I do not usually attend Democrat Clean Elections debates by I could not resist the 7 primary candidate LD 29 gathering on July 17th. I was a little disappointed to find one of them, Anthony Guerra, absent but that still meant 6 Democrats on the stage.
The six who did attend were Eric Carbajal Bustamante, Ephraim Cruz, Matt Heinz, Daniel Patterson, Patricia Puig, and incumbent Tom Prezelski. I am not sure what motivated 6 people to run for 1 open seat and I do not know how many of the candidates would just as soon replace Prezelski as take the open seat. It certainly does indicate for all of its recent success the Democrat Party is not organized enough to groom or recruit just enough candidates for the one open slot. This can often be seen in districts with a heavy registrations edge and is happening with the Republicans on a smaller scale in nearby district 30.
Bustamante was the first to speak. He came across as a bit young and less practiced. Next was Cruz. He spoke well and made sure to mention his military and law enforcement experience. Next was Matt Heinz, M.D. Heinz naturally made heath care one of his main issues. Patterson was well prepared and mentioned his union endorsements. Puig seemed to wander a bit in her remarks and mentioned “animal cruelty” and one of her issues. I always think a For or Against should be added when a candidate lists an issue like that. “I am running because of education, health care, and animal cruelty” sounds a bit strange. Prezelski looked bored out of his mind and a bit contemptuous of the whole thing but always perked up when it was his turn to speak. His experience showed and he sounded knowledgeable on the issues. He made sure to mention, a few times, that he lives in Bario Viejo. For more details about the evening visit Scramblewatch ’08.
The real reason I covered the debate is because there is a very interesting Republican candidate running this year in LD 29, Juan Ciscomani. We wrote about his campaign in early July. My two favorite Democrats for Juan to face would be Heinz and Patterson but that is not a prediction. My guess would be that Prezelski makes it back in with maybe Patterson as the second nominee for the Democrats. Ciscomani had a team in the audience diligently taking notes. Pat Kilburn, the other Republican running for LD 29 House, was at the debate but did not seem as intent on taking written notes.
Once more we find the Dems driving some awfully large vehicles. Here is a photo of the official F-250 Owners for Patterson truck.
If you are trying to keep track of the LD 29 candidates Arizona Politics has a full list of the field.