After Giffords Shooting, Several AZ Republicans Resign Amid Fears of Tea Party Violence
What the Arizona Republiccalls a "nasty little battle" has broken out among Republican members of Arizona's Legislative District 20 in the wake of the Gabrielle Giffords shooting. Several Republicans have resigned, citing fears that local Tea Party supporters will harm them or their families for not being conservative enough.
Now-former Chairman Anthony Miller was among those to resign. A former campaign worker for Sen. John McCain, Miller sent an email to state Republican Party Chairman Randy Pullen just hours after Saturday's shooting, saying, "Today my wife of 20 yrs ask (sic) me do I think that my PCs (Precinct Committee members) will shoot at our home? So with this being said I am stepping down from LD20GOP Chairman...I will make a full statement on Monday."
Miller said he faced "constant verbal attacks" from the Tea Party after being elected to his second term last month. Many of those attacks centered around Miller's involvement with McCain's bid last year against Tea Party darling J.D. Hayworth.
The first and only African-American to hold the party's precinct chairmanship, Miller said he has been called "McCain's boy," and during the campaign saw a critic form his hand in the shape of a gun and point it at him.
"I wasn't going to resign but decided to quit after what happened Saturday," Miller said. "I love the Republican Party but I don't want to take a bullet for anyone."
After Miller's announcement, three other District 20 Republicans quit: newly-elected secretary Sophia Johnson, first vice chairman Roger Dickinson and former district spokesman Jeff Kolb, who said in an email, "This singular focus on 'getting' Anthony [Miller] was one of the main reasons I chose to resign."