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BEST OF SCRAMBLEWATCH

Most of the ballots have been counted. The winners have been separated from the losers, and we're abuzz with excitement about the results.

We're talking, of course, of our annual Best of TucsonTM issue. Or maybe our just-completed election. We're so befuddled, we don't know the difference anymore.

Hey! This calls for a mash-up!


BEST TRUTH-SKIRTING AD

One week before Election Day, Republican Randy Graf released an ad claiming that Democrat Gabrielle Giffords had used her political influence to lease an environmentally contaminated vacant lot to the city of Tucson for a supermarket that was never built.

Among the holes in the story: The deal was made with Giffords' parents and their business partners, not Gabby herself; the lease was signed before Giffords was elected to the Arizona Legislature; the environmental cleanup was minor in scope; the idea for the deal came from city officials who were pursuing yet another harebrained downtown revitalization scheme.


BEST SUPPORT OF SCIENTIFIC INQUIRY AND ADVANCEMENT

Asked whether he thought the Earth was 10,000 years old or several billion years old, Republican Randy Graf said: "I don't know, and I don't care." Graf was willing to concede that the planet was mostly round.


BEST EXPLOITATION OF SEPT. 11

Republican Len Munsil sent out a mailer in the final weeks of the election with a photo of a plane flying into the World Trade Center. The flier busted on Gov. Janet Napolitano for not opposing allowing illegal immigrants to get driver's licenses.

"If Governor Napolitano gets her way, terrorists can forget about having to use that pesky foreign passport--that would get you looked at funny and searched," the mailer warned. "They won't have to worry about that with their brand new, shiny Arizona driver's license."


BEST SOUNDBITE

When first announcing her plans to run for Congress, former news anchor Patty Weiss told the press: "I'm a great fan of democracy."


BEST STALKING EPISODE

District 26 Sen. Toni Hellon, who lost her re-election bid in the GOP primary to Al Melvin, filed a lawsuit before the election accusing real estate broker Bill Arnold of creeping around her house, taking pictures and posting them anonymously on the Internet to substantiate his allegations that she had misspent campaign funds on a home makeover.

Arnold quit his job as treasurer of Steve Huffman's campaign on the day that Hellon filed the lawsuit and requested a restraining order against him.


BEST GENEROUS SPIRIT

After losing to Randy Graf in the GOP primary, Steve Huffman agreed to co-sign a letter calling on Republicans to come together and give money to Graf.

"Unless you support (the Democrats') agenda of '3 R's' (Retreat in the War on Terror, Refuse to enforce border security and Raise taxes), it's time to stop licking our wounds and start putting some teeth into our support of Randy Graf," the letter read.

Graf campaign spokesman R.T. Gregg told the Weekly that Huffman himself didn't give a contribution to Graf.


BEST FRIEND

Democrat Alex Rodriguez, who told the morning daily that he considered himself a friend of state Rep. Jonathan Paton, said in a press release from the Pima County Democratic Party that Paton's decision to run for re-election Legislative District 30 while serving in Iraq posed a danger to his fellow soldiers.

"I can say from personal experience that there is no room for Rep. Paton to focus on anything other than the safety of our troops and the military mission at hand," Rodriguez stated. "To attempt anything more than that puts the military mission at risk."

Two months earlier, Rodriguez had only praise for Paton, telling the Weekly: "I'm glad he's serving our nation. I think it's a very honorable thing to do. I respect Lt. Paton."

Rodriquez later backpedaled with a statement saying he wanted "to apologize if I offended anyone for my comments regarding the race for representative in LD 30. I wholeheartedly support all our troops in the military, including Lt. Paton in Iraq, and I wish the troops Godspeed, safety and a speedy return."


BEST WASTE OF NATIONAL GOP MONEY

The National Republican Campaign Committee spent more than $100,000 to support congressional candidate Steve Huffman in the District 8 Republican primary, alienating the other candidates in the race and infuriating conservatives who were supporting Randy Graf. The ads cited Tucson Mayor Bob Walkup's support of Huffman as an example of his conservative bona fides.


BEST ANSWER TO THE QUESTION: "HAVE YOU STOPPED BEATING YOUR WIFE?"

After Republicans dug up an old court case revealing that Democrat Jeff Chimene had a domestic dispute with a former girlfriend, Chimene denied charges that he hit her a two-by-four.

"It wasn't a two-by-four," Chimene told the Arizona Daily Star. "It was a stick, a two-by-two. A piece of tree or something."

Chimene, who was seeking to unseat Republican Sen. Tim Bee, resurrected the Twinkie defense, blaming the incident on low blood sugar.


BEST USE OF A PROP

In an effort to compensate for his shortcomings (on border security, of course), congressional candidate Steve Huffman ran a TV ad showing him crouched in the desert holding a thick silver flashlight.


BEST DELUSIONS OF RELEVANCY

GOP congressional candidate Mike Jenkins, who got 3.2 percent of the vote in the District 8 primary, announced at a pre-primary press conference that he was convinced that the national Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee had already cut a television ad attacking him in case he won the primary.


BEST OVERESTIMATION OF CASH FLOW

Republican Ron Drake said he expected to raise $600,000 in his campaign against Democratic Congressman Raul Grijalva. Drake's campaign totals as of Oct. 18: $135,000.


BEST LANDLORD-TENANT DISPUTE

Republican gubernatorial candidate Mike Harris, who repeatedly mis-referred to himself as a "physical conservative" when touting his financial skills, got evicted from his campaign office after failing to pay rent.


BEST HOGWASH

Opponents of Proposition 204, which asked voters to ban the use of small gestation crates for pigs, said the proposition was the first step toward turning Arizonans into vegetarians.

As proof, political consultant Ian Calkins noted the lack of meat-related recipes on the Web sites of the prop's supporters.

"I see nowhere, for instance, on the Farm Sanctuary site, anything about how to cook barbecue on your grill, and how to give it good, tasty flavoring," Calkins told the Weekly. "Nothing on there about recipes or barbecuing or where to get the best pulled-pork sandwich. It is simply all about how to become a vegan and how to get your friends, your family, your neighbors to also adopt a vegan, or, at the very least, a vegetarian lifestyle."

More by Jim Nintzel

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