Downing Running As Independent?

Is Ted Downing running for the Arizona Senate seat as an Independent?

Downing, a UA anthropology prof who served two terms as a Democrat in the house in midtown District 28, lost a bid for the Senate in 2006 when he challenged Paula Aboud in the Democratic primary.

Downing wants a rematch with Aboud and is now registered as a Democratic candidate with the Arizona Secretary of State’s Office. He’s been traveling the LD28 Democratic circuit as he gathers signatures for his campaign.

But we’re hearing rumblings that he might instead run with no party affiliation.

We called Downing to find out what he’s up to. He replied via e-mail that he was off on an Avatar-like adventure involving indigenous people in conflict with a mining operation, so he wouldn’t be able to call us back until next week to explain his plans.

But he did give us this cryptic tidbit: “…changing Arizona requires more than changing politicians, it requires the people changing how people are represented. I assure you that this theme will grow louder for the 2012 election. I say this by way of

introduction because I want you to understand why I am doing what I do. My decisions are intimately linked to actions that I have taken in the past—inside and outside of politics.”

We’ve talked to some observers who say that Downing may have been considering a campaign as an Independent, but will stick with the Democratic label.

But what if Downing does run as an Independent in the race? He avoids the possibility that he could lose in the Democratic primary, as he did last time against Aboud.

In the general election, he can campaign as having moved beyond politics. He manages to trade on his lingering name ID, pick up Democrats who would have supported him in the primary and might be attractive to Republicans and Independents who don’t know him but want to vote against a Democrat.

It’s an interesting gambit. We’ll let you know more when he hear back from Downing.

BTW: Downing may not be the only Independent in the race. We ran into Mary DeCamp at the Himmel Park Library yesterday, where she was collecting signatures for Dave Ewoldt.

Ewoldt has been a key player in recent Green campaigns for City Hall. He helped Dave Croteau develop his mayoral campaign, which featured an emphasis on 10 Key Values and a plan to make Tucson the waterless composting toilet capital of the world.

Ewoldt has abandoned the Green Party label to run as in Independent this year, even thought it means collecting a lot more signatures. But you can expect him to hang onto the campaign template.

He’s having a meet-and-greet at Woods Library, 3455 N. First Ave., tonight at 6:30 p.m. Mary promises to bring homemade cookies.