Friday, July 25, 2008 "Independent group hoping to be a factor in LD18"

By Evan Brown Political Reporter

There is a newcomer to the Legislative District 18 senate race, and it’s not a candidate. Judgment Matters, a new political action committee, is trying to raise funds for a “primary voter education and mobilization effort in Arizona Legislative District 18” - one that opposes the Arizona Senate candidacy of state Rep. Russell Pearce (R-Mesa).

The group is urging donations so that it can mount “independent expenditures” - usually advertising - against Pearce in his primary fight with Kevin Gibbons.

“A surgically-timed contribution from you and others can help excise Russell Pearce and his strain of politics from Arizona’s legislature,” read the Judgment Matters pitch.

Farrell Quinlan, the Chandler political consultant and former vice president of the Arizona Chamber of Commerce and Industry who is heading the group, told it is “not partisan-based.”

“There are a lot of Republicans, Democrats and independents who don’t like Russell Pearce’s style of politics,” said Quinlan.

“From the very beginning there are a lot of folks in the crowd that are anti-Russell,” responded Paul Bentz, a political consultant with HighGround AZ who is working on Pearce’s campaign. “I think it’s been very clear and articulated who they are. They’re going after him on being fiscally conservative and a national leader on immigration.”

Bentz said it was primarily “open borders” advocates who were aligned with Judgment Matters. Farrell Quinlan was part of the No on 200 campaign, aimed at defeating Proposition 200, which toughens identification requirements when voting or applying for state benefits as a way to stop illegal immigrations from taking advantage.

Quinlan said he and his group are looking at other races to get involved with, but it will be a “function of resources” whether they engage in those contests or not.

“We’re not in position now of discussing those,” said Quinlan. “Right now we’re focusing on this effort, then we’ll see what happens.”

Kevin Gibbons, Pearce’s opponent, is welcoming the group’s help.

“Our campaign is based upon changing the tone and principle at the legislature and we welcome anyone who would like to contribute to our cause,” wrote Gibbons in an email to “Of course, we cannot and have not coordinated in any way with this group, but welcome their support and anyone else that shares our vision.”

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