There are all sorts of low level and petty shenanigans among the candidates in our brand spanking new LD’s 9 and 10. I haven’t written much about them because they don’t seem to rise much above rumor and innuendo, and far be it from me to write about nonsense like that.
Our beleaguered primos up North are not, however, short of drama and vitriol in their legislative primaries.
Robert Meza is running for re-election to the senate in District 30. He’s facing a spirited challenge in the primary from activist and (gasp!) community organizer Raquel Teran. Teran has been active for years in organizing against Joe Arpaio, even at one point being on the wrong end of his deputies when Arpaio decided to go full on Stasi.
Teran has a crew of young people, dubbed Team Awesome, that has been helping her work the district. These are students fired up by their opposition to our state’s direction on immigration laws and their support for the DREAM Act.
One happened to knock on the door of one of Meza’s cousins. He went through the usual knock-and-talk about Teran’s experience and the need to sign up for the Permanent Early Voter List. So, the cousin asked why Meza needed to be replaced. The activist, a young man named Tony who grew up in Mexico, told the cousin about Meza’s poor attendance record (he took off for a vacation shortly after the opening of the last session) and his votes for anti-immigrant legislation (one example here).
The cousin made a call to Meza, who made a call to…Tony. Nope, not a ticked off call to Teran, but a bullying call to the kid that’s knocking on doors. He threatened him, including a threat to sue for defamation. Meza apparently forgot that a defamation suit is hard to win in politics and even harder when what the person is saying is verifiable. Meza is now claiming he ever made the call, but he made the same charges in a call to Maricopa County Chair Ann Wallack.
Meantime, in the house race, long time legislator Debbie McCune-Davis is running for re-election, but there is an open seat too. Iraq veteran Jonathan Larkin is hoping to become the first UFCW member to be elected to the legislature. His campaign has been cooperating with Teran. The combination of both labor and DREAMers has made for a legion of activists that some congressional campaigns would envy.
Larkin is an impressive candidate, so Meza was hard pressed to find a candidate to run against him. He went for an interesting choice: his boyfriend. The guy has a decent resume, but if your political experience is mostly hanging out with Meza, I am not going to have much trust in your broader political judgement.
There has been dissatisfaction with Meza for a number of years for his shaky commitment to progressive issues and the legislative games he’s played. This is the first time in a long time he’s had a real race. When he takes his next mid-session vacation, I don’t think he’ll have to ask the speaker for permission.