TJ Shope, Frank Pratt Named 2017 Legislative Champions by League of Arizona Cities and Towns

STATE CAPITOL, PHOENIX – House Speaker Pro Tempore T.J. Shope (R-8) and Senator Frank Pratt (R-8) last week were named 2017 Legislative Champions by the League of Arizona Cities and Towns.

The Legislative Champions award is given to legislators to honor their outstanding public service and dedication to local governance.

“I am honored to be named a 2017 Legislative Champion by the League of Arizona Cities and Towns,” said Speaker Pro Tempore Shope. “Our work together ensures that communities across the state continue to grow into better places to live, work, and play.

“I am thrilled to be honored by the League of Arizona Cities and Towns,” said Senator Pratt. “Their dedication to support city and local leadership at the legislature is an asset to our state.

The League of Arizona Cities and Towns is a membership-based organization comprised of municipalities throughout Arizona and provides a bridge from local cities and towns to the state legislature.

Shope Pratt

TJ Shope & Frank Pratt

Poll: Jeff Flake in Double Jeopardy

High Ground

US Senator Jeff Flake in Double Electoral Jeopardy Twelve Months Away from Primary Election

Republican Party Divided – Provides Opening for Democrats

PHOENIX (August 22, 2017) — A statewide Arizona survey of 400 likely Arizona 2018 General Election voters shows Republican incumbent Senator Jeff Flake twelve points behind his primary Republican opponent Kelli Ward and eight points behind prospective Democratic opponent U.S. Congresswoman Kyrsten Sinema (D, AZ-9).

Q.        If the primary election for United States Senate were held today, would you vote for [Rotate] Jeff Flake or Kelli Ward?

28.2%  Jeff Flake
42.5%  Kelli Ward
5.1%    Some other candidate
24.2%  Don’t know, Refused

Q.        If the General Election for United States Senate were held today, would you vote for [Rotate] Jeff Flake or Kyrsten Sinema?

32.5%  Jeff Flake
40.5%  Kyrsten Sinema
27.0%  Don’t know, Refused

The Republican Primary Election sample was of 273 high efficacy Republican and PND/Independent voters and has a margin of error of ±5.93%.  The General Election sample of 400 high efficacy general election voters has a margin of error of ±4.88%.

Jeff Flake

Senator Jeff Flake

“While Election Day may still be more than a year away, Senator Jeff Flake’s campaign has a lot of work to do to persuade Republican primary voters that his form of principled Republican conservatism can trump the nativist populism that is fueling Republican voters’ antipathy towards Washington insiders.  These same Republicans still give the President a 74% approval rating in Arizona,” said Chuck Coughlin, President & CEO of HighGround Public Affairs, which conducted the poll.

“The good news for Senator Flake’s campaign is that the election is still a year away and his campaign has the financial support to more clearly articulate his own views and define his opponent’s positions.  Additionally, efforts to pass tax reform, infrastructure investment and other major policy initiatives could substantially change the electoral environment in Arizona,” said Coughlin.

The survey showed that Congresswoman Sinema is not known by 45% of the electorate in Arizona while Ward was beaten by nearly 100,000 votes in her primary election against Senator John McCain in 2016.

Coughlin continued, “Kelli Ward may not be well-known in light of her campaign against Senator McCain in 2016.  But even tacit support from the President, with subsequent staffing and financial resources, would be a huge boost for her chances.”

Additionally, General Election turnout in off-Presidential Cycle races in Arizona shows that Republicans historically have a twelve-point turnout advantage, which steepens the climb for any Democratic contender.

“The data clearly shows that a contentious primary fight would certainly strengthen the chances of the Democrats to pick up the seat in November of next year.  There is an opportunity for Congresswoman Sinema to take advantage of the uncertainty on the Republican side by jumping into the Senate race,” Coughlin remarked. “The question for the General Election comes down to if Congresswoman Sinema will be able to define herself first to an electorate that is largely unfamiliar with her, or if Republican third-party groups can define her in ways unacceptable to Arizona’s General Electorate.”

The survey showed that Sinema enjoys a 51% approval rating among voters in her Congressional district which is largely within the cities of Phoenix and Tempe, which are more progressive, urban areas of the State.

Although a 14-point margin is a sizeable gap for Senator Flake, Arizona is known for its volatility when it comes to statewide races. Politicos such as Governors Fife Symington and Jan Brewer have been able to successfully rally from greater margins in shorter periods of time.

Coughlin stated, “It may look dire now, but we must remember a poll is a snapshot in time.”

“Even today, the Senate Leadership Fund (SLF) began to remind voters that Kelli Ward is not a serious thinker when it comes to the issues confronting our country.  I would expect third-party groups like the SLF and dark money groups like Americans for Prosperity and Club for Growth to come to the Senator’s aid and tout his conservative credentials,” concluded Coughlin. “The Senator is in for the fight of his life and things will only get more difficult if the President Trump continues to pick intraparty fights.”

The audience tested in the statewide live caller survey was set to reflect the 2018 General Election in Arizona.

About the Survey

The poll surveyed 400 likely Arizona 2018 general election voters who have a history of electoral participation and was balanced to model the likely turnout of voters across party, age, region, and gender.  The live interview survey of voters was conducted by HighGround Public Affairs to both landline and cell phone users.  Anticipated turnout for the Arizona 2018 General Election has a partisan gap of Republican +12%.

Next, please tell me if you approve or disapprove of the job the following persons or groups are doing:

Q.        If the primary election for United States Senate were held today, would you vote for [Rotate] Jeff Flake or Kelli Ward?
[N = 273]

28.2%  Jeff Flake
42.5%  Kelli Ward
5.1%    Some other candidate
24.2%  Don’t know, Refused

Q.        If the General Election for United States Senate were held today, would you vote for [Rotate] Jeff Flake or Kyrsten Sinema?

32.5%  Jeff Flake
40.5%  Kyrsten Sinema
27.0%  Don’t know, Refused

Q.        If the General Election for United States Senate were held today, would you vote for [Rotate] Kelli Ward or Kyrsten Sinema?

30.5%  Kelli Ward
31.8%  Kyrsten Sinema
37.8%  Don’t know, Refused

The survey was conducted on August 18-19th and the margin of error of the survey is ±4.88% with 95% confidence.  The HighGround team has built a reputation of reliable and accurate polling over the past ten years – our research has been featured on Nate Silver’s 538, Real Clear Politics, Huffington Post, and many other publications. Last year, HighGround “nailed” the Prop 123 election results within 0.2% of the outcome prior to the May 2016 Special election. Clients and surveys conducted by HighGround include League of Arizona Cities and Towns, Professional Fire Fighters of Arizona, Restoring Arizona, Arizona Hospital and Health Care Association, Education Health and Safety Coalition, local school districts, and various candidate campaigns.  Visit our website to learn more about HighGround’s polling experience.

Survey Demographics

Age Group:

10.8%    20 to 29
15.3%    30 to 39
19.7%    40 to 49
29.5%    50 to 64
24.7%    65 Plus

Sex:

48.0%    Male
52.0%    Female

Party:

44.2%    Republican
31.8%    Democrat
15.0%    PND
9.0%      Independent/Other

Congressional District:

11.0%    CD1
14.3%    CD2
7.0%      CD3
11.0%    CD4
12.3%    CD5
13.7%    CD6
6.0%      CD7
13.0%    CD8
11.7%    CD9

I Was Wrong About The Election Of Donald Trump

Trump Victory

First, I must say I am very relieved that Donald Trump beat Hillary Clinton. There certainly is a delicious pleasure in that victory.

Now, let me get the mea culpa out of the way.

Like many of my colleagues in the professional political consulting class, I was wrong about the election of Donald Trump.

Nearly every polls showed him losing – the pollsters were wrong.

Every time Donald Trump spoke, he polarized and divided groups of individuals. The public relations professionals were wrong.

Nearly every longtime Republican and conservative leader said he couldn’t win using his strategy. They were wrong.

I repeatedly said he needed to learn from the lessons of 2012 when it comes to millennials, women and minority groups and affirm their libertarian and conservative values. The leader of the Grand Old Party needs to pursue a mathematical strategy of addition and multiplication rather than subtraction and division if they want to grow the party. Apparently, there was some “new math” at work in this election.

During the last days of the election, I believed it came down which demographic groups would turn out for Donald Trump. Would women, Latinos and millennials overcome the intensity of angry, aging, white, blue-collar Americans? Donald Trump obviously heard the voices of the latter and hit a nerve.

Donald Trump managed to pull off one of the biggest political shocks in American electoral history and we, the political consulting class were wrong.

But while we may remain wrong on why Donald Trump got elected as our 45th President, we may very well be right about our earlier concerns.

Donald Trump has “caught the bus” and must now grasp the sobering reality of governance.

He must now surround himself with individuals who will help him with the gargantuan task of running the country. Those individuals will most likely come from the establishment. Newt Gingrich, Rudy Giuliani, Jeff Sessions, Chris Christie – all longtime Washington insiders and dare I note, members of the very “Establishment” class Donald Trump publicly excoriated. Will Trump’s die-hard supporters give him a pass over these selections? (Queue up “You Can’t Always Get What You Want.)

There are also the thousands of executive staff Trump will need to replace. Will he pull from the thousands of individuals with Washington experience who work as lobbyists, hill staffers and interest groups to fill those positions? Or will he bring in new blood from the heartland? I believe the former. Do you see where I’m going with this?

If President Trump truly wants to be successful, he needs experienced talent and there’s really only one pool to pull talented individuals – the establishment.

Candidate Donald Trump promised an agenda to make America great again during the campaign. Can President Donald Trump deliver on those promises? I believe he’s going to find it harder than he expected.

Do we really believe President Trump will be able to build an impenetrable wall along the southern border and make Mexico pay for it? Will President Trump sign an executive order banning all Muslims from entering the country? Can we expect President Trump to tear up NAFTA in one swift move?

His establishment cabinet and advisers are about to tell him just how hard governing really is.

The reality is President Trump has nothing to fear from the political left. He’s survived that battle and won. The real threat to a Trump administration is from those who wanted to burn Washington down. We’re about to find out how assimilated Donald Trump will become to the swamp he wants to drain.

Ted Cruz may prove right about Donald Trump’s northeastern values and mid-westerners may not be happy.

There is much to be hopeful and excited about however.

Republicans now control Washington, DC. Let me say that again. Republicans now control the Executive and Legislative branches of government. This is huge!

President Trump and the Republican Congress have a critical time frame to accomplish as much as possible and that starts with securing as much of the Judicial branch of government as possible.

The first 100 days of a Trump Administration means cleaning up the mess from the last eight and even 16 years. The Republican congress finally has a President who will not veto a repeal of the Affordable Care Act. They need to drop that bill on Day 1.

President Trump has other monumental tasks that he can single-handily accomplish: rescinding the hundreds of executive orders of Barack Obama; tearing up the Iran Deal; changing leadership and overhauling the VA; reigning in the powers of the many regulatory agencies, and restoring morale among the men and women of our military branches. It’s a lot to do and he should not meet any resistance from a Republican Congress. In this area, he not only needs to be assertive. President Trump needs to be aggressive.

Getting the “relatively easy” tasks done quickly will allow President Trump to focus on his more long-term and ongoing agenda such as restoring the courts; protecting religious freedom; repealing Dodd-Frank; reorienting energy policy; rebuilding the military; reforming immigration; improving national infrastructure and improving international trade relations.

Finally, President Trump needs to avoid picking fights with Congress over politics. There is no time to waste on grudges or personality conflicts. The American people want major action and no drama. These types of antics will only send the GOP down a box canyon where they will be massacred in the 2018 mid-term elections.

While I was wrong about the election of Donald Trump, I hope I’m not wrong about President Trump. Like many movement conservatives, I will remain steadfast on principles and policy and speak up when I believe his administration is wrong.

Donald Trump deserves our congratulations, prayers and well-wishes. He has been chosen to carry out the single-most powerful job in the world and we must support him as the leader of the free world.

Congratulations President-Elect Donald Trump.