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.


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?

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.

First in Phoenix?

I talked to someone up in Phoenix the other day and asked him about which of his fellow Maricopa politicos will be the first to endorse Richard Carmona. You may recall that last week, Don Bivens released a list of endorsers that included former Tucson area legislator Nancy Young Wright.

My source said to look to two Phoenix city council members: Michael Nowakowski and the newly elected Daniel Valenzuela. Both of them have active campaign organizations that would help any candidate in a primary, so they wouldn’t just be names on a list. They are also both people who would not necessarily be wowed by the fact that Bivens used to be party chair.

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.

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Bivens Announces More Endorsements

Don Bivens has announced a pace of endorsements from “key” Democrats.

For you kids that haven’t been paying attention, “key” means that they have endorsed your candidate. “Irrelevant” means they have endorsed the other guy.

One interesting name is Nancy Young Wright, who would be the first Bivens endorsement on Richard Carmona’s home turf. So, who is the first Phoenix area endorser for Carmona?

Endorsement list after the jump.

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Terri Proud has joined the anti-Independent Redistricting chorus on the right. Like Frank Antenori and Jack Harper, she seems to think that griping, stomping and whining about the process, established by a constitutional amendment passed by voters in 1998, will make it go away and they will somehow be in charge the way God and the Founders intended.

Here is how Proud and some of her colleagues seem to think this will work:

– The governor will call a special session of the legislature so they can put a referendum on the ballot. This assumes that Jan Brewer is overly enamored with Proud’s legislative colleagues and will kowtow to them just because they are having an infantile snit.

– This will pass the legislature. She’s assuming here that a majority of her colleagues will disregard the will of the voters and pass a referendum resolution for the most partisan and petty reasons. Oh wait, that is a good assumption.

– Once this resolution makes the ballot, it will get a majority of voters to go along and vote yes. Yep, there is clearly a majority of voters that thinks that politicians should be allowed to draw their own safe districts so they can be elected in perpetuity. Wake me when you can find a message that doesn’t sound like “We don’t want to have to talk to people that disagree with us to get re-elected, it’s just not right.”

– This all can happen with enough time for the legislature to draw districts so candidates can be filed by next June. Unless this process includes a resolution adding two months to the calendar, I don’t see how this can happen.

Thinking that the governor and voters would go along with such a proposal is frankly delusional. It’s the sort of delusion politicians get when they are in a bubble surrounded only by people they agree with and they have become unaccountable to the electorate. Yep: it’s the arrogance of power you get when your system lacks the accountablility produced by, you see this coming, competitive districts.

In all the complaining from Republican legislators and activists about the process, I haven’t heard anything about what they’d like to see in terms of a fair map. Do they want competitive districts (the reason why the IRC was created in the first place) or not?

NB – Among Proud’s complaints is that Chairman Colleen Mathis’s husband worked on the campaign of a Democratic legislator. Of course, he’s worked for Republicans too. Why does this particular campaign stick in her craw? It was Proud’s opponent in the last election, Nancy Young-Wright.

Dissin’ Ray Carroll

Ray CarrollRay Carroll has been claiming that his pushing for Don Jorgenson over Nancy Young Wright for the District 26 house appointment was because he believes that the board is obligated to always vote for the top vote getter among the precinct committeepeople.

This begs the question of why the authors of the statute thought it appropriate to send three names to the board of supervisors. It also begs the more interesting question to me of why he hasn’t followed this logic himself on his past appointments. He voted for Paula Aboud over Ted Downing, and, if I may name an example that I am very familiar with, nominated Betty Liggins over my brother (the reason he gave me: she was a fellow Chicagoan.)

Maybe he didn’t have a gallery to pander to when those appointments were made.