In a stunning turn of events, it appears that less than two weeks after embracing him wholeheartedly in Washington, D.C., and cutting him a $10,000 check, the National Republican Congressional Committee has decided to cut short a planned advertising blitz for immigration hard-liner Republican Randy Graf.
The move has already been characterized as a sign of conceding defeatespecially with a recent Bennett, Petts & Blumenthal poll showing Democrat Gabrielle Giffords trouncing Graf 54 percent to 29 percentin the Arizona congressional race for the seat Rep. Jim Kolbe is vacating. Graf is a conservative founding member of the Minuteman Project and is best known for carving out a get-tough stance on immigration.
Last week Republicans in Washington canceled roughly $1 million in planned television advertisements they were going to run for Graf. Ads currently airing will stay up through October 3, but not until the general election. Analysts say this was the only instance of the NRCC's choosing to withdraw already promised funding for a Republican congressional candidate in 2006.
Graf's campaign manager, R.T. Gregg, has insisted that his candidate is ready to "go it alone if necessary." Graf has already run a largely un-Washington race: During the Republican primary earlier this month, the NRCC spent at least $120,000 on ads backing his moderate opponent.
The latest reporting of Graf's spending dated Aug. 23, 2006 shows Graf with just $82,135 cash on hand. On the same date, Giffords had $334,530.