The Debate Over Debates

There are certain sillinesses that go on every election that remind us that, yes, it is time to exercise our franchise soon. For example, I got an e-mail from Ally Miller’s campaign alleging that Nancy Young Wright was messing with her signs.

Yeah.

One of the other biannual rituals is a candidate complaining that the other candidate will not debate them. The craziest is when a candidate agrees to several debates, but one particular debate invite being refused is a sign of a disrespect for the voters, hatred of our democratic process and a general lack of cojones.

Of course, once in a while you gotta ask if someone is ducking. Which brings us to the debate imbroglio between Jeff Flake and Richard Carmona.

Flake has agreed to a sum total of one debate
. Solitary. Singleton. Nada mas uno. What strikes me more than the number (once again, one) or refusal to have one outside of the greater Phoenix area is the length.

Half an hour.

That’s right, because the issues facing our nation can be handled in half an hour. By comparison, Jonathan Paton and Ann Kirkpatrick will be having three debates, the shortest of which will be an hour and a half. Heck, your typical Clean Elections forum featuring a couple of State Senate candidates will be longer.

So, what gives, Jeff?

Backpeddling

The funniest part of Gabrielle Saucedo Mercer’s response to the kerfuffle over her racist comments in an interview she did for a far right website is her assertion that the video was doctored by Raúl Grijalva’s campaign. It’s funny because the video that’s circulating is the one that was posted by the publication that interviewed her.

Along those lines is Ally Miller, who also was interviewed by the Western Free Press. In the video, Miller proclaims her pride at being a Tea Party member. You’d think that that isn’t nearly as inflammatory as GSM’s statement, but according to David Safier over at Blog for Arizona, she’s going back on that one:

Ally Miller went on the Bill Buckmaster Show August 30 and said it was “name calling” and “juvenile behavior” to call her a Tea Party member. She even said people who refer to her membership in the Tea Party are “willing to fabricate just horrible stories and lies about me.”

Remember, she’s the one that termed association with the Tea Party a “horrible story,” not me.

She’s dialing back on, nay running away from, her affiliation with the local Tea Party, whose enthusiasm won her a primary, because she suddenly found out that in a tough general election, she might need to get the votes of people who don’t think the circumstances of Barack Obama’s birth were part of a scheme worthy of a Richard Condon novel.

Geez, if Teismo won’t fly on the Northwest side anymore…

Checking out Gonzales’s Finance Reports

I realize that Rosemont hasn’t yet gone all out in our Board of Supervisor races, but I’m already thinking that maybe this “Rosemont Referendum” has fizzled. And it’s not just because Ray Carroll mopped up the floor with Sean Collins.

Take Fernando Gonzales (apologies to Henny Youngman). Outside of Gonzales’s immediate family, I doubt there are many that are giving him much of a chance to win. But, if he runs a strong campaign, he can tie Richard Elías down and possibly serve as a warning to make politicians think twice before opposing Rosemont.

Of course, he needs to run a strong campaign. Checking out his finance reports, it doesn’t look like he’s even running a credible one.

His last report shows that he raised a shade less than $9,000. $2,500 of that was a loan from himself, with another $3,000 coming from his sister Elizabeth Gonzales-Gann. He hasn’t exactly built a broad fundraising base.

And how is he spending what little he’s got? The lion’s share of the money he’s spent so far, $4,213.64, going to the local go-to firm for the right wing, Tagline Media. He’s also accumulated $7,968.58 in outstanding debt to Tagline.

It’s quite a bit of money given all anyone has seen from the Gonzales campaign are a few yard signs on street corners.

Keep in mind that Tagline is embroiled in a bit of a controversy because Ally Miller used them, and the firm was also working for an ostensibly independent committee run by local developer Mitch Stallard that sent mailers that echoed her message. “Ostensibly” understates the problem; it is illegal for independent committees to coordinate with candidates.

Deb Weisel from Tagline told the Tucson Weekly that her firm cut off the campaigns in July so they could concentrate on independent committee work. The last expenditure Gonzales lists with Tagline is on July 24th, which would bear that out. However, there is still that $7,968.58 debt. There is no indication of when the work that still needs to be paid for got done.

I haven’t heard of the committee that helped Miller weighing in for Gonzales, but Tagline is also doing work for Arizonans for a Brighter Future, a nonprofit incorporated in Delaware that is spending money against local incumbents.

Which brings us to an entry in Gonzales’s report on June 1st: $500 to Tagline for “Start Up Pac [sic].” Start up PAC? A campaign giving money to start a PAC? I don’t think you can do that.

Which PAC is it? It’s not Arizonans for a Brighter Future, is it? Stallard’s committee?

I’m just asking…I mean, no one is coordinating, right?

CORRECTION: An earlier version of this post conflated the work of Stallard’s committee with the work of Arizonans for a Brighter Future. We regret the error, but it also shows the problem.

Final Darts Thrown Before the Primary: Supervisor District 1

Admittedly, Nancy Young Wright’s chances of getting elected depend on whether the Republicans go full on Tea Party in their primary. And by full on Tea Party, I mean whether they nominate Ally Miller.

I only know Mike Hellon and Vic Williams by reputation, but I’ve actually met Stuart McDaniel a couple of times. I would agree with little any of the three of them would do, but they at least have some notion of what the county actually does and what’s been going on the past couple of years.

Miller has been claiming all sorts of odd things about county finances and how bond money is being spent. I guess she’s got the same source for the goings on in the county as Terri Proud does.

I wonder what’s going to happen if she gets elected and finds out how much road money is spent in her district?

Anyhow, Richard Elías posted a take down of many of the claims. Yeah, it’s a campaign document. Hmm, what about Jim Nintzel’s piece pointing out the problems with the claims?

Oh yeah, that’s the liberal Tucson Weekly. Of course, much of Nintzel’s reporting was an echo of facts already presented by Inside Tucson Business and local Republican consultant Emil Franzi.

If you think the editors of Inside Tucson Business and Franzi are a bunch of commies (say it to Franzi’s face, please), then maybe the ratings by Fitch and Standard and Poors, both gave the county a AA rating, might make you think twice about the notion that the county is heading to fiscal ruin.

Hey, if the argument is that Pima County wastes money, great, say it. But if you make stuff up, it calls into question your ability to govern.

Young Wright to Run for Supervisor

There has been speculation that former Representative Nancy Young Wright may either run for legislature, or instead try for the Pima County Board of Supervisors.

Speculation is over: Board of Supervisors it is. Press release after the jump.

She’ll be facing the winner of a Republican primary that features businessman Charlie Bowles, Young Wright’s former legislative seat mate Vic Williams and two Tea Party activists: Ally Miller and Stuart McDaniel.

Continue reading