In profane rant, legislator slams voters who back opponent

Ben Giles//August 25, 2016

In profane rant, legislator slams voters who back opponent

Ben Giles//August 25, 2016

File photo of Rep. Sonny Borrelli, R-Lake Havasu City (Cronkite News Service Photo by Jessica Boehm)
File photo of Rep. Sonny Borrelli, R-Lake Havasu City (Cronkite News Service Photo by Jessica Boehm)

Some voters who cast ballots for his opponent are “ignorant, c—sucking idiots,” according to Rep. Sonny Borrelli.

In a recording obtained by the Arizona Capitol Times, Borrelli describes residents of Legislative District 5 who vote for former state senator Ron Gould, Borrelli’s opponent in the Aug. 30 Republican primary election, in vulgar and obscene terms. And he attacked Gould’s record as a senator who frequently butts heads with the Republican establishment at the Capitol.

“If these ignorant, c—sucking idiots want to vote for that f—— phony, lying piece of s—, they can get what they deserve,” the Lake Havasu Republican said. “Another f—— senator, a senator that did absolutely nothing for this district except piss everybody off in Phoenix, to include the f—— governor. And now how is he going to act when he goes back to Phoenix with a f—— governor that he’s already called a f—— RINO and a liberal? Do you think we’re going to get any support? F—! This guy has been f—— badmouthing (Gov. Doug) Ducey since he got elected.”

Listen to a clip of the call here (warning: explicit language):

Borrelli made the comments Aug. 16 during a phone conversation with Lake Havasu businessman Ed McInerney. McInerney confirmed that the recording obtained by the Capitol Times was a conversation he had that day with Borrelli and that he had made the recording. He said he’d called the state legislator to discuss his wife, Cori Merryman, who’s running for Mohave County sheriff. Much of the discussion in the three-and-a-half hour conversation focused on that race, and McInerney’s belief that Borrelli and people tied to his campaign were spreading lies about Merryman and working to get her opponent elected.

Borrelli told the Capitol Times that his comments were not directed at all voters who support Gould, but only specific voters McInerney referred to in their conversation. McInerney was upset because Steve Robinson, a former Mohave County Republican Party official, had been campaigning against his wife, while also urging voters to vote for Borrelli.

Borrelli said McInerney told him that people Robinson speaks to “were supporting me, and then all of a sudden they’re not supporting me because of Steve Robinson and that kind of stuff.”

Borrelli said McInerney was trying to connect him to Robinson, and asked Borrelli to disavow Robinson’s comments. Borrelli said he’s not associated with Robinson, but won’t discourage him from expressing his opinion in the election. The “ignorant, c—sucking idiots” are those who would cast a ballot for Gould based on Robinson’s actions, Borrelli said.

“Did I use colorful language against people that want to believe Ron Gould’s lies? Yeah, I used colorful language. It’s no secret that I’ve lost all total respect for Mr. Gould (for) calling me names in the paper, implying that my stepson’s a liar,” Borrelli said. “You know, it’s something when you’re campaigning and you’re talking about an issue, and you might spin it a little bit. But when you flat out, out-and-out lie about somebody, I don’t have any respect for you.”

“Do I respect the voters of my district? Yes, I do,” he later added.

Gould said that if anyone has lied during the campaign in LD5, it’s Borrelli. And the issue of Borrelli’s domestic violence charge has never come up on the campaign trail, Gould claimed.

“In reality, this shows the real Sonny Borrelli, who’s a foul mouth. And if you look at the campaign, it’s actually Mr. Borrelli who’s done all the negative campaigning,” Gould said.

Borrelli’s rambling conversation with McInerney also touched on Borrelli’s 2001 guilty plea to a misdemeanor domestic violence charge, which stemmed from an incident in which Borrelli allegedly punched his wife multiple times, according to a Lake Havasu City Police report.

Borrelli has denied details of the police report and said he pleaded guilty to a class 1 misdemeanor disorderly conduct charge to put the issue to rest, a claim backed up by Borrelli’s stepson, whose testimony police relied on heavily in their 2001 report.

In the recorded conversation, he claimed his then-wife tried to recant her testimony to police. Yet the prosecutor at the time, Borrelli told McInerney, was a “feminazi” and threatened to sue his wife if she changed her version of the events.

“She wanted a notch on her gun,” Borrelli told the Capitol Times. “Somebody had to take the fall, I took the fall.”

Borrelli said he thought the conversation he had with McInerney was private, but that clearly McInerney has a vendetta against anyone he perceives as against his wife in the race for Mohave County sheriff.

“It is what it is, and that’s his motive,” Borrelli said. “And also he’s a Ron Gould supporter, so they’re going to pull out every dirty trick they can get this close to the election.”