Why Have A Primary At All?

By Sam Stone

Does the Arizona Democratic Party even believe in Democracy? By all appearances, the answer is definitively “no”. On Friday, the Arizona Daily Star reported that the Arizona Democratic Party had denied voter lists to two challengers, Amanda Aguirre and Manny Arreguin, facing off against incumbent Rep. Raul Grijalva. Why?

The decision to deny the two challengers access to voter databases, which are normally available to candidates as a matter of routine, was apparently made by current Democrat State party Executive Director Luis Heredia who said that the two challengers weren’t “Democrat enough”.

Unfortunately, Heredia was merely continuing a recent trend here in Arizona. First, Pima Democrat officials helped pave the way for Ron Barber to run unopposed in the CD8 special election. Then Arizona Democratic Party officials – with the assistance of the White House – managed to push respected former Arizona Democratic Party Chairman Don Bivens out of the race to replace Sen. Jon Kyl, clearing the field in favor of former U.S. Surgeon General Richard Carmona.

Carmona, for those who aren’t aware, became a Democrat for the first time in November after he was personally asked to run for the Senate by President Obama. So, to be clear, Amanda Aguirre who spent eight years representing her party in the State Legislature and is a lifelong Democrat isn’t “Democrat enough”. But a lifelong registered Independent who served in George W. Bush’s administration is?

It’s like the Arizona Democratic Party is trying to pull the old Jedi Mind-Trick on their own primary voters: “These are not the candidates you are looking for. You will vote for who we tell you. Go along. Go Along.”

Barber, Carmona and Grijalva would have been good bets to win their primaries without Party interference anyway. After all, Barber has the support of former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords and an emotional story to tell. The national resources and backing Carmona has received would likely have been far too much for Bivens to overcome. And the odds of someone besting Raul Grijalva in a primary? Don’t make me laugh.

But that’s not the point. For years, primaries were often decided in the “smoky back rooms” where politico bosses selected winners and losers to meet their personal or organizational agendas. But by the 1970s, the back rooms largely gave way to the public, media-driven primary showcase we have today. Is it perfect? No. Is it perfectly transparent? Not really. But as we saw recently with longtime Sen. Richard Lugar’s defeat in the Indiana primary, it is indeed voter-driven.

Republican Party leadership, if given the choice, would have chosen to retain Lugar. But that wasn’t up to them. Voters in Indiana had a choice, and they chose to throw away an almost guaranteed victory in November in favor of a challenger who more closely represented their views. But here in Arizona, the Arizona Democratic Party seems to have lit up a few new cigars, denying voters the chance to choose their own representation in favor of candidates the local politico bosses have selected for them.

Not Democrat enough? That’s why we have primaries.


Sam Stone is a Republican political strategist from Tucson. And he wishes that one of his friends from the other side of the aisle had stepped up to write this piece.



  1. Marty Smith says

    Too bad we can’t decide McCain isn’t “republican enough” and not let him run!

  2. The AZ GOP is no better. They gave the lists to Hayworth and forced myself to find alternate means. Where was your outrage then? Oh yeah I remember, Hayworth was SONORAN ALLIANCE’s and POLITICO MAFIOSO’S chosen one. Look up the word HYPOCRITE in the dictionary it has your face in it.

    Jim Deakin

  3. Thank you Three Sonorans for as usual getting the truth out there while the mainstream keeps the truth from getting out !
    Thank you brothers and sisters for a Successful, wonderful and peaceful beginning first step today to re-take our democratic party back from those elected within it who are suppressing by intimidation retribution progressive democratic candidates from running !

    Angel, the organizer of this event stated at the protest that he plans on holding this event every weekend until the leadership in the democratic party knock off their voter suppresion and unfair, arbitrary tactics !

    Time To Take A Stance !

    Leonard Clark
    progressive democrat

  4. Spiked Flails says

    You lost because you’re an idiot. Three prime examples come to light in your post. First, you state that Politico Mafioso supported Hayworth. No, it didn’t. Jeff Vath couldn’t get any more in the tank for McCain. Second, this post wasn’t posted by Shane, who worked for J.D., it was posted by Sam Stone as a guest opinion. In case you haven’t wrapped your pea brain around this concept yet, Shane allows others to post on this blog, including those he disagrees with, so, thinking that Shane believes or supports everything written on his blog is just stupid. Third, the party could have fully supported you and you’d STILL have lost! Your signatures were a mess and you barely qualified to get on the ballot, your campaign was awful, and you painted yourself as far less than conservative in the debate! Get a grip, Jim, the people were utterly correct in ignoring you. Oh, and I LONG predicted that you’d never get enough votes to beat the spread between Hayworth and McCain. I knew you’d never be a real factor in the race because you were such a horrid candidate, had no real experience, were completely hindered by your thoroughly insane wife, had exactly $0 to run on, and weren’t as conservative as you like to paint yourself. I’d hazard to state that if Shane’s picture is in the dictionary along with the hypocrite entry, yours is next to idiot and fool.

    • …Spiked,
      I am not afraid to use my real name. Your anonymous ranting has no weight and little truth.
      My comment was not posted at Shane or even Sam, it was posted generically at the Sonoran Alliance.

      The fact remains that the Republican Party and Rob Haney and Sonoran Alliance Bloggers did everything they could to silence me, keep me away from Voter Vault, out of meetings and events. As “bill” says, I was not a chosen one, toeing the party line, so they tried, but failed to keep me out.

      McCain and the Political Mafioso website goaded Hayworth into the race; in fact I am not convinced that Hayworth wasn’t complicit. He did continually refer to McCain as his “Friend”, they did serve in Congress, party and fund raised together for years and the only time he went against McCain was after he was fired by his constituents and saw an opportunity for a talk show. I do believe it backfired on both of them. Hayworth gained more support than McCain expected causing McCain to get dirty against Hayworth. In the end, they both looked awful which probably boosted my vote count.

      I have seen the evil side of the Republican Party and felt the wrath of anonymous bloggers like you. If you think it is so easy, grow some, put your name in the public forum and run for office.

  5. Sounds like the democrats are actually trying to discipline the party — something the republicans should do. Candidates that don’t toe the party line should not be given any help — look at the response from this web site to the Paulista’s trying to take over the convention a few weeks back. Anyway, the democrats are leftists, and leftists use “Democratic Centralism”, developed by the Chinese Communist Party and Chairman Mao as a way to control the party. So what else is new?

  6. Sam Stone says

    For the record. I am a Republican political strategist from Tucson (which is rather like being a polar bear from Mexico, only not so much fun), and the opinions expressed in my posts are entirely my own. After reading some of my work in other forums, Sonoran Alliance offered me the opportunity to post content on their website. At no time has Sonoran Alliance dictated or edited in any way the content of my posts. And, as some of you may have gathered from previous posts, party organizations or special interests that work to take the vote out of the hands of citizens and disenfranchise voters are a long-standing pet peeve of mine.

    I will post on other topics from time to time as the inspiration strikes. Anyone who wants to discuss / argue / chat with me is welcome to join my Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/sam.stone.39) or follow me on Twitter (@Sammybosox).

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