Monday, January 17, 2011

Statements from candidates running for Chairman of the Arizona Democratic Party

Both the Arizona Democrat Party and the Arizona Republican Party will hold their biennial reorganization meetings on Saturday, January 22.  As I'm not a Republican (not exactly surprising news for most readers :) ), I don't care who runs for or wins their officer positions.

I *do* care about who become the officers of the ADP for the next two years.

The list of announced candidates is here (it's not an "official" list, as candidates can only be nominated from the floor of the State Committee meeting on Saturday).

The main webpage for state committee activity, including for candidates for the various offices, is here.

Many of the announced candidates have submitted letters in support of their candidacies.

First up are the letters from the two announced candidates for Chair, Andrei Cherny and Rodney Glassman.

Here are those letters ( I haven't edited the content of the letters.  However, any listed endorsements have been skipped - we've all received the emails from both candidates, and these posts will be long enough as it is :) ):

Letter from Andrei Cherny, candidate for the office of Chairman

Dear Fellow Arizona Democrat,

On Saturday, all our hearts broke. Our prayers are with our friend Congresswoman Giffords and all the victims of the tragic attack. This is a moment to hold close and reach out to those we cherish. And it’s a moment to reflect on the days we live in and our work to make this corner of the world a more gentle and more just place.

These are serious times for our nation, for our state – and for the Arizona Democratic Party. We need new leadership and we need to be more united than ever.

That’s why, 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'm running for 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.

Delivering that message has to be job #1 of the next State Chair. That’s especially true because, for the first election in sixteen 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.

We cannot let this happen.

Instead, we need to build a big tent Arizona Democratic Party where independents and disaffected Republicans are welcome and have a home. We need to inspire and motivate Democrats to get out and vote. 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.

Working with President Clinton in the White House and President Obama in 2008, that's what we did. And that's what we did in my campaign for Treasurer. I’ve worked for the Democratic Party since I started volunteering on campaigns when I was 12 years old. I've done every job from elected PC and District Chair to negotiating our National Party Platform. I believe in our party and what it stands for at its best -- and I refuse to stand by when so much is on the line.

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 bring us together, we are entering a new era for Arizona Democrats. This is a chance to build a party that is not run by one elected official at the top who calls the shots, but one where county chairs, LD chairs, state committee members, precinct committee members, and activists are empowered to make more decisions on spending and recruitment, have the tools they need to do their work – and be held accountable as well. I was elected PC and elected LD chair, so I know what it means to work at the 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. That's why, in the midst of my own campaign last fall, I personally raised the funds for the party that paid for GOTV efforts in areas that weren't being targeted by the party -- places like the West Valley, Pinal and Yuma counties. We can't leave any part of our state behind. Everyone's votes count!

• 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. I am the only candidate for Chair with broad support from the grassroots to our top elected officials in this campaign for Chair. 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. Though our contribution limits were only 16% of those of a candidate for US Senate, we inspired thousands – including so many of you – to join our cause. That's the job of a Chair: to inspire, to lead, to bring out the best in others, and to make sure we're getting results. It’s not enough to just fight the good fight—we need to win. Millions of Arizonans are counting on us to win – 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.

I hope to earn your support for Chair and then work with you in the months to come. Please follow my campaign on Facebook or Twitter and contact me anytime at or (602) 688-2336.

I look forward to working with you to build a new Arizona Democratic Party – and rebuild the state we love.

Thank you,


Cherny for Chair
Letter from Rodney Glassman, candidate for the office of Chairman SUBJECT: Vote Glassman for Arizona Democratic Party Chair Dear Fellow Elected State Committee Member,

I would like to begin by expressing my feelings of sorrow for the families that lost loved ones this past weekend. Sasha, Rose, and I are praying for Gabrielle and the other victims of Saturday’s senseless violence. I am shocked to think that this happened in our hometown and in our state. It is with a heavy heart that I send out this letter today. Yet, in just twelve days we will be electing the new chair of our Arizona State Democratic party and I must ask for your feedback, your faith, and your support.

I am running for Arizona Democratic Party state chair because it’s time for us to have a party with direction. For the last four years our party has done a great job fundraising. And what we’ve learned is that we can raise a tremendous amount of money and still lose. In 2008 when states

across the country won… we lost! And in 2010 when states across the country lost… we lost worse!! It is time for us to remake our party and I have a concrete platform based on three ideas to get our party moving forward to win elections: 1. Creating a Bold and Unafraid Democratic brand 2. Working with local elected officials 3. A 30-district strategy to get candidates elected across the state.

I am proud to be the only candidate running for state chair that is an elected precinct committeeperson and an elected state committeeperson, just like you. I would like to listen to your thoughts and ideas and move them forward. Additionally, having served as a member of the Tucson City Council, I am the only candidate running for state chair that has ever won an election and held office. This is important because we need to do things differently. It’s not just about raising money… it’s about winning elections!

Bold and Unafraid Democratic Brand

The first thing we need to do is have a party that it is bold and unafraid to take our politics to the people of Arizona. We need to stand for something. We need a Democratic brand. What does it mean to be an Arizona Democrat? If we cannot all agree upon a brand as Democratic party activists then how are we going to sell our brand to other voters in the state? That is where our chair, our leader, needs to get engaged. Engaged by listening to you and caring about all of our opinions from grassroots activists to major donors. We cannot have a chair who only listens to one segment of the party. We need to identify a focus, that we all agree, make an Arizona Democrat. I believe three good areas would be jobs, education, and renewable energy. You may have other ideas and I would like to hear them. Right now, I bet you're thinking to yourself, this is the same stuff we already stand for as a party… but do we?

For example, we say we are the party of education… but are we? Last Spring the Arizona Democratic Party, the “party of education” did not have the courage to publicly endorse and work hard for the passage Proposition 100, an education initiative that eventually passed with nearly 70% of the vote. I am proud to be endorsed by our 2010 Democratic nominee for Superintendent of Schools, Penny Kotterman. Penny is the former president of AEA, a former teacher, and knows the importance of education as a core value for Democrats. We need to be the education party in Arizona and that means doing more than just taking money, around campaign time, from the Arizona Education Association. With a proper brand, whether we are speaking to Rotary clubs in Payson, Union Halls in Tucson, environmental groups in Flagstaff, or farmers in Yuma, our brand will stand out and on their own people will want to hear more about the Democratic party because we will be standing for something they are interested in… Arizona’s needs.

Working with Local Elected Officials

The second part of my plan is to reach out to local elected officials and invite them into our state party. We currently have dozens and dozens of locally elected officials across the state who are registered as Democrats but don’t promote it regularly. Did you know Bob Jackson the Mayor of

Casa Grande is a Democrat? Councilwoman Marquisha Griffin from Maricopa? Councilman Dennis Kavanaugh from Mesa? We need to enfranchise local elected officials by bringing them into state party activities. We talked about wanting to target the Latino community in 2010… why was it that all our mass party emails came from Caucasian state representatives in Central Phoenix and not perhaps, Representative Ana Tovar, Supervisor Mary Rose Wilcox, Congressman Raul Grijalva, Councilwoman Regina Romero from Tucson, or Councilman Alex Bejarano from Wellton. If we want to reach out and embrace diversity let’s incorporate that into everything we do as a party. We are tired of lip-service and promoting the same small group of elected officials. It does not work, it has not worked, and it will not work! We are the party of the big tent but that means we need a state chair committed to allowing others inside the tent.

30 District Strategy

Lastly, we need a 30 District strategy, much like Howard Dean’s 50 state strategy which was so successful in 2008. We should have two house candidates and one senate candidate in every legislative district. With 90 candidates, at over $30,000 of clean elections money each, that’s nearly $3,000,000 to help get Democrats elected around the state. But what is even greater is the fact that 90 legislative candidates will help bring out Democratic turnout for our statewide Corporation Commissioner candidates and our 9 Congressional candidates as well. Just remember, as President Kennedy once said, “a rising tide lifts all boats.” That’s why State Corporation Commissioner Sandra Kennedy, who is up for re-election in 2012, is supporting my candidacy for state chair. The state party needs to have a commitment to work with legislative chairs and county chairs to identify candidates, tie their story into our brand, and help them qualify for clean elections. How many of you are willing to join me in Kingman, San Luis, or Cottonwood to help collect $5 contributions for our legislative candidates? If we all roll up our sleeves and contribute some elbow grease, the payoff will be tremendous because we will be creating new opportunities across the state. Growing up I always heard, “Luck is where preparation meets opportunity”. And that means let’s get prepared! The statistical probability of winning an election when you do not have a candidate running is ZERO.

Role of the Chair

As a former City Councilman from Tucson and a Democratic candidate for United States Senate candidate running against a former Republican presidential nominee I was able to raise almost one million dollars in contributions. Having the opportunity to sell the new Arizona Democratic party brand, our local elected officials, and a 30 district strategy that will guarantee that Arizona is in play will be a great way for us to raise money and keep our party moving. I know we can raise the money we need to spread resources across the state. But, we need to remember that fundraising is not the panacea many thought it once was. We need to go grassroots and make sure that the dollars we do raise are spent contacting voters and not on consultants that never quite explain where the money goes or how it’s spent. We need transparency, open books so we know where our dollars are being invested, and we need to know who is being paid. In other words, we need a more open way of investing in our future.

I learned a great deal running for United States Senate in a 4-way Democratic primary. I learned that just because the state party recommends that you hire D.C. consultants it doesn’t mean you

should. I learned that we can collect over 15,000 signatures, we can receive nearly 5,000 contributions, and we can get nearly 600,000 people to vote for a Democrat against John McCain just two years after he ran for President of the United States. We performed better than anyone else that has in a year where we were outspent $31 to $1. I plan to take the learning experiences that I gained as a U.S. Senate nominee and as someone who has served as an elected official and apply those to the position of state chair.

A New Direction

Our 15 county chairs and 30 legislative district leaders should be treated like a true board of directors. How great would it be if every two weeks our party communications staff called and asked, “what is going on in your area that ties in with our Democratic brand”. It’s time we invested more time and energy in honing our best resource of all… YOU! We could then do targeted press, marketing, and keep our Democratic brand active in all parts of the state. It’s about being bold and unafraid and to start winning elections which is something we have not been doing consistently over the past four years.

If you spent four years getting lost in the forest it would be foolish to hand the lantern to someone who you followed in and say, “please help us get out.” So too, with this election, you have a clear choice. Someone who has followed the rules, became an elected Precinct committeeman, state committeeperson, and done things the proper way or someone who did not. I did not need a legal opinion or special appointment from the state chair to run for this position. Rather, I simply needed the urging and support of individuals such as Kit Filby, Jackie Thrasher, and Elaine Bohlmeyer who ran for the state legislature and my friends and co-candidates Arif Kazmi, Manny Cruz, David Bradley, my former boss, Congressman Raul Grijalva, local leaders and LD chairs Connie Finneman, Jeff Rich, Steve Schallenberger, Janice Blackmon, and Carol Comito, just to name a few.

We need a FULL TIME state chair, traveling the state and building relationships to help get Democrats elected. I am willing to commit the time to do this properly. I am running for chair of the Arizona Democratic Party because if we keep doing the same old things we are going to keep getting the same poor results. That means we need a different kind of leader who has served as an elected official, has experienced getting elected, and knows what it is like to win firsthand. We need a state chair whose number one priority is the state party, working with everyone, and who is committed to the entire state. Someone who is willing to get in the car and visit all fifteen counties, communicate in town after town, and actually spend time building relationships and developing a network of supporters that will work towards a common goal. We need a simple plan, on how we, together, can build up our Arizona Democratic party and once again start winning elections.

Progressive and Honest Track Record

For those who are interested in my credibility on Latino issues I urge you to speak to my supporter, Congressman Grijalva. For those who are interested in my track record on LGBT issues, I urge you to speak to my supporter, State Senator Paula Aboud. For those of you who are interested in my track record on education, I urge you to speak to my supporter Penny

Kotterman. For those interested in my commitment to working with the 22 Native American nations please visit with my support, State Senator Jack Jackson, Jr. And, for those of you interested in my track record on labor, I urge you to speak to my supporter Dion Abril from Sheet Metal Workers Local #359.

I ask for your support, your ideas, and your vote. Together we will create a bold and unafraid Democratic brand, begin building relationships with our locally elected Democratic officials, and executing a 30-district strategy to get Democrats elected across the state. Together we will find our way out of the forest and move in a new direction. Together we will turn Arizona Blue!

If you have questions or ideas about how we can all work together please email me at

Your Fellow Elected State Committee Member,

Rodney Glassman

No comments: