02 August 2010

Candidate Reviews

A while back, I promised to give reviews on the candidates vying for this year's primary elections. Well, sadly, I never got to that, but I feel compelled to provide a rundown of the various races and top-tier candidates here.

Janice K. "Jan" Brewer (Republican) - Brewer is the current Governor of the State of Arizona and has been since 2008 when former Governor Janet Napolitano was appointed to head the US Dept. of Homeland Security. Since taking office, she has attempted to fend off a huge statewide financial crisis with a temporary 1% sales tax increase, signed controversial SB 1070 into law and is currently fending off a federal government lawsuit against it. However, her promises to create jobs in the state and to reduce state spending have faltered. Still, despite the controversy around the country (and world) over immigration, she is likely to win re-election in November.
Dean Martin (Republican) - Current Treasurer of the State of Arizona, has "indefinitely suspended" his campaign but will remain on the ballot.
Buz Mills (Republican) - Entrepreneur, has also suspended his campaign but will remain on the ballot.
Terry Goddard (Democrat) - Current Attorney General of Arizona who is term limited at the end of this year. His office during the past year "recovered or seized more than $267 million," from lawsuits. His campaign website regards job creation as "Job One" for the new governor.
Other candidates: Ronald Cavanaugh (LIB), Larry Gist (GRN), Barry Hess (LIB), Matthew Jette (REP), Bruce Olsen (LIB), Alvin Yount (LIB)

Read more after the jump:

Race analysis:
Brewer is the GOP candidate likely to win, and Goddard is the only Democrat in the race, thus this will likely be the matchup in the general election. The Arizona gubernatorial race is dominated by two current hot-topic subjects: immigration and the economy. Because of SB1070, which has a majority of support among Arizona (citizen) residents, Brewer is likely to beat Goddard in November - given that Brewer signed SB1070 into law and has been running on the issue heavily since a few months ago. Goddard, on the other hand, withdrew himself from defending Arizona against the federal lawsuit on the issue, and voters will remember that.

Secretary of State:
Ken Bennett (Republican) - The only Republican in this race, Ken Bennett has been the Secretary of State for the last two years, after having been elevated to the position by Brewer after she assumed the governorship. Prior to this, Bennett was President of the Arizona State Senate, and he currently maintains a huge lead over any other candidate in the race. He will likely win against either Democratic challenger in a landslide come November.
Other candidates: Chris Deschene (DEM), Sam Wercinski (DEM)

Attorney General:
Andrew Thomas (Republican) - With Goddard term-limited, Thomas is an obvious choice to replace him. His past record as Assistant Attorney General and Maricopa County Attorney, along with his endorsement list including Sheriff Joe Arpaio make him a formidable opponent to anyone. However, despite his natural ability to ride the current immigration-focused political climate, Thomas is being investigated by both the FBI for unethical behavior and by an independent investigator appointed by the Arizona Supreme Court for ethics violations. It could hurt him if the public starts actually paying attention.
Tom Horne (Republican) - Current State Superintendent of Public Education and a former Arizona Special Assistant Attorney General. Horne is one of those candidates you either like a lot, or really dislike a lot. Talking with teachers, almost all of them unanimously agree that Horne has been a poor Superintendent - and his controversial record on "cultural studies" programs in the Tucson Unified School District seems to follow that sentiment.
David Lujan (Democrat) - Current Arizona House of Representatives Minority Leader and a former AZ Special Asst. AG like both Horne and Thomas. Much of his time in these roles was spent focused on child abuse cases and domestic violence, and in the House he authored laws on identity theft and violent crime prevention. Republicans dislike him because of his far left philosophies, and his lack of a record on border protection could end up costing him a nomination.
Other candidates: Felicia Rotellini (DEM), Vince Rabago (DEM)

Race analysis:
Because of immigration being the hot-button issue right now, I expect Thomas to get the nod for the Republicans, despite the investigations against him. David Lujan is likely to get the nomination for the Democrats, if only because he has higher name recognition statewide. Depending on the level of negative campaigning these two do will determine the outcome of the general election, but I would rather see Thomas in there than Lujan, personally.

State Treasurer:
Doug Ducey (Republican): CEO of Cold Stone Creamery. He touts himself mostly as a "businessman, not a politician" in an attempt to ride the wave of anti-incumbent sentiments associated with the Tea Party Movement. While he was quite successful in the private sector, when this author attempted to talk with his campaign staff on his public sector plans in the State Treasurer's role, they balked at the questions. Thus, I question his ability to lead the state out of recession with just a background in ice cream.
Thayer Verschoor (Republican): State Representative from LD-22 (Gilbert). Endorsed by Sheriff Arpaio and lauded by the Arizona Federation of Taxpayers, Goldwater Institute, PAChyderm Coalition, Americans for Prosperity, and Arizona Right to Life. Verschoor has an impressive conservative record, and he will be very hard to beat.
Other candidates: Ted Carpenter (REP), Andrei Cherny (DEM), Barbara Leff (REP)

Race Analysis:
As I mentioned, Verschoor is an impressive conservative Republican, and is well-received by almost everyone in his district and in the House of Representatives. It remains to be seen if his name carries out statewide, but I still expect him to beat Ducey in the primaries. If he does, he'll easily beat Democratic nominee Cherny in the general.

Superintendent of Public Instruction:
Republicans: Margaret Dugan, John Huppenthal, Beth Price
Democrats: Penny Kotterman, Jason Williams

Race Analysis:
With Horne leaving to pursue the Attorney General's spot, in my opinion the Republican nominee will be the well-known John Huppenthal, though one should not count out the current Deputy Superintendent of the Arizona Dept. of Education Margaret Dugan. The Democratic nominee is likely to be 2006 nominee Jason Williams, and the Republican will likely beat out the Democrat in the general.

Corporation Commissioner (vote for 2):
Republicans: Brenda Burns, Barry Wong, Gary Pierce
Democrats: Renz Jennings, Jorge Garcia, David Bradley

Race Analysis:
Burns and Pierce have been running together since day one of the campaign season for these seats, and are both much more well known than any of the Democratic candidates. I expect them both to win not only the primaries but also the general election.

Overall, this election season in Arizona should be rather straightforward for all the races with the exception of the Attorney General's race. Republicans, as they usually do, will win a majority of the seats for the different statewide offices. In the AZ House and Senate, Republicans will maintain their majorities in both houses. Stay tuned for a review of the US Congressional and US Senate races coming soon.

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