by Jim Nintzel
Joe Flores, the Democrat who is challenging Councilwoman Regina Romero in the Aug. 30 primary election for the westside Ward 1 seat, is about to get walloped.
A new independent-expenditure committee, Tucsonans for Democratic Leadership, plans to start hammering Flores for his ties to a payday-loan operation.
“We’re going to make sure that people know he’s a payday lender,” says David Higuera, the treasurer of the committee and a political strategist with Strategic Issues Management Group.
Voters can expect to see billboards in Ward 1 highlighting Flores’ links to the payday-loan industry.
Higuera said the committee would be funded by the Pima County Democratic Party and various other donors. The Democratic Party has contributed $8,700 to pay for billboards and "phone services," according to reports filed with the city of Tucson.
In an interview in late May, Flores told TW that the payday-loan operation was just one element of his check-cashing business and he was just serving as an agent for a payday lender out of Phoenix. He no longer does payday loans because state law no longer allows them.
“As far as the payday loan business, we operated it as an agent,” Flores said. “We only did for about a year and a half and the only reason we did was because people were requesting it.”
Flores added he has “no opinion one way or the other” about the payday-loan industry.