Cancelled

I first got wind of this earlier this week (because I talk to the wind, the wind cannot hear…) when someone pointed out to me that la Cervecera’s name had been scrubbed from Gabriela Saucedo Mercer’s website.

I held off on writing about it to give Nick Martin a chance to do a story over at Talking Points Memo. You can thank me later, Nick.

Brewer was slotted to do a fundraiser for Mercer today, but Brewer was under pressure after Mercer’s intemperate and intolerant statements about Arabs and Muslims.

Not to worry, “internationally recognized” comedy magician Brad Zinn will still be headlining. As a side note, one of my campaign events featured Rich Hopkins, who is big in Croatia.

It must be noted that Brewer did not have any comment on what Mercer said, and is still a supporter of Mercer’s. Also keep in mind that Mercer has earned the financial support of Augusta Resources, Rosemont Copper and Raytheon. I get why these guys aren’t the biggest fans of Raúl Grijalva, but it boggles the mind why they’d endorse her brand of wingnuttery. I’d understand if they want to back a winner, but she’s a sure loser. It really makes one wonder about their own views.

Hoping for a Few Activist Judges

La Cervecera announced that she will not be calling the legislature into special session. For those that don’t remember (actually, it was only the last post), the governor was going to call a special session to deal with a citizens’ initiative to give Arizona a “jungle primary.”

I don’t pretend to know why the session got called off, but something makes me think it was not a sudden love of direct democracy and it’s attendant urge to leave things like this up to the voters. More likely, it had something to do with Senate leadership worrying that they would not have the members for a quorum. Also, the governor and the legislature were still in disagreement over what would be discussed: the governor’s proposed tinkering or the “Operation: Voter Mindfreak” proposed by folks like Frank Antenori.

(Appologies to Robert Shea, Robert Anton Wilson, Criss Angel and Geoff Tate for that one)

That’s okay, la Cervecera has found a new crusade. She’s asking the US Supreme Court to review a decision that allows state employees to place same sex partners on their health insurance.

Wow, it’s a two-fer. Nuestra gobernadora is taking a swing at two of the Republicans favorite piñatas: homosexuals and state employees. She’s doing it and she ain’t even up for re-election.

Glad to see her priorities are straight…so to speak.

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.

This Day in Lobbyists-Turned-Politicians

Well, two of our congressional candidates are getting a wee bit of blow back for their previous careers as shills…I mean hired guns…I mean necessary parts of our legislative process.

Jeff Flake’s previous career as a lobbyist is a not well hidden, but seldom mentioned, part of his past. It was left off of his bios, much like Mark Wahlberg’s years as Marky Mark are a blank spot on his resume.

Well, he’s all of a sudden discovered that claiming private sector experience is hip. He’s spent the last decade in congress, so he had to dig back a ways. Well, he now brags on his Facebook page about his time managing “public affairs” for a mining company in Namibia:

After returning to the United States, I formed Interface Public Affairs, which provided public affairs representation to Namibian companies and translation services to U.S. entities.

By the way, Flake is allowed to use his time as a lobbyist to respond to attacks from his primary opponent, but Democrats are forbidden from bringing it up. Those are the rules.

Anyone remember the phrase “Payday Paton”? It may be back.

For those of you who need a refresher, “Payday Paton” was the moniker foisted on Jonathan Paton by the Arizona Democratic Party in 2010 to remind voters of Paton’s time as a lobbyist for payday lenders. The industry was odious enough that even Frank Antenori took pot shots at them, and the phrase became so ubiquitous that Jesse Kelly used it a few times.

The Payday Paton website has been revived by the Arizona Democratic Party, and this time it comes with a Twitter account.

I’ve never seen the polling data, but I’ve always suspected that the attacks may have hurt Paton in the 2010 Republican primary. Given that his opposition is so split, I can’t see him losing this one. But it can’t help him much.

Leaving on a Jet Plane

Odd moment this morning up on West Washington: Daniel Patterson told capitol security that he was on his way to the airport.

He’s due to turn in a written response to the ethics committee today. The two capitol sources I talked to didn’t think he’d turned that in yet.

Heck, he could be flying all over the state to hand deliver the report to members of the ethics committee at their houses. You never know.

But wait, Georgette Escobar retracted her statement. Yeah, I don’t believe that one either for all sorts of reasons.

In Defense of Will Cardin

A certain US Senate candidate has a little bit of trouble spelling the name of the second largest city in the state he hopes to represent. It is funny coming from a guy with so much family down here. This error, unfortunately, is not unprecedented.

The mistake is so common that local music idol and erstwhile presidential candidate Al Perry used to purposely misspell the name in press packets.

I remember the knock against a certain Democratic official was that he “couldn’t even spell Tucson.” He proved it during the turn-of-the-century redistricting: he submitted a map proposal that referenced a Tuscon Boulevard.

In 2004, I worked for Wesley Clark. The Clark campaign ran a long form ad at the end of the Super Bowl. We were told to expect calls because the ad would end with a card asking for people to call the local office. We watched the ad at the office and then came the card: “Call our Tuscon office…”

Needless to say, a hefty chunk of the calls were from people who wanted to tell us how to spell Tucson.

More than one Desert Diamond Cup team misspelled the name of the Old Pueblo when they released their preseason schedules. I got tired of correcting them.

The Star tried to get some comment from Wil Cardon’s primary opponent, Jeff Flake. They had none. They probably didn’t want to admit that, like too many Phoenix politicos I know, they didn’t know how to spell Tucson either.

Not of Seville

The Yellow Sheet reported Saturday that Gabrielle Giffords and her advisors made up their mind on a candidate to replace her: Ron Barber.

The plan would be to have Barber run in the special election, but not in the regular election in November. No word yet on if there will be a “Giffords pick” in that election.

Annointing Barber would be popular among the high ranking Democrats who were more than a bit preturbed by a previously floated plan: getting Republican (and Mitt Romney donor) Lisa Lovallo to switch parties.

Whatever the plan turn out to be, it is expected that it will be announced today, if for no other reason that they are running out of time.

Cue Jack Sheldon

I have been a bit negligent in checking on this session’s ill considered and whack job legislation. Two bills have crawled up to the surface though:

HB2002: All I need to do is tell you that this is from Jack Harper and you know that it is likely another case of Rep. Harper confusing his own ego with the good of the state.

The “problem” that this bill solves is that too many lawmakers are not able to immediately find careers as lobbyists because of current law. The bill would lift the one-year grace period before legislators become lobbyists.

This is what qualifies as a pressing problem in Harper’s world. Do you hear the hue and cry from the populace about the unfairness of it all? No? Oh, that’s just in Harper’s head.

I can’t imagine that even this legislature wants this. The press release from the Democratic caucus writes itself.

Harper’s enthusiasm for this has nothing to do with his recent announcement that he’s not running again and looking for another career. Nope.

HB2133: We seem to slowly be edging our way back from fiscal collapse, enough so that we have enough, apparently, to buy back the capitol and pay a hefty fee for doing so early. You think this we are crawling back too quickly? Then we present HB2133.

This would remove capital gains from taxation in the state and make that change retroactive to 2011. This amounts to a giveaway of $422 million to the richest Arizonans.

All of that money will be reinvested in Arizona to provide jobs, health care and education, of course.