Daniel Hernandez Jr., the former intern credited with helping to save Rep. Gabrielle Giffords’ life when she was shot in 2011 and now an elected member of a Tucson-area school board, is facing a nasty recall election in which anonymous opponents are attacking him for being openly gay and for his advocacy on behalf of gun violence prevention.
The story behind the recall is the kind of byzantine saga found only in local politics. Four of the five members of the Sunnyside Unified School District, which includes parts of Tucson and surrounding areas, are now facing recall petitions – two members who faced recall for their support of an embattled schools superintendent turned around and filed recall petitions on two members who opposed the superintendent, including Hernandez.
But the tactics being used against Hernandez are unusual. A source in the district sends us two flyers that Hernandez’s opponents are reportedly handing out to parents dropping their children off at schools in the district. Right Wing Watch repeatedly tried to contact Marcos Castro, the manager of the effort to recall Hernandez and brother in law of school board president Louie Gonzalez, to discover whether the flyers came from his campaign, but Castro refused to take our calls. [UPDATE: Castro tells us that he himself got one of the flyers left at his house but he has “no knowledge” of where they came from.]
The first attacks Hernandez for being openly gay, imploring, “Put a REAL Man on the Sunnyside Board…Daniel Hernandez is LGBT…We need someone who will support Sports and cares about our kids. We don’t need someone who hates our values.”
The second flyer attacks Hernandez’s work on behalf of gun violence prevention in the wake of the Giffords shooting, claiming (punctuation and spelling are a direct quote), “Daniel Hernandez cares about only one things taking your guns away”:
Hernandez’s opponents must gather 1,300 signatures by December 14 in order to put the recall on the ballot.