We have known each other for nearly ten years. In that time you have been my friend, ally, and occasional opponent. Through it all, I have known you to be one of the keenest and most articulate public policy minds in the state. We also share similar taste in music, which just further proves that you must be a genius.
However, I am writing this to ask you not to pursue a run for Governor in 2014.
In Fred DuVal, we have not only a universally respected and exceptionally well-qualified candidate, but also someone who has thoroughly thought through what a successful campaign will entail and has already done the work that he needs to have done by now. He has secured the endorsements of elected officials and leaders all over the state, including every living former Democratic Governor.
On the Republican side, there are perhaps half a dozen candidates who are making noises about running at this point. Even if some of them fail to follow through, you know as well as anybody that this promises to be a messy and ugly Republican primary which may well yield an extremist or otherwise damaged nominee. This bodes well for a well-positioned candidate, particularly one with a thoughtful reputation and a potential for bipartisan appeal like DuVal.
More than this, DuVal is already well on his way to building a statewide organization. With all due respect to the awesome work you have done not only in the legislature, but as an activist before you were elected, your reach does not extend much beyond central Phoenix. It will be impossible for you or any Democrat to win the nomination, much less the general election, without a substantial presence across the state. DuVal has left you little room to build such machinery, and there is insufficient time to work around him.
There are those that argue that contested primaries are inherently good for the party. I happen to disagree, and their best arguments do not apply here. There are few if any substantial differences in policy between you and DuVal, so there is no case to be made that this will give voters a choice, allow for debate, or give voice to some forgotten constituency. A primary here will be pointless at best and divisive at worst. All it can really accomplish is to delay DuVal’s general election campaign and make victory more difficult.
Every four years, we tell folks (some would argue that we tell ourselves) that this is a critical, if not the most critical election ever. This time, however, there is some real basis to say this. Despite your heroic efforts, much of what was accomplished to move Arizona forward under Governor Napolitano has been reversed, and most of the good things that have happened in this state during our lifetime are in peril under the current regime. With DuVal, we have a real, viable chance to restore sanity to the ninth floor. Though this is certainly not our last chance to elect a Democrat as Governor, it may well be our last chance to stop our current slide into backwardness. A contested primary can only jeopardize this.
I realize that you are term limited and want desperately to stay in the game, having been in exile myself I can sympathize with the sentiment, but this particular election is far too important. You know that I would support you under slightly different circumstances, but for the time being, for the sake of your party and your state, please do not run for Governor this time around.
Sincerely, your friend, fellow Concrete Blonde fan, and former colleague,