You can find the basic facts about Eli Crane in his Wikipedia entry, but this post will go well beyond those facts.
Let’s start with a little background on the Congressional District in which Crane was elected.
Congressional District 2 was redistricted into existence in the 2021 round of redistricting. It was previously represented by Democrat Tom O’Halleran, who is a fairly conservative guy for a Dem, a career Chicago cop, having been a lifelong Republican up to and including his service in the Arizona Senate from 2007 to 2009. Even then, he was a pretty reasonable and pragmatic fellow, but he couldn’t tolerate the direction the Republicans have taken recently he left the Republican Party in 2014 and re-registered as a Democrat in 2015. Tom ran for Congress in 2016 in then-CD 1 embracing much of the northwest of the state (as does CD 2 now) beating former Pinal Sheriff Paul Babeu, then seeing off challengers Wendy Rogers (then a perenially failed candidate) in 2018 and Tiffany Shedd in 2020. In Congress, Tom was a member of the Blue Dogs and the Problem Solver Caucus and served on Energy & Commerce, and Agriculture committees.
The main change to CD 2 made by the “Independent” Redistricting Commission was to gerrymander the district into a safe Republican stronghold (R+7.2 and a competitiveness ratio of 0:9) instead of the competitive slightly Republican-leaning district CD 1 had been. The result was a much tougher race for O’Halleran than his first three campaigns.
So now we understand what was, let’s move on to the 2022 race in CD 2 between Crane and O’Halleran.
O’Halleran was doing a good job and was a good fit for his district, as well as the best hope for Democratic control of the seat in the new, less competitive district, so he drew no primary challenger.
Crane, however, faced a wide-open and wild GOP primary race.
The main competition was between Eli Crane, a political newcomer with no prior electoral history, and AZ State Representative Walter Blackman. Another newbie to electoral politics (and something of a carpet-bagger to boot) who got a lot of media attention, because some people think he could be the Q in QAnon, was Ron Watkins, but he ran an utterly terrible campaign (more of a stunt than a campaign) and was ultimately not really a factor in the race.
Blackman came into the race as the favorite. He represented part of the vast district in the AZ House, he was a 21-year career Army combat vet and tank commander. He is generally a reasonable person, being a strong proponent for victims of sexual and domestic abuse and an advocate of criminal justice reform, and he earned a reputation as a man who could and would work across the aisle on issues of that nature. However, he is also definitely an extremist on abortion and on the BLM movement. But Blackman’s greatest flaw was his basic integrity: he refused to condone the unconstitutional proposition that the state legislatures could ‘decertify’ an election as the MAGA election delusionists wanted.
As a result of Blackman’s unwillingness to countenance treason against our democracy by overturning the 2020 election, he and his family endured a smear campaign in the far-right alt-media, was derided as a RINO, and he did not earn Trump’s coveted endorsement. That turned out to be decisive.
Crane, too, is a vet, having served in the Navy from 2001 to 2014 as a Navy Seal, but seems to have a much different interpretation of his oath than Blackman. Eli Crane had no such scruples. He told Trump that he was on board with the Big Lie and would do anything he could to overturn and discredit the 2020 election (and followed through constantly) and to deliver Arizona should Trump run 2024.
Having secured the nomination by licking Trump’s toes and parroting his lies and disinformation, Crane went on to beat O’Halleran by nearly the exact margin of Republican registration advantage as the district: 7.8%. Upon his victory, of course he immediately joined the so-called “Freedom” Caucus, which I refer to as the #TreasonCaucus.
We all saw the role Crane played – along with fellow Arizona disgraces Andy Biggs and Paul Gosar – in the Treason Caucus’ ritualistic and self-promoting humiliation of McCarthy in the process of his becoming Speaker. He is being mentored by his buddies Biggs and Gosar to be an ineffectual media clown more interested in self-promotion and “owning libtards” than in actually legislating and improving the lives of those in his district.
Crane’s campaign website issues page is not exactly in line with the broader electorate, citing as his top issues “Election Integrity”, “Border Security”, and “Cancel Culture”. Though he has little pictures titled “Economy” and “National Security”, they don’t actually lead any where: they are just those words…? Odd.
Crane, of course, also is a proponent of right-wing conspiracy delusions beyond just election denial. Crane is also a COVID conspiracist. From his website:
So, we can conclude that Crane is an anti-vaxxer in general (wonder how that went over with his command while in the Navy…?). Crane’s more than willing to risk killing the public in exchange for business as usual. And Crane has no fucking idea what ‘gain-of-function’ research is, nor why it’s done, and harbors the conspiracy delusion that COVID originated in Dr. Fauci’s secret labs. He also has posted on Facebook endorsing the Great Reset conspiracy theory.
Crane has also opined that COVID-19 is part of a grand plan by global elites (by which he means Jews) saying on Facebook, “My spidey senses, started going insane when COVID lockdowns and related insanity started.” So we know a few things about Crane: he’s a probable anti-semite; he’s not very interested in protecting public health or protecting those he is duty-bound to serve; and he’s not great at grammar.
Of course, Crane is a staunch anti-abortion advocate who supports banning abortion, even in the case of rape or incest, and wants to allow states to criminally punish patients and doctors. This is certainly not in line with Arizona’s mainstream values on the matter, the great majority of whom support safe and legal abortion services, and an even greater majority support abortion in the case of rape and incest, and an even greater majority abhor the idea of punishing women and doctors with criminal charges for abortions. He represents only a radical religious minority viewpoint on the issue.
Crane is also a supporter of the insurrectionist violence of January 6th 2021. Crane was scheduled to speak at a rally in support of the #Jan6Terrorists alongside white nationalists and people who endorse Nazi ideology along with Mark Finchem and Wendy Rogers.
We’re sure to get much more information that we never wanted straight out of this extremists mouth as time goes on, now that he is an elected member of our AZConDel. Oi!