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Bee Gets Stung By Leading Campaign Backer

Arizona state Senate President Tim Bee has gotten some bad buzz in his campaign to unseat freshman Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-Ariz.).

Over the July 4 weekend, the Sierra Vista Herald reported that Bee had lost the endorsement of former Rep. Jim Kolbe, who held the seat for 22 years before retiring in 2007. Kolbe had been serving as an honorary chairman of Bee’s campaign, providing an important local endorsement as well as support with fundraising.

Kolbe did not provide specific reasons for his break with the Bee campaign, announcing simply: “I will not be actively campaigning for Bee.” Bee’s campaign said Kolbe withdrew his support for “personal reasons,” but did not elaborate further.

The Herald speculates that Kolbe’s decision may be related to Bee’s recent state Senate vote in support of a statewide referendum on a constitutional amendment banning gay marriage. Bee’s vote on June 27 broke a deadlock in the Senate and ensured that the marriage amendment would appear on the ballot this November. At the time of his retirement, Kolbe was the only openly gay Republican in Congress.
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