Sen. Rich Crandall – Coward or “Practical”

After the new legislative district lines came out a few months ago, there was much speculation (and anticipation), about the potential AZ Senate matchup between would-be comeback kid Russell Pearce and his top Senate Republican nemisis Rich Crandall.  The consensus pointed to Crandall getting crushed by Pearce.

After all, in 2010 Crandall lost over 40% of the vote to newbie challenger James Molina, even though Molina dropped out of the race almost a month before early ballots.  Even a charitable view of this outcome points to a 20%+ protest vote against Crandall – a HUGE number for a relatively low profile state legislative race.

Fast forward to March.  First, Crandall announced he was retiring and endorsed wealthy LDS RINO Bob Worsley against Pearce.  Then soon after, Crandall filed run in the new LD16 against freshman Rep. John Fillmore.  Crandall will have to move to run in LD16, which he justifies by noting his kids go to school there.  He’s been drafted to run, you see, because the state would be unable to sustain itself without the benefit of his insight on education.

The truth is somewhat less flattering for him.  First, the Elites, who Crandall loves to consider himself a leader among, threw him under the bus because they knew he’d lose to Pearce.  He tried to make it look like his idea so it wouldn’t be so obvious.  But since he wants a position in a national educrat organization that requires that he be a sitting legislator to be eligible, he decided to carpetbag over to LD16, where he would avoid facing Pearce.

All Arizona conservatives should hope that the voters of LD16 who aren’t as familiar with Crandall as his abandoned district will see through his conservative facade and recognize the coward that is underneath.

Preschool on the 9th Floor

So yesterday Gov. Brewer threatened to veto all non-budget bills that aren’t already on her desk – no matter what.  “The governor has indicated to leadership that, outside of the bills that are on her desk now, she won’t sign any more bills until there’s a budget,” Brewer spokesman Matthew Benson said.

Anyone who pays attention to the AZ Capitol scene knows well her propensity to act like a four-year-old when she doesn’t get her way.  However, her newest negotiation tactic seems particularly reckless.

A few conservative members have suggested responding to her threat by immediately sending up HB2721, the CPS reform bill.  This approach is especially tempting since the bill is the bi-partisan consensus result of her own highly-publicized CPS Task Force from last fall.  She’d either cave and sign it, which would look weak, or veto it, which would look as childish…well, as her threat was.

The conservatives are trying to budget for the long term by keeping the state from having another budget meltdown in a couple of years.  Brewer wants to spend MORE than the Democrats.  Since she’ll be on her way out by then, she doesn’t really care much whether she leaves a funding cliff for the next administration.  For some reason, she wants applause from the K-12 and welfare spending lobbies.  She still hasn’t learned that no amount will ever be enough for the spenders.

If this is how she negotiates with her “friends”, it’s a wonder she ever accomplished anything as a legislator.

Tobin in the “Hot” Seat

There is growing chatter around the state capitol that House Speaker Andy Tobin is walking a thin line with his caucus and might have a tough time keeping the Speaker’s chair if he chooses not to run for Congress.  Many members feel he has gone overboard in playing favorites with members’ bills and has kept them from voting on bills they want to vote for.

One prime example is the union bills, dealing with “paycheck protection” and so-called “release time.”  Many members have constituents telling them that it’s ridiculous that a Republican super majority doesn’t have the backbone to reign in the public employee unions, especially when they’re doing union work on taxpayer time.

If (well, WHEN) public empoloyee unions spend money against Republicans in this years’ elections, especially in the more closely contested new districts, majority House members will wonder why their Speaker didn’t have their back.  Once they have lost confidence in their leader, and lost a few of their colleagues, they’ll be looking for a new leader.

Tick tock, Mr. Speaker…you’re running out of time.