Arizona Republican recruits homeless to run for office

Rachel Rose Hartman
Homeless people stand in line for coats.
Homeless people stand in line for coats.

How's this sound for a slate of candidates? A homeless tarot card reader, "Grandpa" the pedicab driver and a 20-year-old street performer.

Those are the Green Party political hopefuls whom Republican operative Steve May has recruited to run for office in Arizona, the New York Times reports.

While the state's community of tarot enthusiasts is unlikely to sway any elections, May insists that he hasn't engaged in any political trickery. "Did I recruit candidates? Yes," May told the Times. "Are they fake candidates? No way."

May also openly concedes that his recruits, who are running for various state offices, "may siphon some support from the Democrats," according to the newspaper.

Arizona Democrats evidently believe the same thing. State party officials have filed a complaint to remove May's candidates from the ballot. Meanwhile, the state's Green Party is urging supporters not to vote for them.

The Arizona Green situation is just the latest alleged election-fixing scandal of this political cycle.

In South Carolina, Democrats accused Senate candidate Alvin Greene of being a Republican plant -- though the surprise Democratic nominee was able to refute the central charge in that claim by documenting that he had paid the state's steep filing fee in the contest under his own financial steam.

Republicans argue Democrats are backing a fake "Florida Tea Party" to siphon votes away from Republicans. And in several other campaigns around the country, Republicans accuse Democrats of propping up fake tea party candidates.

(Photo: Homeless individuals wait in line for coats in New York City in 2005. Getty Images/Mario Tama)