Opportunity for All, a new Super Pac, is taking aim at both of them.
“I’m severely independent, like how Romney said he’s severely conservative,” says Carlos Sierra, the founder of the Super Pac, who worked on John McCain’s staff for ten years, including in 2008 when he was the coalition’s director for Hispanic outreach in the Southwest.
“I see my role as to moderate politics. Right-wingers and left-wingers are preventing that from happening,” he says.
Grijalva, who was the target of a recent mailer by the Super Pac, which said he has hurt the economy and taken jobs away from Arizona, finds the aim of the organization to be less than high-minded.
“I don’t know what Mr. Sierra is claiming but this manipulation of the situation, dark money and anonymous money is wrong,” he said, adding that it is the playbook being used against Democrats across the country.
Despite the reputation of Super Pacs, what may make people listen to Sierra is his equal reproach of partisan politics on both sides. He had even stronger words concerning Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio.
“I don’t know where to get started on that guy,” he says. “For me, corruption is a big issue. He has no respect for the rule of law. His rhetoric is disgusting and the way he treats the Hispanic community. We’re all Mexicans to him, we’re all illegal. It’s disturbing and disgusting.”
Sierra says his mom has been a police officer in El Paso for 25 years so he is very familiar with the importance of law enforcement but he thinks Arpaio is out of control.
“Excuse my language but he’s a media whore,” he says. “He forced the county to spend thousands and thousands of dollars on lawsuits against him and his office, there have been reports of child abuse which were ignored, people have died in his jails, but he had time to send his posse to Hawaii to investigate Obama’s birth certificate.”
Sierra says his gripes against Grijalva center on the congressman’s opposition to copper mines and a refinery.
“He opposed them for environmental reasons but they would have brought business and jobs to Arizona. Copper — that’s what Arizona is known for. But he did everything he could to prevent them from opening.”
Grijalva, who came out swinging in a recent press conference pushing back against the super pac, says the proposed mines would have been in counties where he was voted in with 70 percent support by the voters and he is fighting for their wishes.
“I’m against the use of federal forest land as a dump site for the mine,” he says. “
“I’ve been opposed to that trade for environmental and water quality reasons but I’m not the only one. The local tribes and the chambers of commerce are also against it. This is not being an extreme environmentalist – this is the opinion out there.”
Grijalva adds that he’s opposed to the land trade for Resolution Copper, which is a bill that was written by John McCain – Sierra’s former employer.
“They don’t want to submit to an environmental process, they don’t want to deal with studies,” he says. “They say, ‘Give us the studies after we make the land trade,’ but then it will be private land and there will be no enforcement.”
In the end, Sierra says he will continue to push against those he views as extremists.
“I’m a proud Hispanic,” he says. “Yes, I’m going after Raul, but I’m going to continue to go after far-left wingers and far-right wingers.
“We need to get stuff done but the partisan politics is killing our country.”