After a great deal of soul-searching and encouragement from elected leaders, grassroots activists, and friends throughout the state, I have decided to run for the position of Chair of the Arizona Democratic Party. We’re at a critical point in Arizona’s history – one where so much is on the line with the choices our state and nation make. That’s why I ran for State Treasurer. And that’s why I have made this decision today.There have been a number of state committee members who have expressed concerns that Cherny is not eligible to be chair because he wasn't elected as a PC in August. However, according to this legal opinion, because he has been legally appointed as a PC and to the State Committee, he *is* eligible to be chair.
A couple of years ago, Arizona was seen as a state trending “purple” – a swing state where candidates for office would have to build broad coalitions to win. But in 2010, we were swamped by a tsunami. Despite the incredible efforts of Democratic volunteers and candidates, Republicans won up and down the ticket – and throughout the state – without offering any positive ideas to build Arizona’s future and by playing the dirtiest sort of wedge politics.
Democrats let that happen. As I campaigned in every part in Arizona, I saw firsthand that a lot of people who supported us in years past did not trust us to fight for their interests, defend their values, or make their lives better. While we attacked the many Republican missteps, we failed to campaign with a unified message that told the people of Arizona who we are, what we stand for, and how we'll lead our state.
I believe that offering that message has to be job #1 of the next State Chair. That’s especially true because, for the first election in nearly fifteen years, we did not elect a single statewide Democratic official to act as the spokesperson for our ideas and plans. We need the next State Chair to be a unifying figure and a strong messenger for a compelling vision of where Arizona needs to go.
The fact is that Russell Pearce’s Republican Party has deliberately vacated the center of Arizona politics. They disdain independents and their own party's moderates. They’re betting that they can rely on extremist supporters and money from out-of-state corporations to carry the day. They will if we let them. I’m determined that this won’t happen. Instead, we need to build a big tent Arizona Democratic Party where independents and disaffected Republicans are welcome and have a home. And we need to go on the offense to fight for better schools, safer streets, and an Arizona economy that works for those who work hard and not just those with the connections and the lobbyists. We should not shade our ideas or sand down our message, but instead should show the contrast between Arizona's present and the brighter future Arizona Democrats can help bring.
Here’s what I'll work toward as Chair:
•A Democratic Party that Works from the Bottom-Up, Not the Top-Down. Without a statewide elected official to serve as our rallying point, we are entering a new era for Arizona Democrats. This is a chance to build a party that is not about one person at the top calling the shots, but one where county chairs, LD chairs, state committee members, precinct committee members, and activists are empowered to make more decisions, have the tools they need to do their work – and held accountable as well. As a former elected PC and former LD chair, I know what it means to work at the party’s grassroots. To rebuild the Arizona Democratic Party, we need a 15 county strategy that works to win votes and convert voters in every part of our state.
•A Democratic Party with a Clear Vision. Before Arizonans trust our take on what the Republicans are doing to our state, they need to trust that we’ll do a better job. While we must take Russell Pearce and Jan Brewer to task, we have a responsibility to offer new, common-sense ideas to meet Arizona's toughest challenges. Arizona Democrats must offer more than responses to the Republican agenda, and instead make clear where we will lead the state. But our vision for the state is meaningless if Arizonans don't know what it is. Arizona Democrats' communications efforts have to reach newspapers, television, radio and blogs in every part of the state – from Nogales to Kingman, and Yuma to Window Rock.
•A Democratic Party that Wins Again. Ultimately, if we want to rebuild Arizona, we have to start winning more elections. Redistricting may create the most serious opportunity to make large gains in the state legislature in decades. A new congressional seat and President Obama’s reelection means the chance to make sure we have leadership in Washington that is focused on meeting America’s challenges. In this moment, we can't afford to be divided. Our task is to build a stronger Democratic Party, not to squander the work of the past decade. I was proud that my State Treasurer campaign raised more than any previous non-Governor statewide campaign – with the vast majority of contributions amounting to $100 or less. That kind of grassroots support – combined with the support of our Democratic Party leaders – is the unity we need to move forward. I am honored to have the support of Democrats from the grassroots to our top elected officials in this campaign for Chair. It’s not enough to just fight the good fight, we need to win. Millions of Arizonans are counting on to do so – and that means we need to have the message, money, and momentum to carry the day.
As my friend from Cochise County, Bob Bland, said to me the other day: “When Republicans win, they splinter. When Democrats lose, they come together.” We lost in 2010 – and Arizonans are paying the price. Now, we need to come together, unite as one, take the fight to those who are driving Arizona into the ground, and win.
Here's an article about my announcement from the Phoenix New Times.
There are three things you can do today to support our campaign for a new direction for the Arizona Democratic Party.
1. Forward this email to other Democrats, PCs, and members of the State Committee. Tell them we need their help and support.
2. Join the "Andrei Cherny for Arizona Democratic Party Chair" facebook group to join in the conversation and read the latest news.
3. Follow @andreicherny on Twitter to get updates and see endorsements as they're announced.
There is no time to wait. The Chair's election is in just 16 days, so we must act fast. We can begin moving the Arizona Democratic Party in a new direction with a clear vision, strong message and real investment in our grassroots - but we can't do it without you!
I hope to earn your support for Chair and then work with you in the months to come. As always, please stay in touch either by email or at (602) 688-2336.
However, since under ADP by-laws, only elected PCs who were in turn elected to the State Committee can vote at the biennial reorganization meeting, he won't be able to vote for himself.
Should be an interesting meeting on January 22...