Friday, January 21, 2011

Arizona Democratic Party chair race: time to close ranks and unite

As most observers have probably already noted, I don't often write about the inner workings of the Arizona Democratic Party (or the Arizona Republican Party, for that matter), mostly because most readers find that kind of "inside baseball" stuff really boring.

Either they're insiders and know this stuff already, or they're not insiders and they don't care about it in the first place.

However, the current jockeying for the chairmanship of the Arizona Democratic Party has made it into the MSM, so the whole thing merits a temporary waiving of my personal policy in this regard.

Every two years, political parties in Arizona reorganize, choosing new leaders for the next election cycle, and that's where the Democrats and Republicans are right now, heading into Saturday's meetings of their respective State Committees.

I'll leave it to the various Republican bloggers to "discuss" what's going on in their party; suffice it to say that anyone that they choose to lead them for the next two years is someone that I'm going to disagree with, on pretty much all significant issues.

Two candidates for ADP chair have emerged - Rodney Glassman, the former Tucson City Council member and 2010 Democratic nominee for U.S. Senate, and Andrei Cherny, the former White House staffer, Assistant Arizona Attorney General, and 2010 Democratic nominee for Arizona Treasurer.

Various pro and con factions have formed, and the "jockeying" has involved more than a few elbows being thrown.  The level of rancor has risen to the point where an email went out yesterday, signed by former Attorney General Terry Goddard and current Congressman Raul Grijalva, urging a one month delay in electing a new slate of officers.

I'm not sure I agree with that idea, but I undertstand it.  Discussion has become rancorous, and a lot of people are still reeling from the shootings in Tucson two weeks ago.  A month's delay may give time for everyone to calm down and to heal a little.

However, putting this off for a month may also give time for the current disagreements to grow into outright rifts.

As a member of the ADP's State Committee, I can state unequivocally that we've been buried in emails trumpeting this or that endorsement, and many of us are getting sick of the noise.

It's time to settle the matter, and regardless of how the votes tally, unite behind the new chair, whoever that might be.

Full disclosure time:  As a State Committee member, I will be voting tomorrow, and for a number of reasons, have decided to support Andrei Cherny.  He isn't a perfect candidate, but he is a *good* candidate, and even more importantly, he is the *better* candidate.

I've met both candidates, but don't know either one well, so I've relied on the impressions of friends of mine who do know one, the other, or both personally.

Everyone that I've spoken to has been impressed by Andrei's intellect and energy.  Everyone that I've spoken to about Rodney, especially the ones who worked on his campaign, are less complimentary of him.

Also impressive was Andrei's performance in a low-profile, downballot race. 

Many folks have focused on the ability to raise money, and to be sure, that is a very important ability in a state chair (and one that favors Cherny).

However, an even bigger part of a state chair's job is the ability to reach people, and Andrei did that almost 686K times, including winning his race in Pima County with over 151K votes.  Rodney also ran statewide, and received 592K votes.  He lost Pima County, receiving only 134K votes there.

Not only was that loss in Pima the first loss in a significant statewide race for a D in years, Pima is Rodney's home county. 

He couldn't even reach the people who know him best in an area that tends to vote for Democrats.

That doesn't bode well for what will happen if he is elected state chair.

I like Rodney, based on the few contacts that I've had with him, and I like a lot of his supporters, a few of whom are friends, but on this matter, I am in disagreement with those friends.

I fervently hope that regardless of how the vote goes tomorrow, all of the state's Democrats, friends and strangers alike, will be able to cast their differences aside and unite behind the new chair.

See you tomorrow at the Wyndham, BYOP*.

* - Bring Your Own Popcorn :))

1 comment:

tempe turley said...

I really appreciate these kinds of posts because I really want a deeper understanding of what's happening in local politics and this kind of information is hard to come by. One of the reasons I follow your blog.

That said I disagree with your "number of votes received in the last election" comparison because you neglect to factor in the opponents each candidate faced.

John McCain was obviously a much tougher opponent than Doug Ducey.

McCain is an Arizona fixture in the state and Glassman was running basically a hopeless campaign. Given that, I thought he gave McCain a pretty good run. So, its really not surprising he failed to win his own county or any country for that matter.

Ducey, on the other hand, was a newcomer to the scene and had some significant problems in his past to overcome.

I don't know either candidates, but from a very superficial analysis I found Glassman more impressive. But,running a Quixotic campaign probably freed Glassman up a lot more - so even my method of comparison is flawed.