The Democrats are hunting for a mayoral candidate now. Steve Leal was such a presence in the race that it kept many others from seriously making a go of it. The trouble now is finding a candidate that is more than just a name on the ballot. Yesterday, Daniel Scarpinato floated the name Roger Pfeuffer, the Superintendent of the Tucson Unified School District. Pfeuffer would probably enjoy the mayor’s office, given that it is free of many of the headaches that come with running a school district that large. But, a Pfeuffer candidacy has already been declared a non-starter, most importantly by Pfeuffer himself.
Now the worry is this: with no “big name” candidate running on the top, Democrats are getting edgy about turn-out. Yes, 2005 featured no mayor’s race and Democrats swept two Republican incumbents from office. But the two incumbents were damaged goods, and Republicans were so thoroughly demoralized (the election was weeks after Hurricane Katrina) it was hard for them to get volunteers jazzed about the race. The 2005 turnout was 61,548, and turnout in 2003 (which featured a mayor’s race) was 77,857. Without an exciting mayor’s race, what will there be to bring out voters?
Ironically, the early strength of Rodney Glassman’s campaign may exacerbate this problem. The amperage from Glassman’s campaign was enough to drive his strongest primary opponent from the race. But one also has to remember that Glassman has also so far drawn the only Republican opponent in this race, and a serious one too, Lori Oien. As of yet, there are no Republicans running in either Ward I or Ward IV (Scott Egan pulled papers to run but has aparently decided against it). If Democrats are convinced that Glassman has this “in the bag” and there are no other races to drive turnout, and in the meantime the Republicans only have one candidate to throw their resources at, this could be a problem for Glassman.
Should this scenario come to pass, Glassman has the advantage of team that understands the problem here. Katie Bolger (who one political pro I know refered to as “turn-out queen”) is not one to take this race for granted, and the word is that David Steele (who knows the value of turnout from his days heading up Dennis DeConcini’s field effort in 1988) is on board to help out with media. Most importantly is the candidate himself, I’ve seen few candidates more enthused about running for office than Glassman. If he can keep that up, he won’t have a problem.