That Poll and Other Stuff

I talked to a couple of pros about that poll that Public Policy Polling released. They came to the same conclusion: that the poll over sampled Democrats.

Still, I think there is plenty of good news for Ron Barber.

One is the cross tab that shows Barber keeping 90% of Democrats, and Jesse Kelly only keeping 82%. That sort of drop off for Kelly plus the 51-34 advantage for Barber among independents is likely enough to keep the district in the Democratic column, even with the Republican registration advantage.

Another interesting number is the favorable-unfavorable rating for Kelly: 37-59. Even if one were to account for the Democratic over sample, that’s pretty horrible.

Of course, the Kelly people are pooh-poohing the poll. Here is Kelly henchman John Ellinwood quoted in the Sentinel:

Kelly’s spokesman said the poll was done by “left-leaning firm” that’s seeking to attract attention.

“If they were boring results, they wouldn’t put them out,” he said.

“Our indicators are that we’re up a few points,” he said. Ellinwood said the campaign’s polls are “internal info—we’re not really releasing it.”

Okay, not to pile on Ellinwood, but here are two tropes that I encounter when folks are trying to refute polls.

Thing one: The polls are made up! They are only doing it to make us look bad!

Public Policy Polling was founded by a Democrat, but if they went out of their way to skew results to benefit Democrats, they wouldn’t have much of a reputation among campaign professionals or the press. Who the heck wants bad data?

Also, by the way, despite their pedigree, their polling methods are known to show a slight Republican bias.

Thing two: Our internals are fantastic, but we won’t show them to you.

A campaign is perfectly in its rights to keep internal data, you know, internal. But if you brag to a reporter about how good it is, you should have to put it out there.

Okay, how about a compromise? If you gloat to a reporter about how great your internals are, you can keep them secret. But after the election, you are obligated to release them so we can all see how you were blowing smoke.


So, what happens Wednesday?

Well, if Ron Barber wins, Matt Heinz really doesn’t have much of a justification for his candidacy. If Barber loses, he may have one, but I don’t know how strong it is. If Barber gets defeated, I don’t see it as by a big enough margin that Heinz can say, “you tried but failed.” Matter of fact, given that the Democratic registration in the new CD 2 will be better, I can’t see how Barber wouldn’t be convinced that the numbers would point to a win for him.

By the way, Nomiki Konst dropped out a few weeks ago. Given all that has been going on in this race, you can’t be blamed for not noticing.

Martha McSally is the probable alternative Republican. There is also a fellow named Mark Koskiniemi in the race too. If Kelly loses, I can see Kelly being told by the Republican szlachta that he’s had two bites, time to go back to Texas or Montana or find another hobby.

Of course, I can’t see Kelly giving a happy gosh darn about what responsible Republican elders think. These are the guys who weren’t that keen on him running last time either.

Of course, if the poll is right and it’s a rout. Maybe Kelly would bow out? What? Facts and evidence? That’s communism.


One final note on this race. You know, for all the stick I gave Randy Graf, Steve Huffman, Mike Hellon and Tim Bee, they were actually folks that were of our community. I’m not saying that one needs to be born here or go to school here much less know the words to the Wally Sevitz theme, but you should be engaged in the community before running for high office.

For the trouble I had with Jonathan Paton, I could be confident that the guy could find Douglas or Fourth Avenue without a map before he filed papers to run for congress.

(It’s also why I’m perplexed by Paton’s move to CD 1, but hey)

As for Kelly’s intellectual and social investment in Southern Arizona, there ain’t much there. Heck, he didn’t know jack about the Rosemont Mine when he first started running. I don’t think his move to Texas for a good chunk of the last eighteen months was to get tutoring in Southern Arizona issues. The sum total of his engagement in our civic life is two runs for congress. The fact that the guy can win a nomination and come this close to winning the election is a sad comment on how little work we as Southern Arizona voters demand from our leaders these days.

That’s a Good Sign

Greg Patterson of Espresso Pundit has predicted a seven point victory for Jesse Kelly over Gabrielle Giffords. Here is his past record of predictions in that district:

Prediction Result
’06 Primary Patty Weiss Giffords by 23
’06 General Randy Graf Giffords by 12
’08 General Tim Bee Giffords by 12

I dunno, something tells me his CD 8 predictions are a bit less than…predictive.


The Daily Star had a story this morning that former Rep. Jim Kolbe will be chairing Andre Cherny’s campaign for state treasurer.

Keep in mind that Kolbe is the only Republican that has represented Southern Arizona in the US House. In 2006, he all but publicly snubbed Randy Graf, and in 2008 he dropped his support for Tim Bee. He’s been downright invisible in this year’s race for his old seat, and now we find out that in the only race he chooses to insert himself in, he’s supporting a Democrat.

Cue the Republican blogs telling us that Kolbe is an irrelevancy, even though he’s the only one of their party who seemed to know how to win down here.

NB: For those who want completeness, you can find another Republican who represented Southern Arizona in the US House, but only if you count our non-voting at-large Territorial delegates. Republican Ralph Cameron served two terms as Territorial Delegate right before statehood. Cameron was a mining magnate from Flagstaff who later served one term in the US Senate and gave a very embittered valedictory after being defeated by Carl Hayden.

Cee Dee Ate

The other night when Pima County Democratic Chairman Jeff Rogers read the Republican Primary Results from Congressional District 8, it was like the dropping of the Time Square Ball. Everyone in that room knew it was going to happen, but they were excited anyway.

Jonathan Paton would have been a formidable candidate against Gabrielle Giffords. Both Randy Graf and Tim Bee overestimated the conservatism of the district, and underestimated the campaign skills and community connections of Giffords. Paton seemed to have his head around the latter a lot better: his high profile moves in the legislature and his cozy relationship with the local press would have done a lot to neutralize some of the advantages Giffords has as an incumbent.

Paton’s original primary opponents were what I called the Three Mesquiteers even though at one point there were four. All were political novices who could only offer the same tea partyish sloganeering and not much else. With the opposition split, Paton thought he had it locked down…until they dropped out leaving only one vessel for anti-incumbent, anti-government sentiment. That vessel runneth over in the end.

(By the way: have we ever seen a cycle when so many candidates have dropped out in major races after the filing? Andy Goss, Brian Miller, Buzz Mills, Dean Martin: it was quite a list.)

Even those of us that weren’t privy to internal polls saw the campaign shift: the way that Jesse Kelly’s press releases became more measured and professional as Paton’s became nearly unhinged. It indicated a candidate that had no idea what the heck happened to his lead.

The early results on the Secretary of State site can be kind of clunky to examine (they are by our famously large counties), but Paton lost even the Pima County (and more moderate) portion of the district (but he got his best results there: 46% of the vote).

So: the Republicans have nominated a guy who says all the right things to get people going at Republican meetings, but does he actually know the district? Back in December, he said he had “no idea” where he was on the Rosemont Mine. The mine is one of the biggest environmental issues in the district, I even got questions on it when I knocked on doors. I’m sure he’s studied up on it and other issues in the area in the mean time, but it would be nice to have someone that has been engaged with the community he hopes to represent before he runs for congress. Despite my many political problems with him, Paton was from here, active in the community and didn’t need to get tutored on what was going on in Southern Arizona.

I’m not in the habit of giving advice to Republicans, but I’ll tell you what Paton would have understood: trying to make Giffords out to be some sort of dangerous, radical trotskyite isn’t gonna work. How do I know that? Because it has been done twice before and it didn’t work. Heck, Giffords’s latest ads on immigration have alienated many progressives. Tying her to Nancy Pelosi just means you don’t have much of a case to make against Giffords herself, and that you don’t have much to say about Southern Arizona.

Paton Place

So the current speculation on Jonathan Paton’s political plans run on two distinct tracks: one is that he’s hungry to make the jump now and with the current environment, why the heck not?

The other one says, no, he’ll wait. The logic in this one is that with the number of retirements in the Senate it would surely mean that Paton would be in leadership, if not Senate President. After a couple of terms as Senate president, he’d be ready to make a run against Gabrielle Giffords as some sort of Southern Arizona statesman.

(This worked out so well for Tim Bee, right?)

This begs a question: with five special sessions this year and a seemingly intractable budget crisis, why the heck would he want to be in leadership? Would it really be an advantage? You think the tar of that place would be hard to wash off in a race this year, imagine how hard it would be if he would be if he were in charge up there?

Oh, Come On

The folks at the Yellow Sheet decided to take on the Democratic Party for, it seems, a press release that the party sent a year and a half ago.

You may recall that during the heady days of the 2008 campaign, Tim Bee brought George W. Bush to Tucson for a fundraiser for his run for congress. The State Democratic Party pointed out that the Tucson Police Department had to shell out thousands of dollars for the visit, which initially included no public events (although the White House quickly scheduled an tarmac awards presentation when hackles were raised) and was for a political fundraiser at an upscale northside home.

So, enter Joe Biden. Biden came to Phoenix to hold a meeting on the stimulus package and, yes, to do some fundraising too. This means, of course, that the Yellow Sheet had to find some sort of equivalence here. Biden’s visit though, had a public purpose. The folks at the Yellow Sheet (as well as the Republic) pointed out that there were no “Republican dignitaries” at the event. I suppose this means that if Republican officials decide not to come to an event that it is no longer public. Of course, it could be noted that Phil Gordon was there.

The Yellow Sheet reported:

[Jan] Brewer says she wasn’t invited, despite being in direct charge of Arizona’s stimulus money.

As long as we are playing tit-for-tat, Janet Napolitano wasn’t invited to the Bee fundraiser last year either. Folks I talked to that were close to the event claim that Brewer was, in fact, invited. In any case, she knew enough about the event that she sent staff, including her stimulus czar Jim Apperson.

The thing that prompted the Yellow Sheetto pursue this, apparently, was what they saw as “hypocrisy” on the part of the State Democratic Party. The party sent out a press release about the Bee event, but didn’t criticize Biden for doing what actually wasn’t the same thing. They talked to Jennifer Johnson at the State Democratic Party, an organization that didn’t have anything to do with organizing the event, and asked her to justify the press release that Emily DeRosesent out last summer. Johnson, by the way, was not working for the Democratic Party at the time, and DeRose has since moved to Washington.

A recap: Johnson is responsible for and should criticize an event because her predecessor criticized an entirely different sort of event last year. This must mean that everytime the Yellow Sheet writes something I don’t like, I can bring up an e-mail Phil Riske wrote me once. It has nothing to do with anything, but I’m sure it’s equivalent somehow.

Rumor Dissolution Department

Tim BeeAn R-Cubed operative called me the other day to tell me that he’d heard a rumor that Tim Bee was thinking about running for Superintendent of Public Instruction. I violated the blogger code of ethics by calling Bee and ask him if there is any truth to it.

He said nope.

We talked about how hard it is for a Southern Arizonan to run for statewide office, something he knows first hand from working on his brother’s campaign for the same top education spot in 2002 (Keith Bee came in third). He also gave Sharon Collins’s campaign for Secretary of State (also third place in 2002) as another example. The counter-example of Paul Newman was brought up, but it is worth noting that he ran once before winning and his name is Paul Newman.

Bee wanted to let me know he’s got a job that he loves right now directing Jan Brewer’s southern Arizona office. He’d have to leave that job to make a run for higher office. Of course, it is worth pointing out that his employment past January of 2011 is by no means guaranteed either.

Yeah, Yeah, It’s All Napolitano’s Fault

Janet NapolitanoThe new meme among Republicans is that the current budget mess is all the fault of Janet Napolitano. Here’s Randy Pullen:

This crisis is the legacy of Janet Napolitano. The days of runaway spending and big government are over here in Arizona, as are the days of rainbow revenue projections.

I’ll let you sit back for a second and enjoy the irony of the party that brought you “dynamic scoring” decrying “rainbow revenue projections.”

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It Doesn’t Totally Ruin Our Fun

Well, the RNC has elected Michael Steele their new chairman. Chip Saltzman (he of “Barack the Magic Negro” fame) didn’t even make a race of it after his support evaporated, but Katon Dawson made a good run at it, even leading on the fourth ballot.

You’d think that someone like Dawson would have made good fodder for someone like me. I mean, the guy was a member, until he wanted to run, of a whites-only country club and says that his political awakening was in opposition to civil rights laws. Steele, on the other hand, is African American. Gosh, except for the fact that he shares a name with a woman who used to be in the Bangles and the Runaways, what is a blogger to do?


He’s Mike Tyson’s ex-brother in law.

Look it up; I kid you not. Y’all have fun with that one.

Premature Speculation, But Not So Speculative

All eyes seem to be on the maybe soon open Congressional District 7, but we don’t even know if it will actually be open. But, over on the other side of Country Club Road, there is already mumbling about which Republican gets to be beaten like a gong by Gabrielle Giffords and pretend to like it afterward.

Ray CarrollThe three names I hear over and over again are Ray Carroll, Jonathan Paton and Bruce Ash. Carroll would probably be the strongest candidate. As a county supervisor, his name and face make are on local television and in the newspaper a couple of times a week. His work on conservation issues give him enough credibility with more moderate and liberal voters that it provides him some hope of cutting into Giffords’s base.

Jonathan PatonPaton has a relatively high profile for a state legislator. I thought his proposals for reforming CPS were ill-considered, but it earned him some good press. His status as an Iraq veteran would give him some extra looks, and maybe even generate some national buzz.

Both Paton and Carroll would have to give up on their current seats, with Carroll actually having to step down mid-term (which would provide endless fodder for this blog during the weeks that the Democratic majority tries to figure out who would replace him). Given Giffords’s strength in the last election, it seems less and less likely that these two would give up on sure relection to their current seats, especially if the Republican party is still in the state it is now.

Bruce AshBecause of this, speculation has turned to Ash. Ash had been mentioned as a possible candidate for this last election, but he stepped aside when party leaders agreed that Tim Bee should be the candidate. Ash has a decent profile in the local media owing to his commentaries on local radio and his position on the Republican National Committee. Ash has a site up for that position, which looks suspiciously like a candidate site.