DuVal Steps Aside

One bit of news emerged from today’s Democratic Party meeting: National Committeeman Fred DuVal announced he is resigning his membership in the DNC.

DuVal was recently elected President of the Board of Regents. The two roles would have been hard enough to juggle in any event, but it’s been made harder now that members of the legislature are hell bent on connecting anything good for the universities to some imagined partisan agenda of DuVal’s. The rhetoric from supporters of Andy Biggs’s latest proposal to mess with the U of A College of Medicine is exhibit A.

DuVal will be devoting his full time to the Board of Regents and promises to be a “full throated and passionate advocate” for the universities. Unfortunately, I don’t think the misguided attacks on the universities will cease now that DuVal has put away his partisan hat.

By the way, he also announced that he will not be a candidate for senate next year.

Well, That Was Fun

I want to thank everyone that attended for making sure that yesterday’s meeting went relatively smoothly. It turns out that Jeff Latas and temporary chair Fred DuVal worked out the terms of much of the procedural debate before the meeting. I was one of many who saw their conversation at a distance and it looked heated, but their agreement in how this would be presented and worked out by the full body saved us from the acrimony and pie-throwing we would otherwise have seen.

Rodney Glassman gave a gracious concession speech and, although things weren’t bad at that point, it probably helped keep matters calm.

Aside from two smaller incidents (the threat at the credentials committee and the scattered hoots during Ron Barber’s call), I think we conducted ourselves well. Thank you.

Word cloud of yesterday’s live blog, courtesy of Wordle (click to enlarge):

I Relent and Live Blog

19:27 Oh, sorry. I’m signing off.

18:28 Maguire elected by acclamation.

18:27 Rick Maguire is nominated for yet another term as treasurer. He’s been treasurer since Mark Fleischer was chair. He’s done a good job in a thankless position.

18:26 Thomas wins, 240 – 171. She is a favorite for members of the progressive caucus.

18:17 Thomas’s speech is surprisingly pointed for a position that involves taking notes and making sure meeting notices are sent.

18:13 Barbara Tellman of Pima County v Sharon Thomas of Maricopa County for Secretary.

18:11 Election for Secretary…

18:08 Michael Gordy drops out. Manny Cruz elected by acclamation.

18:07 Matt Capalby drops out and supports Cruz.

18:06 Chris Campas and Gerald Richard elected on first ballot. Frank Bernal eliminated. This is interesting because Yuma County often votes en bloc. Who get’s their votes?

18:04 Trying to charge up my machine from outside. Election integrity folks are near by counting ballots.

17:27 The new Republican chair is named Morrissey. The other Morrissey’s first single as a solo artist was “November Spawned a Monster.”

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An Open Letter to…

Years ago, I was the regional director for the Mountain States for the Young Democrats of America. One day I open up my e-mail to find that the leaders of the Oklahoma chapter decided, in a fit of pique against their own regional director, to mess with me. It kinda ticked me off.

I kept thinking about it, mulling over some sort of response. I ended up making myself angrier and angrier. Finally, I called my friend Elizabeth, who was Vice President of the YDA. I gave her my take on the whole thing, and asked her what sort of trouble I should be making on my behalf.

She paused for a second and said in her fantastic Alabama drawl, “Ted, how many Democrats will this elect?”

She was right, and my energies were spent better elsewhere.

In a not entirely unrelated note, it looks like I’ll be carrying the proxy of one of the victims of the shooting to the state Democratic meeting tomorrow. It would be nice for us to honor what he’s going through by comporting ourselves with the same charity, civility and dignity that we have seen so much of over the last two weeks.

Now a Contest?

I’ve been hearing a lot of grousing from folks up in Phoenix about Rodney Glassman running for Democratic party chairman. The grousing is not so much from state committee members who actually have a vote on this thing, but fundraisers, elected officials and others who form the establishment penumbra around the state committee and its officers.

Whatever legitimate gripes the karmazynowie have with Glassman, their predictions of a organizational disaster would be easier to take if the people making them were organized enough to recruit a candidate against him. It’s hard to take anti-Glassman arguments seriously when the only alternatives given are “I’m not sure” or “Someone will find someone.”

I’m reminded of the chair contest in ’99, where party pooh-bahs hoped to take out then-chairman Mark Fleischer and ran three candidates against him. It’s not that they were split, a letter signed by several party cardinals was circulated endorsing all three candidates ruining against him. Much like when the Whigs tried it in 1836, this strategy was less than successful. At least you could say that that crew presented some sort of alternative.

One impediment given to finding a candidate was the question of whether an appointed precinct committeeperson can run for chair. There was a conflict between state law and party bylaws. The State Party asked for a legal opinion on the matter. An e-mail has gone out saying that the lawyer came back with the decision that yes, under the right circumstances an appointed PC can run for State Chair. This means that candidates like Andrei Cherny and John Loredo, who had been talked up but no one was sure they could run, can throw their names in.

The excuses are over. If the establishment has a problem with Glassman, their job is now to stop grousing and present an alternative and back that person up.

Short Report from the State Democratic Meeting

Just to keep it brief, two items from the State Democratic Party meeting in Phoenix:

Felecia Rotellini spoke before the Latino Caucus and pledged to keep a watchful eye on Tom Horne and said that she’d be maintaining her website (possibly renaming it) to let people know what is going on with Horne’s office. She also said she’d be interested in running again in four years.

Andrei Cherny may be a candidate for State Chair in January. He wasn’t explicit about this to me, but he reportedly was with others. The line on Don Bivens has been that he wouldn’t run if there was an alternative. Cherny would be exactly the sort of candidate that would make Bivens comfortable about stepping away.

State Chair Follies: 2011 Edition

Is Don Bivens running for re-election for Democratic Party chair? He’s been a bit vague about it, saying he’d run if people want him to. When he was first elected, it was seen as Terry Goddard’s assertion of authority over the party in preparation for his run for governor. With Goddard not being elected and after a particularly poisionous election cycle, why would he stick around?

Despite the poor results, the party was actually well organized in this election. This is a far cry from the ’08 election, where candidates and party activists had a litany of complaints about party staff and the way resources were being allocated. For those that don’t remember, this led to a racous convention where Bivens was temporarilly toppled.

I’ve talked to a few leaders in the Pima County Democratic party that sing the praises of both executive director Luís Heredia and communications director Jennifer Johnson. One Baja Arizona muckety-muck I talked to said that he wouldn’t support any candidate that didn’t pledge to keep Heredia on board.

(Don’t worry, Jennifer, I’m sure he likes you too.)

So, who are these other candidates that would run if Bivens didn’t? Maricopa County Chair Ann Wallack has backed off from earlier noises about running, but could get back into it. I tried to verify rumors of a run by Sen. Kyrsten Sinema last week, but all she would do was confirm that there were rumors. There is also talk of ex-candidate Penny Kotterman making a go of it.

Notice something here? In my two decades on the state committee, I’ve never seen a woman run for state chair. Heck, the . I can think of two women that served as interim chairs (Peggy Toomey Hamann and, if memory serves, Janet Napolitano) and several women who were powerful leaders in the party but never became chair (Ana Frohmiller, Isabella Greenway and Carolyn Warner, for example). Someone can, no doubt, correct me on this one. Please do.

Other names being circulated include Rodney Glassman (who I rudely interrupted this morning while he was trying to deal with being a brand new father and Air Force Reserve duty) and Andrei Cherny. Many people have mentioned Felecia Rottelini’s name, but people who are close to her have doubts that she is interested.

Keep in mind that Paul Eckerstrom mounted a successful effort to become chair after deciding to run on the drive up to Phoenix. It’s possible for all sorts of names to sufrace between now and then.

The election will be at the state party meeting in January. Tomorrow, the state committee is meeting in Phoenix, so, candidates and possible candidates will no doubt be making noises.

CORRECTION – For some dumb reason, the origninal post refered to Penny Kotterman as “Peggy” and mispelled Andrei Cherny and Felecia Rotellini’s names. The Tucson Citizen regrets the error.

Also, since this post was written, I have confirmed that no woman has ever been elected chair.

Gosar to Voters: You’re Morons

The Arizona Democratic Party is slamming Paul Gosar for his criticism of the 17th Amendment. Here he is, as quoted by them, at an event with Hugh Hewitt:

There’s an unintended consequence when you change this document (holds up a copy of the Constitution). I bring up the 17th Amendment. … Prior to the 17th Amendment, our senators came from our statehouse. … And you look at some of the problems we now have in what I call our senior circuit, the U.S. Senate — five years you can do whatever you want and then that last year you can go ahead and campaign to try and get re-election. … So I’m not in favor of that.

Opposition to direct election of senators has been on the back burner among movement conservatives for a while. Former Rep. Barbara Blewster used to talk about it, and just last session, Dave Stevens brought up a piece of legislation giving the legislature the power to name party nominees for the senate.

Two things are at work here: one is that what Gosar is saying is that the voters (he means you) have done a poor job of picking our senators, and this job would be better left to our wise leaders like Sylvia Allen and Russell Pearce. We voters, Gosar thinks, are too flighty and unreflective to choose who represents us in the upper chamber. Of course, these are the same people who he hopes will pick him for the lower chamber.

(If Gosar wins, will he use that as evidence that the voters don’t know what they are doing?)

The second thing at work is an attempt to wipe out any of the advances that were made in the early part of the last century. We have candidates in other states talking about getting rid of minimum wage laws, for example. Lefties wring their hands about rolling the clock back to the fifties, but it’s like these guys want to go back further than that. All that talk from Glenn Beck trashing progressivism, the social gospel, Woodrow Wilson and Teddy Roosevelt isn’t just some annoying sideshow: they are serious about this wingnuttery.

Another part of this is the ignorance of the history of the state that Gosar hopes to represent. Arizona was a hotbed of progressivism when we achieved statehood. So much so that we adopted language mandating a binding election for the US Senate before the 17th Amendment was passed. He can find that that language is still in the state constitution, unless he has the same aversion to reading our state constitution as most Arizona Republicans. So, even if Gosar got his wish, the great unwashed mob would likely still get to choose their senator in his own state.