Wil Cardon Keep Gaining?

When this whole open senate seat bidness got underway, I thought that Wil Cardon would, at best, make it so Jeff Flake would have to blow some money in the primary. You know, run the sort of “look at me, I’m a statesman” ads that would show him to be the grown up and even help him out in the general election.

I’m starting to change my mind about that one. I’ve noticed that the talk about the race has shifted. For example, look at Flake’s last few endorsements. Both Jon Kyl and John McCain endorsed Flake, which was touted as “unusual” in press outlets and evidence that Flake needed to shore up support. Had Flake still been the Senator-in-waiting he was presented as only a few months ago, these endorsements would have been portrayed as further evidence that the establishment saw him as a sure winner.

By the way, how many Republican primary voters that had doubts about Flake were going to switch to him because of the McCain endorsement? I don’t think the eleven of them will move polling numbers.

Now we have the Sarah Palin endorsement. In January or February, her stamp of approval would have been Palin being pragmatic and picking someone with conservative cred that could actually win a general election. Now, it’s Flake being desperate. Richard Carmona’s campaign was able to put out a press release saying that with a straight face because the press sees Flake’s numbers against Cardon slipping too.

Will Cardon be the nominee? More likely, but I’m not willing to bet on it. How much money will Flake have to spend to make sure it doesn’t happen? Carmona’s people are hoping plenty.

Senate race fun I haven’t gotten to over the last week or so:

  • Carmona’s fundraising report showed that he outraised Flake last quarter. I don’t think I would have ever expected that. Flake had more cash on hand than Carmona, but he’s got to spend money in the primary. Carmona doesn’t.
  • The Carmona folks have been touting a video where Flake addressed the Rippon Society. The video was edited to take out Flake’s comments on immigration.
  • Speaking of desperation: The-relatively-moderate-on-immigration Flake’s anti-immigration attacks on Cardon. Nuff said.
  • We now have a super PAC dedicated to attacking Flake. It’s funded by members of the Walton family as well as relatives of Wil Cardon, but is “independent” of course.
  • And finally…driving North on I-10 from Tucson you may have seen the pink “McClung for US House” billboard. It now says “Van for US Senate,” presumably for talk show host, long shot candidate and “Christian Constitutional Republican” Clair Van Steenwyk.
  • Okay, that wasn’t finally: Van Steenwyk gets extra points for the Elvis tie he’s wearing on his website.

2 thoughts on “Wil Cardon Keep Gaining?

  1. There was a story a couple weeks back that Flake was spending 1.3 million on an ad buy for the primary. Don’t have a link but that’s definitely not chump change.

  2. Cardon is hitting a lot of Tea Party hot buttons in his campaign and he has boatloads of cash to spend. It was interesting a few weeks ago when he got the backing of Trent Franks, too. The Kyl and McCain endorsements could look like the establishment riding to Flake’s rescue, but the Palin nod may defuse that sentiment, not to mention the support of the Club for Growth.

    Cardon lacks the stump presence Jesse Kelly showed when he knocked off Paton, however, and Flake has his voter base in an area known for strong turnout. Not hearing much about a vigorous Cardon ground game, either. I think Flake will prevail rather easily in this race, but his primary tactics will help Carmona to paint him as out of the mainstream in the general.

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