The halls of the state capitol building are nothing new to Daniel Scarpinato, who worked there as the Arizona Daily Star’s capitol reporter (back when they still employed a capitol reporter) and as an editor for Arizona Capitol Times before he stepped down last year to head Jonathan Paton’s failed congressional campaign.
But with his new gig as the director of communications for the Legislature’s House Republican caucus, Scarpinato has officially crossed to the other side of the fence. He’s on the government’s payroll to the tune of $73,000.
“I made the switch a year ago because I just felt personally like the country was on the wrong track, and I wanted to be part of helping to fix it in some small way,” Scarpinato said on his first day at the job.
The Legislature may be further to the right than it has been in years past, but selling the Republican leadership’s message won’t be hard, he says, because the people of Arizona already like what they’re hearing.
“For all the talk about how the Republicans are supposedly radical, voters in Arizona and nationwide, for that matter, overwhelmingly rejected the ideas of Democrats and increased the (Republican) majority in both the House and Senate here in Arizona,” he says. “Every statewide office is Republican, and I don’t think that their views are radical in the sense that voters sent a clear message that government has to spend within its means. That’s not a radical view; that’s a common-sense view.”
Though he will be working on the other side of the cameras from his former colleagues, Scarpinato says he still feels right at home.
“I know the reporters because I’ve worked with them,” he says. “So it feels like I’m back where I’m supposed to be.”