This week, the State Supreme Court ordered that Jean Cheuvront McDermott could run under both her last names, but that she’d have to do it without the hyphen.
Just to back up a bit, McDermott’s son, Ken Cheuvront, is looking to return to the legislature. His trouble is, he’d have to do it by beating Katie Hobbs, a young up and comer, in the Democratic primary.
(By the way, that position of “young up and comer” was occupied by Cheuvront around the last time the Stone Temple Pilots were on the Hot 100.)
Cheuvront hoped to get the support of Chad Campbell in his run, maybe even get Chad to convince Hobbs to get out of the race. Campbell wasn’t having, so Cheuvront arranged for his mom to run against him. Campbell is the Democratic leader in the House, by the way.
It’s a rather odd piece of political maneuvering. What makes it even more petty is Cheuvront’s motive for getting back into the legislature: he’s hoping serve one term to build name identification to make another run for Justice of the Peace.
His last one ended when he flubbed his petitions.
From the perspective of party leaders, the whole thing is a bad development. Campbell’s district is solidly Democratic, but a primary like this ties him down and limits his ability to raise money for candidates in tough general election races.
Still, he’ll win the primary. McDermott is not looking like she’ll be running a high wattage campaign. She didn’t even show up to a candidate forum last week.
Both Campbell’s and Hobbs’s districts include a hefty chunk of the downtown Phoenix neighborhoods that Cheuvront represented in his time in the legislature in the 90’s and Oughts. It’s a big part of why McDermott wanted to make sure the name “Cheuvront” was on the ballot in her race.
Still, both districts reach into areas that Cheuvront did not represent in the past. Just like here in Tucson, few Phoenicians even know who their own legislator is, much less who represents the neighborhoods a half mile away. It’s hard to know how much whatever familiarity the name “Cheuvront” has will carry either mater or filius in these races.
Cheuvront’s other problem is a change in the way Democratic primary voters behave. When Cheuvront was first a rising star in the party, he sold himself as a conservative Democrat who could build bridges with reasonable business-oriented Republicans. It was a message that some Democratic activists could embrace in those heady days when the DLC mattered and when the Republicans being reached out to included Linda Binder and Pete Hershberger. It’s hard to imagine any legion of Democrats on the march for it these days.
It brings us to another problem: his conservative legislative record. These campaigns, and I’m including Campbell’s too, are well organized and agile. Those new voters, liberal Central Phoenix voters, might not be familiar with Cheuvront’s record, but someone will make sure they are.