Most Recent Arizona Gubernatorial Ads

Here are the most recent gubernatorial ads for your review and comment. Note, production and airing for these ads is being paid for by money raised from donors, money from the candidate’s own pocket or from Arizona taxpayers through the Clean Elections system. Can you tell which?

Andrew Thomas – July 17, 2014

Ken Bennett – July 16, 2014
http://youtu.be/-0x6b3jL1eI

Christine Jones – July 15, 2014

Scott Smith – July 15, 2014

Frank Riggs – July 15, 2014

Doug Ducey – July 8, 2014

Fred DuVal – April 17, 2014

Let us know what you think!

Hear 5-Minute Stump Speeches from 29 Arizona GOP Candidates!

uvs140316-001Here’s a chance to see and hear from no less than 29 Arizona elected-office candidates, all in one place. It’s like speed-dating for politicians(!).

On March 15, 2014, the Sun City West Republican club sponsored a well-run Candidates Forum in which each candidate packed all he/she could in a 5-minute appeal to Arizona voters.

The full article and videos are at this link.  You can hear them all or use time sliders to pick the candidates of your choice. Included, in order of appearance, are:

Michael Jeanes, candidate, Arizona Clerk of Courts
Sandra Dowling, candidate, Maricopa County Board of Supervisors
Clint Hickman, candidate, Maricopa County Board of Supervisors
Elbert Bicknell, candidate, Maricopy Country Health Care District #4
Jean McGrath, candidate, Marcopa County Community College District #4
John Heep, candidate, Marcopa County Community College District #4
Bonnie Katz, candidate, Arizona Corporation Commission
Lucy Mason, candidate, Arizona Corporation Commission
Diane Douglas, candidate, AZ Superintendent of Public Instruction
Jeff Dewit, candidate, Arizona State Treasurer
Randy Pullen, candidate, Arizona State Treasurer
David Livingston, candidate, AZ Representative LD22
Phil Lovas, candidate, AZ Representative LD22

Judy Burges, candidate, AZ Senate LD22
Clair Van Steenwyk,
candidate, US House of Representatives
Trent Franks,
candidate, US House of Representatives
Tom Forese,
candidate, Arizona Corporation Commission
Mark Brnovich,
candidate, AZ Attorney General
Tom Horne,
candidate, AZ Attorney General
Michele Reagan,
candidate, AZ Secretary of State
Justin Pierce,
candidate, AZ Secretary of State
Christine Jones,
candidate, AZ Governor
Al Melivn,
candidate, AZ Governor
Alice Lukasik,
candidate, AZ Governor
John Molina,
candiate, AZ Governor
Frank Riggs,
candidate, AZ Governor
Scott Smith,
candidate, AZ Governor

For the full article, click here.

Draft Ken Bennett for Arizona Corporation Commission Kicks Off

(Mesa, AZ) – Alan Heywood announced that he is heading up an effort to draft current Secretary of State Ken Bennett to run for the office of Arizona Corporation Commissioner.  Heywood stated: “Ken Bennett is one of the most effective leaders in the history of Arizona.  He had a stellar career in the legislature and was an excellent Senate President.  Bennett also answered the call from Governor Brewer to fill the vacancy as Secretary of State when she was appointed Governor.  Bennett then ran for a second term as Secretary of State, and was elected by an overwhelming number of Arizona voters.”  Heywood went on to say, “Ken has been considering a run for Governor and there is no question that he would make a fine Governor.  However, the Corporation Commission is critically important to the people of Arizona. Commissioners set the price we pay for gas, water, and electricity, and they determine what forms of energy generation will be used.”

“There are many significant decisions that must be made over the next several years concerning energy policy in Arizona. We must elect highly qualified individuals that have extraordinary abilities to make decisions on very difficult and complex energy issues.  Ken Bennett is one of the few in our state that has the background, experience, knowledge and ability to serve in this capacity.  It is hard to imagine that there is a more important office to the people of Arizona during the next several years than that of Corporation Commissioner.”

A webpage has been set up where individuals and/or organizations can register their support to draft Ken Bennett to run for the Arizona Corporation Commission.  It is critical that we let Ken know that he has strong and deep support for his candidacy for this important office.  It is vital that supporters sign up as soon as possible.

Go to: DraftKenBennettForACC.com and tell Secretary Ken Bennett that we need and support him in a run for the Arizona Corporation Commission.

Draft Ken Bennett

 

Handicapping the Arizona Governor’s Race

Arizona PBS’s Horizon just featured a segment featuring ASU pollster Bruce Merrill discussing the current lineup and prospects seeking the office of Governor in 2014. For the most part I agree with Merrill’s assessment on the candidates but I think I’d like to point out some factors that the respected pollster may have overlooked.

First, here’s the interview with Ted Simon:

If I were to break out the GOP gubernatorial race into three tiers, this is what it would look like. (For the purpose of full disclosure, I do not have any of these candidates as clients.)

First Tier:
Arizona State Treasurer Doug Ducey
Mesa Mayor Scott Smith

Second Tier:
Secretary of State Ken Bennett
Christine Jones
Former Tempe Mayor Hugh Hallman

Third Tier:
State Senator Al Melvin
Former Maricopa County Attorney Andrew Thomas

Assessing the first tier of candidates, both Ducey and Smith are extremely formidable candidates with perhaps the best consulting firms/teams in Arizona running their campaigns. I like to refer to this race as a battle between the House of Noble and the House of Coughlin.

DC London is run by former Chief of Staff to Congressman John Shadegg, Sean Noble – one of the most disciplined, organized and well-connected consultants in the business. House of Coughlin is run by Governor Brewer’s closest advisor and strategist, Chuck Coughlin who founded and oversees Arizona’s HighGround firm. As noted, Noble and Coughlin are two of the best Republican consultants in the state of Arizona. Both their firms are ready to lock horns in the governor’s race with teams that will make the Republican primary battle very exciting to watch.

Both Doug Ducey and Scott Smith are also strong leaders in their respective arenas. They know how to campaign effectively and are very good with audiences. They also have the capacity to bring a lot of money to the table for their teams. On the GOP spectrum, Ducey draws out support from the grassroots while Smith tends to identify with the establishment.

At the present, Ducey’s assertiveness for this race has been a little below the radar while Smith’s team has been actively taking advantage of opportunities to boost the mayor’s profile. We saw this recently in Smith’s election as President of the US Conference of Mayors. This makes sense from Smith’s perspective since his profile is highest in the east valley and Ducey has already obtained statewide name recognition.

This race will be very tight as money, leadership style, likability and their respective teams are evenly matched.

Looking at the second tier, I would have to place Secretary of State Ken Bennett at the top of this tier, although he has the chance to bounce into the first tier given an effective campaign team. Bennett has run for statewide office before although he really didn’t have any competition. Anyone who knows Ken Bennett knows him as one of the nicest elected officials they’ve ever met. But his chivalrous soft-spoken demeanor is often seen as a lack of assertiveness. To jump into the first tier, he will need ditch some of the nice-guy persona and get a little more assertive.

Christine Jones’ biggest challenge is that no one knows who she is. Whoever she hires as her team will need to do a lot of catching up making the rounds. If she is counting on raising money from the political establishment, this will be tough because most of the cash is flowing to the upper tier. She will have to put a lot of her own money into the race to boost her profile and prove credibility as a candidate. When I first heard her name mentioned for a statewide office, my suggestion was to see her run for Attorney General because a Christine Jones vs. Felecia Rotellini matchup would keep that seat in the hands of Republicans.

Hugh Hallman also remains in the second tier primarily because of the challenges of statewide name identification and the challenge of fundraising in a crowded field. Hallman is one of the smartest policy guys and that may come off as being too wonky, geeky and not strong enough leadership. He is well liked but running for Governor is not like running for the 8th most populous city in Arizona,

Jumping to the third tier, it’s accurate to say that both Senator Al Melvin and former Maricopa County Attorney Andrew Thomas have no path to victory whatsoever.

Senator Melvin is one of the nicest men you will ever meet but his time in the Arizona Legislature has branded him with the image of the grandfatherly citizen legislator. He has never run for statewide office and the money, energy and team it requires to mount such a campaign is out of reach.

Finally (and this is difficult to write), Andrew Thomas has no chance of winning the nomination short of the entire Arizona judiciary system being indicted for corruption. If Thomas had only remained in the office of County Attorney and successfully beat the judiciary system, he might be invincible. Unfortunately he now has one of the highest political radioactivity levels when it comes to former elected officials. This will doom his campaign.

Having managed a statewide campaign, I will tell you that it is a tremendous amount of work that requires millions of dollars. Money does make the difference in races and candidates who assert themselves early through money, endorsements and profile take the advantage. Watch for this race to be far more exciting than it was in 2010!

 

Shane Wikfors is the creator and editor of Sonoran Alliance and President of Red Mountain Consulting & Development. He has been active in Arizona campaigns, grassroots politics and non-profit issue advocacy for over 23 years. You can read more about him at ShaneWikfors.com.

Republican Gubernatorial Candidates: Who Do You Like?

Ken Bennett: Arizona’s Voter Turnout Rates

Historical Averages Seemingly Indicate High Turnout for 2012 General Election

Watched any TV lately? Opened your mailbox? Answered your phone? Driven to work? Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you likely have noticed it’s election season! I’ve seen so much political advertising over the past few months I’ve started to hear ‘I approve this message’ in my sleep.

We are all aware of the endless series of political commercials, mail pieces and phone calls promoting Candidate X and criticizing Candidate Y. But what impact will these various methods of communication have on voter turnout?

The Grand Canyon State has nearly 5 million eligible voters. About 3.1 million Arizonans are registered to vote and only 28% of those registered participated in the state’s primary election in August. With such dismal turnout in the primary, what should we expect for November’s election?

History seems to indicate a significant increase from the August primary. In years where Arizonans have had the opportunity to cast their ballot for president, we see the highest rate of voter participation. Since 1974, Arizona has experienced approximately a 73% turnout rate in presidential elections and 57% in off years. In 1980, with Ronald Reagan and Jimmy Carter at the top of the ticket, turnout surged past 80% while in 2008, the Obama v. McCain race generated a 77% turnout.

While a 77% turnout rate is a significant number, it can be better and we have taken steps to improve the voting process to make it as convenient as possible. We’ve made it possible to find your polling place, track the status of your early ballot and check your registration all from most smartphones. Electronic poll books have increased efficiency and early balloting, or voting by mail, has proven to be an enormously popular initiative.

In 2008 nearly 53% of statewide votes were cast by early ballot. Just two years later the percentage rose to 61%. Now, we have about 1.5 million voters on the state’s Permanent Early Voter List (PEVL). While those numbers are impressive, they are not nearly as remarkable as the percentage of those on PEVL who actually vote. In 2008, 91% of early ballots were returned. During the midterm election of 2010, that rate decreased to 76%. With such a large number of voters on PEVL for this Presidential election we could see near record levels of participation.

Partisan voter turnout also can provide some insight as to what to look for in the general election. Four years ago 81% of registered Republicans voted in November. Democrats turned out at a rate of 73% and 69% of so-called “Independents” voted. Green and Libertarian party members voted with 84% and 76% respectively.

Over the last 100 years, Arizona has had a handful of elections that came down to one vote. Could this be the year we have another? Could you be that one vote that makes the difference?

While numbers and percentages can help us understand historical trends and patterns, each vote could be the difference between a winning candidate and a losing campaign. It’s your voice. It’s your vote. Make it count!

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Ken Bennett currently serves as the Arizona Secretary of State. You can read more about Ken Bennett at: http://www.azsos.gov/info/bio.htm

Arizona Secretary of State Ken Bennett Endorses Gabriela Saucedo Mercer for Congress

TUCSON, AZ – The following statement was delivered by Arizona Secretary of State Ken Bennett:

“If the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result, voters should elect Gabriela Saucedo Mercer to Congress and stop the madness. Gabby understands the issues that matter most to the residents of southern Arizona. From education to jobs and the economy, it is time that we have a new advocate in Washington.

“Gabby’s candidacy offers southern Arizona voters a real opportunity to end a decade of ineffective representation. Unbelievably, Congressman Grijalva led the charge for an economic boycott of his own state two years ago. Don’t we need a voice in Washington to fight for us, not against us? Let’s send Gabby to Washington to be a part of the solution, not the problem.”

Gabriela Saucedo Mercer welcomes the endorsement by Secretary of State Ken Bennett and responded to the announcement earlier today.

“I thank Secretary of State Ken Bennett for his announcement today to endorse my campaign for Congress. Indeed, it is time for new leadership in Congressional District 3. For ten years, the district has been misrepresented by the incumbent. The Secretary of State recognizes the need for southern Arizonans to have their voices represented in our United States Congress. It is an honor to have his support, and I thank Ken Bennett for helping to lead our state toward better days ahead.”

Arizona sales-tax hike gets shiv on shady iPad contest promoted on Facebook, Twitter

Below is the complaint letter submitted to Arizona Secretary of State Ken Bennett earlier this week by Tom Jenney of Americans for Prosperity Arizona challenging the legality of initiative petitions turned in by the “Quality Education & Jobs” campaign based on signatures gathered by ‘volunteers’ with the promise of winning an iPad — thereby calling into question any and all of these petitions not disclosing that they were collected by a paid circulator. In the grand scheme of things this complaint likely reveals a small violation that will probably not invalidate enough petitions to drop their signature tally below the number required to earn a spot on November’s ballot.  However, this pattern and practice also reveals another instance where the troubled “Quality Education & Jobs” campaign has played fast-and-loose with the rules regarding gathering signatures… all in service to “The Children”… and government unions and brazen special interests who stand to reap hundreds of millions in government contracts. No wonder it has been thrown off the ballot. Let’s hope an activist judge doesn’t disregard the black-letter of the law and force this massive tax increase onto November’s ballot.  

BONUS: Click here to listen to the initial reaction from top “Quality Education & Jobs” campaign officials (Chairwoman Ann-Eve Petersen, Associated General Contractors honcho David Martin, consultant Joe Yuhas and others) upon learning their campaign’s 290,000 petition signatures are invalid.

June 25, 2012

The Honorable Ken Bennett
Arizona Secretary of State
1700 West Washington Street
Phoenix, Arizona 85007-2888

Dear Secretary Bennett,

On behalf of the 70,000 taxpayers in this state who are members of our organization, the Arizona chapter of Americans for Prosperity wishes to bring to your prompt attention an important matter regarding the potential failure by one or more ballot initiative organizers to fully and properly disclose their use of paid signature petition circulators. 

I-16-2012 has filed for inclusion on the November ballot and signature petitions have been circulated by its initiative supporters for qualification.  This initiative, commonly referred to as “Quality Education and Jobs,” has already submitted petitions to your office for certification.

Based upon the enclosed information, we believe that circulators have been compensated and incentivized with the promise of future compensation for collecting a specific number of signatures on behalf of the initiative.  We believe that repeated solicitations over Facebook and Twitter accounts maintained by initiative organizers, as well as at least one email sent by organizers or on their behalf, clearly demonstrate that the collection of fifteen (15) petition signatures were directly exchanged for “a brand new iPad 3” by at least two individuals.

A.R.S. § 19-118 defines a paid circulator as “…a person who receives monetary or other compensation that is based on the number of signatures obtained on a petition or on the number of petitions circulated that contain signatures.”  Those who satisfy the criteria of paid circulators are required to disclose their paid circulator status by noting the same on the petition.     

Organizers of I-16-2012 have apparently twice awarded an iPad 3, valued at $499, to certain individuals on or about May 11 and June 1.  Although the solicitations characterize the circulators as “volunteers,” the nature of those awards qualifies them as paid circulators by law.

We therefore request that your office immediately investigate this matter to determine whether the actions of the “Quality Education and Jobs” initiative organizers constitute a violation of A.R.S. § 19-118 and to take any and all necessary action. 

Furthermore, please accept this letter as a formal complaint with regard to the possibility that the “Quality Education and Jobs” initiative organizers may have circulated petitions using ballot language that differed from the official initiative language.  Given the discrepancies uncovered by the Arizona Tax Research Association (please refer to the attached article from the June 22, 2012 issue of the Arizona Capitol Times), we believe that the organizers of the “Quality Education and Jobs” initiative acted in violation of A.R.S. § 19-112, which requires that petition signature sheets be attached “at all times during circulation to a full and correct copy of the title and text of the measure or constitutional amendment proposed or referred by the petition.”

Thank you very much for your consideration of these matters, and for taking the time and effort to provide written responses to these complaints.

For Liberty,

Tom Jenney
Arizona Director
Americans for Prosperity

Secretary of State Ken Bennett Announces CD-8 Special General Voter Registration Figures

PHOENIX, AZ – Arizona’s Secretary of State has released the number of active registered voters in advance of the Special General Election on June 12, 2012.

CD 8
Democratic – 130,645
Green – 808
Libertarian – 2,530
Republican – 156,361
Amercans Elect – 23
Other – 124,127 

For further information, see attached.

The latest statewide voter registration figures are available on the Secretary of State’s website, www.azsos.gov or by calling 1-877-THE-VOTE.

 

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[Editor’s Note: any comments unrelated to this topic are subject to be bounced!]

Ken Bennett Statement Regarding President Obama’s Birth Certificate

Secretary of State Ken Bennett released the following statement on Wednesday, May 23, 2012:

“Late yesterday, our office received the ‘verification in-lieu of certified copy’ from officials within the Hawaii Department of Health that we requested in March. They have officially confirmed that the information in the copy of the Certificate of Live Birth for the President matches the original record in their files.

“As Arizona’s chief elections officer, I have the responsibility to certify the ballot to the state’s 15 counties. At the request of numerous constituents, I merely asked Hawaiian officials to verify the information contained within President Obama’s original birth certificate. They have complied with the request and I consider the matter closed.”

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