Huppenthal told azcentral.com early today that he is sorry his anonymous posts have hurt and offended Arizonans. "I made comments that were hurtful to people and they were not what is in my heart, soul and mind," he said. "I completely repudiate those comments."Given how many outlandish statements he's made, his repudiation rings hollow—a political necessity, little more. Those online posts confirm, deeply, what we've always known. From the time he was on the Chandler City Council, through his years at the legislature and then chief of education, Huppenthal has been a right-wing zealot—a fundamentalist, science-denying right-to-lifer who champions privatized education and cares not a hoot for the state's large minority population. Indeed, in recently uncovered blog posts he says Spanish-language TV, radio, billboards and newspapers should be stomped out.
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In the wake of his insensitive remarks and outright lies, education and civil rights groups have called on Huppenthal to end his primary campaign and even resign. But calls for his dismissal go beyond the usual suspects. Even former political allies have turned on him. The Arizona Chamber of Commerce, a far-right business group that supported his privatization schemes and endorsed Huppenthal in 2010, canceled its plan to honor him.
Former superintendent Lisa Graham Keegan, another charter school fanatic and Bush education czar, called on Huppenthal to end his campaign. Another former GOP superintendent, Jaime Molera, said he cannot "in good conscience" defend or support Huppenthal. We will hear from education and Hispanic leaders today at a press conference, where Keegan and others are expected to encourage Huppenthal to exit the stage. He's having none of it, however:
"The voters are going to make that decision, not Lisa Keegan," he said.Yes, Mr. Superintendent, the voters will make that decision by electing someone who truly supports public education, not privatized evangelical indoctrination: David Garcia!
UPDATE: At his own press conference today, John Huppenthal broke down in tears as he apologized for his stunningly offensive remarks. Soon after, education, business and civil rights spokespersons held their own presser, during which they urged Huppenthal to drop out of the August primary.
Former State Superintendent of Public Instruction Lisa Graham Keegan, Arizona Hispanic Chamber of Commerce president Gonzalo de la Melena, law professor and Roosevelt School Board member Laurence Robinson, Phoenix lawyer Daniel Ortega and south Phoenix business leader Michael Kelly said he should quit.
They also sent a strong message to Arizona voters: If he does not resign, Huppenthal should not be re-elected.