The bitter fight between GOP candidates for the District 8 Senate seat turned into a political brawl Wednesday as Sen. Carolyn Allen accused her opponent Rep. Colette Rosati of bigotry and anti-Semitism.
Allen made the accusations at a candidates forum in front of a mostly Jewish audience at Scottsdale’s Jewish Community Center. As evidence, she read from a fouryear-old statement signed by Rosati.
It read: “Is the life issue as important to you as it is to me? Are you a member of the Republican party? If the answer to these questions is yes, then we need you to become elected precinct committee members (PCs) in the new District 8. Your new state legislative district is run by members who are non-Christian, pro-abortion and pro gambling.”
The memo went on to say, “Wouldn’t it would be great to have our district run by grassroots pro-life, traditional family values people like us?”
Allen went on to attack her political rival by painting her as a Christian conservative who would like to keep non-Christians from joining the Republican Party. “This woman gets up and tells you that she supports your issues and that she cares about you. I don’t think so. I think it’s a disgrace to have her on this platform,” Allen said.
Afterward, when asked if she thought Rosati was an anti-Semite, Allen replied, “Of course she is.”
But Rosati said the letter was an effort to recruit conservative Republicans in her district to become more politically active — and not to exclude non-Christians. “I love Jewish people, I love Israel, I even love Muslims,” Rosati said. “In fact, even some of my children’s best friends are Jewish.”
Rosati, who was first elected to the House in 2002, called Allen a “liar” who is a Republican in name only. “When I beat my opponent on Sept. 12 of this year, I want her to re-register as a Democrat,” she said.
The two rivals differed on nearly every question raised during the fiery 30-minute joint appearance that turned into a debate as both candidates interrupted each other.
Both candidates disagree on issues ranging from taxes to abortion. During the forum, Allen told the audience she supports state spending on programs when it’s appropriate. Allen also has been a defender of abortion rights.
For her part, Rosati disagreed with Allen’s take on mass transportation. Rosati said she would repeal Proposition 400 — which increased sales taxes to fund highway projects as well as light rail.
Instead, she proposed building a large, fast-moving subway system under certain local freeways and highways, such as Loop 101.