We announced our endorsements a few weeks ago (and have an easy-to-access link to them up at tucsonweekly.com if you want to read our longer reasoning on these races), but here's the central takeaway: We're endorsing Democrats more or less across the board for the partisan races because we think the GOP's agenda for the state—more cuts to government, irresponsible fiscal strategies, unconstitutional efforts to restrict abortion, unconscionable efforts to marginalize LGBT, wasted dollars on ineffective border-security efforts, a social safety net that was so tattered that thousands of CPS reports were pushed under the rug, etc. etc.—doesn't bode well for the future.
THE CONGRESSIONAL RACES
Congressional District 1:
We may not always agree with U.S. Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick, but she gets it right on the issues that are important to us—education, health care, child welfare, sane fiscal policy and more. Her opponent, Speaker of the Arizona House Andy Tobin, has led the way in cutting education spending, programs that are supposed to protect kids, and pushing through discriminatory legislation that hurts gays and minorities. If Tobin had his way on legislation, our health care system, particularly in rural areas, would be in a world of hurt just so he and and others could make an ideological point about Obamacare. Given our choices here, we'll take Kirkpatrick.
Congressional District 2:
U.S. Rep. Ron Barber has proven himself as a thoughtful congressman who puts Southern Arizona first and is willing to cross party lines if he believes doing so will solve problems with the border, improve the Affordable Care Act or help sustain the federal programs important to our home. He has a long record of working to improve the lives of the people who live here. Republican Martha McSally has an impressive résumé but has been too slippery on too many issues and we don't know where she really stands on much of anything besides getting Martha McSally elected to Congress.
THE STATE RACES
DuVal is experienced in working across party lines, understands that you don't improve schools by taking resources away from the ones with the biggest challenges and will veto legislation that is aimed at discriminating against women and minorities. His opponent, Republican Doug Ducey, has advocated policies that will worsen the state's financial crisis, cripple DREAM Act kids who are trying to make a better future for themselves, further restrict women's access to abortion and treat gays and lesbians as second-class citizens.
Arizona Attorney General:
Felecia Rotellini has proven that she can untangle complex cases during her time at the AG's office, but more importantly, she has demonstrated, following this month's federal court ruling on gay marriage, that she doesn't believe gays and lesbians should be second-class citizens. Mark Brnovich finds gay marriage to be "wrong" and we disagree with his conservative outlook on abortion rights and other important policy questions that the AG's Office will undoubtedly be involved in.
Secretary of State:
Terry Goddard was one of the best attorney generals our state has had and promises to fight to boost voter participation in our democracy, as well as to investigate the growing influence of dark money on our campaign system. Republican Michele Reagan has sponsored or voted for laws designed to suppress voting and strip gays of their rights and her recent campaign meltdowns show that she's already embarrassing Arizona.
State Superintendent of Public Instruction
After watching the state Legislature the past decade dismantle education funding, years led by former Superintendent of Public Instruction and outgoing state Attorney General Tom Horne and former state Senator and outgoing Superintendent of Public Instruction John Huppenthal, wouldn't it be nice to have someone leading public education in this state who actually knows what they are talking about?
And yes, that's Democratic candidate David Garcia.
The other candidate, Diane Douglas, a Republican, is a former Peoria School District board member and a one-note candidate with a campaign centered on the latest teabagger fear-target—Common Core.
Douglas refused to participate in debates with Garcia, until she was finally forced to do the Arizona Clean Elections Commission debate as a Clean Elections candidate. Common Core, blah, blah, and reports accused her of not answering questions by the press shortly after the debate. She is a one-note candidate, and right now, Arizona's children deserve and need better.
Garcia, an associate professor of education leadership at ASU (we can forgive him), has experience working with the other side after working in the Department of Education with two other Republican superintendents—Lisa Graham Keegan and Jaime Molera, who've both endorsed Garcia.
Want to change the face of crazyland in Arizona? This isn't Common Core or rocket science—just plain old common sense. Wow, a different way of working with the Legislature, looking at funding, charter school transparency, and looking at our English Language Learner Spanish-speaking in a more positive light. Those are just a few things Garcia is talking about.
Arizona Corporation Commission:
Sandra Kennedy and Jim Holway
The Democrats in this race—Sandra Kennedy and Jim Holway—will fight to build Arizona's solar industry, which was a $1.2 billion industry last year (on top of helping to reduce the greenhouse gases that are putting our future generations at risk.) The Republicans—who have already admitted that they broke the law during their campaign funded with public dollars—are more likely to find ways to penalized people who have invested in solar panels on their homes and make it more difficult for homeowners to do make the switch in the future.