Democrat Fred DuVal, who is seeking to become governor of Arizona next year, had a weird early skirmish with the Arizona Republican Party this week.
It all started with a relatively lame press release from AZ GOP Chairman Robert Graham, who said that he and a crew of fellow Republicans down at the office looked over DuVal’s résumé—which includes serving in Bruce Babbitt’s gubernatorial administration in the ’80s, Bill Clinton’s presidential administration in the ’90s and the Arizona Board of Regents in recent years—and concluded that DuVal would “be perceived by many as ‘the most uninteresting man in the world.’”
The DuVal campaign responded by sending out a fundraising pitch saying DuVal—recast as “the most electable man in Arizona”—was already under attack by the GOP. The campaign raised nearly $12,000 and a few days later, Team DuVal delivered a case of Dos Equis to GOP headquarters, along with a thank-you card that featured DuVal dressed up like the beer company’s signature spokesman, The Most Interesting Man in the World. The tagline on the card: “Stay Desperate, My Friends.”
That’s when things took a really weird turn, with the Arizona Republican Party posting a note on its Facebook page asserting that DuVal “photoshopped himself to appear Latino … (and) put the doctored image out on Twitter and hand-delivered a printed copy to the AZGOP. Painful attempts at humor, especially with racial overtones, usually backfire on candidates.”
The story was first run through the Arizona Daily Independent’s loony spin cycle, which produced the fairly radical interpretation that DuVal had “waded into the murky waters of racial politics.” "Popular radio show host and BBC commentator" James T. Harris also chimed in, somehow connecting the DuVal campaign's joke to the George Zimmerman trial.
It might be worth noting here that the person who plays "The Most Interesting Man in the World" isn't, in fact, Hispanic, but that sort of detail-oriented thinking might be too strenuous for either ADI or Harris.
Various national news outlets, including the Daily Caller, the Huffington Post and Fox New Latino, jumped on the bandwagon, not recognizing that the Arizona Daily Independent is essentially a poorly written collection of rehashed press releases and deranged efforts at revenge against anyone who has upset the shadowy cabal that runs the website.
DuVal campaign chairman and Phoenix City Councilman Daniel Valenzuela said the campaign had just put a beard on DuVal. He said he was offended by the accusation that DuVal was putting on a minstrel show in an attempt to appear more Latino.
“Talking about a character in a Dos Equis commercial is what the Republican Party started with,” Valenzuela said. “And so Fred did a great job of spinning that and it backfires on the Republican Party. And now he’s being called racist for that? It’s offensive that the Republican Party would make such an accusation.”