Chalk one up for the politics of demonization. A big one...
Last night was definitely ugly.
Many good people, and at least one great one, lost their jobs last night.
The results page on the AZ Secretary of State's website is here.
First, the genuinely ugly - Harry Mitchell, the icon of public service, lost the CD5 race to real estate vulture David Schweikert. Apparently, the majority of voters in CD5 have decided that they don't want a public servant to represent them in Congress, instead giving their nod to a public predator (geez, can ya tell I'm still pissed over this one? ).
The entire Schweikert campaign platform can be summed up thusly: Obamacare!
Seriously, that was it.
I was on sign detail for one of the down ballot candidates here, and every polling place had at least 5 - 8 little signs that had one word on them - "Obamacare." Sometimes they were placed at random, sometimes they were placed next to Mitchell signs, and at least once, place *in* a Mitchell sign.
More on this race in the next few days, after I decompress.
...There was lots of bad (some really bad) on Tuesday.
- The Rs swept the statewide races. Some of the D losses were expected, but to elect two people who have long records of being crooks to positions of great public trust like Attorney General and Treasurer?
As noted above, last night was a triumph of the politics of demonization, but "willful ignorance" also ran wild in Arizona on Tuesday.
- The Rs also increased their majority in the legislature, mostly by knocking off a number of Democratic women.
Former State Representative Jackie Thrasher (LD10) lost her bid to return to the House, down by almost 3000 votes.
State Representative Rae Waters (LD20) is down 1400 votes in her reelection bid.
State Senator Rebecca Rios (LD23) is down almost 5000 votes her race.
State Representative Barbara McGuire (LD23) is down almost 7000 votes.
State Senator Amanda Aguirre (LD24) is down more than 3000 votes in her race.
State Representative Pat Fleming (LD25) is down more than 3000 votes.
State Representative Nancy Young Wright (LD26) is down slightly less than 900 votes in her race.
In keeping with the Rs' anti-woman theme, Dirty Scottsdale writer and "chip off the ol' potatoe" Ben Quayle won the CD3 seat being vacated by John Shadegg. His opponent ran as a Republican dressed up in a Democrat's clothing. Turns out that didn't inspire the D base to turn out. Who knew?
The politics of demonization was effective on a number of ballot propositions, too.
Prop 106 (anti-healthcare reform), Prop 107 (anti-affirmative action), and Prop 113 (anti-union) were all approved by the voters.
...There were a few nuggets of good in yesterday's carnage. OK, less "good" than "not horrificly bad" -
- Prop 301 (ending and sweeping the monies from the Land Conservation Fund) and Prop 302 (ending First Things First, the early childhood education program that was created by the voters in a previous election) have been turned away by the voters. The Rs in the lege will use this as a rationalization to further gut education and social infrastructure programs in the name of "balancing the budget," but they were going to that anyway. They just would have found a different excuse if the Props had passed.
- In out-of-state results that may have a direct impact on Arizona, Kris Kobach, the nativist lawyer who wrote SB1070 for fellow traveller Russell Pearce, won his election as Secretary of State in Kansas. He'll be overseeing elections there. He ran on a anti-immigrant platform, and has pledged to work to minimize the number of immigrants voting there. God help Kansas. On the plus side, we can always hope that his duties/schemes in KS serve to distract him from Arizona.
- Also turned away were R challenges to U.S. Reps. Gabrielle Giffords (CD8) and Raul Grijalva (CD7) (however, CD8 remains close, so there is a chance that one will change, though Giffords is ahead by approximately 2000 votes as of this writing.)
- In my home LD, District 17, State Rep. David Schapira has fended off what had appeared to be a strong challenger for the LD17 Senate seat. Wendy Rogers was touted as the kind of conservative who could win in a Democratic-leaning swing district. Turns out she was actually just a polished version of her ticketmate, Don Hawker. House candidate Hawker was the epitome of the "single issue" candidate, literally blaming all that ails Arizona (and the country) on abortion.
Both were wrong for the community, wrong for the district, and wrong for the state, and voters in D17 saw that. One of the advantages of living in a district with a lot of university professors and students in it.
- In some of the down ballot races, there was some good news -
Retiring State Senator Meg Burton Cahill defeated a retired barber for the Justice of the Peace spot in the University Lakes Justice Precinct. Some ugly robocalls funded by the Arizona Multihousing Association failed to defeat the popular Tempean.
Dana Saar of Fountain Hills defeated embarrassment Jerry Walker of Mesa for Walker's seat on the Governing Board of the Maricopa County Community College District. Walker has shamed his constituents and the District a number of times with his thuggish behavior. Saar taking the seat will help restore the credibility of this embattled board.
...The one spark of hope, in Arizona and across the nation, that I can find from yesterday's results (and I had to dig deep to find this one) -
In 1994, that national R wave occurred two years *after* redistricting took place.
In 2010, the wave took place two years *before* redistricting. The Rs, especially the tea baggers, won't have time to entrench themselves before having to run in radically different districts in 2012.
More later, on CD5 and some of the local races and ballot questions...