Congressman Paul Gosar’s campaign has stepped up its attack on his political rival, state Sen. Ron Gould, lambasting him for support he’s getting from Club for Growth.
Gosar also accused Gould of running with Clean Elections money during a previous election and later criticizing the system that provides public financing for candidates.
Most recently, the congressman’s reelection campaign panned Gould for opposing a tax package in 2009 that included lowering taxes.
Gosar’s camp, however, left out one fact — that Gould opposed the package because it included the governor’s proposal to raise sales taxes by 1 cent, a tax the Lake Havasu City Republican repeatedly tried to block.
Gould’s campaign shot back, criticizing the allegations as the desperate attempt of a “flailing campaign.”
Gould and Gosar are vying for the Republican nomination in the expansive 4th Congressional District.
In emails sent out within the last few weeks, Gosar’s campaign said Gould hasn’t shown he can raise a lot of money.
“But his campaign is getting a boost from Wall Street,” Gosar’s campaign said, referring to the support Gould is getting from Club for Growth, a fiscally conservative small-government organization that takes an active role in elections.
Gosar’s campaign described the group as “started and supported by Wall Street millionaires.”
“This outside special interest group is buying the votes of rural Arizonans for Ron Gould,” Gosar said. “That may be how things work back East but this is not the Arizona way.”
The campaign claimed the bulk of the money Gould raised by June 30 came from bundled contributions from the Club for Growth. The claim could not be immediately independently verified.
In addition, the group so far has independently spent more than $127,000 for ads against Gosar.
Chris Baker, Gould’s consultant, said Club for Growth is made up of people who believe in smaller government, lower taxes and economic freedom.
“I think Paul Gosar realizes that his liberal voting record on economic issues has made him vulnerable, and you have an organization like Club for Growth that is pointing out Gosar’s liberal votes and I suspect Gosar doesn’t like it,” Baker said.
Baker also pointed out that other Republicans, such as Jeff Flake and Matt Salmon, have also received Club for Growth’s endorsement.
Baker said if that’s how Gosar is characterizing Club for Growth, then Salmon, Flake, Gould—and others endorsed by the group—are all in the same boat.
Earlier, Gosar’s campaign panned Gould for accepting taxpayer dollars to run for the state Senate in 2004 and then calling Clean Elections in 2011 as “welfare for politicians.”
“Gould flipped-flopped on taxpayer campaign funds when the Clean Elections Commission discovered he violated campaign-reporting rules,” Gosar’s campaign claimed last month, adding he settled the case with a $1,000 fine.
“Ron Gould isn’t a straight shooter. Rural Arizona doesn’t need a double-talking politician who does one thing, but tells the voters another,” Gosar Campaign Manager, Tony Bradley, said. “Ron Gould was for public funding and took full advantage of the taxpayer money without following the rules. He was only against it after he got caught breaking the rules.”
Gould’s camp pooh-poohed the charge.
“It’s a desperate attempt by a flailing campaign to change the narrative of the race. It’s not going to work,” Baker said.