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Republican Recruits Roster of "Drifters" to Run as Green Party Candidates in Arizona

Republicans in Arizona have recruited a group of drifters and homeless people to run for office as part of the Green Party, the New York Times reports, in what appears to be an attempt to siphon votes away from Democratic candidates.

The Arizona Democratic Party has reportedly filed a complaint to have the candidates removed from the ballot, and the Green Party is urging supporters not to vote for the GOP recruits.

Steve May, a political operative who along with at least two other Republicans helped recruit the candidates, "freely admits" the candidates may hurt Democrats, according to the Times. But he also insists they are genuine candidates. Those candidates include Benjamin Pearcy, a formerly homeless 20-year-old running for a seat on the Arizona Corporation Commission; Thomas Meadows, a 27-year-old tarot card reader with less than a dollar to his name who is running for state treasurer; and Anthony "Grandpa" Goshorn, 53-year-old pedicab driver.

Complaints about dubious candidacies are nothing new. Republicans in Michigan earlier this year argued that a group calling itself "The Tea Party" was, in fact, a Democratically-supported group meant to take support from conservatives. The group was kicked off the November ballot last week because of a technical issue that had nothing to do with its legitimacy as a party.

Meanwhile, in South Carolina, House Democratic Whip James Clyburn (S.C.) accused Democratic Senate candidate Alvin Greene of being a "plant" after Greene surprisingly defeated a better-known, more organized candidate in the Democratic primary - though there is no evidence to support that claim.

Stephanie Condon is a political reporter for You can read more of her posts here. Follow Hotsheet on Facebook and Twitter.