Arizonans Reacts To Kavanaugh Drama, Sen. Flake's Surprise Move

By Will Stone
Published: Monday, October 1, 2018 - 12:38pm
Updated: Monday, October 1, 2018 - 12:51pm

Protesters outside Senator Jeff Flake
Will Stone/KJZZ
Protesters outside Sen. Jeff Flake's office in Phoenix on Sept. 28, 2018.

Arizonans are watching the national Supreme Court drama closely.

On Friday, people across the political spectrum reacted to the decision to delay the Senate confirmation vote for Judge Brett Kavanaugh. 

Loraine Pellegrino had no qualms with how Republicans handled Kavanaugh's contentious hearing with his accuser, Dr. Christine Blasey Ford.

“We, as a party, have been extremely accommodating and sensitive,” said Pellegrino who is president of the Arizona Federation of Republican Women.

Pellegrino said she was proud of how the GOP has handled the confirmation hearings “including with special prosecutor who did a great job.”

Pellegrino is talking about Rachel Mitchell, a longtime Arizona sex crimes prosecutor who was brought to D.C. to question Ford.

In fact, Nancy Cottle, who joined Pellegrino at the fall meeting of their organization, only had harsh words for one member of her party, Sen. Jeff Flake, who at the last moment called for an FBI investigation into the allegations.

“I don't know what another week of questioning is going to turn up. What — that people like to drink beer?”

Cottle sees Flake's decision as just one more poke in the eye of President Donald Trump.

“I think it was uncalled for. It's embarrassing. I apologize to people all over the country for Senator Flake,” Cottle said.

Across town on Friday, protesters were descending on Flake's office in Phoenix.

Standing on the packed sidewalk, Lori Marion was making some last-minute tweaks to her sign.

“So this morning, my sign said no investigation equals Jeff Flake's abdication. And then an hour before I got here, I changed it to GOP abdication,” Marion said.

Marion calls Thursday's hearing a sham. She hopes Flake keeps the pressure on GOP senators to uncover any hidden wrongdoings in Kavanaugh's past.

“They didn't even seem to ask him any pertinent questions about her allegations at all. They just had their minds made up already,” Marion said of the hearing.

Next to Marion, Willie Crawford said she tried to keep an open mind when Kavanaugh began his testimony.

“But his demeanor and his posturing just did not reflect someone suitable for the federal court, much less the Supreme Court. So I'm just shocked that he's a serious consideration,” Crawford said. 

Crawford said she was a registered Republican until six years ago. She didn't protest when the last conservative judge was picked for the Supreme Court.

“It's this guy. It is this guy and the charges against him,” Crawford said.

For those not on the street waving signs or not party loyalists, there was frustration and confusion about the politics surrounding the confirmation hearing.

“The whole thing was handled wrong. So now it turned into a circus,” said Joani Oliver, who runs the barbershop Electric Haven in Tempe. “I believe that something happened to her, OK? It's so long ago. Was it truthfully him?”

Oliver said there's no way to know until there's a full investigation.

“You’d hate to really accuse somebody if they didn't do it because that would be awful, as well,” she said.

As he gives a client a trim, Nathaniel Tappy said there's too much attention on undermining Dr. Ford and not understanding her experience as a survivor.

“Instead of focusing on 'why didn't you come out sooner about it?' We should focus on how long you've been living with this pain inside of you and how it has affected you,” he said.

But to most at the barber shop who’d been following the news, the entire process seemed like a joke.

“Let's make this really dramatic and draw it out,” barber George Bartlett said of the hearing.

Then the guy getting his haircut, Mike Halliday interjected.

“But this is also stuff people should know,” he said.

“Oh, absolutely. But I don't think this way,” Bartlett responded.

All agree, there is a way to get to the truth behind the allegations. But they're just skeptical that senators in Washington will really want to go there.

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