Sat through the video archive of last week's Clean Elections debate for the Republican House candidates in LD8 (North Scottsdale).
Oh, the sacrifices I make so that others are spared the pain.
Either that, or I'm home sick today and have way too much time on my hands (daytime TV sucks - a few soaps, Springer-esque talk shows, and faux court shows mostly - ugh.)
Four of the six Republican candidates in LD8 were there. Paula Pennypacker, Michelle Ugenti, and John Kavanagh are participating candidates (AKA - accepting funding from Clean Elections) and had to be there (participation is a condition of CE funding). Michael Blaire is a traditionally-funded candidate and did not have to participate, but chose to do so. Ray Mahoubi and Eric Ulis are also traditionally-funded, but chose not to participate.
Democrat John Kriekard is the only D on the ballot, so there won't be a primary debate for the Democrats. He'll participate in the general election debate.
On to the debate.
OK, there wasn't much of one. Their differences were more shades of gray than any real differences.
They were mostly following the Republican Election Checklist - 2010 Edition.
To whit -
Fiscal conservative - check, check, check, and check
The Feds are responsible for all that ails Arizona - check X 4
Support SB1070 - check X 4 (Kavanagh, a sponsor of the bill, was especially vociferous in his defense of the new law; Blaire urged people to vote out Congressman Raul Grijalva for calling for a boycott of AZ)
Health care reform: oppose "Obamacare" and favor the free market - check X 4
Education - Empower principals, hold school boards accountable for spending, and increase "school choice" - check X 4
Balancing public life with private life: Family/spouse supportive - check X 4
To be sure, there *were* some minor differences between the candidates -
When asked about the state budget, Pennypacker actually mentioned looking at revenue. The rest were "cuts, cuts, and more cuts." In fairness to Pennypacker, she wasn't exactly opposed to cuts, either.
In terms of their location on the political spectrum, again, there wasn't much difference - Kavanagh is a nativist in the Russell Pearce mode, Ugenti is a Tea Party type (she referred to herself as a "TeaPublican"), Blaire is a Chamber of Commerce winger with Tea Party ideations (when asked about the effects of devastating budget cuts, part of his response was "government isn't always the answer" and "people have to take personal responsibility") and Pennypacker, like Ugenti, is also a Tea Party type. Perhaps a little less knee-jerk about her ideology, she is still an anti-government zealot campaigning for a government office.
I'm sure the four principals would argue that there are all sorts of nuanced differences between them, but they had one other major factor in common -
During the near hour and a half of the debate, not even one of them stated why he/she would be the best choice to represent LD8, or what they would do for the District.
The bottom line is that none of the four present last week (and presumably the other two who weren't present) could be generic Republican candidates in any other district or any other state. Other than the SB1070-specific comments, their positions could have been taken anywhere.
The entire archive of Clean Elections debates held thus far are here.