Friday, July 25, 2014

Gaining no traction in the race for the R nomination for governor, Andrew Thomas gets his "mean and petty" on

From RealClearPolitics, a summary of polling data for the race for the Republican nomination for governor of AZ -

Obviously, there have been some shake ups in the race over time, and the pollster and the polling universe apparently make a difference in the results, but one thing has remained clear regardless of date, methodology or the conductor of the polls in question:

Andrew Thomas is well on his way to becoming just another electoral footnote (couldn't, and probably wouldn't, happen to a nicer guy).

So he has decided to attract some attention to himself (hey - it's working; I'm writing about him, aren't I? :) ) by publishing a "border plan" that can be best summed up as the "hate sampler" plan.

His "plan" is to mobilize 3000 members of the Arizona National Guard, build a fence along the border with Mexico or across the middle of the state (or both, that isn't really clear), cut funding for social safety net programs to pay for it all, roll back restoration of AHCCCS eligibility to levels previously approved by the voters of Arizona, conscript those people who still receive benefits from those programs into "community service" (his word; my word for it is "slavery"), and enact some unspecified "judicial reform" to rid him the state of "activist judges" (a group that the disbarred Thomas despises even more than he despises immigrants).

Kind of reminds me of 2010 when Barry Wong, then a Republican candidate for the Arizona Corporation Commission, looked at his poll numbers the R primary (perhaps not so coincidentally, at pretty much the same point in the cycle), and announced his plan to have utilities check the immigration status of their customers, and to have them shut off service to any customers who couldn't prove legal status.

The mean and petty turn by Wong didn't help - Wong came in third in the three-way race for the two nominations, by over 100,000 votes (in a race where 300,000 won a nomination).

Thomas may finish above last place in the six-way race that he finds himself in, but I expect that the candidate who finishes in third place will be looking down at Thomas.

In an R primary, "mean and petty" will *help* a candidacy (especially in a primary), but it won't *save* a candidacy (see: Wong's example).

The simple fact is that in AZGOP circles, "mean and petty" no longer stands out because almost all of their candidates go there.

Shamelessly and enthusiastically.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Is Mike Huckabee a candidate for the GOPer presidential nomination in 2016?

...Normally, I am loathe to highlight GOPer events, especially fundraisers, but the "hidden" subtext on this one is so blatant that it merits coverage...

And before anyone thinks that would be surprise, it should be noted that no real GOP "frontrunner" has emerged, the closest being Rand Paul.  Given the pattern of the last couple of presidential election cycles, being anointed the "frontrunner" more than a couple of weeks out from the start of the Iowa caucuses is something to be avoided, not desired.

Mike Huckabee is not even mentioned much as someone who is a viable 2016 candidate for the Rs (not that he's being completely discounted, either) but he's doing the things that "serious" candidates do in midterm election years -

While higher-profile candidates such as Chris Christie are trekking to Iowa, New Hampshire, and other 2016 early primary/caucus states to make appearances in front of R voters there almost a year and half before any votes are cast, he's out racking up IOUs campaigning for R electeds and candidates running this year.

To whit, from the events page of the Pima County GOP:

Now Franks, as well as Salmon, Gosar, and Schweikert, sits in a seat in a district that is so safely R that he faces no serious Democratic opposition, nor is any expected for the foreseeable future.  For him (and them) building a campaign war chest is all about looking so strong that any potential primary challengers are scared off (is Ben Quayle still looking for a job?)

Doubtless, much money will end up in Franks' coffers (and those of Salmon, Gosar, and Schweikert) as a result of Huckabee's visit.

What remains to be seen is if Huckabee, a big Bible guy, reaps benefits from the political version of "casting bread upon the waters".

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Adam Kwasman mistakes bus full of YMCA campers for children fleeing violence in Central America. Goes full weasel when the truth is pointed out.

Edit, and an apology, on 7/23/2014 -

It has been pointed out to me that the story that serves as the basis of this post was done by Brahm Resnik, not William Pitts, as I originally wrote.  The name has been corrected.  

My apologies to Brahm Resnik, and William Pitts also - both do some great work and merit proper credit for their work.

End edit...

Adam Kwasman, a candidate for the Republican nomination in CD1, journeyed to Oracle, Arizona on Tuesday.

He was there to participate in a protest over immigration (OK - a bunch of nativists got together to try to scare some children who are refugees from rampant violence in Central America.  They heard a rumor that some of those children would be bused to a facility in Oracle and got their hate on) when a busload of children came by.

He moved in to let the children know what he thought of children fleeing violence.  He even tweeted about it (courtesy Arizona Republic) -

He left shortly thereafter and drove to Phoenix.

While there, Brahm Resnik, a reporter from KPNX (Phoenix channel 12) interviewed him briefly.  Kwasman doubled down on his "abrogation of the rule of law" theme from the tweet.  He was droning on and on about how scared and sad the children were.

Until he took a breath, and Resnik took the opportunity to inform Kwasman that his busload of "immigrant kids" was actually busload of "YMCA camp kids".

Kwasman's response?

"They were sad too."

Full video of Kwasman's weasel moment -

Monday, July 14, 2014

Apparently, the "patronage" job is alive and well in Arizona

...And so is "shameless hypocrisy"...

From AP, via KTVK (Phoenix channel 3), written by Bob Christie (emphasis added) -
Former Arizona Senate President Russell Pearce has been offered a job with the Maricopa County Treasurer's office overseeing the agency's technical services department, but he may not take the job right away because he's too busy.

The Republican is a contentious figure in Arizona because he authored a series of laws that cracked down on people in the country illegally, including Senate Bill 1070. He became the only state legislator ever recalled from office by state voters in 2011.

Pearce said Monday that he wasn't looking for a job but is considering the offer from Treasurer Charles "Hos" Hoskins to oversee the department's human resources, legislative outreach, budget and senior citizen outreach. He's not sure if he'll take the position because he's too busy at the moment, Pearce said.

The job, assuming that Pearce accepts it (prediction: he will, but may wait until the furor dies down before formally accepting the job.  As the lege isn't in session, there probably isn't much pressure on that front) will officially be about lobbying for Charles Hoskins, Maricopa County Treasurer.

However, Hoskins is a political ally of Pearce's friend and patron, Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio, and it would be the epitome of obvious patronage for Arpaio to give Pearce a job himself.

This looks like a "wink and a nod" arrangement, but it gives Arpaio and Pearce a patina of plausible deniability.

And the "hypocrisy" part?

Pearce, the future public agency lobbyist, is a past (very vocal) critic of, you guessed it, public agency lobbyists.

But he balances that with a deep affection for (deep-pocketed) private lobbyists.

Fun with campaign signs: Hallman edition, chapter 2

Advice to politicos and would-be politicos:

When you are caught in some sort of misstatement and are being criticized, there are two viable options -

1. Fix the statement.

2. Ignore the criticism.

Whatever you do, however, don't double down.  That just gives your critics a 2nd bite at the apple.

To whit:

On Sunday, I posted about the campaign signs of Hugh Hallman, a Republican candidate for the office of Arizona State Treasurer.

His signs proclaim his focus on balancing the state's budget.

A few hours after putting up the post, Hallman (or someone from his campaign) tweeted a reply -

The reply didn't address the fact that the state treasurer has nothing to do with the state budget, but to be fair to him, I visited his website.  I wanted to see if the website, which can be updated/corrected far more readily than signs, showed that Hallman has a more realistic view of the duties of the office than his signs indicate.

The very front page of his website -

Soooooo...based on the "double down" strategy, I have to ask -

Is Hallman running for office or practicing for a Blackjack tournament?

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Fun with campaign signs - Hallman Edition

Hugh Hallman, a former mayor of Tempe, is showing his "not ready for prime time" status with his current campaign signs.

This year, he's running for Arizona State Treasurer against two other Rs (no Democratic candidates are in the race, so that one will be decided in the R primary).

State treasurer is a low-profile position, so low profile that even knowledgeable activists don't know much about it.  And average voters?

They might know the job exists, but not much else.

And it appears that Hallman is looking to take advantage of that ignorance with misleading campaign signs -

The problem with this sign (and he has the same verbiage on his website)?

Other than period pilgrimages over to the lege to beg lobby for a bigger chunk of it, the state treasurer has almost NOTHING to do with the state's budget.

The budget is within the purview of the legislature, and they aren't giving up that one; the only reason that they pay any attention to the governor regarding the budget is because of the governor's veto power.

The state treasurer doesn't have that, so is ignored.

However, the average voter doesn't know the nitty-gritty of Arizona governance, so we get signs like this.

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Blocked, The Sequel

Less than a year ago, I discovered that former legislator Jack Harper had blocked me from following him on Twitter.

During his time, Harper was known as one of the more colorful members of a pretty colorful bunch (OK - he was God's gift to wiseass writers.  Put him in the same ZIP code as a microphone, step back, and watch the verbal diarrhea ensue).

At the time, I took his action as a compliment. 

Still do. :) (It's nice to know that I've made a bit of an impact with this blog.)

Well, it's happened again. 

Only this time, the offended party is a sitting legislator, one who may be further "out there" than Harper - as bad as he was (and will be, if he ever runs for office again), to the best of my knowledge, Harper never used his position to give aid and comfort to someone trying to defraud the US government and the people of the United States (aka - Cliven Bundy).

Lookee what I came across today -

I had followed Thorpe in the aftermath of his pilgrimage to the Bundy ranch in Nevada (aka - sedition Mecca for Americans), but hadn't notice much from his Twitter feed in recent weeks, so I checked it out.

And smiled. 

AZ lege and governor ordered to properly fund education. Their response: "Waaahhhhhhhh!"

On Friday, Judge Katherine Cooper of the Maricopa Superior Court ordered the legislature to restore funding to education that it had illegally cut.  This will result in a $317 million increase in education funding during this fiscal year* and may result in a larger sum ($1.5 billion plus) being awarded to make up for the cuts in previous years.

* = This isn't a done deal; the lege WILL look for a way to weasel out of it.

Fuller story from (Phoenix channel 5) here.

Background on the case from the Arizona Center for Law in the Public Interest here.

The decision was not surprising, and it most definitely was not disappointing.

However, the reaction of R electeds and hangers-on, while not surprising either, is still hugely disappointing.

From the Arizona Capitol Times, written by Gary Grado and including information from Howard Fischer of Capitol Media Services -
[Arizona Governor Jan] Brewer was not happy with the decision, saying through spokesman Andrew Wilder the imposed spending will have a disastrous effect on public safety and vulnerable populations because the money has to come from somewhere in the budget.

“A court should not substitute their judgment on policy for that of the duly elected legislators who are constitutionally responsible for budget appropriations,” Wilder wrote in an email. “Courts spend money in a vacuum while elected executive and legislative officials must balance spending within the confines of budget realities.”


Michael Liburdi, an attorney who is not associated with the case, said the court can compel the Legislature to pay.

“As the court mentioned in its minute entry, it can’t tell the Legislature how to come up with the money. That’s a political question, so the state needs to find the money from some source in the budget, so a fund sweep, raise taxes, etc,” Liburdi said.

Note: Liburdi may note be "associated with" this particular case, but he has ties (and here) to the R leadership of the lege.  He serves as one of their legal water carriers a lot.

Note2: The court did not "substitute their judgement on policy"; it issued a ruling on the law.  That's its job, even when "elected executive and legislative officials" don't like the law in question and violate it repeatedly.

Sunday, July 06, 2014

Fun With Campaign Signs 2014: Chapter 1

Could someone explain to me how President Obama and the Arizona Corporation Commission* intersect?

From the ACC's website:

In most states, the Commission is known as the Public Service Commission or the Public Utility Commission. Our Commission, however, has responsibilities that go beyond traditional public utilities regulation. These additional roles include facilitating the incorporation of businesses and organizations, securities regulation and railroad/pipeline safety.

* - Check out the (relatively) very small print at the bottom of the sign.  Forese and Little are running for seats on the ACC.  Though based on the priorities indicated by their signs, working *for* the people of Arizona is not their top priority.

Friday, July 04, 2014

Happy 238th America!

How it got started, on paper anyway...

From the National Archives -

IN CONGRESS, July 4, 1776.
The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America,
When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.--That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, --That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.--Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.
He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.
He has forbidden his Governors to pass Laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his Assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them.
He has refused to pass other Laws for the accommodation of large districts of people, unless those people would relinquish the right of Representation in the Legislature, a right inestimable to them and formidable to tyrants only.
He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their public Records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures.
He has dissolved Representative Houses repeatedly, for opposing with manly firmness his invasions on the rights of the people.
He has refused for a long time, after such dissolutions, to cause others to be elected; whereby the Legislative powers, incapable of Annihilation, have returned to the People at large for their exercise; the State remaining in the mean time exposed to all the dangers of invasion from without, and convulsions within.
He has endeavoured to prevent the population of these States; for that purpose obstructing the Laws for Naturalization of Foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migrations hither, and raising the conditions of new Appropriations of Lands.
He has obstructed the Administration of Justice, by refusing his Assent to Laws for establishing Judiciary powers.
He has made Judges dependent on his Will alone, for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries.
He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harrass our people, and eat out their substance.
He has kept among us, in times of peace, Standing Armies without the Consent of our legislatures.
He has affected to render the Military independent of and superior to the Civil power.
He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his Assent to their Acts of pretended Legislation:
For Quartering large bodies of armed troops among us:
For protecting them, by a mock Trial, from punishment for any Murders which they should commit on the Inhabitants of these States:
For cutting off our Trade with all parts of the world:
For imposing Taxes on us without our Consent:
For depriving us in many cases, of the benefits of Trial by Jury:
For transporting us beyond Seas to be tried for pretended offences
For abolishing the free System of English Laws in a neighbouring Province, establishing therein an Arbitrary government, and enlarging its Boundaries so as to render it at once an example and fit instrument for introducing the same absolute rule into these Colonies:
For taking away our Charters, abolishing our most valuable Laws, and altering fundamentally the Forms of our Governments:
For suspending our own Legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever.
He has abdicated Government here, by declaring us out of his Protection and waging War against us.
He has plundered our seas, ravaged our Coasts, burnt our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people.
He is at this time transporting large Armies of foreign Mercenaries to compleat the works of death, desolation and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of Cruelty & perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the Head of a civilized nation.
He has constrained our fellow Citizens taken Captive on the high Seas to bear Arms against their Country, to become the executioners of their friends and Brethren, or to fall themselves by their Hands.
He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavoured to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian Savages, whose known rule of warfare, is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions.
In every stage of these Oppressions We have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A Prince whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.
Nor have We been wanting in attentions to our Brittish brethren. We have warned them from time to time of attempts by their legislature to extend an unwarrantable jurisdiction over us. We have reminded them of the circumstances of our emigration and settlement here. We have appealed to their native justice and magnanimity, and we have conjured them by the ties of our common kindred to disavow these usurpations, which, would inevitably interrupt our connections and correspondence. They too have been deaf to the voice of justice and of consanguinity. We must, therefore, acquiesce in the necessity, which denounces our Separation, and hold them, as we hold the rest of mankind, Enemies in War, in Peace Friends.

We, therefore, the Representatives of the united States of America, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare, That these United Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States; that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as Free and Independent States, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace, contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent States may of right do. And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.

The 56 signatures on the Declaration appear in the positions indicated:
Column 1
   Button Gwinnett
   Lyman Hall
   George Walton

Column 2
North Carolina:
   William Hooper
   Joseph Hewes
   John Penn
South Carolina:
   Edward Rutledge
   Thomas Heyward, Jr.
   Thomas Lynch, Jr.
   Arthur Middleton

Column 3
John Hancock
Samuel Chase
William Paca
Thomas Stone
Charles Carroll of Carrollton
George Wythe
Richard Henry Lee
Thomas Jefferson
Benjamin Harrison
Thomas Nelson, Jr.
Francis Lightfoot Lee
Carter Braxton

Column 4
   Robert Morris
   Benjamin Rush
   Benjamin Franklin
   John Morton
   George Clymer
   James Smith
   George Taylor
   James Wilson
   George Ross
   Caesar Rodney
   George Read
   Thomas McKean

Column 5
New York:
   William Floyd
   Philip Livingston
   Francis Lewis
   Lewis Morris
New Jersey:
   Richard Stockton
   John Witherspoon
   Francis Hopkinson
   John Hart
   Abraham Clark

Column 6
New Hampshire:
   Josiah Bartlett
   William Whipple
   Samuel Adams
   John Adams
   Robert Treat Paine
   Elbridge Gerry
Rhode Island:
   Stephen Hopkins
   William Ellery
   Roger Sherman
   Samuel Huntington
   William Williams
   Oliver Wolcott
New Hampshire:
   Matthew Thornton

Sunday, June 22, 2014

AZ Ballot challenges summary

One of the biannual traditions in AZ politics is legal challenges to candidates' ballot eligibility. 

There is a short period after the final date to turn in nominating signatures to challenge a candidate's ballot eligibility.  If no challenges are raised at that time, the candidate is presumed to be eligible. 

This is important to remember.

During 2012, a Republican legislative candidate was found to be living outside of the district he was running in, but the challenge was raised long after the deadline to do so.  As such, that candidate remained on the ballot (and eventually won the race).  See: Darin Mitchell, LD13 House.

This year's challenge period is over and most challenges have been resolved one way or the other. 

A few remain open because while a ruling was issued, it was appealed.

Courtesy the website of the Arizona Secretary of State, the status of challenges to state and federal level candidates (color code: Red = off the ballot; Green = on the ballot, Yellow = pending appeal):

Randy Camacho
CD7 Democratic nomination
Case dismissed, Camacho on the ballot

Miguel Olivas
CD3 Libertarian nomination

Olivas withdrew and off the ballot

Johnnie Robinson
CD7 Democratic nomination
Robinson withdrew and off the ballot

Patricia Flores
LD3 Republican State House nomination
Flores withdrew and off the ballot

Toby Farmer
LD13 Republican State Senate nomination
Ruling in favor of defendant; Farmer on the ballot.  APPEAL FILED.

James Samuelson
CD5 Independent (General election)
Samuelson withdrew and off the ballot

Cesar Chavez
CD7 Democratic nomination
Ruling against defendant, Chavez off the ballot.  Note: while the AZSOS' website doesn't indicate it, he plans to appeal the ruling.

Justin Henry
LD20 Republican State Senate nomination
Ruling against defendant, Henry off the ballot.  APPEAL FILED.

Ethan Orr
LD9 Republican State House nomination
Case dismissed, Orr on the ballot.

Scott Ryan
LD18 State Senate Independent (General election)
Ruling against defendant, Ryan off the ballot

Bryan Hackbarth
LD21 Republican State House nomination
Ruling against the defendant (twice; there were two challenges to his candidacy), Hackbarth off the ballot.  Twice. 

Ruben Gallego
CD7 Democratic nomination
Case dismissed, Gallego on the ballot

Helmuth Hack
LD21 Libertarian State House nomination
Hack withdrew and off the ballot

Barry Hess
Governor, Libertarian nomination
Case dismissed, Hess on the ballot.

Sharon Thomas
Superintendent of Public Instruction Democratic nomination
Case dismissed, Thomas on the ballot

Chuck Wooten
CD2 Republican nomination
Ruling against defendant, Wooten off the ballot

Carlyle Begay
LD7 State Senate Democratic nomination
Case dismissed, Begay on the ballot

Jennifer Knepfler
LD26 State Senate Libertarian nomination
Ruling against defendant, Knepfler off the ballot

Erminie Zarra
LD29 State Senate Republican nomination
Zarra withdrew and off the ballot

Full list of withdrawn/removed candidates here (primary) and here (general).  Note: the lists aren't fully up-to-date, but they do include candidates who withdrew before legal challenges to their candidacies were raised.

Saturday, June 21, 2014

A possible future career for John Huppenthal that utilizes his current skill set...

This has not been a good week for AZ Superintendent of Public Instruction John Huppenthal (but it's been a GREAT week for the writers at Blog for Arizona!).

The news, broken by Bob Lord at BfA, that Huppenthal used pseudonyms like Thucydides and Falcon9 to post comments on blogs went all MSM and national -

Phoenix channel 3 (KTVK)

Tucson channel 9 (KGUN)

Phoenix channel 5 (KPHO)

Arizona Republic

Arizona Daily Sun

Phoenix New Times

Talking Points Memo

Sacramento Bee (via AP)

Boing Boing

Crooks & Liars


Education Week

 ...and many more.

The story seems to have legs, as other blogs find comments by Huppenthal, many of which make his BfA comments (i.e. - poor people are "lazy pigs", etc.) look mild, almost endearing.

It also seems to be hurting him where it counts (for an R facing a primary challenge, anyway) - with other conservatives, many of whom are trying to distance themselves from him.  And they're not being subtle about it.

I'm not going to predict that his political career is all but over (he's weaseled out of tight situations before), but he's facing some strong electoral headwinds in 2014, and may be looking for work in 2015.

As such, I have an oh-so-humble suggestion -

When he's out of work next year, he should join with other similarly embattled (currently) elected officials and form a "think tank" dedicated to espousing conservative positions.

The principals of the "think tank":

Scott Walker, current governor of Wisconsin, and alleged "capo di tutti capi" of a major criminal conspiracy centered on illegal coordination of campaign fundraising.  Ostensible head of the "think tank"

Tom Horne, current attorney general in Arizona, who has his own (alleged) experience with campaign finance misdeeds (he can serve as the "think tank's" lawyer)

John Huppenthal, current superintendent of public instruction in Arizona.  He can serve as the "think tank's" "Director of Online Propaganda Communications" (because "Sock Puppet" doesn't look good on a resume)

Rick Scott, current governor of Florida.  He can serve as "Director of Whiz Quizzes For Fun And Profit"

Rick Snyder, current governor of Michigan.  He would be the "Director of Disenfranchising Minorities"

Chris Christie, current governor of New Jersey.  He will be the chief enforcer/bully.

Paul Lepage, current governor of Maine.  Deputy bully.

Constantin Querard, political consultant.  Talking head.  Not an elected official, but with Al Melvin's campaign for governor of Arizona circling the drain, he finds himself in need of a paycheck.

Eric Cantor, current majority in the US House of Representatives.  Chief of Governmental Relations (aka - head lobbyist)

Rick Perry, current governor of Texas - Director of Insight on Social Issues

The chief funders of the "think tank"?  The Koch brothers, of course.

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Short Attention Span Musing: Primary Upsets and Petition Challenges

OK - this is mostly about primaries and petition challenges, but there will be some other material...

...First, the big news, and it's out of Virginia, not Arizona:  Ultra-conservative Republican Congressman Eric Cantor, Majority Leader in the U.S. House, lost in the R primary in his district to a tea party type.  Who didn't think Cantor was conservative enough.

The district, Virginia's 7th, is a heavily Republican one, and seems likely to remain in their control.

However, the upset of Cantor means that Jack Trammell, the Democratic nominee in the district, just went from having no chance at all to having a snowball's chance in hell of winning.

Note: in Arizona, there are three Democrats in tough races - Ann Kirkpatrick, Kyrsten Sinema, and Ron Barber - and they need your love (aka - $$$), but if you have anything to spare, consider helping out Trammell.

...Steve at Arizona Eagletarian has been providing outstanding coverage of challenges to candidates' ballot status so I won't go into depth here, but I will comment on one, because it was embarrassingly inept and amateurish.

Earlier this week, a "supporter" of Mary Rose Wilcox, a Democratic candidate in CD7, filed a lawsuit challenging the candidacy of Ruben Gallego, another Democratic candidate in CD7 (and the frontrunner in the estimation of most observers, including me).

She...errr..."he" (Mike Snitz, a former legislative candidate and part of the Wilcox machine), claimed that Gallego was using a name that wasn't his own in an attempt to deceive the voters of the district.

The only problem?

Gallego had legally changed his name years ago, not in an attempt to deceive anyone, but to honor his mother.

She was a single mom who raised him and his siblings alone after his father abandoned all of them.

She did that well, and to honor her, he legally changed his name to her maiden name.

Snitz' lawsuit claimed that the name change wasn't done legally, but his allegations were refuted quickly (whoever did the research into court records did so in a slipshod manner) and the lawsuit was dropped, almost immediately.

However, that action may have come too late for Wilcox - she has been almost-universally criticized for the abortive attack on Gallego.

 - The full list of state-level (including Congressional) candidates who have withdrawn/been removed from the ballot is here.  The full list of state-level challenges can be found here.

...In non-ballot related news, but definitely falling into the category of "elections have consequences", Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery announced that he isn't going to bring charges against a deputy with the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office who killed someone in a car accident.

From the Arizona Republic, written by Megan Cassidy -
Maricopa County sheriff's Deputy Sean Pearce will not be held criminally responsible in the death of Glendale resident John Edward Harding, despite traveling more than twice the speed limit moments before the fatal crash.

County Attorney Bill Montgomery delivered the long-awaited announcement Wednesday morning, saying he weighed the specific circumstances of the crash, which occurred while Pearce was on duty.

Sounds somewhat straightforward, except for a few *other* circumstances -

1.  Sean Pearce is the son of Russell Pearce, the disgraced, but still influential, former president of the Arizona State Senate.

2.  He works for Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio, a long-time ally of Russell Pearce.

3.  In 2010, between illegal campaign expenditures and fines for the expenditures, Arpaio dropped approximately three-quarters of a million dollars to put Montgomery in office.

Montgomery is developing a credibility problem; he's taken to squawking that his critics are "amateurs".

Well, I *am* an amateur, in that I am not paid for this, but even an unpaid amateur like me knows that if something waddles like a duck, quacks like a duck, and smells like a duck, that something may be a duck.

And this situation smells...reeks...of favoritism and corruption.

- Wouldn't it be poetic justice if Bowe Bergdahl - a POW for five years, tortured, returned to American authorities only to face withering criticism from fellow service members and others - moved to Arizona and ran against John McCain?  Would love to see McCain and his handlers/hangers-on try to spin that resume into something that disqualifies Bergdahl for office...

Monday, June 02, 2014

So...should my 2016 run be as Barry Goldwater or Ronald Reagan?

This story blew up all over the internet today, but it's too juicy not to chime in now that my workday is over...

From the Arizona Capitol Times, written by Evan Wyloge -

Two-time GOP loser changes party to Democrat, name to Cesar Chavez for new congressional bid

Scott Fistler didn’t have much luck as a Republican candidate. He lost a 2012 write-in campaign against U.S. Rep. Ed Pastor, then lost a 2013 bid for a Phoenix city council seat now held by Laura Pastor, Ed’s daughter.

All that could change, though, just like Fistler’s name and party registration.
After petitioning a state superior court last November and paying $319, Fistler now legally shares the name of the celebrated labor movement icon, Cesar Chavez. Earlier this year, Chavez (formerly Fistler) became a Democrat, and – before Ed Pastor announced his retirement from Congress – filed to run in the heavily Hispanic 7th Congressional District.
In his petition for a name change, Fistler wrote that he had “experienced many hardships because of my name.”

Note:  For those who are unclear on the concept, the title is sarcasm.  I'm not running for any office in 2016 under *any* name, whether my own or someone else's*.

* = Though if we could get someone to run as Ayn Rand...and someone else as William Buckley...and Margaret Thatcher...and... :)

Sunday, June 01, 2014

Election 2014: Well, sigs are in and the races are set*

* = Except for the inevitable petition challenges, of course.  However, since I haven't heard about any yet, and most of them fail anyway, this post is going up.  I'll update if/when something significant changes.

In primary races, both R and D, I will make no predictions unless one or more of the candidates looks to be toast already.

Full list of primary candidates here; full list of candidates going directly to the general election ballot here.

CD1 R primary - Gary Kiehne, Adam Kwasman, and Andy Tobin will be fighting tooth-and-nail for the dubious privilege of (probably) losing to Democrat Ann Kirkpatrick in the general election.

CD2 R primary - Shelley Kais, Chuck Wooten, and Martha McSally will be fighting to challenge Democrat Ron Barber in the general.  McSally has been the highest-profile candidate in the race, however, incumbent Barber is considered to be facing an uphill fight to hold onto the seat.  The R primary could get "energetic".  :)

CD7 D Primary - Ruben Gallego, Mary Rose Wilcox, Cesar Chavez, Jarret Maupin, Randy Camacho, and Johnnie Robinson are contending for the opportunity to win the seat held by the soon-to-be-retired Ed Pastor.  Gallego and Wilcox are considered to be the front runners.

CD9 R Primary - Wendy Rogers and Andrew Walter are facing off for the chance to challenge Democratic incumbent Kyrsten Sinema.

Gov R Primary - Doug Ducey, Christine Jones, Ken Bennett, Al Melvin, Andrew Thomas, Scott Smith, and Frank Riggs are running.  Even if I wanted to make predictions for R primaries, on this one I wouldn't - got no clue here.

LD6 State Senator - No primary, and no Democrat challenging incumbent R Chester Crandell, but this could be a race to watch.  Former Republican legislator Tom O'Halleran submitted enough signatures to appear on the general election ballot.

LD7 State Senator - No Rs, 3 Ds - Appointed incumbent Carlyle Begay, current state representative Jamescita Peshlakai, and Eric Descheenie (don't know anything about him).

LD8 State Senator - Three Rs, Irene Littleton, Alan Pease, and Harold Vangilder, are squaring off for the chance to unseat incumbent Barbara McGuire.

LD11 State Senator R Primary - State rep Steve Smith and Scott Bartle will face off for a chance at replacing Al Melvin (running for governor) in the state senate.

LD13 State Senator R Primary - Incumbent Don Shooter is facing a challenge from Toby Farmer.

LD15 State Senator R Primary - Incumbent Nancy Barto is facing a challenge from David Ryan.

LD16 State Senator R Primary - Appointed incumbent David Farnsworth is facing Taylor McArthur.

LD18 State Senator R Primary - Open seat (incumbent John McComish is running for a different office); current state rep. Jeff Dial and former chair of the AZGOP Tom Morrissey are facing off.

LD20 State Senator R Primary - Incumbent Kimberly Yee is facing a challenge from Justin Henry (he's a veteran and she opposed a study that would look into whether the use of medical marijuana could ameliorate the effects of post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD).

Note: the general election here could be very interesting - former Republican legislator Doug Quelland filed enough signatures to qualify for the general election ballot as an Independent.

LD23 State Senator R Primary - Open seat (incumbent Michele Reagan is running for a different office); current state rep. John Kavanagh and Scottsdale businessman Jeff Schwartz.  Kavanagh is from Fountain Hills, but the bulk of the district is in north Scottsdale.  Kavanagh has also become something of an ideological embarrassment to the chamber of commerce Republicans that dominate north Scottsdale politics.  May be a primary to watch.

LD25 State Senator R Primary - Incumbent Bob Worsley is facing a challenge from Ralph Heap, an ally of the man that Worsley defeated in 2012, Russell Pearce.

LD26 State Senate - No primaries here, but a possible example of the Republicans trying to get cute in their quest to unseat incumbent Democrat Ed Ableser - officially, there isn't a Republican candidate in the race, but one Dale Eames filed enough signatures to make it on to the general election ballot as an Independent.

Have you heard of "RINOs/DINOs" (Republicans/Democrats In Name Only)?

Eames is an IINO (Independent In Name Only).

LD27 State Senator D Primary - Open seat (incumbent Leah Landrum Taylor is term-limited); current state rep. Catherine Miranda and Afghanistan veteran Aaron Marquez are the candidates here.

LD29 State Senator D Primary - Open seat (incumbent Steve Gallardo is running for another office); the district's two current state reps, Lydia Hernandez and Martin Quezada, are contending for the seat.

LD1 State Representative R Primary - Noel Campbell, Frank Englund, Karen Fann, and Linda Gray are contending for the two nominations here.  Fann is an incumbent; Gray was formerly a legislator from the Phoenix area.

 LD4 State Representative D Primary - Lisa Otondo, Charlene Fernandez, and Jose Suarez are facing off.  Otondo is an incumbent.

LD5 State Representative R Primary - Sonny Borrelli, Jennifer Jones, Regina Cobb, Sam Medrano, and George Schnittgrund are running for the two nominations here.  Borrelli is an incumbent..

LD7 State Representative D Primary - Jennifer Benally, Joshua Butler, and Albert Hale are on the ballot here, and Arlando Teller has registered as a write-in candidate.  Hale is an incumbent.

LD8 State Representative R Primary - Wayne Bachmann, Darla Dawald, TJ Shope, and Frank Pratt are on the ballot here.  Pratt and Shope are the incumbents.

LD11 State Representative R Primary - Mark Finchem, Jo Grant, and Vince Leach are on the ballot here.  The two incumbents, Steve Smith and Adam Kwasman, are seeking other offices.

LD13 State Representative R Primary - Diane Landis, Darin Mitchell, and Steve Montenegro are on the ballot here.  Mitchell and Montenegro are incumbents.

LD14 State Representative R Primary - David Stevens, David Gowan, and Susan Syfert are contending here.  Stevens and Gowan are incumbents.

LD15 State Representative R Primary - Heather Carter, John Allen, and David Burnell Smith are on the ballot here.  Carter and Allen are the incumbents; Smith is a former legislator with a "colorful" history. 

LD16 State Representative R Primary - Doug Coleman, John Fillmore, Adam Stevens, and Kelly Townsend are vying for the two nominations here.  Coleman and Townsend are incumbents; Fillmore is a former legislator.

LD18 State Representative R Primary - John King, Jill Norgaard, Bob Robson, and David Pheanis are on the ballot here; Robson is an incumbent.  Scott Ryan has filed to run as an Independent on the general election ballot.

LD20 State Representative R Primary - Paul Boyer, Bill Adams, Thurane Aung Khin, Aaron Flannery, Anthony Kern, and Carl Seel are on the ballot.  Seel and Boyer are incumbents.

LD21 State Representative R Primary - Rick Gray, Tony Rivero, and Bryan Hackbarth are vying for the two nominations here; Gray is an incumbent.

LD22 State Representative - No contested primaries here, but one Fred Botha filed to run on the general election ballot as an "Independent New Dude".

LD23 State Representative R Primary - Effie Carlson, Jay Lawrence, Bob Littlefield, and Michelle Ugenti are on the ballot here.  Ugenti is an incumbent; Littlefield is a member of the Scottsdale City Council.

LD24 State Representative D Primary - Lela Alston, Richard Bauer, and Ken Clark are vying for the two nominations here.  Alston is an incumbent.

LD25 State Representative R Primary - Rusty Bowers, Michelle Udall, Justin Olson, Jerry Walker and Haydee Dawson are on the ballot here.  Olson is an incumbent, Bowers is a former legislator, and Walker is an ally of Russell Pearce who is known for having temperament issues.

LD27 State Representative D Primary - Reginald Bolding, Norma Munoz, Marcelino Quinonez, and Rebecca Rios are on the ballot here.  Munoz is an incumbent; Rios is a former legislator from Pinal County.

LD28 State Representative R Primary - Shawnna Bolick, Kate Brophy McGee, and Mary Hamway are contending for the two nominations here.  Brophy McGee is an incumbent.

LD29 State Representative D Primary - Richard Andrade, Steve Chapman, Denice Martha Garcia, and Ceci Velasquez are on the ballot here.

AZSOS R Primary - Wil Cardon, Justin Pierce, and Michele Reagan are vying for the R nod here.  Cardon is a businessman and Pierce and Reagan are sitting legislators.

AZAG R Primary - Mark Brnovich and Tom Horne are contending here.  Horne is the incumbent here, but carries some heavy ethical baggage in the race.

AZ Treasurer R Primary - Jeff Dewit, Hugh Hallman, and Randy Pullen are on the ballot here. 

AZ Superintendent of Public Instruction - Primaries on both sides of the ballot.  David Garcia and Sharon Thomas are vying for the D nod; Diane Douglas and John Huppenthal are contending for the R nod.  Huppenthal is the incumbent.

AZ Corporation Commission R Primary - Tom Forese, Doug Little, Lucy Mason, and Vernon Parker are on the ballot here.