Field not fully cleared in CD-8.

     Before yesterday I would have given a slight edge to Gabrielle Giffords in the upcoming race for CD-8 between her and Tim Bee. Then someone sent this tidball08 link to me. CD-8 is not dominated by either party although Republicans hold a slight plurality in registration. The number or registered and Independents and No Party is almost as large as the quantity of registered Democrats. (See the Secretary of State’s web site for the latest numbers.)

     Tim Bee and his allies did an excellent job of clearing the field in the Republican primary. Likewise Giffords does not face any known opposition in her primary. What I have not heard about up to this point is a credible Independent candidate and Derek Tidball may be that candidate. According to his campaign site Tidball is veteran of the 101st Airborne and served in Afghanistan (neither Bee or Giffords have served in the armed forces.)

     The big question is how does Tidball’s candidacy affect the other candidates. Just the fact that he is an Independent should give Giffords hart burn, since she has to make up her deficit in party registration by attracting a majority of the Independents.

     Bee is generally popular within the party and should have a solid lock on party faithful, social conservatives, and the pro-gun crowd. Giffords has not been antagonistic toward the NRA crowd but with a Clinton, Obama, or Edwards set to be at the top of the Democratic ticket look for the NRA to be out in full force and the A-rated Bee will benefit from the mobilization of that voting block. Bee has not yet secured the fiscal conservative wing of the party but we hear talk that he is courting that wing of the party. The small but rabid anti-Sproul faction of the party (Google Tim Bee Nathan Sproul) is not amused but they are not likely to defect to Giffords or Tidball. Few if any of Bee’s core voters will be attracted to Tidball’s message on the issues.

     Giffords will still own the Democratic base, has received buckets of money from the usually lobbyist sources that donate to incumbents (often of both parties,) and major funding the abortion crowd at Emily’s List. The question is will her voice be heard on the issue of the war in Iraq against the backdrop of a military veteran who served in Iraq? Our thinking at this time is that Tidball could take away some of the anti-war vote from Giffords (certainly among the less partisan Independents.)

Tidball lists 6 issues on his web page. Here in the order listed on his site is our take on how each issue breaks.

Iraq – His background and position take votes away from Giffords.

Immigration – Tidball does not take a strong stand either way. This is not a signature issue for Bee or Giffords so we are inclined to list it as a wash at this time.

Energy Independence – Just the title and framing of this topic are made for Democrats. We expect that Tidball’s support for alternative sources of energy will take voters from Giffords (She made an issue of alternative energy in her last campaign.)

The Economy – Tidball sounds like a fiscal conservative on this issue. Bee is vulnerable within the party on the issue of taxes and Giffords has been weak on earmark reforms so we think Tidball takes away from both Bee and Giffords on this one.

Education – Democrats generally win by just talking about this issue but Bee come from a family of educations and has a good reputation on supporting schools. Voter who know Bee will stick with him on this issue. The question is does Tidball pull away Giffords voters who care about this issue. Probably not. We rate this one a wash.

Health Care – Tidball sounds fairly Republican on this issue but since it was not a major voting block for Bee we are not sure if effects the race much. Very slight negative for Bee.

     Overall we find the Tidball candidacy a threat to Giffords. She must capture a large chunk on the Independents vote to which Tidball will appeal and Tim Bee is much less fractious than the last Republican that she faced. (She cannot count on Jim Click bankrolling the demonization of her opposition this time.) And get this, Tidball in not in the exploratory phase. He IS a candidate! We also look forward to how the “Independent” Matt over at SED will deal with Tidball. Matt fawns over Giffords but Tidball is tailor made for his outlook on the issues. Best of luck Derek and we look forward to covering your campaign extensively.


  1. So I “fawn” over Giffords?

    Hmmm. Well, I visited Tidball’s site and you are correct in surmising I would like his message. I do. What is curiously absent from his Web site, and I will spare the reader the “webmaster” remarks (he has plenty of time to refine the site) is a biography. Who is this guy?

    What is his education, background, etc? I get he served in the military, which is a plus for CD-8, but what does this guy know?

    I sent him an email requesting info.

    Fawning or not, I still think Giffords will win pending more data. First, he has to get signatures, the easy part. Then he has to get money.

  2. Romo Lampkin says

    x4mr is right–without money, Tidball won’t even register on Election Day. Independent candidate tend to do badly whenever a real race is at state. Look at how badly David Nolan, father of the Libertarian Party, did in CD8 last time–not much better than political unknown Jay Quick.

  3. If only someone of substance and ability would challenge Grijalva in CD 7… a conservative that is.

    Drake kicked off his run saying he felt slighted that the Congressman had not given then Mayor Drake’s city of Avondale sufficient respect. Hardly a message that resonates with the entire district and certainly not enough to carry a campaign.

    I know the numbers represent what is almost a walk for D’s, but a pass year after year….?

  4. Oro Valley Dad says

    Matt and Romo,

    I think you are confusing winning the race with throwing it to the other candidate. If Tidball wanted to have any chance of winning he would certainly need to raise millions. On the other hand if he just wants to take the wind out of Gabrielle’s sails when she talks about Iraq all Derek needs to do is get his signatures and get in a debate with the other two candidates. My guess is that Giffords will do everything in her power not to get stuck on stage with Tidball. Bee was never going to play the war/Iraq card like Giffords wanted to. Even if her perennial fiancé fought in Desert Storm why not go with the real thing in Tidball.

    I watched Nolan and Quick in person at a candidate forum. Nolan presented his message well but had few voters in his party. Quick had more Independents to speak to but did not present himself or his message very well. Check out the numbers for Libertarian vs. Independent (no party.) Clearly not that many people are drawn to the Libertarian Party. If Tidball can speak in a convincing and compelling manner Gabrielle has a real problem.

  5. Just depends on who he takes votes away from. Takes votes from Gabby, fine. Takes votes away from Tim and it’s two more years of Pelosi Politics in AZ CD8. I like the simple match-up of Gabby vs Tim. That’s a “for or against Pelosi” vote. Keep an eye on who is providing more encouragement and donations to this guy. By the time you get mailers from the DCCC on Tidball’s behalf it will be too late.

    Grijalva has already begun grooming Glassman, wheeling another “Trojan Moderate Democrat” into City Hall. If he wins on Tuesday, he gets sworn in, then the liberal freak-show action pops out of the moderate shell with a plan for going to congress. Just like the “Trojan Moderate Democrat” Giffords. Next thing you know, the mask comes off and it’s support for labor unions, holding funding for the troops hostage for political games, tax increases, the whole liberal “Wacko-Matic (TM)” circus.

  6. …and if you want a good example of hypocricy we’d like to avoid…note Gabby’s election night “victory” speech…”When it comes to our Veterans, and the promises we have made to them, CHANGE CAN’T WAIT!”. That’s a quote. It was recently reported on AZ 8th blog that the Wounded Warrior Bill was supposed to pass by Memorial Day (of 2007, that is)…here it is, November 4th. She’s even on the House Armed Services Committee. So, apparently, for Gabby, on some things, change MUST wait.

    I don’t know how this Independent candidate will appeal to Gabby supporters who think that appeasement of terrorists is the way to make the world safer and who don’t have any problem waiting six months for her to effect improvement in support for war veterans but I’m guessing the message of a war veteran is not going to resonate terribly well with most Giffords supporters, who deep down view the war as a mistake that should be ended.

  7. Romo Lampkin says

    OV Dad: Independent voters don’t tend to vote for candidates that are “independents.” They tend to vote for either the Democrat or Republican. (They’re breaking toward Democrats these days.) Most people will not see any debates and the lazy media will ignore him, so if you think he’ll have a significant impact on the race, you’ve become politically delusional. Given where things stand, I can understand why you would want engage in wishful thinking.

  8. Derek replied to my email and I’ve posted information about him at my place.

    I require more information before being able to address which candidate he hurts.

    He already occurs as stronger than Quick.

  9. Derek Tidball is an amateur at best. He is clearly a Republican who wanted to run, but knew that a primary race against Bee would be hopeless. So he decides he’d run as an independent so that he could at least compete in the general election and be heard.

    Someone needs to consult him on election laws. He has registered his campaign at the Fort? No-no. Is he a registered Republican, running as an independent? No-no.

  10. Honestly, what does Tidball hope to accomplish by running as an Independent? I’m a registered IND and I don’t plan on voting for him. I’m leaning towards Tim Bee because he looks better than Giffords, and not to mention the fact that he actually has a chance to um…WIN!

  11. I think some people may be missing the point. Who is the best candidate for this district? Derek Tidball. He is a perfect fit. Who is getting it done in Congress right now? Is it the Republicans or the Democrats? Most of what we are seeing right now are party politics and an unwillingness to cross party lines because the reps we have fear losing party support. We absolutely need someone from our district who is not afraid to go to both sides for the betterment of our district. Tidball appears to be willing to do that. Obviously we may be getting ahead of ourselves because it is still early. But that’s just it. It’s early. Tidball is already making some good ground and with approval ratings of our Congress being dismal at best, ’08 will be a perfect year for a succesful Independent. If you visit his website,, you will see that he is not a cookie-cutter Republican as James insinuates. Tidball is a realist and a citizen’s candidate. Obviously I’m a believer. As a veteran and registered Independent he has my support.

  12. Great stuff. Nice to read some well written posts that have some relevancy !

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