Thursday, September 12, 2002

Post-Primary Comments

Here's what I should have said on Horizon on Tuesday night:

1. I thought Grant Woods made the point well, but I also should have agreed that Jim Pederson truly has done a great job as state Democratic party chair, not an easy task. From personal experience, being state party chair is like taking small children to a fancy restaurant; the really tough part is not ruining everybody else's good time, and if you have fun, too, you're a miracle worker.

2. The GOP spin for the general election is that Janet Napolitano hasn't defined her campaign, or been specific on the issues. Actually, she's actually put lots of specific proposals on the table. Perhaps Grant's been too busy co-chairing Salmon's campaign to notice. Also, her specifics make a lot more sense than Salmon, who is saying he will (a) cut taxes and (b) spend more on education. At least Janet's math works.

3. I'm totally fed up with Dick Mahoney. Keep in mind a couple of things: (1) You never hear what Dick Mahoney's ideas are, only that he has ideas. His campaign is about the idea of having ideas, not any actual ideas. (2) The only people taking Dick seriously and praising him are serious Salmon supporters, like Grant, Chuck Coughlin, and Bob Robb. Nobody who isn't voting for Salmon thinks well of Mahoney. Ask the next person you hear praise Mahoney if they're actually voting for him, and dollars to donuts, the answer is "no." (3) In line with point #2, also notice how Mahoney never attacks Salmon, only Napolitano. He' s just a stalking horse for the Republican. Independent, my eye.

4. When given a choice, Democrats voted for the more moderate candidate; when given a choice, Republicans voted for the more conservative candidate. You had to get down to state legislative races before a GOP moderate defeated a right-winger. Salmon won by so much for the same reason that Horne beat Molera and Thomas won for AG and Trent Franks (Trent Franks!) won the congressional race--there really aren't any Republican moderates anymore. That's why Grant was on TV Tuesday instead of on the ballot.

5. In new CD-7, a very impressive win by Raul Grijalva. He dropped below 50% but still took 40% of the vote in a crowded and capable field, which included multiple Hispanics and at least three candidates who garnered significant funding and newspaper endorsements. A real shoe-leather campaign, apparently; less TV, more get-out-the-vote. It's perhaps part of a national trend, with campaigns suspecting declining effectiveness of TV ads and greater emphasis on traditional, grass-roots campaigning, as tentatively noted by Adam Nagourney in The New York Times. On a more catty note, Mark Fleisher's poor showing in that district was reassuring, too; nobody could tell in advance how big the "doofus vote" would be in a new district.

6. Here's my cynical explanation for Alfredo Gutierrez and Art Hamilton refusing to endorse Janet for governor. It looks like Alfredo's campaign really was never about issues but was simply about ego. But I suspect what's really going on is that both Alfredo and Art now are lobbyists--and their ability to garner clients and rake in the bucks should Janet Napolitano be governor will be limited. They both will make more money is Salmon wins, and they can be the GOP establishment's favorite Democrats. I guess to them, the governor's race is all about their wallets.

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