Tuesday, November 09, 2010

2012 speculation: The beginning

One of the things that happens at the end of every election cycle is the beginning of the next, and one of the things that happens at the beginning of every cycle is idle speculation about who may be running for what. 

That's what this post is all about.

No candidates were actually spoken to for this post - wouldn't want actual journalism to muddy up the waters. :)

This is all based on previous expressions of interest, rumors, or some actions that have indicated the possible desire for a higher office.

On to the speculations...

US Senate:  Jon Kyl's seat is up in 2012, and the R nod is his for the taking.  If he chooses not to run, look for Jeff Flake and John Shadegg's names to be floated prominently.  They would be considered "traditional" candidates in that they've bided their time waiting for their turns at the "brass ring" of a Senate slot.  If Kyl's seat becomes an "open" one, also look for at least one long shot/tea party type to challenge the traditional candidates as not being "Republican" enough.

As for the Democratic side, I've got no idea, though there's been talk that CD8 Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords would be the strongest candidate.  Terry Goddard's name also frequently pops up.

US House of Representatives:  Expectations are that Arizona will gain a seat in Congress after redistricting.

Assuming so, that will create a free-for-all situation here.

All three freshman Rs (Ben Quayle, David Schweikert, Paul Gosar) face the likelihood that there will be primary challenges in their new districts, though Quayle's access to daddy's money and connections may serve to fend off R challengers before they get started.

As I'm not a Republican, I can't even begin to guess which ones will jump in.

Also, two names that are sure to be in the mix, at least until they say they *aren't* - Harry Mitchell and Ann Kirkpatrick, the recently defeated Democratic incumbents in CD5 and CD1, respectively.

Other names floating around:

State Representative (soon to be "State Senator") Kyrsten Sinema (D).  Likely to go after a "new" seat, but some (OK, me) think that she should consider going after Quayle.  While she is seen by some observers as too liberal for that district, she is also smart, attractive, energetic, and accomplished.  The contrast with Quayle (pen name: Brock Landers) could give her a leg up in that race.  She has also been elevating her profile while *not* going for a leadership slot in the AZ Senate, leaving her the time to explore a run.

State Representative (soon to be "State Senator") David Schapira (D).  May be a little too soon (he's young and may wait a few cycles), but also may go after whatever district that Tempe becomes part of after redistricting.

Tempe Mayor Hugh Hallman (R).  Long been rumored to be interested in a trip to D.C,, but also has long been rumored to be smart enough to not try to take on Harry Mitchell directly.

State Representative Chad Campbell (D).  Mostly because I am on his email list, and have read some of what he has written this year.  He is way too smart to stay in the Arizona legislature (to be fair, any one of my shoes is too smart to stay in the Arizona legislature, but my shoes don't communicate as well as Campbell. :) )

State Representative Chris Deschene (D).  He may have fallen short in his bid for the Secretary of State's office, but he has built the relationships needed for a run at higher office.  In addition, he obviously has aspirations to higher office.  To that combination add in the influence of the Native American communities have in northern AZ politics, and you have a mixture that could end up in a run for D.C.

State Representative (soon to be "State Senator") Michelle Reagan (R).  If she decides to primary Schweikert, she'll automatically be one of the strongest challengers.  She's got some deep ties in the district, is on an upward trajectory politically, has moved farther right than the president with her last name and actually works for her district on occasion (an unusual occurrence in AZGOP circles).  She's still young, so she may wait a couple of cycles.

Other names that may take a look at a run: Susan Bitter Smith (R), who is *always* running for Congress; Laura Knaperek (R), making a lucrative living as a corporate lobbyist, but if Mitchell stays retired, may go for it; Kris Mayes (R), seen as too "moderate" and too much of a "public servant" in Republican circles, but if the next two years are as ugly (in a "circular firing squad" sort of way) as many expect it to be, she may gain an opening; and Andrew Thomas, the former Maricopa County Attorney - he'll need something to do if/when he is disbarred.

One factor to keep in mind:  Under federal law, candidates for Congress do NOT have to live in the district that they are running for, they just have to live in the state.  Hence the number of Maricopa County types who have run in northern AZ in recent years.

Other offices:

Maricopa County sheriff -

The R nod is Arpaio's as long as he wants it.  If he steps down or retires (and the only thing that will motivate him to do that is a federal felony conviction), look for Russell Pearce or John Kavanagh, or maybe outgoing State Senator Chuck Gray, to go for the job.  All three have the "former cop" entry on their resumes, so they have credibility with those who want someone who knows law enforcement in the job, and all three are hardcore nativists of wide renown, so they have credibility with the same bigots who love incumbent Arpaio.

On the Democratic side, former Buckeye police chief Dan Saban, the 2008 nominee, has expressed an interest in running again.  Not sure who else is interested.

Maricopa County Attorney -

Bill Montgomery, the man elected to serve out Andrew Thomas' unexpired term, will likely get the R nod, unless he gets caught up in the federal investigations of Arpaio and Thomas.

On the Democratic side, no clue here.  However, I would like to see Felecia Rotellini to stay involved and active.  She was easily the strongest candidate on the Ds' statewide slate this year, and has a strong future set up.  This or a Congressional run could be in the offing.

Other names of folks likely to run for *some* office somewhere, or whose names will at least be floated:  Phil Gordon, the soon-to-be-termed-out Mayor of Phoenix; Greg Patterson, Republican blogger and former legislator.  Rumored to be likely to take a job with his close friend David Schweikert, but that won't preclude him from running for office; Mary Manross, the former mayor of Scottsdale; and Dennis Burke, US Attorney for Arizona and former chief of staff for then-Governor Janet Napolitano.

That's it for now, but there are sure to be follow-ups as more people enter/exit the arena, and as the redistricting process takes place and the make-up of districts becomes clearer...


Thane Eichenauer said...

Mike Stauffer has a campaign web site for the 2012 Maricopa county sheriff position (no particular political party is mentioned) [Facebook].

I've mentioned before that I hope Shadegg continues to enjoy a long and productive non-political retirement.

Sinema certainly should be able to point out the horrible results of Arizona Republican rule in the next year or two (if indeed Republicans are as horrible as some make them out to be). I am not sure how well her Vladimir Lenin award from Arizona Federation of Taxpayers will play out in the future.

Dan Saban has his campaign web site up. I would expect him to win if it weren't for the odd popularity Arpaio manages to earn.

I'll nominate Raúl Grijalva to run for US Senate. His position on US foreign policy is much better than that of Jon Kyl. IMO he is the Dennis Kucinich of Arizona (that is a compliment).

cpmaz said...

I believe Stauffer is an officer with the LD7 (or LD6, I can't remember which) Republicans.

The Arizona Federation of Taxpayers is little more than an organization dedicated to sending out press releases praising pro-corporate Rs and criticizing Ds.

As for Dan Saban, I wish him well, but he's got a seriously uphill battle. In a normal state, Saban would have unseated Arpaio years ago when he was still a Republican.

Arizona isn't a normal state.

Raul Grijalva would certainly make an interesting candidate for Senate, but while he is popular and respected in his district, I'm not sure that would translate to a statewide campaign.

It might, but a win would be far from a good bet.

Mitch M. said...

Thanks for this starting line roster!

Any insights/thoughts on whether Kyl will decide to try to stay? And, if he does, does Napolitano resign to run that race? Does Jim Pederson try again?

And, so, you don't see Cherny or Hulburd lacing up those running shoes?

Thane Eichenauer said...

As I am sure Tom Jenney would say all it takes for a Democrat to earn a good score is that he earn it by opposing higher taxes (and vote against them).

Cato Institute has given WV Governor (and Democrat) Joe Manchin an "A" and Jan Brewer a "D".

cpmaz said...


I really don't know. I don't think Kyl is looking to retire but there were rumors that he might try to be part of the R presidential ticket in 2012 as VP.

I could see that happening if R voters choose someone like Palin for the top of the ticket. The party poobahs would work to balance the ticket with a "safe" establishment VP nominee, and Kyl is a supremely "establishment" R.

Even if he did that, he could run for both VP and Senate under federal law, and if he won VP, resign from the Senate and let Brewer appoint another R to the Senate.

As for Pederson, I'm guessing not, but I've never met him, much less discussed this.

And for Janet Napolitano, if she comes back, she will have some bridges to rebuild with grassroots Democrats, bridges that she burned when she left for D.C.

As for Cherny and Hulburd, I don't know much about them other than what came out during the campaigns this year.

And that was one of the big problems with the Democratic statewide slate this year (and most years) is that while many of the candidates are great people and would do a good job, other than Terry Goddard, none had a serious presence in AZ politics before this year.

The Rs had just one who fell into that classification (Ducey).

All of the others had held significant office (legislative or statewide) before this cycle.

Richard said...

It's state law, not federal law, that controls whether a U.S. Senator can run for re-election and simultaneously be a candidate for President or Vice President.

I don't know what Arizona law is, but in 1964, Barry Goldwater didn't (couldn't?) simultaneously run for re-election as senator (Paul Fannin won that year) and president.