Republican congressional candidates Jonathan Paton, Jesse Kelly and Brian Miller made a number of remarkable statements in today’s debate in Green Valley. When answering a question about closing the deficit, for example, Kelly proposed a plan to “drop the mother of all bombs—the largest non-nuclear device” on the ocean floor to stop the BP leak in the Gulf of Mexico. Hey, what could go wrong?
But the sparks really flew at the end of the debate when Kelly questioned Paton’s conservative bona fides. Here’s the slightly edited exchange:
I’m sorry, Jonathan, but I cannot let you go on with this talking about reining in government spending. You voted for Janet Napolitano’s budgets. In ’08, you voted for her budget that increased state spending by a billion dollars. In ’07, you were given a worse fiscal rating by Americans for Prosperity than Janet Napolitano herself. And this excuse that you were overseas—Americans for Prosperity flat-out refutes that. They say it would have been worse if you’d been back home…. This talk of giving up government spending, now that the state is bankrupt because of decisions you made at the state Legislature, simply doesn’t wash anymore.
I wish I knew where this was coming from, because honestly, Jesse, what you’re doing is you’re accusing me of not being a conservative. And the fact of the matter is, I voted for the budgets I voted for—the ones that you’re talking about—because I am conservative. That budget eliminated the state income tax for active duty military. That bill that you’re talking about made sure that
we put more law enforcement on our border. And that same budget that you’re talking about made sure that we’re going to put limits on our spending for schools by paying cash for schools instead of bonding. And the truth of the matter is, the reason that you keep bringing up my record is because you don’t have record of your own, and that’s just too bad.
What’s too bad is your record. And you did say something accurate: I am accusing you of not being a conservative. In fact, you were ranked in the bottom third by conservative groups that rank conservatism by Republicans in the Legislature. That amazing budget that you just praised was hailed as, quote, “a major achievement for Democrats” by the chairman of the state Democratic Party. I am accusing you of not being a conservative.