What Ever Happened to…?

One of the interesting side bars from this week’s ouster of two members of the Rio Nuevo Board is that Jonathan Paton has still not been replaced on that body.

Paton is currently running for congress in CD 1. How are things going in that race? Well, kind of sluggish.

His first quarter fundraising was at $197,000, dwarfed by Ann Kirkpatrick’s $1.1 million. He’s running against a crew of unknowns (the strongest of which seems to be Sedona businessman Doug Wade), but he ain’t exactly known in the district either. His old district 30 has no overlap with CD 1, and bragging about endorsements from Andy Tobin and the like probably doesn’t mean much to a voter in Flagstaff or Safford.

Also, once you get beyond getting his name out there, how much will he have to do to prove his right-wing cred? Despite a conservative record, he got beat last go around by a candidate that offered more red meat to hungry tea partiers than he did.

I think he comes out of the primary, but with his anemic fundraising, how much money will he have left to face Kirkpatrick? Even if Wenona Benally-Baldenegro starts to run a stronger campaign, Kirkpatrick will be left with a lot more resources than Paton.

By the way, expect to hear the “Payday Paton” phrase again. It’s no accident that Gabrielle Giffords’s campaign threw that out there last time: lobbying for payday loan magnates doesn’t fly any better among rural voters than it does among urban and suburban ones.

11 thoughts on “What Ever Happened to…?

  1. So, any idea what Paton was thinking by carpetbagging to CD1? Maybe he thought his odds were better there than in a rematch with Jesse Kelly, but if your post is true, his prospects sound pretty lousy in CD1, too. I wonder what else he’ll run for after losing two consecutive congressional races.

  2. Ann Kirkpatrick has refused to say whether or not she would fire Pedicone if elected. Clearly, she is a member of the Ku Klux Klan.

  3. Tres:

    Somewhere, probably in Saddlebrooke, there’s a fire hydrant with your name on it.

  4. Never underestimate Jonathan Paton’s capacity for failure. Whether it’s payday loans, Rio Nuevo, Marana or whatever, the man’s very presence is a harbinger of unwanted outcomes. Whatever the endeavor, you can pretty much rely on Paton to fuck it up.

    Thing is, at first glance he seems like the real deal. He’s got a military resume. He looks like Archie. And he manages to bumble around with a practiced projection of confidence sufficient to charm and disarm to bridge club ladies and RV park types.

    But political professionals on both sides know that beneath the veneer, he’s kind of a screwup. He took lobbying fees (lots of them, actually) while he was in the legislature. He got busted by the FEC for campaign finance violations while running against the absurd Jesse Kelly in a race that was Paton’s to lose. And lose it he did. Convincingly. Then he took a lobbying gig for the Town of Marana.

    Then he took a seat on the tragic Rio Nuevo board, as if that were a good idea. And he did so WHILE lobbying for Marana, as if it weren’t a conflict of interest. You’d think a guy so eager to see what he can get away with would have a keener sense of this, but not Paton.

    So will he fail at this CD 1 gambit? Probably. He fails at almost everything.

  5. We’ve been there, done that with a carpetbagger who jumped into the district and ran for Congress, and had ethical problems up the ying yang. That would be Rick Renzi, and his case is now in federal court.

    We don’t need another Renzi. Paton can go back to his payday lending bosses and go lobby someplace else.

  6. Paton is a decent speaker and a tireless campaigner. His loss to Kelly says more about the current state of the GOP than it does about him. He certainly has his share of shortcomings, but we shouldn’t understimate him as a foe. As someone who lives in the new CD and doesn’t want him as my representative, I worry about Kirkpatrick being damaged goods after her 2010 loss to Gosar…who I think is much less impressive than Paton. Can anyone reassure me that she will be a more credible and viable candidate this time around? I was willing to check out Baldenegro, but her campaign seems virtually non-existent in Pima County, except for occasional shout-outs on the Three Sonorans blog…which probably do her more harm than good.

  7. I spend time in Flagstaff in the summers, and I grew up there. I’m not nearly as concerned about Paton as I was about Gosar last cycle.

    The thing you have to understand about Gosar is that he is a hardcore campaigner. I’ve never seen anyone work CD-1 the way Gosar did in 2010 — not JD Hayworth or Steve Owens, not Renzi or George Cordova or Kirkpatrick or Paul Babbitt or Ellen Simon. (Renzi knew how to spend money effectively, but that’s different.) I was there in Summer 2010 and Gosar was in every parade, on every street corner, every TV and radio station, every front lawn — absolutely everywhere. He really did sell his dental practice to campaign full-time, even though no one wanted him and the establishment had already anointed the execrable Rusty Bowers. Even before the primary, everyone was asking me about Gosar: who was he, where did he come from, did he have a chance? The sense was that he was better-known than Kirkpatrick, already in the summer.

    Paton is different. I had to tell people here about Paton, because nobody has any idea who he is. I think if you asked people around here who was running for the GOP nomination this year, they would assume it was either Gosar or David Schweikert (who’s all over the TV stations because they’re in Phoenix). Both are more visible than Paton is. Meanwhile, Kirkpatrick is plugging along just like she did in 2008 and 2010: not excitingly, but competently, and while raising a shit-ton of money.

    Paton is the kind of candidate that looks good on paper, but the CD-1 voters won’t connect with him. I wasn’t surprised Kirkpatrick lost to Gosar last cycle, but I’d be shocked if she loses to Paton in November.

  8. Though I think that either Democrat will fare well in a general election, I believe that Nonpartisan misunderstands the district. CD-1 is much more than Flagstaff, and a Republican does not need Flagstaff to win, though a Democrat does.

    I suspect that Jonathan’s focus will be further to the south, in areas like Casa Grande and Marana, which have typically supported Republicans.

  9. I didn’t mean to imply that CD-1 was just Flagstaff, and indeed no Republican congressman has ever won Flagstaff since I moved there, not even Hayworth in 2000 (Larry Nelson beat him by three points). However, I do think that because Flagstaff is a big city with a lot of Republicans in it (even though they’re a minority), successful Republican candidates have almost always spent a lot of time campaigning there. Hayworth and Renzi spent a lot of time on the airwaves, Gosar of course spent a lot of time there, and even Lewis Tenney and Bradley Beauchamp frequently hightailed it to the Northland all the way from Globe en route to coming in close second in the 2002 and 2010 primaries, respectively.

    The converse isn’t true, though: you can’t tell how strong a Democrat is by how much time they spend in Flagstaff. Kevin Harris in 2000, Mike Caccioppoli in 2006, and Howard Shanker in 2010 all spent significant time in Flagstaff en route to getting pasted in primaries. On the flip side, George Cordova famously spent all his time on the reservation in 2002 and nearly beat Renzi because of it.

  10. Kirkpatrick has a lot of money, but the question is where is it coming from? It’s not enough to be blinded by the money. She is taking tens of thousands of dollars from ALEC-affiliated lobbyists (SRP, APS, Peabody Coal). This would explain why she is completely silent on Jon Kyl’s legislation to steal Navajo and Hopi water, for the benefit of SRP, APS, and Peabody. These ALEC-affiliated corporations stand to make billions of dollars from this legislation, were it to pass.

    She is also getting a great deal of money and support from former Sen. Dennis DeConcini. In case people do not know, DeConcini sits on the Board of Directors of Corrective Corporation of America (CCA). CCA, ALEC, and Russell Pearce wrote SB1070 to make billions of dollars from the incarceration of immigrants. Is is any surprise, then, that she skipped her vote on the DREAM Act, and was so publicly against the Obama Administration and the US DOJ lawsuit to stop SB1070?

    If we hear the term “Payday” thrown around, it should be to describe “Payday Ann” Kirkpatrick. She is being bankrolled by the same payday loan lobbyists that she is vilifying with her use of the term “Payday Paton.” She’s taken tens of thousands of dollars from both Stan Barnes and Mario Diaz, the same payday loan lobbyists who worked side-by-side with Jonathan Paton to push for legislation that was favorable to the payday loan industry. Anyone who is familiar with the whole “Payday Paton” thing knows very well that Barnes and Diaz were smack in the middle of it, because they were the two main lobbyists for the payday loan industry, in Arizona.

    Wenona does not have nearly the same amount of money as Kirkpatrick, but what she has is clean money and lots of volunteers. Wenona has integrity on her side, and she has the ground support to win this race. Let’s not forget that in 2002, in Raul Grijalva’s first election, he was outspent by the “establishment” candidate, Elaine Richardson, by a margin of 7 to 1. Grijalva won that election on the strength of his ground support. Grijalva’s successful 2002 campaign is now the stuff of lore.

    Kirkpatrick is damaged goods, as shown by her humiliating defeat, in 2010. She lost 68,000 votes, between 2008 and 2010, and it had nothing to do with any “Tea Party wave.” It was because she turned her back on the Democrats of CD1, and they returned the favor. See the AZ Daily Sun article titled “Why Gosar Won: Dems Stayed Home.” Kirkpatrick would again depress the electorate and drag down the entire ticket, which would harm both Obama’s and Carmona’s campaigns.

    The newly-redrawn CD1 is now a more democratic-leaning district with a 42% ethnic minority population. Wenona is exactly the type of person that we need to represent us in Congress, and to stand up for the people of Arizona

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