Democrats hold inaugural Rose Mofford Dinner

Jon Johnson Photo/Gila Herald: The Graham County Democratic Party held its inaugural Rose Mofford Dinner on Friday at The Plank.

Karp announces candidacy for State Senate

By Jon Johnson

SAFFORD – The Graham County Democratic Party presented the inaugural Rose Mofford Dinner at The Plank on Friday, which brought out Democrat representatives from throughout Congressional District 1. 

The event was a fundraiser that also honored the late Governor Rose Mofford, who was Arizona’s first female secretary of state and first female governor.

Plenty of Greenlee County Democrats were also at the event, which was emceed by Greenlee County Democratic Party Chairman Susan Breen.

“We’re just really excited that so many could come today,” Breen said.

Jon Johnson Photo/Gila Herald: Greenlee County Democratic Party Chairman Susan Breen emcees the event.

Graham County Chamber of Commerce Marketing Director Bri Morris sang a stunning version of the National Anthem to open the meeting.   

After keeping the crowd energized with some good-natured political barbs, Breen brought up Graham County Democratic Party Chairman Nick Tellez to welcome those in attendance to the event.

“It’s nice to see this many Democrats in the same room,” Tellez said. “Especially since, for the longest time, there (were) maybe three or four of us.”

Jon Johnson Photo/Gila Herald: Graham County Democratic Party Chairman Nick Tellez reminisces about the earlier days of the party in Graham County.

In between salad and the serving of the main entree, guest speaker Walt Mares regaled the crowd with how he stood up his wife (Breen) on their first date after being invited to join Mofford for supper. 

“That was my first experience with Rose Mofford and I came to know her very well over the years,” Mares said. 

Jon Johnson Photo/Gila Herald: Guest speaker Walt Mares recalls an anecdote about Rose Mofford.

Mares went on to describe his admiration for Mofford and how she was a “warm, very genuine, down-home person” who held her office with dignity and was a symbol for bipartisan politics. 

“One of the beautiful things about Rose was – being a nonpartisan – in her day when Republicans and Democrats were slugging it out over the House or Senate floor, and then they’d go to Durant’s restaurant and have a drink and that’s just the way it was. Imagine that happening today.” 

Karp announces run for State Senate

Jon Johnson Photo/Gila Herald: Bob Karp, left, is joined at his table by former LD-25 State Rep. Pat Fleming. Karp announced his candidacy for State Senate for LD-14 at the event.

Bob Karp, of Sierra Vista, utilized the event to announce his intention to run for State Senate in LD-14. The current State Senator is Republican David Gowan. Karp last ran for the Arizona House of Representatives in 2018 but lost to Republicans Gail Griffin and Becky Nutt.  

“I’m really excited and pleased to make the formal announcement for the candidacy for the State Senate in LD-14,” Karp said. “This is the first event of the campaign and I am delighted to share it with the people of Graham and Greenlee . . . I learned a few things last time. The biggest thing I learned was how great this area is.”

Jon Johnson Photo/Gila Herald: Gila Valley Small Business Woman of the Year 2017 for Greenlee County, Susan Snyder, enjoys a laugh during the event.

Rose Mofford 2019 Award  

The event also had the awarding of the inaugural Rose Mofford Democrat of the Year Award to Anthony Bejarano, who first attended a Graham County Democratic Party meeting at age 13. 

Bejarano has worked his way up to Vice-Chair of the Graham County Democratic Party and has run meetings and events and is well known for his kindness, empathy, and passion for promoting Democratic ideals.