Special-ed teacher labeled ‘low-life scum’ for challenging Gabby Giffords now plans Green Party run

Steven Nelson Associate Editor
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Anthony Prowell, a special-ed teacher for the past 22 years, sparked outrage when he floated the idea of challenging Arizona Rep. Gabrielle Giffords in the 2012 Democratic primary.

“It didn’t go over well out here,” Prowell told The Daily Caller in a phone interview Tuesday.

“A couple people called me a vulture, low-life scum, things like that. But that didn’t bother me,” he said. “I’m doing this simply because I’m just a citizen who is tired of what goes on in the government.”

Because of redistricting in Arizona, Prowell expects to find himself in the state’s 1st Congressional District, where he now intends to challenge Republican Rep. Paul Gosar instead. The plans are not finalized, Prowell noted, and he will challenge Giffords if his home ends up in her district.

“She’s out-the-door to me,” he said, adding, “now she’s not the person I need to worry about… if I get thrown back in her district I’ll start looking at her stuff again.”

Prowell said whether he runs against Gosar or Giffords, it will be as a Green Party candidate. The Democrats’ cool reception to his initial plan to challenge Giffords in the primary, he told TheDC, made him realize that other parties have ballot access too.

“I’m not a big fan of the Democrats,” he said. “You shouldn’t have to be a millionaire, you shouldn’t have to be famous, you shouldn’t have to raise millions [to run for office],” Prowell said. “If I said that to the Democrats, they wouldn’t like that.” (RELATED: Giffords–Kelly memoir coming Nov. 15)

Prowell said redistricting has been a contentious topic because both major parties are “complaining that many of the districts are too competitive.” To which Prowell counters: “That’s how it should be for citizens… rather than just jerry-rigging things.”

Prowell said the he is worried about Gosar’s voting record. “He’s a tea partier, but look at his votes and he voted 94 percent with the Republican Party. That party stuff irks me real bad as an independent,” he said. (RELATED: Rep. Gosar: Obama admin may be accessory to murder with ‘Fast and Furious’)

Asked about the Project Gunrunner scandal that has grabbed Arizonans’ attention, Prowell said he had trouble determining what actually occurred. “Someone’s always spinning,” he observed. But if the operation was a sting, he suggested that there should be a figure available for the number of people actually arrested.

Despite his political dabbling, Prowell told TheDC that his job as a special-ed teacher has not been affected, and that he is careful not to use school resources to campaign, or otherwise jeopardize his long career in teaching.

One innovative idea Prowell promises to bring to Congress would involve putting pending legislation on his website, and allowing Arizonans to cast votes online to guide him. Reaction to the proposal has been overwhelming, he said. “People are absolutely flabbergasted that someone would give them a voice in government.”

“If I were a congressman, I wouldn’t allow lobbyists in my office,” Prowell added. “Lots of people say, ‘that’s the way to do it.’”

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