An Arizona Republican Party District Chairman resigned shortly after the shooting of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-AZ) and 18 others on Saturday. According to The Arizona Republic, Anthony Miller had been subject to verbal attacks and internet postings by apparent Tea Party members, and said he feared for his safety.
“I wasn’t going to resign but decided to quit after what happened Saturday,” Miller told the Republic. “I love the Republican Party but I don’t want to take a bullet for anyone.”
Miller, 43, had recently been re-elected for a second one-year term as Chairman of the Legislative District 20 Republicans. He was the first African-American to hold the position. According to the Republic, Miller worked for Sen. John McCain’s re-election campaign last year, and came under pressure from conservatives who supported McCain’s Tea Party-backed primary challenger, J.D. Hayworth. Miller said he’d been called “McCain’s boy,” and the Republic obtained emails circulated among party members calling him a “McCainiac with a penchant for violating the rules” and a “McCain hack.” One detractor allegedly formed the shape of a gun with his hand and pointed it at Miller.
Just a few hours after the shooting in Tucson, Miller sent an email to state Republican Party Chairman Randy Pullen.
“Today my wife of 20 yrs ask [sic] me do I think that my PCs [Precinct Committee members] will shoot at our home? So with this being said I am stepping down from LD20GOP Chairman…I will make a full statement on Monday,” Miller wrote.
Along with Miller, the newly-elected District Secretary Sophia Johnson, First Vice Chairman Roger Dickinson and former District spokesman Jeff Kolb also quit.
“This singular focus on ‘getting’ Anthony [Miller] was one of the main reasons I chose to resign,” Kolb said in an email obtained by the Republic.
After November’s election, Miller’s opponents had made an issue out of Dickinson’s residency, apparently saying he’d moved to the district too recently to serve as First Vice Chairman.
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Eric Lach is a reporter for TPM. From 2010 to 2011, he was a news writer in charge of the website’s front page. He has previously written for The Daily, NewYorker.com, GlobalPost and other publications. He can be reached at ericl(at)talkingpointsmemo.com