Joe's message and politics were utterly repellent: anti-immigrant, anti-gay, racist, and bitter--he was a sort of one man tea-party, where absolutely no one was invited. What impressed me about Sweeney--and it's not a kind thing to say--was that he just may have been as physically ugly as his political convictions.
In all of his campaigns for the House, there were two constants: anti-immigration vitriol and this ridiculous picture.
Joe Sweeney: "This country: an ideology worth repeating!"*
I knew nothing of his politics the first time I saw the poster emblazoned with this image, but I soon saw it everywhere I went, and it became a constant nagging presence on my daily commute during campaign seasons. After a couple of even numbered years, one of my friends gave me his business card, which carried the same photo. I even acquired one of Sweeney's campaign signs, which I kept where no one would ever see it.
Over the years since I left Arizona, Sweeney's fortunes soared. He renewed his campaigned every election cycle, hosted a public access call in show, and by the 2000s, despite his 3rd party affiliations, explicit racism, and belief in UFOs, he was being taken seriously as a republican candidate, winning GOP nomination in 2006, but losing the election.
So goodbye, Joe. I hope your immigration to the other side was legal and abrupt.
AZ Daily Star news item
Tucson Weekly RIP Joe Sweeney