Saturday, September 07, 2013

The 2014 Republican Dream Team is assembling...

...well, "Dream" by my standards; probably not so much by the GOP's...

The Republican fields for the various statewide offices that are up for election next year are becoming clearer, to the point that in many of the races, there are favorites.

As in, candidates who people who are not Republicans hope emerge victorious in the Republican primary.

Under the theory that many of candidates have weaknesses that are so overwhelming that they should be easy to defeat in the general election.

...The team "Cap'n" of the Dream Team is, of course, candidate for governor "Atomic" Al Melvin.

Currently a state senator, he's part of the "Bay at the Moon" caucus at the state lege.  In fact he's one of the leaders.

When he isn't trying to turn Arizona into a nuclear waste dump or pushing to expand slave prison labor here, he is spouting off, like with his recent assertion that trees cause drought conditions.

He's looking to pull off the same play that the notorious Ev Mecham pulled off more than a quarter century ago.  If he does gain the office, he has the potential to embarrass and even damage the state even more than Mecham.  However, his presence at the top of the ticket will serve as an anchor on the rest of the ticket.

...The Dream Team's candidate for Cap'n in Waiting, aka "Secretary of State", is State Senator Michele Reagan.  She's nowhere near as colorful as Melvin.  Never a true "moderate", she was known as someone who would do the right thing for her district and state.  However, her political hard right turn over the last few years, perhaps in preparation for a statewide run, has her firmly ensconced in the heart (such as it is) of the Republican establishment.  Even though she is running for Secretary of State, the state's chief elections officer, she pushed nearly every anti-voter bill that was heard by the Arizona legislature this year.  The provisions of most of those bills were rolled into the blanket non-Republican voter suppression package known as HB2305.

However, none of the above is the reason she is on this list.

Nope.  It's simple statistics.

Over the past 20 years, literally dozens of sitting Republican legislators have sought higher office* while still in the lege.  Two have succeeded - Matt Salmon ran for Congress in 1994 and John Huppenthal ran for State Superintendent of Public Instruction in 2010.

And Salmon did it during a period that held the legislature in somewhat higher esteem than it is now.

To be sure, in AZ, many statewide and federal electeds are former legislators.  However, other than the two exceptions, all had at least one term away from the legislature before gaining the higher office.

* = Federal or statewide office.  County and municipal offices in AZ are steps up in esteem level (or at least reductions in notoriety level), but steps down in influence level.

...The Dream Team's candidate for enforcer, aka "Attorney General", is the incumbent, Tom Horne.

Possibly the weakest candidate of a weak bunch, an almost unheard-of description of an incumbent.

However, any state attorney general with a resume that includes a federal investigation over campaign finance violations, charges stemming from a hit-and-run accident while leaving a nooner at his girlfriend's home, and giving that girlfriend a highly-paid taxpayer-funded job probably should be looking for a new job.

However, Horne is looking for another term as AG.  It will be up to the voters to tell him that it's time to leave.

...The Dream Team's candidate for Mr. Moneybags, aka "State Treasurer", is Randy Pullen, former chair of the AZGOP and treasurer of the Republican National Committee.  On Thursday, he announced his "exploration" of a run for treasurer (source: Channel 12's Brahm Resnik).

A candidate for state treasurer who's known more for his divisiveness and his poor judgement (note: those are three sources that I never even imagined that I'd link to :) ) in handling others' money than for his financial acumen?

That would be a whoever else is on the ballot for that office.

...The Dream Team's candidate for Minister of Propaganda, aka "Superintendent of Public Instruction", is the incumbent, John Huppenthal.

Hates public education in a state where the vast majority of parents can't afford private schools and he hates Hispanic people in a state where the Hispanic population is growing both in size and political influence.

That combination is more ripe for a political Darwin award than it is for re-election.

...Note: I am not including the office of State Mine Inspector because it is too low-profile.  Most people in AZ don't know the office exists; most that do cannot name the officeholder.  Perhaps at the founding of AZ, it was a necessary position, but these days it just a place for former rural legislators to pad their pensions and a chance to hobknob with mining industry lobbyists.

Predictions: If the Rs were to nominate this slate, I would be very happy...and very surprised.

...Melvin doesn't seem likely to emerge from the primary, but neither did Ev Mecham in 1986.  At least by the standards of the AZGOP,  being "bay at the moon crazy" doesn't disqualify someone from being their candidate.

...Reagan is the "establishment" candidate, in a party that is being wracked by paroxysms of anti-"establishment" fervor.  Probably the favorite, for now, but not a prohibitive one.

...Horne should be toast.  Someone who's even a little more polished should have little trouble dispatching him in the primary.  If no one does, however, Felecia Rotellini, the presumptive Democratic nominee for the job, will thoroughly kick his ass in the general election.  Which is the main reason that Horne will face a primary challenger.

...Pullen may very well win the nomination, but he has so many enemies within the AZGOP that it won't be easy for him.

...Huppenthal, well, many people (me among them), have written his political epitaph before.  And we've been wrong each time.  He is utterly unqualified for elected office or any position of public trust.  Having said that, no smack talk until it's proven that he can be defeated.

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