Sunday, September 6, 2020

In AZ Senate race, McSally's ads against Kelly are lies

Daily Star columnist Tim Steller explains why World View doesn’t deserve misleading Senate-campaign criticism.

… I remember sitting in our office on Jan. 14, 2016, talking it over with colleagues, wondering how the public and board of supervisors were supposed to analyze the incentive package, digest it and take a position in the five days between the announcement and the vote.

One thing that never came up, though, was the idea that it amounted to Mark Kelly stealing from the taxpayers. One of four founders, Kelly stood to benefit if the deal passed, which it did by a 4–1 vote, but he would benefit mainly if the company thrived, not directly from the county’s incentive package.

The idea he individually took taxpayer money, though, has become central to one of the country’s most closely watched U.S. Senate races. Sen. Martha McSally and the National Republican Senatorial Committee have focused their attacks against Kelly on the idea that he took $15 million in money from Pima County taxpayers.

It’s an absurd claim, a lie in fact, but it helps build their preferred narrative about him, encapsulated in their slogan “He’ll do anything for a buck, say anything for a vote.”

One thing he didn’t do is “pocket” $15 million of taxpayer money. Chris King, a local Republican activist, is unnamed in one of the McSally ads, but is presented as an everyman upset about the deal.

“I was disgusted to learn that Mark Kelly pocketed $15 million of our money for his business, then laid off workers instead of creating new jobs,” King says in the ad.

That sentence combines a lie with a misleading statement. The lie is that he pocketed the money. The truth is that Pima County spent $15 million building a headquarters and spaceport for World View. The company is leasing the building back from Pima County and through March had paid the county $2,325,250. The county has suspended rent payments for its tenants, including World View, till the end of the year due to the economic crisis, but they are set to resume in January.

… I shake my head at the misinformation being peddled in a U.S. Senate race, of all places, and I think we all ought to root for World View’s success.

Although the ads would have you believe the company’s story is over, it’s actually in its early years and could still work out well for all of us.

Why would we expect honesty from a candidate who has joined herself with the man of 20,000 lies? In today’s GOP, dishonesty starts with Trump at the top and infects the individual candidates. Trump is not susceptible to shame and, apparently, neither is McSally.

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