by Jim Nintzel
Republican Sean Collins lit into Pima County Supervisor Ray Carroll at yesterday’s Pima County Republican Club luncheon.
Among Collins' gripes: Carroll had been registered as a Democrat in the 1990s before switching to the Republican Party. Carroll has led opposition to the Rosemont Mine. He hasn’t done enough to create jobs. He doesn’t work hard enough and ignores Republican voters except during election season. He hasn’t fixed enough potholes and has supported putting water stations in the desert to help migrant border crossers who are dying of thirst. He has supported the purchase of open space and has hamstrung developers with too many impact fees.
“The incumbent, my opponent, has been there for 15-plus years and he’s too comfortable in his chair, folks,” said Collins, a retired Air Force veteran who owns a Dairy Queen in Vail.
As Collins (who was followed as a speaker Tuesday by Rosemont Mine CEO Rod Pace) ran through his indictment, Carroll sat among the crowd at a table, a smile regularly crossing his face. He didn’t address the crowd that had assembled for lunch in the back room of El Parador restaurant, although he’s scheduled to be a speaker at the weekly event next month.
But Carroll tells The Weekly he’s been a conservative voice in his representation of District 4, which stretches from the Tanque Verde Valley to Green Valley.
“I’ve got the credentials of a fiscal conservative,” says Carroll, who points to his repeated opposition to a proposed countywide sales tax and his regular votes against County Administrator Chuck Huckelberry’s budgets.
“I’ve led the district on other conservative issues,” Carroll adds. “I’m pro-gun. I’m a devout Catholic who’s pro-life, from conception to natural death.”
But Carroll’s record has left some members of Tuesday crowd unhappy with him.
“He’s such an intimidating person, Ray is,” Spann added. “I told him, ‘Ray, you need to move on. You need to go write your book or do something else. You’ve been here too long.’ And that was three years ago.”
Other luncheon guests were supportive of Carroll.
Linda Barber, who headed up Evan Mecham’s Southern Arizona gubernatorial office in the late ’80s and served as chairwoman of the Pima County Republican Party from 1988 to 1992, said that she wasn’t taking sides in the race.
But she added that she believed Carroll was a loyal Republican and that Collin’s charges were “not always, 100 percent true.”
“I have to say this about Ray Carroll,” Barber said. “He has always been supportive of this Republican Party and whenever the party has a function, he’s there. … And I think Ray has really held the line on taxes. He’s been the last man standing against the county sales tax that they’ve pushed forward a few times.”
Barber disagrees with Carroll’s opposition to the Rosemont Mine, but says she thinks it’s the first time she’s seen him agree with Huckelberry.
Dick Dale, a local doctor who unsuccessfully ran for the Arizona Legislature in 2004, said that he found Collins to be “a little negative.”
“I like Ray because I’ve known him a long time,” Dale said. “You know, he put so many miles on his truck every year … I think he does talk to his constituents.”