BREAKING: Campbell Out

This from Rep. Chad Campbell’s Facebook page:

It’s been no secret that for the last few months I have been considering running for Governor of Arizona. Our analysis, as well as independent polling, confirms that I would be in a very strong position if I entered the race. I have talked with Arizonans across the state about the need to move Arizona in a new direction. We must focus on job creation, improving our education system and instilling transparency at all levels of government. However, there are other issues that need to be considered outside of purely political factors when deciding whether or not to run. It is with these considerations in mind that I have decided to not run for Governor of Arizona at this time. This decision was not made lightly. I need to focus on my family and other new business opportunities that will allow me to improve communities not only in Arizona, but also across the nation. To the countless number of people across Arizona who have encouraged me to run, I cannot thank you enough. While I look forward to serving my last year in the Arizona Legislature as the House Democratic Leader, this decision by no means marks the end of my public service. I will continue looking at all options in the future to determine how best I can serve Arizona.

Attention Pundits: This is What Real Bi-Partisanship Looks Like

From House Minority Leader Chad Campbell’s Facebook feed:

“Describing mine and Gov. Brewer’s relationship these past couple of years as “frosty” is definitely one way to put it… That being said, I give her credit for taking on Medicaid expansion and some school safety issues in her State of the State speech today. I sincerely hope we can put aside our differences and work together on these key issues, as well as others.”

And this, from Tucson’s own Democratic State Senator Steve Farley’s Facebook feed:

“Governor Brewer just told us she will fight to expand AHCCCS coverage to everyone below 133% of the poverty line. I haven’t been this happy with a State of the State since Gov. Napolitano! She has quite a battle against her own party now….”

Here is a statement from Bill Roe, the Arizona Democratic Party Chairman:

“I am glad that Governor Jan Brewer agrees with Democrats and is calling for full expansion of the Medicaid program under President Obama’s Affordable Health Care Act. Expansion will give Arizona’s economy a much-needed boost by creating jobs. It is the right thing to do since it will provide Arizonans with adequate health care. We hope the Governor’s leadership is enough to convince members of her own party to put the needs of Arizona ahead of petty political brinkmanship.”

The opposition party in Washington D.C. could learn a lot from these people.

Andy Tobin: From Thoughtful Conservative to Partisan Hack

I served in the legislature with House Speaker Andy Tobin (R-Paulden) and I liked the guy. He was first elected in 2006, when he was regarded as a pragmatic conservative in the tradition of the others in the Yavapai County delegation, namely Representative Lucy Mason (R-Prescott) and Senator Tom O’Halleran (R-Sedona). We actually worked together to (temporarily) repeal a highway funding gimmick that shafted rural areas (and, to a lesser extent, Tucson) in favor of freeways in suburban Maricopa County. I would not say that we were friends, but we were friendly.

The only time I ever saw anything that would foreshadow some of what has happened since was when an anti-abortion bill was debated on the floor. The normally calm and soft-spoken Tobin was rambling and unhinged in speaking in favor of the measure. This did not strike me as unusual, since a lot of people are passionate about the issue, and it is easy to see how such sentiments can get the best of someone.

At some point, Tobin changed. One legislator I talked to said that the change came around 2008, when the Goldwater Institute gave Tobin a lower rating than Democratic Representative Mark DiSimone. Whatever the reasons, Tobin has become a bitter and angry partisan with a habit of personalizing issues.

The latest manifestation came on a Sunday morning political talk show in Phoenix:

A few things should be noted about the Speaker’s rant. First, he never really answers Resnik’s questions. Second, a man whose leadership team includes individuals whose only distinction is pursuing petty and silly legislation is calling Representative Campbell “immature” and “insincere.” Finally, the Speaker seems to believe that there is some sort of rule that requires members to consult him before talking to the press or introducing legislation. Of course, no such rule or tradition exists, nor would Tobin ever dream of consulting Democratic leadership on such things.

Political reporters are fond of portraying such exchanges as petty feuds. This is certainly not the case here. Tobin was allegedly responding to a detailed 12-point plan, that was released on Friday. Of course, “response” may be too strong a word for a partisan rant that addressed none of the policy details. It should also be noted that Tobin himself has no proposal regarding gun violence.

For his part, and to his credit, Campbell has not responded in kind. Instead, he has challenged Tobin to a televised debate on the issue. It is too soon at this point to say fairly that the offer has been ignored, but Tobin has declined such opportunities in the past.

The Speaker can demonstrate his own “maturity” and “sincerity” by engaging in a real debate, or he can just throw another tantrum.

Campbell Calls Out Governor on Prison Contract

Thank you Chad Campbell for shedding some light on la Cervecera’s shady prison deal:

Campbell chides Brewer, legislators for wasting tax dollars on for-profit prisons

STATE CAPITOL, PHOENIX –Rep. Chad Campbell, D-Phoenix (District 14), released the following statement after learning the Corrections Corporation of America (CCA) was awarded a contract today to build 1,000 new, for-profit prison beds by the Arizona Department of Corrections (ADC).

“Numerous reports show the state stands to lose millions of tax dollars on the deals Governor Brewer and her Tea Party legislative allies continue to make with for-profit prison operators. We absolutely should not reward this company with a multi-million dollar contract if it will waste the state’s resources,” Campbell said.

“Saving the taxpayers money and protecting public safety is not a partisan issue. Yet Brewer and the Republican leadership have ignored evidence that shows private prisons are unsafe and waste the state’s money. The bottom line is we need to protect safety while protecting tax payer dollars and expansion of private prisons does neither,” Campbell said.

“Brewer and the Tea Party legislature swiped $50 million from the Attorney General’s Mortgage Settlement Fund – which was supposed to be used to help Arizona families trying to recover from the foreclosure crisis – and used the money to pay for unneeded contracts with their special interest cronies like this one. There is no rational explanation for why Republicans have gone to such lengths to expand private prisons. Clearly, they don’t have the right priorities,” Campbell said.

Department of Corrections reports consistently show that the state is losing money on private prisons, and security audits indicate there are serious safety flaws in all of Arizona’s for-profit prisons.

Currently, there is enough money set aside in the 2013 budget for 1,000 new private prison beds, but the state has the option to add another 1,000 beds, for a total of 2,000 beds in the next few years. The American Friends Service Committee issued a report indicating that if Arizona adds the 2,000 private prison beds, the state could lose more than $10 million a year.

For more information on for-profit prisons in Arizona, go to Details about the ADC contract award are due to be posted this evening on the agency’s website:

Cheuvront and Cheuvront Double Down

A couple of months back, a Phoenix politico told me about a poll that showed Ken Cheuvront beating Katie Hobbs. Now I’m hearing reports that Cheuvront is not doing as well anymore, even a few anecdotes of former Cheuvront supporters replacing their yard signs with Hobbs ones.

Like I said, that’s anecdotal, but you only need to look at the desperate moves that Cheuvront has pulled in the last couple of weeks. Recent mailers have recycled years old endorsements from Gabrielle Giffords and Phil Gordon. For those not keeping careful track, Giffords is a friend of Cheuvront but has stayed out of the race, and Gordon has actually endorsed Hobbs.

There is also the other race in the district, Cheuvront’s mother, Jean McDermott-Cheuvront, is now accusing Chad Campbell of being just like Russell Pearce. Yeah. Apparently they are big time buddies.

The implication that they are political allies is ridiculous, but apparently the Cheuvronts can make this accusation because they would never, ever be friendly with anyone on the far right.

The allegation is being made because of the Fiesta Bowl Scandal. The trouble is, Campbell paid for the tickets…and not two years later after his hand was caught in the cookie jar. Bill Montgomery, no friend of any Democrat, singled out Campbell for being above board.

Facts be damned…this is all about the younger Cheuvront trying to get back into office (and not even for a good reason: this is really over setting himself up to run for Justice of the Peace in two years). If it means taking out two of the more effective Democrats in the legislature, so be it. Heck, his Republican friends in the Chamber of Commerce and the development community don’t like them much anyway.

Kinda Silly

This week, the State Supreme Court ordered that Jean Cheuvront McDermott could run under both her last names, but that she’d have to do it without the hyphen.

Just to back up a bit, McDermott’s son, Ken Cheuvront, is looking to return to the legislature. His trouble is, he’d have to do it by beating Katie Hobbs, a young up and comer, in the Democratic primary.

(By the way, that position of “young up and comer” was occupied by Cheuvront around the last time the Stone Temple Pilots were on the Hot 100.)

Cheuvront hoped to get the support of Chad Campbell in his run, maybe even get Chad to convince Hobbs to get out of the race. Campbell wasn’t having, so Cheuvront arranged for his mom to run against him. Campbell is the Democratic leader in the House, by the way.

It’s a rather odd piece of political maneuvering. What makes it even more petty is Cheuvront’s motive for getting back into the legislature: he’s hoping serve one term to build name identification to make another run for Justice of the Peace.

His last one ended when he flubbed his petitions.

From the perspective of party leaders, the whole thing is a bad development. Campbell’s district is solidly Democratic, but a primary like this ties him down and limits his ability to raise money for candidates in tough general election races.

Still, he’ll win the primary. McDermott is not looking like she’ll be running a high wattage campaign. She didn’t even show up to a candidate forum last week.

Both Campbell’s and Hobbs’s districts include a hefty chunk of the downtown Phoenix neighborhoods that Cheuvront represented in his time in the legislature in the 90’s and Oughts. It’s a big part of why McDermott wanted to make sure the name “Cheuvront” was on the ballot in her race.

Still, both districts reach into areas that Cheuvront did not represent in the past. Just like here in Tucson, few Phoenicians even know who their own legislator is, much less who represents the neighborhoods a half mile away. It’s hard to know how much whatever familiarity the name “Cheuvront” has will carry either mater or filius in these races.

Cheuvront’s other problem is a change in the way Democratic primary voters behave. When Cheuvront was first a rising star in the party, he sold himself as a conservative Democrat who could build bridges with reasonable business-oriented Republicans. It was a message that some Democratic activists could embrace in those heady days when the DLC mattered and when the Republicans being reached out to included Linda Binder and Pete Hershberger. It’s hard to imagine any legion of Democrats on the march for it these days.

It brings us to another problem: his conservative legislative record. These campaigns, and I’m including Campbell’s too, are well organized and agile. Those new voters, liberal Central Phoenix voters, might not be familiar with Cheuvront’s record, but someone will make sure they are.


I’ve been getting press releases over the last couple of weeks from our leader of the loyal opposition, Chad Campbell. He’s been struggling to make more about the story of Ken Bennett’s “investigation” of Barack Obama’s birth certificate.

Campbell was trying to make the point that Bennett’s dual roles as front man for Mitt Romney and the top election official in the state made this incident troubling. When he did this, was he representing Romney? Was he misusing his power to give Romney a boost? Is this whole thing appropriate?

After Bennett dropped the effort to take Obama off the ballot (which he may not have had the power to do anyway), the state’s media took Bennett’s mea culpa seriously. Despite Campbell’s best efforts, the political press allowed the issue to drop.

So, what does Bennett do?

I actually think he was fibbing about being born in Kenya when he was trying to get into college and doing things like writing a book and on and on and on.

So, if there was weird stuff going on, I actually think it was happening back in his college days because I think he has spent $1.5 or $2 million through attorneys to have all the college records and all that stuff sealed.

Yeah. The trouble now is he was born in the United States, but “fibbing” about being born in Kenya. Obviously because being born in East Africa confers so many advantages in our society.

By the way, where does this $1.5 to $2 million figure come from? No citing World Net Daily, folks.

I can understand Bennett explaining the incident to a group of Republican activists (and, he conceded the fact of Obama’s birthplace and the ridiculousness of demands for his “original” birth certificate), but then he needlessly brings up this other nonsense about a new cover up. He just did Campbell’s job for him.

Bennett knows that the internet, you know, exists now, right? You can’t just say silly things like this and hopes it remains in the room. (The video above is being circulated by a birther group, ironic because Bennett denies their basic claims.)

His first “birther” foray was ham-handed and clumsy. Bringing up a new unhinged allegation isn’t exactly the brightest move. I guess it keeps the activists happy, but it just embarrasses the rest of us. With brilliant on-message campaigning like this, are the Republicans sure they want to nominate this guy for governor?

Is is 2014 Already?

I was sent this little clip from Sunday Square Off. In it the three panelists make their prognostications. Phil Gordon, who serves as the panel’s leftist (yeah, liberal media, right?), predicted that the next Gubernatorial showdown will be between Fred DuVal and Ken Bennett.

Bennett should have the inside track in a Republican primary. His recent swim in the birther pool shows he’s still clumsy with his feints to the far right. Very clumsy.

DuVal has been making the rounds among Democratic elected officials and activists (full disclosure: I was one of those to whom rounds were made). Other names thrown around are Chad Campbell (who managed to make a lot of hay from Bennett’s birther fiasco), Randy Parraz (a dream candidate for progressive activists, but I get the feeling he doesn’t actually want to run) and, yes, his name is still out there, Terry Goddard.

Because You Demanded It…

…today in Daniel Patterson news.

Talk is that Chad Campbell will once again try to get Patterson expelled, possibly by having Terri Proud or Jack Harper introduce the motion.

I understand Campbell’s frustration here, but I fail to see what these continued motions are going to do. The Republicans have already agreed to expedite the process, which means hearings next week. If Patterson’s defense in front of an ethics hearing match his defenses with the press and investigators, he’ll be gone shortly after the hearings commence.

And by the way, he’s been absent from the capitol for most of this week, and may not even be around to offer his defense next week. This talk of this being an emergency sound a bit overblown when Patterson is over a hundred miles away. He’s more of a danger to residents of Barrio Santa Rosa or where ever he’s living these days than he is to folks on West Washington.

Patterson should be gone, but let’s let the process work.

UPDATE: Patterson took to Twitter to announce a press conference set for Tuesday morning.

Something to Consider

Reporter Jim Small got into a short Twitter colloquy last night with Reps. Chad Campbell and Katie Hobbs over what to do with Daniel Patterson.

Small’s question was, why skip the process and go for a quick expulsion vote?

My question too. Of course, I think Patterson should just resign. It’s become obvious, however, that his megalomania wont allow for that moment of reflection and contrition necessary for him to call it quits.

I spoke to a Democratic member yesterday and there is a genuine fear on the part of members and staff of what Patterson may pull next. There are already reports of Patterson lashing out at staff over the revelations. The member told me that the push for a quick expulsion is because of safety concerns.

I appreciate that, but I’m concerned about the precedent that a vote without an ethics hearing would set. This puts me, for probably the first time in my life, in league with Andy Tobin (I’ll shower later). There have already been instances of the rules against impugning a member being used to muzzle arguments from minority party members. The last thing we need is to set a precedent for kicking out a member by simply a vote.

There is, however, another precedent that may address safety concerns. Back in the early 80s, a member named Danny Peaches was highly abusive towards his staff. Leadership was in a bind, since there were actually no rules that prohibited such behavior towards staff in those days. They got a legal finding that said that a member is not entitled to anything but a desk on the floor of the legislature. So, they took away Peaches’s office and his access to staff.

Something similar could be done here. Patterson’s access to Democratic staff is already cut off with his “principled” re-registration this weekend. But a Peaches-style cut off would keep him out of members-only areas and limit his staff contact. Heck, it may even make him want to resign.

Best of all, it wouldn’t set a precedent.