Context Is Everything

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Republican Jesse Kelly, who is challenging Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords to debates even though (a) the 2010 election is still 14 months away, and (b) Kelly has yet to even win the nomination to be the actual GOP candidate who faces Giffords, got busted by Dan Shearer of the Green Valley News earlier this week.

Kelly's team put together a little video with some clips from a conversation that Shearer and I had with Bill Buckmaster on Arizona Illustrated a few weeks back. But the editing was a little bit peculiar, as Shearer pointed out on his blog earlier this week:

If you hadn’t seen the original broadcast, it would appear Jim said, “Jesse Kelly is now the forerunner of the Republican party.”

But you’ll notice the editing was awfully choppy. That’s because they didn’t include Jim’s entire quote, which was, “I think what happens when a guy like Jesse Kelly is now the forerunner of the Republican party, it just shows that Gabby Giffords is not very vulnerable because there are no big names lining up to take her on at this point...”

It doesn’t matter whether the people who represent me are Democrats or Republicans. It does matter that they’re above-board and honest, and in this case Kelly is neither.

What he and his campaign have done is unethical and deceitful. I hope by the time you look for it online that it has been replaced with an apology. And I hope that Jesse Kelly, whose greatest asset is that he hasn’t been swallowed up by Washington-style politics, isn’t on his way to selling out.

It's a cute trick, but just to clarify my point: There are no shortage of local Republicans who would like to be in Congress: State Sen. Jonathan Paton, state Rep. Frank Antenori and Republican National Committeeman Bruce Ash are just a few names I could toss out there. The fact that they're not in the race right now tells me that they don't think Giffords is vulnerable. If she does become vulnerable—and that may have far more to do with the national mood at the start of 2010 than it does with anything that Giffords herself does—then they'll move in and swat Kelly aside without a second thought. In the meantime, they're content to let him run up and down the field because they know he's not scoring any touchdowns. But they're not going to stand aside and let him be the next congressman from the Eighth Congressional District.

By the way, after Shearer smacked him, Kelly took down the doctored clip from Arizona Illustrated.

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