Tuesday, July 26, 2011

A (Very) Brief History of Arizona's Legislative District 17

Monday's hearing of the Arizona Independent Redistricting Commission, held in Mesa, has been covered in depth by Steve at Arizona Eagletarian here.

While it went much the same as last week's hearing at South Mountain Community College (tea party types saying "boo! on the AIRC and most everyone else supporting the independence of the AIRC), one speaker stood out, and not in a good way.

From Steve's post -
The most remarkable comments, in my mind, came from former LD17 Republican candidate for state senate, Wendy Rogers. A retired US Air Force Lieutenant Colonel and pilot, Rogers told us she does not believe the Tempe legislative district is at all competitive. Despite having biked to thousands of homes, raised four times as much money privately as her Clean Elections funded Democratic opponent, and had plenty of signs out, she could not get elected.

The ONLY valid conclusion, in light of her gargantuan effort, of course, is that LD17 had been made a safe district for Democratic candidates in the last redistricting.
She also stated that the district has elected all Democrats for at least 10 years.

Minor problem - that's not true -

- In 2000 (when it was LD27), the district elected Harry Mitchell (D), Meg Burton-Cahill (D) and Laura Knaperek (R).

- In 2002 (now LD17), the district elected Harry Mitchell (D), Meg Burton-Cahill (D), and Mark Thompson (R).

- In 2004, the district elected Harry Mitchell (D), Meg Burton-Cahill (D) and Laura Knaperek (R).

- In 2006 (all of five years ago), the district elected all Democrats for the first time - Meg Burton Cahill, Ed Ableser, and David Schapira.

- In 2008, the same trio were reelected.

- In 2010, the district elected Democrats David Schapira, Ed Ableser, and Ben Arredondo (a former Republican and long-time community icon).

That last may be what has Mrs. Rogers the most torqued, since she was a candidate in 2010.  She doesn't seem to have learned that a campaign platform that consists of "I'm a Republican and it's a Republican wave year" doesn't help a candidate win in LD17.

Tempe, which makes up the largest part of LD17, is a community in a way that most of the other cities in metro Phoenix are *not.*

It's an "old" community (by AZ standards, anyway), having been established in 1879.  Many of the families in Tempe can trace their roots in the city back for generations.

In addition, it's a college town.  Besides attracting a lot of students, that has helped engender a local populace that tends toward being both educated and intelligent.  Yes, even the Republicans.

In other words, Tempe isn't the kind of place a candidate can successfully campaign on "you MUST elect me.  I deserve it by right of being a Republican."

That's something Mrs. Rogers should consider when mounting her next campaign (it's one of the worst-kept secrets in local politics that Rogers is going to run for office again).

1 comment:

Thane Eichenauer said...

Yea. Competitive doesn't mean it is easy to win for any given partisan.