A Democratic candidate for the Senate said Rep. John Fillmore, R-Apache Junction, called him to offer negative information against Sen. Rich Crandall, R-Mesa, who defeated Fillmore in the Republican primary last August.
Scott Prior, an engineer who is running against Crandall in the general election, said Fillmore reached out to him over the weekend and wanted to talk about Crandall.
Fillmore has said he spoke with Prior but denied offering unsavory information against his party-mate.
Prior recorded the conversation with Fillmore, and the recording appeared to buttress the Democrat’s recollection of what happened.
In the recording, Fillmore could be heard saying, “I just have some information against your opponent.”
The Arizona Capitol Times left several messages for Fillmore, seeking his response to the recording, but the legislator didn’t return calls.
“He said he had some dirt or something on Rich Crandall,” Prior said, adding Fillmore also asked if he had time to take down notes.
Prior said he told Fillmore he can’t because he had guests who were celebrating his birthday with him.
He told Fillmore he’d call him back but he never did, Prior said.
“I don’t play that type of politics,” he said, adding he instead sent an email to Crandall to let him know about it.
In his email, Prior asked, “Is he just that bad of a loser?”
Prior said he’s still amused by what happened.
“I’m still laughing about it because it’s funny that somebody from the Republican Party would call the Democratic opponent of the Republican Party to try to give him dirt on the Republican candidate,” he said.
Earlier in the week, Fillmore said he called Prior on Sunday, but denied trying to pitch anything unsavory against Crandall.
“I am not reaching to Mr. Scott Prior in any way politically… He is a Democratic candidate for the Senate in the district I consider my own,” he said, adding he considered the charge a “fabrication.”
He added: “I didn’t talk to him about politics. As God as my witness, I never mentioned Mr. Crandall’s name or anything.”
Reached for comment, Crandall said Fillmore doesn’t care about the Republican Party.
“Based on his attacks against Frank Pratt and against me, he couldn’t care less about the Republican Party. (He) couldn’t care less about Republicans. It’s all personal. It’s kind of vendetta,” Crandall said.
And in an email, Crandall also called Fillmore an “angry, bitter, man.”
Fillmore said Crandall’s characterization of him is absurd, adding he has been the president of a Republican club.
But he also took a swipe at his former primary opponent.
“I would not be actively working (for) the benefit of a Democrat the other Democrat—the Democrat Crandall,” he said.