Crane seeks Republican congressional nomination | Elections 2018 | – Payson Roundup


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Former Navy SEAL Eli Crane says Democrats want to destroy the country, and that’s why he’s running for Congress in a new district that includes Rim Country and the White Mountains.“When you look at what they’re doing — it seems stupid and silly,” he told about 50 people gathered for a meeting of the Payson Tea Party. “There’s some truth to that. But I hope we all understand something: The people who are calling the shots and flipping the switches — they know exactly what they’re doing. The only way what you on a daily basis makes any sense is they’re trying to destroy us. Defend the police, deficit spending, the border —it’s the only way Joe Biden makes any sense.”Crane — who served three combat tours as a Navy SEAL — is seeking the Republican nomination in the redrawn Congressional District 2, currently represented by Democrat Tom O’Halleran, a three-term congressman and former state lawmaker.Redistricting shifted the seat from a highly competitive tossup district to one that “leans Republican” according to various political ratings. The shift makes O’Halleran one of the nation’s most vulnerable incumbents — with control of Congress up for grabs in November.The primary campaign has drawn a long list of Republicans. Other Republican candidates who have taken out nominating petitions include state Rep. Walt Blackman (R-Snowflake), Bandon Martin, Myron Lizer, Lucretia Free, Mark DeLuzio, Marissa Mitchell, Williams Mayor John Moore, businessman Andy Yates, Katherine “Kat” Gallant, Steve Beaver and Ron Watkins, reportedly one of the originators of the website and social media campaign that birthed QAnon — although he denies it.Crane made a point of reading off the names of his opponents, saying he hopes the district gets the best possible candidate — even if it’s not him.The long list of Republicans will get shorter once the deadline passes for turning in signatures on April 4. As of the January reporting period, Crane led the fundraising competition with $810,000 followed by Blackman with nearly $700,000.O’Halleran had raised about $1.6 million in January, with no primary opponent.Crane left the military in 2010 after his fifth deployment, including three tours as a Navy SEAL. He returned to the states and launched a business making bottle openers from 50 caliber shell casings. The business took off after his appearance on the TV show “Shark Tank.”“We got a deal on that show — became one of the fastest growing ‘Shark Tank’ companies of all time — I went from the Navy into the deep end of entrepreneurship — this was before Donald Trump ever came down that escalator. We made our products right here in the USA. After having 12 million people see our product, we got one offer after another to move our manufacturing overseas — and we didn’t do it,” he said, drawing applause from the audience.He said he’s running as a father, a husband and a Christian to prevent the left from destroying the county. He aligned himself with former President Donald Trump — as well as the often-controversial incumbent Arizona congressmen Andy Biggs and Paul Gosar. The redrawn District 2 includes a big chunk of Gosar’s former district — mostly Rim Country and the Verde Valley. Gosar is now running for re-election in the safe Republican District 9, which includes much of western Arizona along the Colorado River.“I’m an America First candidate. We’ve pushed God out of everything. I’m scared to death of what my kids are going to be left with. It falls on our watch — it’s on us. It’s just so maddening out there. So ridiculous the things that are going on in the country. Our kids are being taught to hate this country ... I want to be a firewall between you guys and the radical left because they want to destroy you. They’re coming at your kids. They’re coming at your families. They’re coming at your wallets. They don’t want capitalism — they want socialism. They don’t want you to love your country.”He faced a largely friendly audience — but struggled with some specifics during the question-and-answer session. That included a grilling about what’s in the first article of the Constitution and whether the proposed Convention of States is a good idea.“I have a lot to learn,” said Crane, an unflappable, genial man with a calm but intense manner. “First thing, I’ll get with your Andy Biggs and your Paul Gosar. When we got to a new assignment (in the SEALS), the first thing we did was turnover ops — so we understood the battle situation, who the enemy was, the weapons they were using — I will be going in there as humbly as possible so I can learn from the guys who are straight shooters.”He also noted that he believes “there was pretty substantial fraud in our election.”However, half a dozen court cases and a $4 million audit of the Maricopa County ballots revealed no evidence of widespread fraud, beyond a relative handful of cases in which people voted for other voters or in the wrong precinct.In response to questions, he said that his top three issues at the moment are balancing the federal budget, outlawing the teaching of critical race theory in schools, and “shoring up our borders” with a return to Trump-era policies on the border.The Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget estimates it would require a 55% cut in federal spending or a 69% increase in federal taxes to stabilize the national debt at 100% of the Gross Domestic Product by 2031.On the border, the U.S. Border Patrol reported more than 1.6 million encounters with immigrants on the U.S.-Mexican border in 2021 — compared to 400,000 in 2000. The arrests, encounters and deportations last year set a record — barely topping the 2001 total, according to the Pew Center. The Biden administration has been using many of the same public health emergency provisions to quickly deport illegal border crossers, but the system has been nearly overwhelmed by the dramatic rise in the number of people crossing illegally. The addition or improvement of 365 miles of border fencing, with another 221 miles of additional fencing under construction, have had little impact on the crossings.Critical race theory started out as a reference to the university-based examinations of the way in which racial prejudice has influenced U.S. history and whether racial attitudes have become institutionalized in the criminal justice system and elsewhere. The Arizona Legislature this year has adopted several bills that would prevent K-12 teachers from talking about anything that made students feel bad on the basis of race. The controversy surrounding this broader definition of critical race theory has complicated the teaching of things like the Civil War, the Civil Rights Movement and other social and historical trends.

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