and won her election.
Thomas is attempting to do the same thing she did. By dropping a grenade on his campaign, he’s hoping to get free media, a news cycle or two, some interviews, and whatever he can to pander to the ultra-conservative right, and possibly win the Republican primary.
There are a few problems with his plan though.
SETTING THE STAGE
Echo magazine believes that the Arizona Supreme Court will be striking down Arizona’s same-sex marriage ban. They even suspect, like I do, that it may be as soon as this month. Thomas, while bigoted, is no idiot. He knows that if the Arizona Supreme Court does strike down the same-sex marriage ban then he will already have laid the groundwork as being the anti-gay candidate. He will win that debate to the extreme minority of Republicans who support anti-gay attitudes and laws.
His timing of these commercials couldn’t be any more politically motivated.
With that being said, I don’t think his plan will work. For one thing, the Republican base he is pandering to doesn’t exactly exist. Most Christians do not support SB1062. In fact, some, like former Mesa Mayor Scott Smith, came out opposed to it citing his Christian beliefs. Arizona Senator Jeff Flake did the same thing as Smith. So did Mitt Romney.
Personally, I suspect the outcome of Andrew Thomas’ awful campaign ads will insight something that rarely happens.
First, I suspect that Christians will see this move for the political ploy that it is, and they will again distance themselves from the extreme anti-gay rhetoric, like what they did during the SB1062 debate. Mormons and Catholics have made huge strides this year, and now, kind of, support gays. I mean, the Pope even has reached out to us, and has been on the cover of the Advocate. Christians aren’t the anti-gay bigots that Thomas’ ad is claiming they are.
Second, I know that gays in Arizona will stand up against the nonsense that Thomas is spewing in this commercial. I am secretly hoping that perhaps a coalition of voters, made up of gays and conservatives will form and call on Thomas to drop out of the race.
At the end of the day, though, Republicans will have to decide whether Thomas is who they want to nominate to be the next Governor. I think they might see through Thomas’ last minute political plea for attention, and deem him unelectable. Because, frankly, if Andrew Thomas is nominated by the Arizona Republican Party, then I imagine many Arizonans will be seriously, throughly ashamed of the party. And I think most people will either not vote, or vote for Fred DuVal, the Democrat candidate for Governor of Arizona.