Republican HQ

United Republicans of Green Valley and Sahuarita is planning a mock funeral Friday to "bury" Democratic goals.

Broad criticism of plans for a mock funeral to "Bury the Democrats" isn't deterring United Republicans of Green Valley and Sahuarita president Yale Wishnick, who said his  members back the effort.

The mock funeral, planned for Friday, will include a procession, fake casket and eulogy, and will begin at 9 a.m. in the parking lot in front of Democratic Headquarters at Continental Shopping Plaza. 

Green Valley News received more than 80 comments online through Facebook and more than 50 emails and letters to the editor – most opposed to the event. Many tied the funeral theme to the nearly 180,000 deaths so far from COVID-19 in the United States, saying it was in poor taste. 

The Sahuarita Sun Facebook page received 19 comments online, mostly supporting United Republicans.

Wishnick said he was surprised that his group didn't receive more pushback at its headquarters at Green Valley Village.

"We've had one or two, and I'm not really sure if they were from Republicans or Democrats or Independents because it was over the phone," he said.

Wishnick said they also received calls in support.

On Monday, Glen Una Management's asset manager Kelly Gardner said he found out about the event over the weekend. Glen Una manages Continental Shopping Plaza.

"I'm learning about this from people asking about it," he said. "I guess our official response is we have not been approached to authorize an event like that in the parking lot. We have not been asked by them."

Gardner said the management group's goal is to approve events that support the plaza's businesses and would not have approved it.

"I've had some tenants ask me about it and I said, 'Look, this is the first I'm hearing about it, we've not been asked for any kind of permission to hold an event like that in the parking lot,'" he said.

Gardner said the management company reached out to United Republicans on Monday but they hadn't heard back from anyone.

Wishnick told the Green Valley News on Tuesday that he contacted Continental Plaza's management over the weekend.

He said there was confusion that the event was a  demonstration with the possibility for confrontation outside the Democratic Headquarters.

"When I explained that, no, this was absolutely peaceful, in fact, we're just using it as a meeting area, and we'll have cars meeting all over the place, we're not going to be protesting," Wishnick said. "I told our folks yesterday that if any Democrats decide to argue with us or protest us, we're to ignore them, be silent and not to engage."

United Republicans also issued guidelines telling participants not to picket or demonstrate, approach or enter the Democratic HQ and not honk their horns.

Wishnick said when he hadn't heard back from the plaza management, he assumed everything was fine.

Gardner couldn't be reached Tuesday to confirm whether they had been contacted by the GOP group.

Democratic Club president Matthew Boyd said he intends to open at 9:30 a.m. on Friday like normal and doesn't plan to engage with United Republicans.

"Other than that, I'm not planning, nor is our organization planning, to do anything about it," he said. "If they want to drive through here with their parade, that's up to them."

Boyd said they received many calls at their office this week but only about 10 percent have been about the United Republicans' event.

"Whatever is going on with the local Republican organization, that's just what they're doing. I don't know. I'm certainly hoping they're doing everything in a peaceful manner because that's how we're approaching it," he said. "We're just working on getting the message out, getting everyone registered and getting them to vote. And that's pretty much it."

Jorge Encinas | 520-547-9732