No Big Surprise

Becky Pallack has a story in this morning’s Star about national Republicans throwing in the towel on the CD 3 race.

I’m always struck that people are shocked about how resilient Raúl Grijalva is. The Republicans had their best shot at taking him down in 2010, when the national mood gave every Democrat a strong headwind and the Republicans had a decent candidate. Grijalva’s ill preparedness that year and the boycott didn’t help either. Still, they couldn’t do it.

I’m sure the Republicans are blaming redistricting, but they really have to look at the rhetoric that comes from their state leadership and their own very poor candidate for thirty to forty point drubbing they are about to take in CD 3.

Early on in the campaign, Grijalva pointed out that for all the rhetoric about his being “out of touch” with the district, none of the opponents he had drawn at that point actually lived in the district. It illustrates something I’ve seen for a while. I hear knocks along the lines of “how does he keep getting elected?” from people (even Democrats sometimes) who don’t live in the district. Well, maybe he actually knows what his constituents are concerned about? Maybe they agree with him?

The whole “how does he get elected?” thing doesn’t seem to get asked about, say, Trent Franks for some reason.

By the way, ever notice how many Gabriela Saucedo Mercer stickers you see on pickup trucks in Eastside driveways? Not in the district either.

It’s been a funny thing to watch for a while. When I attended the 2004 Democratic Convention, I chatted with a columnist for the Republic who was still in shock that Grijalva won the primary in 2002. He wasn’t a fave of the money folks in Phoenix, after all. That was supposed to trump being active in the community of the folks that were going to be voting, I guess.

Yep, Saucedo Mercer has been cut off from the NRCC. It would be nice to say that it is because she’s a wingnut, but they are spending money on Steve King’s race after all. Let’s not give them too much credit.

By the way, let’s not pretend that the Republican establishment has cut her off completely. That recent kerfuffle about the governor cancelling an appearance not with standing, la Cervecera didn’t withdraw her endorsement and Saucedo Mercer is still considered polite company in Republican circles.

Quick Take

Tim Stellar has a piece in the Star this morning about Paul Babeu using Pinal County Sheriff’s Department employees in an ad, even though he’s under federal investigation for using his employees for his congressional campaign on county time.

I’m not stunned that he’d do such a thing; I’m stunned that he’s still running for congress.

Here We Go Again: The Red Star Picks on Another Patriot

It’s really unfair for our morning daily, known to us in the know as the Red Star, to pick on Frank Antenori for his FEC report.

Brady McCombs throws around math and numbers to make his case that Antenori’s campaign is not doing well. I’d like to point out to comrade McCombs that “math” also supposedly proves global warming and doesn’t work well with supply-side economics, so Frank will tell him where to stick it.

McCombs says that other candidates have raised at least three times as much as Antenori. Well, so what? Frank was elected precinct committeeman, which means he can take down Ron Barber.

What McCombs fails to note in his attempt to placate his Obama administration handlers is that Antenori has raised almost four times as much as he did in his 2006 race. That means he’ll get four times the votes.

Buy your swearing-in tickets today.

If Frank Antenori Berates Someone in the Forest…

The folks at the Star this week had a bit of fun at Frank Antenori’s expense. They ran a piece on Tuesday about his driving record and unpaid tickets. Given his jihad against red light enforcement, I suppose it makes some sense.

Hey Frank, I feel for you. I’ve been there.

What never got on the radar of Southern Arizona’s paper of record is an incident last Thursday when Antenori confronted a veteran police officer and called him a “cry baby” for testifying against his bill.

This from the Arizona Guardian:

Several witnesses at the Capitol said Antenori was swearing loudly as he pointed his finger at Olsen. Antenori said he can’t remember using foul language but admitted, “I was very upset and I raised my voice but I never touched the guy”

“Trust me, if I assaulted him he’d know it,” said Antenori who is a former member of the U.S. Army’s Special Forces. “I can’t help that a six-foot-four 250-pound crybaby felt intimidated by a little legislator.”

“If I assautled him he’d know it.” That’s comforting. As far as I can tell, no one is alleging any assault. Interesting to bring that up. “I could have hurt him real bad if I wanted” is a defense for being a jackass now?

The guy has been in the legislature for a while. He hasn’t yet had anyone testify against one of his pet bills? He’s going to have fun in congress.

The incident has gotten the attention of at least one national outlet, but has not made our local paper. I’d say this says a lot more about his demeanor and how he will act towards his possible congressional constituents than a few unpaid tickets.

You’d think that a paper that has spent the last year or so editorializing on “civility” would care about this.

Well, That’s Exciting

Here’s a bit of a follow-up to something I wrote last week.

You may remember that I posted a press release from Richard Carmona’s campaign which announced that the entire Tucson City Council, including Republican Steve Kozachik, endorsed Carmona. It was my inclusion of Kozachik that raised hackles with one of my frequent commenters.

The commenter made the claim that Kozachik did not endorse Carmona, and asserted that he had talked to a member of Kozachik’s staff to verify this. I don’t know who he talked to, but aides in council offices are often non-political and don’t necessarily keep up with what electoral decisions their bosses make.

Either I misread the press release, or I made it up. He’s either saying I’m illiterate or that I’m a liar. Oh, and apparently political reporter in Southern Arizona is too.

I’ll admit that I didn’t speak with Kozachik. I wanted to since his office is walking distance from my house. I didn’t get around to it, and that’s a big part of why I didn’t write a response to the claims by the commenter.

The question in my mind was, if Kozachik didn’t like the assertion that he made an endorsement, one that was widely reported, wouldn’t he have called someone, somewhere in the local media? He ain’t exactly press-shy, and local reporters seem really like quoting him.

Well, the Star went ahead and called him. Apparently, surprise surprise, Republican party activists are up in arms over the endorsement, so this is a big deal. Well, all Republican party activists are angry except a certain district chair who thinks the whole thing was made up by me.

As it turns out, Kozachik told Rhonda Bodfield that the story was true.

By the way, I also found out that Kozachik had a hand in writing the press release.

I don’t expect an apology, but I am anxious to see a certain person claim that the whole story is still just made up or that he never really said it was fake.

See, Nothing to Worry About (or, Red Star My Ass)

So, remember last week when poor Tyler Vogt didn’t want to meet with those awful people from the Star editorial board because they were going to be mean to him because of their liberal bias?

Sure enough, he refused to meet with them. I gave him some stick about it because, well, the Star hasn’t exactly been a friend of the city council lately and wouldn’t be hostile territory for someone who talks smack about the council.

So, yesterday the Star went and endorsed the guy. They even called him “cooperative” despite his rhetoric against them and the city council members that he presumably will have to cooperate with.

Tyler can stop crying. They aren’t so mean and nasty; they like him after all.

It does beg a question though: do candidates have to show up to editorial board meetings any more?

Further Redistricting Follies

As the latest congressional map passes into the “draft” phase and thus officially open to public comment, I want to give some credit to Rhonda Bodfield of the Star who was willing to call out some of the whinier and mathematically inert arguments from Republican office holders. I expected an editorial complaining about “both sides,” but Bodfield was willing to point the finger where it deserved to be pointed.

Friday, the Arizona Daily Sun up in Flagstaff went even further:

But it gets even worse. Governor Brewer contends the redistricting commission could have just “tweaked” the existing map, which conveniently shows five Republicans in the House.

This despite a 25 percent growth in Arizona’s population in the last decade and the addition of a ninth seat.

What’s really upsetting Republicans is the fact that they don’t control the redistricting process, which was taken by voters out of the hands of the Legislature and placed under an independent commission.

Good call on that. The commission is supposed to start from scratch, and Brewer should know a bit about that given she was once in charge of our state’s election laws. Even with that, it’s hard to see how the lines could have just been “tweaked” given the addition of the new seat.

However, this credit doesn’t extend to the Arizona Republic. No matter how vacuous, surly and fact free the arguments from our Republican friends are, they have been happy to reprint them. Laurie Roberts actually had to dial back the assertions in one column, one in which she says that Republicans got “screwed.” “Screwed” in a scheme where four out of nine districts would be solidly Republican, by the way. The original column is down, but the corrected column still contains such gems as this one:

Republican Paul Gosar lives in one of the state’s few competitive districts. So, the IRC is moving Republican-dominated Yavapai County out of his district. That district also swaps out some Republican-friendly spots east of Phoenix, to be replaced by some Democrat friendly turf in Tucson.

Oh, the horrible crime to Paul Gosar!

I’ll set aside the assertion that the IRC’s job is to kowtow to Paul Gosar. But hey, “Democrat friendly turf in Tucson”? What, did he get Sam Hughes? Barrio Viejo? Fourth Avenue?

Nope. Oro Valley and Marana, which Bodfield noted aren’t exactly Democratic bastions.

Gosar would pick up Marana, which has about 7,700 registered Republicans to its fewer than 5,000 Democrats. Oro Valley? About 12,000 Republicans to 7,000 Democrats.

By the way, he’d also pick up Saddlebrooke.

Robert Robb’s arguments are a bit better, but still rest on a premise that Republicans get “screwed” when four out of nine are in safe districts, and a couple would be running in competitive districts.

It’s all interesting to watch, but are these guys conceding that Republicans don’t do well when they have to run in a competitive district?

Pura Boca y No Hay Nalgas

Remember when Tyler Vogt first filed to run for City Council? He sent out a strongly worded open letter that demanded the immediate resignation of Shirley Scott.

Big talk.

He was so proud of this obnoxious flourish that for a while excerpts from the letter were on every page of his website.

I guess we were supposed to see this as some sort of boldness. You know: he’s the guy that’s man enough to stick it to the powers that be. All those hippie, wussy lefties that have run Tucson into the ground will quake at the prospect of Tyler Vogt on the City Council. He’ll show us, that’s for darned sure.

So, when it came time for Vogt to step up and give those people on the Star editorial board a what for, why he…

refused to meet with them at all.

Parallels are being drawn with folks like Al Melvin and Frank Antenori, who refused to meet with the Star in the last election. It’s a bit worse though. A legislator doesn’t deal with constituents on a daily basis the way a council member does. Does Tyler only plan on meeting with people in his ward that are in agreement with him? Heck, constituents aside: should he be elected, does he plan on talking to other council members?

The funny part is that the Star has been the bête noire of Democrats on the council, and he still thinks they’ll be unfair to him? Cry me a freakin’ river.

This guy is talking like he’s going all clenched fist in the air standing up to the man, but he doesn’t think he can even handle a couple of questions from Josh Brodesky and Bobbie Jo Buel.

-RRR-

Two years ago, all three Republican candidates for council showed up for a Pima County Interfaith Council accountability forum. I didn’t think the three of them gave the best answers, but they were willing to show up to what was probably the most hostile audience they could deal with in that campaign. I gotta give them props for that. I guess Republicans were made of sterner stuff back then.

Shake-up on Park and Irvington?

There has been some deck chair rearranging at the Star this morning, with Rob O’Dell being taken off of the city beat and replaced by long time political reporter Rhonda Bodfield. Bodfield’s old position as political reporter is being left open for now, with the Political Notebook column being taken over by a rotating cast.

O’Dell’s new beat is “Computer Assisted Reporting.” No, I don’t know what that is either.

O’Dell has been relentless in his attacks on the city and Rio Nuevo. I think over the top as well. With the recent filing of a $47 million law suit by the Rio Nuevo board (and the threats of nearly $100 million more in suits to come), one has to wonder if folks higher up at the paper are regretting fostering O’Dell’s symbiotic relationship with the state appointed board.

UPDATE: A journalist tells me that O’Dell’s new position would involve pouring over public records. His words: “Expect more fake scandals, not fewer.”

UPDATE Parte Dos: Dylan Smith over at the Tucson Sentinel has more details.

Clarification

Okay, as it turns out, the Star story I quoted the other day was an excerpt from a longer story about the Paul Johnson-led effort to change our state’s primary system to a “jungle primary.” I didn’t realize that the excerpt was from the same story, and so much was left out it was hard for me to tell that it was about the same initiative.

Thanks to, of all people, Jonathan Paton, who called me up to show me what the problem was. I’ll lay off the “Payday Paton” jibes for a few weeks.