GOP gubernatorial candidate Christine Jones decried a disparaging comment that rival Doug Ducey made about her business experience as sexist, and said the state treasurer is being a “misogynistic jerk.”
During a debate that aired on Channel 3 KTVK on July 27, Ducey questioned Jones’ business credentials. Jones served for more than a decade as an executive and general counsel at the web domain hosting company GoDaddy.
“You were a line employee at GoDaddy with no leadership experience. And I don’t know what qualifies you for this race besides your own wallet,” Ducey told the wealthy Jones, who has spent more than $2 million of her own money on the race.
Jones took issue with what she said was an inaccurate description of her role at GoDaddy.
“Being a condescending, misogynistic jerk is not the way to win an election,” Jones told the Arizona Capitol Times. “I have heard from a lot of professional women that, if they had any doubt in their mind about voting for me before they head that line, they’re absolutely voting for me now, because they’ve worked with ‘that guy’ in their career.”
Former GoDaddy CEO Bob Parsons shared that sentiment.
“Given the venue and the time, it was a very low blow,” Parsons said. “I don’t know that he would’ve done it to a man. I think it was a little bit sexist. It was certainly bullying. And it was untrue.”
Ducey spokeswoman Melissa DeLaney said Jones’ accusation was a sign of desperation and said “no reasonable person” would interpret Ducey’s comment as sexist.
“This is nothing more than Christine Jones desperately hoping that something, anything, she throws at Doug sticks. She didn’t get Sheriff Joes endorsement and now she’s manufacturing a controversy where clearly there is none,” DeLaney said, referring to Ducey’s endorsement in late July by Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio, whose support Jones had sought.
“This is a last-ditch effort to revive her failing campaign, and it won’t work,” DeLaney said.
The six-way Republican primary for governor is being increasingly viewed by political insiders as a two-way contest between Ducey and Jones. The two candidates have raised the most money, are spending the most on television advertising and both have significant support from independent expenditure groups. Most polls show Ducey and Jones leading the pack, though many of those polls were commissioned by organizations that support Ducey or oppose Jones.
Parsons acknowledged that he contributed more than $1 million to Better Leaders for Arizona, an independent expenditure group that has spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on television ads attacking Ducey’s business record as the former CEO of Cold Stone Creamery.
Both Jones and Parsons disputed Ducey’s assertion that she was a “line employee” with no leadership role at GoDaddy.
“There were four of us at the beginning… who ran the company and really grew that place from a startup into an international corporation,” Jones said. “I would stack that business experience up against his any time.”
Parsons said Jones helped negotiate contracts and business deals, resolved disputes, helped steer industry policy, and assisted in the crafting of federal laws cracking down on online sex predators and child pornography. He said Jones had input on many business decisions.
He also credited her with a major role in the 2011 sale of the majority of the company to a private equity consortium, a deal that was worth more than $2 billion.
“Nothing could be further from the truth,” Parsons said of Ducey’s comment. “She was kind of a right hand in many ways.”