by Jim Nintzel
Republican Martha McSally, who hopes to unseat the newly elected Democrat Ron Barber in Congressional District 2 in November, has announced that her communications director, Sam Stone, is no longer with the campaign. McSally's statement:
Members of my campaign team are representatives of who I am, what I stand for and why I am running for Congress. Because of that, my communications director, Sam Stone, has resigned his position with the campaign effective immediately. Sam was a valuable member of our campaign and helped us go from zero to 25% in just 68 days during the Special Election in April. We need to reform Washington and change who we send there. The people of Arizona deserve the best from its elected leaders and candidates, and I will give it to them.
Stone's departure comes after Sunday night's Politico story:
On the Thursday before the election, a top aide to Republican Martha McSally, a retired Air Force officer and a tea party favorite, approached a Barber aide at an event on the University of Arizona’s Tucson campus. That’s when something strange happened, according to the Barber campaign: The McSally aide, spokesman Sam Stone, offered the 22-year-old Barber staffer advice on how to beat Jesse Kelly, the GOP nominee who was running against Barber in the special election.
Stone, who is a regular guest on Arizona Illustrated's Political Roundtable, has not returned a phone call or email from the Weekly.
The Politico story has cemented the idea—mentioned in the TW's post-election story last week—that some members of Jesse Kelly's team were unhappy that McSally was undermining Kelly. While letting Stone go will remove the immediate distraction, McSally will still have a long way to go to convince some members of the GOP base that she's a team player who deserves their support.