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POLL POKE

We've all had a week to digest the first-ever Tucson Weekly/Wick Communications Poll of Congressional District 8.

And we all know the big winners: Gabrielle Giffords had the support of 45 percent of Democrats, while Patty Weiss had 27 percent, with 20 percent undecided; Randy Graf had the support of 36 percent of Republicans, while Steve Huffman, was at 13 percent and Mike Hellon was at 10 percent, with 39 percent undecided.

Of course, that was before Huffman started his negative blitzkrieg against Graf, so those numbers are probably in flux.

The poll of 300 Democrats and 300 Republicans who had voted in the 2002 and 2004 primaries, conducted by Margaret Kenski between Aug. 12 and Aug. 17, revealed some other fun facts:

· The district leans more conservative than liberal. About 70 percent of Republicans identified as conservative;, 27 percent said they were moderate, and just 1.3 percent said they were liberal. Compare that to Democrats: only 40 percent identified as liberal, while 41 percent said they were moderate, and almost 16 percent said they were conservative.

· Voters in CD8 generally favor abortion rights; 75 percent of Democrats and 36 percent of Republicans identify as pro-choice, while 57 percent of Republicans and only 15 percent of Democrats identify as pro-life. But that's not proving to be a litmus test; Graf, who doesn't believe in allowing women to terminate their pregnancies even if they are victims of rape or incest, has the support of nearly 27 percent of the pro-choice GOP voters, while Huffman--who generally has supported abortion rights--has the support of only 20 percent of pro-choice Republicans.

· Nearly 45 percent of younger Democrats--ages 22 to 40--identified education as their top issue, while about 41 percent of Democrats older than 40 saw the Iraq war as the most important issue.

· Gifford beat Weiss among moderate to very liberal Democrats, but the conservative Democrats prefer Weiss, 38 to 25 percent. Yet Weiss is running left of Giffords on most issues where they disagree.

The poll's margin of error was plus or minus 4 percent.

MIDTOWN MUCK

Headline in the Arizona Daily Star, Sunday, Aug. 20: "Aboud's Pro-Tucson Flier Mostly on the Money."

Correction in the Arizona Daily Star, Aug. 22: "A headline Sunday on B8 misstated the content of a political flier distributed by Democrat Paula Aboud in the race for state Senate District 28. The content of the flier is mostly misleading."

The winner-takes-all battle between state Sen. Paula Aboud and state Rep. Ted Downing in midtown District 28 is shaping up as one of the more interesting primaries in Southern Arizona this year.

Aboud recognizes that Downing has a higher name recognition, because he's won election to the District 28 House seat twice, while she was appointed to the Senate seat by the Pima County Board of Supervisors after Gabrielle Giffords stepped down to run for Congress.

So Aboud has gone on the attack, hammering Downing for, among other things, being one of a handful of votes against a spousal-rape bill and for gumming up the works on Rio Nuevo legislation.

Downing did vote against legislation increasing the penalty for spousal rape, arguing that it didn't create enough penalties against false claims. And he drove local officials and some of his legislative colleagues absolutely bonkers with his demands that the Rio Nuevo extension, which will keep hundreds of millions of state sales-tax dollars in Tucson, be approved by a vote of the people, although he eventually came around and voted for the final version of bill.

Downing is so stinking mad that he has asked the Pima County Democratic Party Executive Committee to take the extraordinary step of making a judgment regarding Aboud's campaign maneuvers--which is a first in local politics, as far we can tell.

"Aboud knowingly mailed a hit piece that lies and grossly distorts my voting record," Downing wrote in a letter to Democratic Party boss Donna Branch-Gilby. "It was designed to mislead voters to vote against me in this winner-takes-all primary."

Downing wants the executive committee to "withdraw all party support for LD28 State Senate candidate Paula Aboud (this includes the right to post signs, literature, use equipment for the rest of the 2006 election cycle )."

Branch-Gilby agreed to hear the complaint in a meeting next week. Downing says he only wants the executive committee to decry the tactic of using a hit piece. But to do that, party officials will have to make a judgment about the accuracy of the mailing. And if party officials are going to get drawn into the role of primary referee, they're opening up a can of worms they're going to regret.

C'mon, Ted: Respond on the field of battle. You're starting to look like a crybaby to us.

EARLY UPDATE

The Pima County Recorder's Office is scrambling to keep up with requests for early ballots, particularly in Congressional District 8.

As of last Monday, Aug. 28, in CD8, 15,650 Democrats had asked for early ballots, compared to 13,784 Republicans, according to Chris Roads, deputy recorder and registrar of voters.

But voters are waiting to make up their minds. Only 4,653 Democrats had returned their ballots, while 3,178 Republicans had sent 'em back in.

In addition, 1,992 independents had requested Democratic ballots and 1,971 independents requested Republican ballots. (A few independents requested Green ballots, even though there's no Green candidate in the race.)

If you've been meaning to request an early ballot, you'd better get in gear. The deadline to request one is Friday, Sept. 1. Call 740-4330 to get yours in the mail.

J. NO: NO GO FOR MO' DOUGH

Those state lawmakers have a way of getting under Gov. Janet Napolitano's saddle. Admittedly, most of their AcmeTM political tricks backfire, leaving the governor to beep-beep her way down the highway, but it probably gets tiresome.

So it's hardly surprising that last week, Napolitano urged voters to reject the idea of giving a raise to state legislators, who now make just $24,000 a year. The increase, which has to pass on the November ballot, would increase pay to $36,000.

CLEANED OUT

The deadline for filing for Clean Elections dollars is Thursday, Aug. 31. A few local candidates--including state Rep. Tom Prezelski in Legislative District 29 and his brother, Ted Prezelski, who is seeking a House seat in LD 28--dropped out of the program, because they weren't going to collect the requisite $5 contributions. So now they're running the dirty ol' traditional way.

Meanwhile, Republican Don Goldwater still hadn't gotten a check from Clean Elections as of press time. Yet he may still beat Len Munsil, who qualified way back in May. That's the power of name ID for you.

Speaking of Clean Elections: The Citizens Clean Elections Commission dismissed a GOP-filed complaint about Gov. Janet Napolitano illegally spending money on a Web page before she got her Clean Elections dollars, just as they earlier dismissed a Democrat-filed complaint about Len Munsil skirting payments to his political consultants before he got his public funds.

So now maybe both parties can stop with the nonsense?

More by Jim Nintzel

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