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Crandall apologizes for angry voicemail

Sen. Rich Crandall, R-Mesa (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

Facing an ethics complaint that calls for his removal from the Arizona Senate for allegations that he behaved unprofessionally, Sen. Rich Crandall has apologized for threatening to kill the bills of a fellow Republican who he believed harassed his daughter.

“I should have counted to 10 before making the call and should have allowed you to explain what occurred before I threatened your education legislation. I was wrong not to do so and I sincerely apologize,” Crandall, R-Mesa, wrote in a letter emailed Monday to Rep. Brenda Barton.

Crandall issued the threat in a voicemail message left on Barton’s cell phone. She had taken photos of Crandall’s daughter taking down one of his opponent’s signs, then emailed the photos to the opponent, Rep. John Fillmore, who distributed them to the media along with what Crandall called a “sarcastic press release against my daughter… where he bragged about filing criminal charges against her.”

“I’m furious at you right now,” Crandall said in the July 12 message for Barton. “You better not try to run any education legislation whatsoever the next two years.”Crandall is chairman of the Senate Education Committee.

The message prompted Barton to file an ethics complaint against Crandall, in which she asked the Senate Ethics Committee “to discipline Senator Crandall so that he cannot make good on his threats against my legislation.” She accused him of making “wild allegations” about her character by saying that she was stalking his daughter and that she cursed at the teenager.

In the letter to Barton, Crandall said he was only trying to defend his daughter.

“Unfortunately, you were caught in the middle and I am very sorry for that,” he wrote. “Because I thought you were a part of this action, I completely forgot the decorum and respect that accompanies being an elected official in the Arizona Legislature.”

Crandall told Arizona Capitol Times he would not answer questions about the letter.

“The ball’s in (Rep. Barton’s) court. I swallowed my pride and sent a very sincere letter to her,” he said. “She has the letter, but I haven’t heard anything back.”

Barton did not return messages seeking comment on the letter.

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