Happy New Years to all our readers!
We now get to make those annual predictions of what we expect to take place on the political scene here in Arizona over the next year. I’ll lead off the post with a handful of my own.
Please feel free to comment on mine and throw a few of your own out for discussion in the comments.
The State Budget will remain in turmoil. Despite supermajorities in both houses by the GOP, Republicans will be divided on where to make appropriate budget cuts. The Arizona Education Association will threaten, bully and manipulate Republicans in swing districts to avoid touching that portion of the budget that funds education (a lot). The Governor will attempt to assuage both sides of the party and the teachers union and other state-funded lobbies leading to more chaos. This will be a classic triangulation maneuver. A schism will likely form between House and Senate leadership over this issue. Senate leadership will have to deal with a handful of education-backed senators who will force a compromise. The legislative session will run long while the agenda will be tumultuous. Watch for the typical fear, loathing and hyperbole from the left and unions.
Immigration will remain a prominent issue but will be forced to take a lower priority on the legislative agenda. Supporters of Birthright Citizenship will be frustrated by the pace of action and will threaten to run a statewide initiative in 2012.
Kyrsten Sinema will rise as the most prominent, vocal, outspoken and appealing leader in the Democratic party. Because she serves in a “safe” district, she will have the luxury to say what’s on her mind and not care what anyone thinks. This will be real drama for the media and political pundits as they run to Kyrsten any time they need a quote. She will be one very busy Democrat.
Mitt Romney will be the first to form a presidential team in the State of Arizona. Based with east valley leadership, Romney will make several trips to Arizona setting up the most formidable and well organized campaigns in the State of Arizona. Other presidential campaign teams will struggle to gain a foothold in the State. Palin will decide against a run.
The new 9th Congressional District will be formed in the east side of the state. It will take in the east valley as it’s primary population base and will cut all the way across to the eastern border with New Mexico. CD-1 will have it’s lower eastern section lopped off and Pinal County will form a major part of the district. CD-7 will lose a section of the west valley. CD-6 will consolidate further north and may edge into CD-5. CD-4 will become more concentrated to the Central Phoenix area.
The race for CD-9 will see several east valley names jump in. Among those: Jeff Smith, Chuck Gray, Paul Babeu, and Bryan Martyn. Kirk Adams will entertain the possibility but will be a hold out based on where the lines are drawn and the outcome of the State Budget crisis.
The GOP Congressional delegation will hold strong to the principles they were elected. However, frustration will mount over the slow-pace and resistance found in the Senate. The challenge to the House-controlled GOP will be to stay focused on passing legislation and not attacking President Obama.
Rob Haney will win another term as Maricopa County Chairman. Bruce Ash will be the next Arizona Republican Party Chairman. Democrats will continue to flounder over who is really running their party.
The Arizona TEA Party movement will finally realize it needs to fully inject itself into the GOP party process if it wants to impact election outcomes.
One more. The Arizona Legislature will explore avenues to tax medicinal marijuana thus creating an inherent interest in keeping it around forever.
Now it’s your turn…