Wednesday, August 06, 2014

Early ballot time: 2014 primary edition

Well, it's another even-numbered year, which means that it's another election year, and unless you have been living under a cactus (hey, it's Arizona, I get to use Arizona-centric metaphors :) ), you know that.

One of the characteristics of an election year is voting, and in Arizona, early ballots have started hitting mailboxes, including mine. (Note: residents of Maricopa County can request an early ballot here; in other counties, visit your county recorder's website or call their office for details.)

Being a Democrat living in south Scottsdale, my ballot is a little sparse on the contested races front, but there are a few.

First up:  A three-way race for two nominations for the Arizona House of Representatives in LD24.  The candidates -

Lela Alston, incumbent
Rich Bauer, challenger
Ken Clark, challenger

(note: the other incumbent, Rep. Chad Campbell, is term-limited and isn't running for another office this year.)

While only two of the candidates can earn a vote in the primary, leading to the possibility that the candidate who doesn't get my vote in the primary will be one of the nominees for the general election, I can state unequivocally that I will have no problem supporting (and voting for) any two of the three in the general.

Having said that, it's time to pick two.

The first one is easy.

Lela Alston is the incumbent and she has earned another term in the legislature.  She brings a civil and professional demeanor and a strong work ethic to the legislature, as well as being a strong voice for the district and for public education (not a surprise for a retired teacher).

The other choice was a little more difficult because I am not active in LD24 circles and I don't personally know either Clark or Bauer.  However, while that is not ideal, it places both on equal footing when it comes to considering their candidacies.

Under normal circumstances, I am not someone who cares about endorsements; organizations endorse the candidates who they believe will best support their organizational agendas.  Even when I agree with a particular organization's agenda, my support goes to the candidate who I believe will best work for the people the candidate is running to represent.

However, this time around, endorsements are pretty much all I have to go on as both Bauer and Clark look to be strong candidates.  Their strengths may be *different*, but they're strengths nonetheless.

Bauer has the endorsement of a laundry list of organizations and "big names", some that I wholeheartedly respect and support (Planned Parenthood of Arizona, a couple of unions and union locals) and some that I'm rather cynical about (Central AZ Home Builders, Multihousing Association, various chambers of commerce).

Clark has no "big" endorsements that I know of.  What he does have, though, is the endorsements of people that I've worked phone banks or walked precincts with.

People that I know, like, and respect and who speak from and vote their hearts carry more weight with me than organizations that look to their profit margins before speaking.

Clark gets the primary election vote.

Lela Alston, courtesy her campaign website

Ken Clark, courtesy his campaign website

Next up: State Superintendent of Public Instruction.

Two candidates for one nomination -

David Garcia
Sharon Thomas

As with the LD24 race, both D candidates are stellar candidates; either one is worthy of general election support.

As good as both candidates are, I can only vote for one, and that one is David Garcia.  Of the four candidates running (2 D, 2 R), he would serve as the best advocate for public education in Arizona, and for the state's students.

And while the incumbent, Republican John Huppenthal, believes and behaves to the contrary, that *is* the basic duty of the holder of this particular office.
David Garcia, courtesy his campaign's Facebook page

Finally: Scottsdale City Council.

Eight candidates for three seats.

Michael Auerbach
Bill Crawford
Cindy Hill
Kathy Littlefield
Linda Milhaven
Jennifer Petersen
Dennis Robbins
David Smith

Where in the LD24 race I think all of the candidates are strong and worthy of vote (though I can vote for only two), in this race, I cannot bring myself to vote for even one, much less three.

I'm either familiar with them and would never vote for them, or I'm unfamiliar with them and had to do some research - some are pure tea party types, or blame public employee unions for all that ails Scottsdale, or ("political kiss of death time", from my perspective anyway) have been endorsed by Joe Arpaio.

There are a couple of candidates who fall into the "less bad" category, but this being Scottsdale, "less bad" is still "very bad".

While I reserve the right to change my stance for any runoff election in November, for now I am not casting a vote for any of the candidates.

Note to all D and non-partisan campaigns:  My ballot's in the mail.  Go ahead an take me off of all of your call, mail, and canvass lists.

Note to other readers:  I wish it was that easy. :)  Seriously, it *will* happen, but it will take close to a week, allowing time for the US Postal Service to do its job, and the staff at the county elections office to process the ballot, record its return, and for the various campaigns to get the official word.

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