A Republican political operative in Arizona has taken the third-party to the third degree: he's now recruiting candidates to run on the Green Party ticket in an effort to dilute support for statewide Democratic candidates.
And he's recruiting candidates on the street -- candidates with no political experience whatsoever.
The recruiter -- Steve May -- has some political experience of his own. He's been an Arizona lawmaker, and was embroiled in a national political spotlight after being hunted down for being gay under the Pentagon's "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" law, which prevents gay servicemembers from being out of the closet.
"Benjamin Pearcy, a candidate for statewide office in Arizona, lists his campaign office as a Starbucks," the New York Times' Mark Lacey reports. "The small business he refers to in his campaign statement is him strumming his guitar on the street. The internal debate he is having in advance of his coming televised debate is whether he ought to gel his hair into his trademark faux Mohawk."
Pearcy is pictured at center in the picture above (photograph by the Times).
"Mr. Pearcy, 20, is running for a seat on the Arizona Corporation Commission, which oversees public utilities, railroad safety and securities regulation," Lacey adds. "Although Mr. Pearcy says he is taking his first run for public office seriously, the political establishment here views him as nothing more than a political dirty trick."
May says he's just helping the democratic process along. He's a onetime Arizona legislator and Army Lieutenant who was pursued under the Army's "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" law in 1999. May's service was ultimately restored by President Bill Clinton.
“Did I recruit candidates? Yes,” May told Lacey. “Are they fake candidates? No way.”
Democrats say otherwise.
“These are people who are not serious and who were recruited as part of a cynical manipulation of the process,” Paul Eckstein, a Democratic lawyer, was quoted as saying. “They don’t know Green from red.”
Notes Lacey, "Arizona’s Democratic Party has filed a formal complaint with local, state and federal prosecutors in an effort to have the candidates removed from the ballot, and the Green Party has urged its supporters to steer clear of the rogue candidates."
May was introduced to the street crowd by "a one-armed pregnant woman named Roxie," Lacey avers.
His other candidates include a tarot card reader "with less than a dollar to his name" and a 53-year-old "whose bushy white beard and paternal manner have earned him" the name Grandpa on the streets.