Breaking across the AZ blogosphere is the news that Republican Senator John McCain has a challenger in next year's primary.
Chris Simcox, head of the anti-immigrant group The Minuteman Civil Defense Corps, will be announcing his candidacy for the Republican nomination for McCain's Senate seat, which is on next year's ballot.
As might be expected, he will be running at McCain from the right, not that McCain is a liberal. However, supporting Bush's torture regime isn't conservative enough for folks like Simcox. One must support torturing immigrants* to be conservative enough to suit Simcox and his fellow travelers.
* - Before Thane or another commenter goes off on that statement, let me be clear - that's just partisan hyperbole utilized to make a point. To the best of my knowledge, Simcox has never advocated torturing immigrants, just throwing them into jail or out of the country (or both.)
Simcox was featured prominently in the film "Crossing Arizona" for those looking for some unvarnished insights into him (note: while I wasn't particularly impressed by him, the film really is "unvarnished." It's not a hatchet job at all.
Anyway, Tedski at R-Cubed has more info here, including the tidbit that one Eric Johnson is working for Simcox' campaign. As he points out in his post, this Eric Johnson is not the great guitarist from Austin, Texas, nor is he the Erik Johnson who was a 2nd baseman for the SF Giants and thePhoenix Firebirds in the 1990s.
Nope, the Eric Johnson has been working the nativist candidate campaign circuit. Among others, he has helped Don Goldwater not win the AZ Governor's slot in 2006 and helped Russell Pearce with his abortive challenge to Jeff Flake in CD6 last year. Flake, like McCain, is only "not conservative" by the standards of the nativists.
By real world standards though, he and McCain are so conservative that they couldn't find "moderate" with written directions, a compass, and a GPS unit.
Honestly, I don't think that Simcox has a snowball's chance in Phoenix (in July!) of beating McCain in a primary.
And Simcox probably knows that. As far as I can find, he's never held or even run for elected office before, and while he has a little notoriety, most first-time candidates need some serious name rec if they plan to start at the U.S. Senate level (think: Al Franken or Hillary Clinton.)
While a Simcox candidacy could garner some support from certain extremes of the GOP, he's going to have a hard-time convincing the mainstream of the AZGOP that he is a better candidate in the general election than McCain.
However, what he can do is gauge support for a hardcore nativist candidate in a race against McCain, to see if it's worth a shot by a more well-known hardcore nativist such as JD Hayworth.
Of course, McCain could totally mess up everything by announcing his retirement.
If that happens, look for GOPers who are a lot more mainstream than Simcox or Hayworth to go for the seat.
A cattle call primary would actually give a full-blown winger a shot at the Republican nomination.
Which would give a Democratic candidate a shot in the general election.
- Speaking of cattle call primaries, in other campaign news, Republican Mary Lou Taylor has filed paperwork to form an exploratory committee for a run at State Superintendent of Public Instruction. She is currently the President of the Tempe Union High School District Governing Board (term expiring next year).
She joins Margaret Dugan (Deputy Superintendent at the AZ Department of Ed) and John Huppenthal (current state senator) as people who have formed committees of one type or another for the race, with current State Rep. Rich Crandall expected to join them in the race shortly after the start of January (when he won't have to "resign to run.")