Attorney Jonathan Rothschild made it official earlier this week, formally announcing that he'd be running for mayor of Tucson.
Rothschild, a former managing partner at Mesch, Clark and Rothschild, has been laying the groundwork for a mayoral run for more than a year. He may be the only Democrat to jump into the pool this year and has already lined up support from a wide swath of the political community, ranging from business leaders to environmental activists.
"Tucson needs a mayor who will get the job done," Rothschild said in a statement. "All the things we've talked about for years, from economic development to downtown revitalization, need to get done and done responsibly. We're coming through tough economic times. Tucsonans don't expect things to come easy. They know it will be hard, but they expect results."
The only Republican to announce plans to run so far is Shaun McClusky, who made his political debut with an unsuccessful run for the Ward 5 City Council seat in 2009. But Republican Ron Asta has told The Skinny he's considering a run.
Mayor Bob Walkup has not said whether he'll seek a fourth term.
Elsewhere on the city election beat: Mike Jenkins, who has previously run for the City Council, the Arizona Legislature and Congress, announced this week that he'd take another shot at the eastside Ward 4 seat now held by Democrat Shirley Scott.
"We must stop consistent wasteful spending on unnecessary projects such as a nonsensical bridge that leads to nowhere or a trolley that is unable to run on the tracks that are available," Jenkins said in a statement.
Scott has not yet announced whether she'll seek a fifth term this year.
In westside Ward 1, Councilwoman Regina Romero is seeking a second term. Democrat Joe Flores has filed paperwork to run against her; longtime political activist Jesse Lugo, who has unsuccessfully sought a council seat himself, is chairing Flores' campaign.
The big question: Will Tucson have partisan or nonpartisan elections? The Arizona Court of Appeals appeared to be leaning toward throwing out a state law that required the city to adopt nonpartisan elections (as well as ward-only general-election council races), but the three-judge panel has yet to release its decision.
Andrei Cherny—who made an impressive debut with a professional albeit unsuccessful run for state treasurer last year—was elected state chair of the Arizona Democratic Party last Saturday, Jan. 22. He defeated Rodney Glassman, who gave up his Tucson City Council seat last year for a long-shot challenge against Sen. John McCain.
On the GOP side, the establishment—including John McCain and Jon Kyl—was unsuccessful in their push to reclaim control of the Arizona Republican Party. Their guy, Ron Carmichael, lost the chairmanship race to Tom Morrissey, a Tea Party activist.
Morrissey mounted a last-minute campaign after Tucsonan Bruce Ash, who had been courting the Republican conservative base, dropped out for health reasons.
Republican Gabby Mercer, a Mexican immigrant who became a favorite of local conservatives after she told the Tucson City Council that they should enforce SB 1070 rather than sue over Arizona's controversial immigration law, has announced she'll be challenging Congressman Raul Grijalva in 2012.
Mercer worked as a volunteer for Republican Ruth McClung, who came surprisingly close to knocking out Grijalva last year.
Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords was flown to Houston last Friday, Jan. 21, to continue her rehabilitation.
While she has a tough road ahead, we wish her a strong recovery, and hope we'll see her around these parts again soon.
There's still plenty of healing to be done in our town. If you're looking for a way to help, here's a roundup of opportunities:
• The Gabriel Zimmerman Scholarship Fund has already raised nearly $20,000, says fund co-creator Jonathan Klein, a University of California at Santa Cruz alum and San Francisco attorney.
After finding out Zimmerman, a UC Santa Cruz alum who worked as Giffords' outreach director, was killed in the Jan. 8 shooting, Klein said the first thing that came to mind was that he should start a UC Santa Cruz scholarship fund in Zimmerman's name.
Klein started the fund with Joop Rubens, associate director of development for social sciences at UC Santa Cruz.
"We have been flooded by phone calls and e-mails. There were a tremendous amount of people who either knew Gabe or were touched by his passing," Rubens said. "He was doing such great things with his life."
Rubens said he is optimistic the scholarship fund will reach the $50,000 needed for the fund to be endowed.
"We want to be able to give this every year," Rubens said.
Make your contribution to the Gabriel Zimmerman Scholarship Fund, c/o Joop Rubens, Social Sciences, UC Santa Cruz, 1156 High St., Santa Cruz, CA 95064, or contact Joop Rubens at (831) 502-7275 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
• The family of Christina-Taylor Green, the 9-year-old Mesa Verde Elementary student killed in the rampage, has set up the Christina-Taylor Green Memorial Fund. You can make a contribution through the Community Foundation for Southern Arizona, 2250 E. Broadway Blvd., Tucson, AZ 85719. Donate via e-mail to email@example.com, or call 545-0313.
• The James E. Rogers College of Law has set up a scholarship fund to honor Judge John M. Roll, who was slain after he stopped by the Congress on Your Corner event to say hello to Giffords. Send your donations to the John M. Roll Memorial Fund, James E. Rogers College of Law, P.O. Box 210176, Tucson, AZ 85721, or donate online at law.arizona.edu.
• Homicide Survivors aids families who have lost loved ones through violence. The nonprofit group has set up a special fund to help those who lost family members; it has raised more than $15,000 so far.
"It's a good start," said Carole Gaxiola, executive director of Homicide Survivors. "We're expecting more to come in."
Send your donations to Tucson Tragedy Victims Fund, c/o Homicide Survivors, 32 N. Stone Ave., No. 1408, Tucson, AZ 85701; donate online at azhomicidesurvivors.org; or call 740-5729.
• Mark Kelly, the husband of Congresswoman Giffords, suggests you consider donating to the Community Food Bank or the Southern Arizona chapter of the American Red Cross, which are both accepting donations in Giffords' name. The Community Food Bank has raised more than $92,000 for the fund, says Jack Parris, the nonprofit's public-relations manager.
Send your donations to the Community Food Bank at 3003 S. Country Club Road, No. 221, Tucson, AZ 85713; donate online at communityfoodbank.com; or call 622-0525. Give to the American Red Cross, Southern Arizona Chapter at 2916 E. Broadway Blvd., Tucson, AZ 85716; donate online at redcrossarizona.org/Giffords, or call 318-6740.
• Safeway has set up the Safeway Foundation Tucson Victims Fund. Send a check to Safeway Foundation, Safeway Arizona Division, 2750 S. Priest Drive, Tempe, AZ 85282, or make a donation at any Safeway store.
Well wishes for Rep. Gabrielle Giffords can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.
A final note: OptumHealth has set up a 24-hour free hotline for those in need of grief counseling. Call (866) 342-6892.
Follow the Skinny scribe on Twitter: @nintzel