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Candidate: News article unfair, biased

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In response to a recent article by the Arizona Capitol Times, it is necessary to make numerous corrections to the misleading information published.

Running for public office is not an easy task. It is likely the most daunting, stressful, and exciting adventure I’ve ever been on. I did not prevail in the most recent primary election, just as my opponent did lose her statewide race in the ’90s for Superintendent of Public Instruction. There is no four-decade winning streak, and the race she lost was conveniently left out of the article. Even against the dominant influences in our state, I managed to secure over 10,000 votes.

My campaign never took a position that my opponent was too old. In fact, my team and I went through great lengths to ensure this type of message was not promoted. The race was about her record, time in the State Capitol, and lack of vision. It was this message that I pushed and stood by. Making the claim that my campaign was about her age is wrong, and backed up by an Arizona Central article that clearly points this out. I believe it was my age that the problems stemmed from. I am 38 years old, the same age my opponent was when she first ran for office. Even with all of the attempts to the contrary, a perpetual campaign of hate, misleading comments, and obscene posts prevailed. I expect it to some degree but had to filter out egregious attacks that had nothing to do with my policies, positions, or campaign.

Ryan Starzyk

Ryan Starzyk

There were no attacks on my opponent, as being portrayed or assumed. Nothing my campaign put out was inaccurate. We verified each and every post to ensure it had factual validity before putting it out. Sure, there were visually creative ways to put it out, but nothing was false. How can the voters in my district expect me to stand up to the Republicans in the state legislature if I can’t even point out my opponent’s dismal record? All elected officials should be held accountable for their record, especially for the things they voted on in the past.

In terms of the injunction against harassment issued to an individual in my district, this was an unfortunate and necessary step after consultation with multiple stakeholders, including my family. It was not a step I wanted to take and was not one that was taken lightly. We all witnessed the Democratic Party headquarters being firebombed by a disgruntled former volunteer, and with the onslaught of attacks, false accusations, and fake accounts set up by this person, it brought considerable worry that my residence might be next. What would you do if the same person sent dozens of messages, and continued a perpetual campaign of rage-filled, obsessive anger towards you? Most of the communication had little to do with my campaign or political questions, and everything to do with me personally. The misrepresentation of this rationale is hugely disturbing and was explained to the reporter. The reporter did not have an objective viewpoint, and my campaign director was present in the room to validate this point when her own opinion interjected in our discussion about my opponent. The view held by the reporter was supportive of my opponent, rather than understanding the rationale behind my campaign positions or approach.

The once deleted tweet reference never referred to my opponent personally as being “expired,” rather her ideas and vision for the future of our district are expired. The misrepresented context of this indicates a clear bias towards my campaign, me personally, and a desire to continue serving the establishment powers that did everything to derail my campaign.

I wonder which power player in the Democratic establishment brought this to the Arizona Capitol Times? I have an idea, but certainly, it did not happen by accident.

Ryan A. Starzyk was a candidate in the Legislative District 24 Democratic Primary.

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