All the King’s horses and all the King’s men.

HumptyDumpty.jpg     In the race for the open seat in CD 8 Steve Huffman was the anointed one from very early on. The money flowed as Jim Click, Don Diamond, and Bill Arnold did their thing. He received the blessing of an 11-term incumbent. Two months after entering the race he had already raised $239,659. The next quarter was even better at $268,079. No other Republican even came close to the numbers. Steve had an eight-year record serving in a Republican strong-hold crucial to victory in the primary. So he had it made right?

     Not quite. What happened? It is hard to point to one exact event. First thing is Steve’s record. His is politely described as a moderate. With Al Melvin whipping up the conservatives in LD 26 the bounty on RINOs was set pretty high. Steve lost in his home district before he announced. He had no chance with the legions of social conservative volunteers walking door-to-door in the summer heat of NW Tucson. (I hope Steve was not planning on winning by taking Cochise County or Green Valley.)

     Second, Steve apparently is a horrible campaigner. He does not warm up to people or make much effort to connect one-on-one with voters. He missed several candidate forums, including the well-attended event minutes from his home. Perhaps the years of running with little to no opposition in LD 26 caused him to go soft.  

     Third, he came out with some very poor TV ads. His first intro piece was fine. The now infamous flashlight border ad was a colossal waste of money. His third hit-piece on Graf did little more than motivate Randy’s people to work even harder. His mailings were equally pathetic. The problem is attack pieces have to hit effectively or they just ricochet off the intended target. The amazing part was that Huffman tried to sell himself as a conservative. He did not win over or fool the conservatives and did not motivate the moderates with this line. He seemed schizophrenic.  

     Fourth, it never helps when your campaign treasurer is running a peeping-tom web site against a well-connected sitting state senator.  

     There are other reasons. Maybe the most important is that Steve squandered his eight years in office by making more enemies than friends. This all adds up to a flawed candidate and some of the worst is yet to come for Steve. Poor Huffman, he has had a great fall and not even Kolbe, Click, Diamond, Arnold, Cox-Golder, or Judi can put him back together again. 

 

As a footnote Steve never seemed to have a presence or supporters in the blogosphere. I do not want to seem self-serving by over stating the importance of blogs but hey it can’t hurt to have a few supporters sticking up for you once and a while. His one admitted fan in the blogosphere seemed happy to document the meltdown of the campaign.


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