Will the Next Secretary of State Please Stand Up?

The list of names for Arizona Secretary of State continues to grow. Sonoran Alliance began speculating some time ago who would be the likely successor to Secretary of State as Jan Brewer ascends to the Ninth Floor.

Included on that list are:

Former State Representative Laura Knaperek: Probably the most suited for the position given her legislative record, personality, energy and high name identification. Knaperek is coming off a recent congressional race and has been popular among conservatives.

Current State Senator Jack Harper: Also a good choice given his record although somewhat politically vulnerable in a 2010 election bid. Harper has already filed an exploratory committee for the seat in 2010. He is also popular among some conservatives.

Current State Senator Barbara Leff: Would also make a good choice given her thoughtful and deliberative legislative skills.

Maricopa County Recorder Helen Purcell: This would be familiar territory for Purcell but she is much older than the other candidates and her energy level for the job would likely be an issue. Purcell would also be the next in line should anything happen to Brewer.

Former GOP Chairman John Munger: This former Arizona Republican Party Chairman is redirecting his sights on the Secretary of State seat now that Brewer will be moving to the Governor’s Office. Munger was originally rumored to be seeking the Governor’s post in 2010 but will not likely challenger her in a Primary. Munger is an attorney who helped McCain in the recent election.

Whoever Brewer appoints will need to be ready for a 2010 challenge by Democrats. This factor will likely figure into Brewer’s decision given Arizona’s history of Secretary of States who have become Governor.

Carolyn Allen to Head Senate Health Committee

Pro-life advocates have to be pretty upset with the recent assignment of Senator Carolyn Allen as Chairman of the Senate Health Committee.

President of the Senate, Bob Burns, appointed the long-time pro-abortion advocate to the committee as part of the rearrangement of committees.

Allen has stood in the way of many pro-life bills including even reasonable legislation as Parental Consent and Informed Consent.

With Napolitano to depart the 9th Floor and Jan Brewer readying to step in as Governor, pro-life legislation should find little resistance in passing during the next legislative session.

The only person standing in the way will be Senator Carolyn Allen.

Jeff Flake Seeks Position on Appropriations Committee

This is great news although Congressmen Flake will still be in the minority. We need a voice on this committee to stop the rampant runaway earmarks.

Congressman Flake to Seek Seat on House Appropriations Committee
Committee Needs Member Who Does Not Seek Earmarks

Washington, D.C. – Republican Congressman Jeff Flake, who represents Arizona’s Sixth District, today announced that he would seek a seat on the House Appropriations Committee in the 111th Congress.

Congressman Flake believes that, in order to regain credibility on fiscal issues, Republicans need to demonstrate their commitment to reining in runaway spending.

“It is difficult for Republicans to convince voters that we have turned a corner on spending if we continue to use the House Appropriations Committee as little more than a vehicle for securing earmarks,” said Flake in a letter to House Republican Leader John Boehner.  “Wouldn’t it make sense to have at least one member on the Committee who doesn’t seek earmarks?”

Congressman Flake sought a seat on the House Appropriations Committee in January 2008 but was passed over for the position.

Goldwater Institute Releases 100 Ideas for 100 Days

The Goldwater Institute has just released its Policy Report, 100 Ideas for 100 Days.

According to the summary on Goldwater’s website,

The principles of individual rights and limited government enshrined in the Arizona Constitution are as relevant today as they were when it was written almost 100 years ago. Indeed, its words are the very foundation of ideas that will advance freedom. Article II, Section II of the Arizona Constitution clearly states the purpose of government: “All political power is inherent in the people, and governments derive their just powers from the consent of the governed, and are established to protect and maintain individual rights.”

In that spirit the Goldwater Institute presents 100 Ideas for 100 Days—one idea for each day of the legislative session. These ideas will help lower the tax burden, give parents more choices in where their children go to school, and address the state’s billion dollar budget shortfall.

Several ideas listed include:

  • Day 1: Conform the state budget to the debt limit and special law requirements of the Arizona Constitution.
  • Day 14: Change the mission of the Arizona Department of Economic Security to be work-oriented rather than benefits-oriented.
  • Day 32: Restore free speech by referring to the ballot the repeal of the Clean Elections Act.
  • Day 45: Enforce fiscal responsibility by mandating “managed competition,” requiring government agencies to allow both private businesses and government departments to compete to furnish public services.
  • Day 57: End boom and bust budget cycles by enacting a constitutional expenditure limit that restricts budget growth to the rate of population growth and inflation.
  • Day 68: Prohibit any further lowering of AIMS cut scores by the State Board of Education.
  • Day 80: Remove the 2011 sunset on Arizona’s landmark tuition scholarship tax credit for low-income students.
  • Day 92: Make all health-related out-of-pocket expenses tax deductible.
  • Day 98: Expand the tax deduction for contributions to College Savings Accounts to grandparents and other family members.

If you want to read the entire report, please visit the Goldwater Institute website. We also urge you to contact your legislators and ask them to read the proposals and incorporate them into the legislative agenda.

Finally, the good news is that Governor Napolitano will soon be out of the way, so there is no excuse for the Arizona Legislature and Governor Jan Brewer to not entertain these ideas.

Taxpayer group calls departing AZ Governor “fiscally irresponsible”

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: November 20, 2008
Contact:  Tom Jenney, Arizona director, Americans for Prosperity

Taxpayer group calls departing AZ Governor “fiscally irresponsible”

PHOENIX—As major news outlets began announcing that Gov. Janet Napolitano had been picked to be Barack Obama’s Secretary of Homeland Security, the Arizona chapter of Americans for Prosperity (AFP Arizona) described her as “fiscally irresponsible.”

“For six years, Captain Napolitano steered the state government toward a budget iceberg,” said AFP Arizona director Tom Jenney. “Now that the ship is sinking deeply into deficit, she is jumping into Obama’s lifeboat and leaving the scene.”

Jenney said that Napolitano’s strong position in budget negotiations, and the lack of fiscally conservative majorities in the Legislature, allowed her to increase the state budget by 59 percent from FY 2004 to 2008, compared to an economy that grew by 42 percent, and population and inflation, which grew by 30 percent. Rapid budget growth raised spending to unsustainable levels, resulting in massive budget deficits when the real estate bubble popped and the economy began to flag.

With more than $11 billion in spending commitments (including formula spending increases and cumulative K-12 rollovers), and revenues unlikely to top $9 billion, the state government is looking at a structural deficit for FY 2010 of over $2 billion, or 20 percent of the state budget—one of the nation’s worst budget crises.

As evidence of Napolitano’s record of fiscal irresponsibility, AFP Arizona cited:

  • A 17-percent spending increase in 2004, which occurred when several fiscally liberal Republicans joined with Democrats to pass the Governor’s budget bill.
  • Executive budgets with projected spending that was often dramatically higher than any of the realistic estimates of available revenue provided by the Joint Legislative Budget Committee and university economists.
  • The Governor’s enormously unbalanced FY 2009 budget, which AFP Arizona called “a $10.9 billion budget masquerading as a $9.9 billion budget,” at a time when revenues were projected to be $9.1 billion (the budget passed this June, with the help of all Democrats and a handful of fiscally liberal Republicans).
  • A billion-dollar university construction plan passed along with the Governor’s budget in June; the plan projects that the borrowing will be paid back with enhanced lottery sales, even though few observers believe lottery sales will actually meet the targets.
  • The Governor’s request this week that Congress provide “enormous relief to state budgets,” even though the Federal Government is itself running record deficits.

According to AFP Arizona, even the income and property tax cuts Napolitano signed in 2006 were tainted by the excessive spending increases she extracted from the Legislature in the bargain.  For every surplus dollar in 2006 that was returned to taxpayers, two dollars went to new spending.

“Napolitano has left us an awful mess,” said AFP Arizona chairman Chad Kirkpatrick. “Nonetheless, we remain optimistic that the incoming Governor and Legislature will enact fiscally responsible policies that return Arizona to the path of prosperity.”

In November, Arizona voters elected majorities of legislators who either scored very well on last year’s AFP Arizona Legislative Scorecard, or who have pledged to not raise taxes. Napolitano will be replaced by Secretary of State Jan Brewer.

Asked to define “fiscally responsible policies,” AFP Arizona pointed to its Reform Arizona Plan (link below), which calls for reducing the gigantic state deficit, preventing any tax increases, avoiding taking on debt that will hurt future taxpayers, and implementing reforms to bring government spending under control for the long term.

View Press Release

Janet Napolitano – Secretary of Homeland Security

Photo courtesy of PolitickerAZ and Rob TornoeWell, it’s official. Governor Janet “51-foot Latter” Napolitano has been tapped by the incoming Obama Administration to serve as Secretary of Homeland Security.

Although her office will neither confirm nor deny accepting the position, it’s pretty much a sure thing that she will be leaving the State of Arizona.

This sets up a political shifting here in Arizona as Sonoran Alliance has frequently gesticulated.

Expect Secretary of State Jan Brewer to ready her transition and the Arizona Legislature to map out a bold legislative agenda.

(Cartoon courtesy of Rob Tornoe/PolitickerAZ.)

LD-10 Republican Doug Quelland Falsely Assailed by Dems & Republic

We’re not sure what to make of today’s article in the Arizona Republic hitting Doug Quelland for violating campaign finance laws. Mary Jo Pitzl is either demonstrating sloppy journalism or engaging in blatant misrepresentation. We will let our readers decide.

Recently re-elected conservative Republican, Doug Quelland, was hit with a campaign finance complaint filed by Democratic activist and precinct committeemen, Carol Vandercook. The complaint alleges that Quelland’s committee violated Clean Elections laws and limits and therefore warrants his removal from office.

Democrat incumbent, Jackie Thrasher, lost the seat to Quelland in the November 4th General Election in a rematch of the 2006 General Election in which Quelland lost the seat to Thrasher.

According to the article online,

At the heart of the complaint filed with the Clean Elections Commission and the Arizona Secretary of State is that Quelland, a Republican making a comeback bid for a House seat, hired a campaign consultant for $15,000 and failed to report it.

The suspected expenditure also exceeded the amount allowed under the state’s public-financing system. And because the consulting contract was signed seven weeks before Quelland officially filed to run for the Legislature, it could trigger a fine of three times the amount of the contract, or $45,000.

Specifically, Quelland is accused of not reporting the hiring of Larry Davis of Intermedia Public Relations in a contract in which Intermedia Public Relations was to provide consulting products and/or services to the Quelland campaign committee.

Quelland canceled the contract 48 hours after signing the contract because Davis proposed and encouraged Quelland to attack a member of Jackie Thrasher’s family over an incarceration. Quelland refused to engage in Davis’ negative campaign strategy and severed the committee’s contract with Intermedia Public Relations. Quelland asserts that he possesses a copy of the contractual termination document.

It is important to recognize that Quelland’s committee canceled the contract with Intermedia Public Relations before filing any paperwork with the Secretary of State’s Office or Citizens’ Clean Election Commission. Even during the two-day period that the contract was under consideration or in effect, Quelland was not subject to the jurisdiction of the Citizens Clean Election Commission because the committee had not yet filed to become a participating candidate.

The mere fact that Quelland’s campaign committee was not under any contract with a vendor when he became a participating candidate makes the Vandercook complaint irrelevant and spurious.

But even if Quelland’s committee did conduct business with Larry Davis’ Intermedia Public Relations, an expenditure would have been reported on the committee’s campaign finance reports.

In reality, campaign finance reports reveal that the Quelland campaign committee made NO expenditures to Larry Davis nor Intermedia Public Relations. Instead, Quelland’s committee utilized the services of Discessio LLC which obviously contradicts claims that Intermedia was the consulting firm for the campaign.

Pitzl further reports that Larry Davis was contacted for the story and made the claim that he was Quelland’s campaign manager:

Davis, in a brief phone interview Tuesday, declined comment except to confirm that he was Quelland’s campaign manager through the Nov. 4 election.

When Quelland backed away from doing any business with Larry Davis, this severed any contractual relationship between Intermedia Public Relations and the Quelland Committee. Perhaps Davis falsely believes that no contract termination occurred and the original contract entitled him to the title of campaign manager despite the fact he performed no campaign management for the campaign during the entire election cycle? If Quelland’s copy of the contractual termination document exists, as he claims, Davis and Intermedia Public Relations was fired a long time ago and any relationship with Davis is irrelevant to any complaints filed with CCEC or the Secretary of State’s Office.

That leaves the text on Quelland campaign committee website as Pitzl points out:

However, Quelland’s campaign Web site, as of Tuesday afternoon, credits Davis’ company, Intermedia, for creating the site.

A review of the Quelland committee finance reports shows no expenditures to Larry Davis nor Intermedia Public Relations for website design or development. Why then does the website assign credit to Intermedia Public Relations? This is yet to be determined when the Quelland committee responds to the complaint within the five day period.

Returning to the origination of the complaint is another mystery. Democrat Carol Vandercook filed the complaint but has been resistant in disclosing details. Vandercook claims that she obtained details including a copy of the signed contract between Quelland and Davis from District 10 Democrats.

This leads some to speculate that Larry Davis may actually be the originator of the complaint. Davis may be spurned over Quelland’s decision to quickly back away from doing business with Intermedia who was willing to attack Thrasher’s imprisoned family member as part of the campaign strategy. Little else is known of Larry Davis other than what appears on the company website.

Quelland’s attorney and campaign committee are expected to respond to the complaints within the five-day period which ends on Saturday.

Phoenix New Times Takes Dig at Alice Lara, Sonoran Alliance

The Phoenix New Times has taken notice of one of our recent posts related to an interview one of our writers conducted with Alice Lara.

Lara, recently ran and won a seat to the Maricopa County Health Care District Board of Directors. The interview, which was posted by Candie Dates, featured a round of questions and answers on a number of issues and positions related to the seat.

When Phoenix New Times asked Lara about the interview and who from Sonoran Alliance conducted it she told them she would not reveal her interviewer.

Now I’ve gone over this many times before but I’ll review this for the folks over at PNT one more time. Many of our writers are considered political insiders. As our “About the Alliance” page discloses, “Several of us work in federal, state, county and city government while others have worked on high-profile political campaigns or for non-profit organizations. It is because of the key positions in which we serve, that it is in our best interest to write under pseudonyms.”

Unlike the writers at PNT,  we don’t get paid to write for this blogsite and it is certainly not our full-time job. Many of us take the risk of losing our livelihood or political retribution if we were “exposed.” Because of those risks, this blogsite does not and will not reveal the identities of our contributors/writers.

Getting back to the article by PNT, I have to ask, “What does it matter who conducted the interview with Lara?” It was substantive and the identity of the writer is irrelevant to the post. Besides, doesn’t PNT have to worry about selling more ad space to tattoo parlors, car audio dealers and risque nightclubs?

The More Things “Change,” The More Things Remain The Same

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The Obama campaign sold the American people on the idea that he would bring “Change” to the country.

Watching all the cabinet and administration picks made by the president-elect, it doesn’t appear that much is really changing. It’s almost as if this is a third Clinton administration or one of those cheesy 90 sitcom shows where they say, “let’s get all the cast together again and revisit some of the old scenes.”

Today’s pick of Tom Daschle to be Secretary of Health and Human Services is a case in point. Daschle was the Senate Majority Leader until he was replaced by John Thune in 2004. Since then, I imagine he’s been waiting around for a Democrat to win the White House so he could jump back in the game.

Yesterday, we learned that Obama had tapped former Deputy Attorney General, Eric Holder to head the Justice Department as Attorney General. (Holder is actually a throwback to the Carter Administration.) “Clintonista” Holder made waves when he gave Bill Clinton a pass on an infamous pardon of international fugitive of justice commodities trader, Marc Rich.

But the mother of all appointments may come in the appointment of Hillary Clinton to the cabinet position of Secretary of State. That is, if she accepts it. Obviously, there’s enough history there to write a presidential library.

With all these former Clinton insiders rearing their liberal heads again, the American people may start wondering who they really elected. Sure, liberals will say that the Executive Branch requires individuals with experience and that the real change is not in the people but in the policies.

Excuse me?

Washington, D.C. is only two Senators away from a complete unstoppable takeover of federal power. These liberals are not going to play “center” or even “center left” on public policy. Given the opportunity and a willing accomplice media, the federal government is about to take a hard left turn and pass every liberal policy it can before center-right Americans wake up and vote them out in 2010.

President-elect Obama doesn’t appear to have any new ideas nor offer any hope for change any time soon. The line to the upcoming Obama Administration is long and full of the same familiar faces.

We’re In Big Trouble!

Hat tip to Political Mafioso for this video!

Watch this video and tell me we are not in trouble. It almost makes a sound argument for limiting voting to those who own property and can pass a basic civics test.

God help us! We get the government we deserve.

Fear & Loathing in the Homosexual Community

I am astonished by the reaction by homosexual activists across the country toward the passage of all state ballot measures upholding the definition of traditional marriage.

Here in Arizona, letters have continued to run in local papers labeling those who supported Proposition 102 as “bigots” “haters” even “Nazi’s!”

Proposition 102 simply codifies into the Arizona Constitution what was already state law under Arizona Revised Statutes.

Where were those critical of Proposition 102 before it even became a ballot measure? Why were they not protesting in the streets since it became Arizona law?

In other states where voters approved traditional marriage, homosexual activists are now engaging in illegal activities and the very hate they accuse supporters of traditional marriage of falsely engaging in.

Here are a few examples from the headlines:

Washington Post“Protesters Target Supporters of Gay Marriage Ban”:

In Sacramento, a high-profile theater director resigned from his job of 25 years after a boycott threat over his $1,000 donation in support of the measure. In Los Angeles, a Mexican restaurant owner, a Mormon who donated $100, was reduced to tears and left town after hundreds of protesters confronted her at work, by phone and on the Internet.

“You express your beliefs and you have to be punished for it?” said Arnoldo Archila, an employee at the El Coyote restaurant. “This is not right, not in this country. This is not Iraq.”

The FBI reported Friday that white powder found in envelopes that had been sent to the Salt Lake City headquarters of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, as the Mormon Church is officially known, and to a Mormon temple in Los Angeles turned out to be nontoxic. It has not been determined whether the substance, which forced church officials to close the facilities, was related to Proposition 8, but church leaders said they would not be surprised.

“It’s very clear that we’ve been singled out,” said Michael Otterson, a church spokesman.

Time“What Happens If You’re on the Gay ‘Enemies List?’”:

The Mormon Church is not the only group being singled out for criticism. African-Americans, 70% of whom voted yes on Proposition 8, according to a CNN exit poll, have become a target. According to eyewitness reports published on the Internet, racial epithets have been used against African-Americans at protests in California, directed even at blacks who are fighting to repeal Proposition 8.

In addition to protests, gay activists have begun publishing lists online exposing individuals and organizations who have donated money in support of Proposition 8. On AntiGayBlacklist.com, individuals who gave money toward Proposition 8 are publicized, with readers urged not to patronize their businesses or services.

KTVU – “Anger Over Prop 8 Erupts in San Francisco”:

Members of the gay community said that almost every Friday night, a Christian group meets at the corner of Castro and 18th Streets. They try to convert gays and lesbians into a straight lifestyle.

This Friday night, the message didn’t go over well. Some gays and lesbians reacted by trying to chase the group out of the Castro.

“Their rights were respected,” said Joe Schmitz, an opponent of Prop 8. “They got a chance to go ahead and pray on the sidewalk and I had the opportunity to express my freedom of speech which is telling them to get out of my neighborhood.”

San Francisco Police officers in riot gear formed a line and escorted the religious group into a van to safely get them out of the area.

FoxNews.com“New Yorkers Protest Gay Marriage Ban Outside of Mormon Church”:

“I’m fed up and disgusted with religious institutions taking political stances and calling them moral when it’s nothing but politics,” the 36-year-old Manhattan resident said. “It’s hypocrisy. Meanwhile, they enjoy tax-free status while trying to deny me rights.”

“I was particularly disturbed to see the number of African-Americans who supported Proposition 8 given our people’s historic struggle for equal rights,” said Williams, who is black. “I want all my rights as a full American citizen, not just as an African-American.”

KFSN - “Mysterious Powder Sent to Mormon Church“:

And Pastor Jim Franklin who was named along with Autry in that e-mail threat believes supporters of same sex marriage are going too far. “What this is, is religious bigotry that now religions are being targeted. It really shows what this was all about it really was about freedom of religion and freedom of speech.” Franklin said.

Tucson Citizen – “Gay Marriage: Arizona loses more than money” (Guest Opinion by Senator Paula Aboud, LD-28):

Proposition 102 will also drive a wedge between families, forcing couples to leave their home state or forgo the essential protections and equal social status afforded by civil marriage.

Proposition 102 will also have a harmful economic impact on Arizona and trigger cultural strife at a time when we desperately need to come together to battle the bigger social and economic ills facing the state and the country.

In these hard economic times, for a state that is $1.2 billion in debt, every dollar counts.

But what Arizona has lost is far greater than the mere dollar. It has tarnished its reputation and doomed itself to another national spotlight of negative proportions. And that harms all of us for a long time to come.

Mayor Phil Gordon Begging for Bailout Money

The Associated Press is reporting that Mayor Phil Gordon of Phoenix has submitted a letter requesting federal assistance for the City of Phoenix.

According to the report, “Phoenix’s budget deficit is at least $200 million and could reach $250 million by June if tax revenues keep sliding. The figure represents up to 22 percent of the city’s $1.2 billion general fund, which pays for most city services.”

Mayor Gordon is one of three mayors requesting loans to pay pension costs in addition to $50 million for investment in infrastructure and one year loans to cover cash demands in a credit-tight market.

Mayor Phil Gordon is a Democrat who was first elected to a city council position in 1997. In 2003, Gordon was elected to Mayor of Phoenix. He was re-elected in 2007. He has been a proponent of several taxpayer funded projects including the Phoenix light rail system. Gordon has also been heavily criticized for his sanctuary-city immigration policies.

Getting Familiar with Article 5, Section 6

I had lunch with another political PR/Guru the other day and the discussion came up over Napolitano heading to Washington DC to serve in an Obama Administration cabinet position – most likely Attorney General.

That would mean Secretary of State Jan Brewer would get a promotion to Governor but who would replace Secretary of State Jan Brewer?

Here is what the Arizona Constitution states under Article 5, Section 6:

6. Death, resignation, removal or disability of governor; succession to office; impeachment, absence from state or temporary disability

Section 6. In the event of the death of the governor, or his resignation, removal from office, or permanent disability to discharge the duties of the office, the secretary of state, if holding by election, shall succeed to the office of governor until his successor shall be elected and shall qualify. If the secretary of state be holding otherwise than by election, or shall fail to qualify as governor, the attorney general, the state treasurer, or the superintendent of public instruction, if holding by election, shall, in the order named, succeed to the office of governor. The taking of the oath of office as governor by any person specified in this section shall constitute resignation from the office by virtue of the holding of which he qualifies as governor. Any successor to the office shall become governor in fact and entitled to all of the emoluments, powers and duties of governor upon taking the oath of office.

In the event of the impeachment of the governor, his absence from the state, or other temporary disability to discharge the duties of the office, the powers and duties of the office of governor shall devolve upon the same person as in case of vacancy, but only until the disability ceases.

It appears that a Governor Brewer would then have the power to appoint her replacement to Secretary of State. However, Article 5, Section 8 states:

8. Vacancies in office

Section 8. When any office shall, from any cause, become vacant, and no mode shall be provided by the Constitution or by law for filling such vacancy, the governor shall have the power to fill such vacancy by appointment.

If this section applies to the Governor’s appointment to Secretary of State, it makes no mention of political party so the Governor is not bound to a partisan provision.

I’d like to hear what any Arizona Constitutional experts or election attorneys have to say about the succession of power in the Executive branch under Arizona Constitutional law.

Election Count Updates – November 12th

Here are the latest vote counts issued by the Secretary of State’s Office on several close races:

Arizona Corporation Commission
*Paul Newman (D) – 955,941
*Sandra Kennedy (D) – 954,811
*Bob Stump (R) – 860,096

Sam George (D) – 856,231
Barry Wong (R) – 838,389
Marian McClure (R) – 824,913

Legislative District 26 Senate
*Al Melvin (R) – 44,866
Cheryl Cage (D) – 43,513

Legislative District 10 House
*Jim Weiers (R) – 21,259
*Doug Quelland (R) – 20,908

Jackie Thrasher (D) – 20,254
Lamont Lovejoy (D) – 17,108
Scott Gibson (L) – 2,450
Marguerite Dale (G) – 2,137

Legislative District 11 House
*Adam Driggs (R) – 36,540
*Eric Meyer (D) – 36,395

Jon Altmann (R) – 34,395

Legislative District 20 House
*John McComish (R) – 36,771
*Rae Waters (D) – 34,667

Jeff Dial (R) – 34,170

Legislative District 23 House
*Barbara McGuire (D) – 36,716
*Frank Pratt (R) – 35,741

John Fillmore (R) – 35,122
Ernest Bustamante (D) – 34,784

Legislative District 25 House
*Patricia Fleming (D) – 31,733
*David Stevens (R) – 27,741

Richard Boyer (D) – 27,039
Timathy Davies (R) – 22,873

Legislative District 26 House
*Vic Williams (R) – 41,928
*Nancy Young Wright (D) – 41,874

Marilyn Zerull (R) – 40,765
Donald Jorgenson (D) – 37,100

* Denotes current winner(s)

Remembering Jimmy

I was lucky enough to grow up in Phoenix when everyone had carports and very few fenced in their backyards. Without these barriers we became a neighborhood of neighbors.  What I mean by that is we actually knew eachother. The kids played together and the adults borrowed a cup of sugar or two eggs or vanilla as part of their open relationships.  We also got together for barbeques around holidays, particularly the Fourth of July. One house would be the host and fire up the grill.  The rest of the families would bring a “dish” and some beverages to share.  We were an intergenerational stew at these gatherings. The adults would gather at one end of the yard while the kids drifted between the food and a place in the yard to continue their games. 

During the summer that I was in between the seventh and eighth grades and overly self conscious, I wasn’t sure if I should join the kids or find a place with the adults.  So I decided to play the role of observer. From my silent observation post I drank in the expressions, sounds and stories.  So it is from this vantage point that I can describe Jimmy. 

He was a senior in high school.  So for a junior high kid he was an adult.  Jimmy was one of those guys who very presence commanded attention.  It wasn’t because he was a clown or boisterous.  It was because of the ease he had with himself.  He felt comfortable with adults and easily entered into conversations.  While respectful, it was obvious that he was self-assured and felt free to express his opinions.  When he spoke to you, he looked directly into your eyes.  He had a gentle laugh, but what really stood out was the way he carried himself.  I knew that I was looking at someone who was a natural leader.  You also knew that he was motivated by goals he set for himself.  There was no indecisiveness in any of his mannerisms.  His parents couldn’t conceal the pride and love they had for him.  The other adults gave him the ultimate compliment by including him in their conversations and asking his opinion. 

After he graduated, Jimmy joined the U.S. Army.  The army also noticed his natural leadership abilities.  He became a helicopter pilot and a leader of his unit.  Having glimpsed the character of this young man, it was no surprise to me to learn that he lost his life in a rescue attempt in the jungles of Viet Nam.  I couldn’t imagine that he would ever think of leaving anyone behind.

Whenever I get a chance to travel to Washington, D.C. I visit the Viet Nam Memorial.  I find Jimmy’s name and I offer a prayer of thanks for his sacrifice.  As I walk away from the memorial, I thank those who fought and died for freedom.  Thank you veterans.  None of you have died in vain. 

Election Review: Good News for Arizona Conservatives

Any recount of the results of Election Night are likely to set off another round of comments as to how great or horrible State GOP Chairman Randy Pullen did, and judging from the comments on some other current threads, there are those who will continue fighting the same fight they have been fighting for the last nearly two years.  That said, while election night was rough on Republicans across the nation, conservatives had a very good night in Arizona.  That this success did not extend to the Congressional level or to more left-leaning Republicans tells another story as well.

First, the easy way to keep score.  In spite of being outspent anywhere from 5-1 to nearly 20-1 depending on the race, conservative Republicans beat back the Democrat wave and actually INCREASED their numbers at the State Legislature.  While the Democrats were measuring for drapes and Lujan and Sinema were making plans for liberal legislation, Republicans were out-working and out-hustling their Democrat opponents.  There were several notable victories, starting in LD10 where Doug Quelland regained his seat, beating Jackie Thrasher.  Thrasher won two years ago by nearly 300 votes and the Democrats had gained more than 1,000 votes in terms of voter registration.  But as of tonight, Quelland was still leading by more than 600 votes.

The GOP also successfully defended open seats in LD9 (Lesko), LD12 (Montenegro), LD25 (Stevens), LD26 (Williams) and both LD30 seats (Gowan and Antenori), each in spite of Democrat/Union spending in excess of $100,000 per district and in excess of $200,000 in some cases.  The GOP captured a Pinal county seat (Pratt) that had been held by Pete Rios and made numerous other gains in Pinal County that has that county colored purple after more than 100 blue years.  The GOP recaptured a Yuma seat, and conservatives all over the state are celebrating Al Melvin’s apparent victory in LD26, capturing an 18th State Senate seat for Republicans.

Some of these races are especially significant.  In LD12, Steve Montenegro is a conservative Hispanic Republican, possibly the first such candidate ever elected to the State Legislature.  Democrats, likely recognizing the threat that a competent ambassador into that community would pose, spent heavily, even running a party-switching pro-life Republican in an effort to woo voters.  Credit goes to Montenegro and his running-mate State Representative Jerry Weiers for running a hard and professional race.  Additional credit has to go to LD12’s new State Senator John Nelson who set a good example of politics as a team sport. He had worked to elect Weiers and Montenegro’s opponent in the House primary, but teamed up with the Republicans who won and helped the team to victory.

In LD25, most Republicans had given up on holding the Jennifer Burns seat, and the Democrats were very confident of recapturing it.  What they did not count on was a very strong campaign turned in by David Stevens’ campaign team, led by Gail Griffin.  Stevens himself was in Kuwait for most of the campaign, working in support of our troops in Iraq.  For some strange reason, the Democrats decided to attack him for his absence, and that certainly backfired on them.

In LD26, Vic Williams represents an improvement over Pete Hershberger, but then again, who wouldn’t?  It remains to be seen how conservative Williams will be and early reviews are decidedly mixed.  But GOP sources in Southern Arizona report that Williams was largely a team player during the campaign and they expect much the same from him at the Legislature.  That, in itself, is already a huge improvement over Hershberger.

But the greatest difference is Al Melvin’s election to the State Senate.  Melvin is not yet claiming victory because his lead is just over 1,300 votes and there are plenty of votes left to count, but three days of counting have done little to dent his lead and his victory seems pretty solid.  Melvin is a terrific blend of myriad backgrounds.  A conservative Republican, Melvin is a veteran, a successful businessman, and a teacher.  Three groups that represent critical portions of the electorate.  While local media bemoan what they perceive as a “loss of influence” for Southern Arizona with the political passing of Pete Hershberger, the reality is that Hershberger got scraps from the Governor’s table in exchange for selling out his own caucus.  Melvin will deliver a far better product for his district by working with the majority rather than against it.  When you combine his election with Steve Pierce knocking out Tom O’Halleran in LD1, Republicans in the State Senate can no longer be held hostage by RINO Carolyn Allen, who now faces her final two years in the Arizona Legislature as an afterthought.

Finally, in LD30, Marian McClure reached term limits and ended up in last place in the ACC race, while LD30 voters upgraded to Frank Antenori and David Gowan, two solid, platform-Republicans, who withstood more than $200,000 in Democrat expenditures to hold these seats.  Gowan and Antenori, teaming up with new State Senator Jonathan Paton, will finally give Southern Arizona a delegation that can give the rest of the LDs a real race for the crown for ratings from taxpayer groups.  You hear that LD4?  Southern Arizona is coming to get you!  Who would have thought we would ever get to say that?

The night’s big losers?  Napolitano’s election team, the media establishment, the teachers unions, the firefighters unions, and GOP consultant Nathan Sproul.  Napolitano’s team had a horrible year in both the primaries and general and spent a fortune, with nothing to show for it.  Membership in the unions, especially the firefighters, need to seriously rethink their bosses decisions to make their respective unions wholly –owned subsidiaries of the Democrat Party.  The police unions play both sides and never know the political Siberia that the firefighters are about to find themselves in.  When you go “all in” and spend hundreds of thousands of dollars to try and convince the voters that the Republicans wants kids to die, you better hope you win.  They didn’t win, and the bill will come due.  And Sproul also spent a fortune, albeit not his own, and also ended up with nothing to show for it.  Voters rejected his candidates in the primaries, Tim Bee in the general (although we get conflicting reports on how involved he was there and whether or not his influence was curtailed earlier in the campaign), and both the Majority Rules and Stop Illegal Hiring voter initiatives.  Each enjoyed massive financial advantages over the opposition campaigns, yet each was soundly defeated.

Congrats to the winners and a “Job Well Done” to their respective campaigns.  Winning as Republicans in 2008 was not an easy thing to do.  And expanded Republican majorities in a tough year like this one bodes well for 2010 when the glow from Obama’s halo burns less brightly and folks have recovered their senses.

Wishing I Was Wrong

While Arizona Republic writer Dan Nowicki has written a post mortem on the Presidential Election, all he had to do was go back to my February 11th post of this year – “President Barack Obama” and traject to the present.

This fall, Americans will choose between a party divider and a party uniter, old blood vs new blood, aged vs. energy, cynicism vs. inspiration.

Yes, I was one of McCain’s harshest critics from the very beginning but he ultimately won me over because of his historic stature and position on issues critical. And yes, Sarah Palin did indeed energize our base and give many people a reason to vote for John McCain.

But as I said in my earlier post,

Yes, I’ll be voting for the GOP nominee like many of you but I’m afraid our vote won’t be enough to overcome the momentum building among people who believe this is their time especially during times like these.

Ultimately, its a horrific irony that the very government sponsored enterprises (Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae) which Senator McCain warned us about in 2005 dramatically worsened the race for John McCain. Those two Democrat-protected institutions began the domino effect on the economy’s collapse when he had a real shot of winning.