PHOENIX - A nasty verbal threat against a state lawmaker has her turning over a member of her own Republican Party for a possible ethics investigation.
It all stems from Arizona State Sen. Rich Crandall’s daughter putting up her father's election signs. State Rep. Brenda Barton said Crandall’s daughter was tampering with Rep. John Fillmore, one of her father’s political opponent’s, signs.
Fillmore and Crandall are both running for the District 16 Arizona senate seat.
Barton took photos, had them posted online, and accused Crandall’s daughter of a misdemeanor crime. Angered by the accusation, and by what Crandall said was verbal abuse toward his daughter, he left Barton a vicious voicemail:
"You better not try to run any education legislation whatsoever the next two years. I am furious at what you did," Crandall said in the message. "That is so juvenile, so immature. You didn't even know the facts. You need to grow up."
In a news conference Tuesday, Barton told reporters she "was very upset, really upset," by Crandall’s voicemail. Barton said she will file a complaint with the Senate Ethics Committee over Crandall’s actions.
As the chairman of the state's Education Committee, Crandall has the power to make good on that threat.
"Bullying is not what we should be doing in 2012,” Barton told ABC15. "I think we should be beyond that."
Crandall said he and his daughter are the real victims, claiming he's now receiving hate-filled emails and calls from Barton and Fillmore’s supporters. He also said Barton yelled and swore at his daughter while she was trying to fix his signs.
"In eight elections, I've never had a campaign this nasty. When I found out what she had done to my daughter, paternal instinct kicked in, and I just called her and left her that voicemail," he said.
Crandall went on to say that in any election, children should be off limits for attacks. Barton responded by saying "intimidation is not the right way to handle things."
Barton plans to file Crandall's ethics complaint Thursday.
Copyright 2012 Scripps Media, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.
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