State Sen. Ann Day fits in comfortably among the country-club Republicans. In her 10 years in the legislature, she's been known to anger GOP leadership by straying into the Democratic fold. Her reputation for seeking the middle ground has led some critics to dismiss her as, put kindly, "flaky." As Day herself sees it, "I'm a fiscal conservative, I'm flexible on social issues and I like reasonable compromise."
State Rep. Dan Schottel represents the conservative bent of the redneck Republicans, who tend to focus on rights, particularly when it comes to private property, government regulation and bearing arms. Schottel has been a team player in the conservative House caucus through his eight years in office. He's voted to trim taxes and reduce oversight of business and the environment.
Both are being forced from the legislature because they've reached their term limits, and both have decided to run for the seat of Supervisor Mike Boyd, who is retiring after two terms.
The bad news for Schottel: There ain't that many rednecks in District 1, where Republicans--who have a 4 percentage-point advantage over Democrats--regularly have favored the county clubbers, from Boyd to Greg Lunn.
Plus, his campaign has been slow to get off the ground. "I got started late," the 65-year-old Republican admits. He'd been toying with a run against Toni Hellon in the primary to fill Day's opening Senate seat, but decided to run for the board seat instead. It was probably a wise choice; Hellon is a well-liked former party chair who is making her first run for public office. Her work for candidates such as U.S. Sen. John McCain, Gov. Jane Dee Hull, Congressman Jim Kolbe and Tucson Mayor Bob Walkup has given her an extensive base of connections, which she's tapped to raise nearly $48,000 dollars as of May 31.
Recent weeks have been dedicated to fundraising for the board race, says Schottel, who, as of May 31, had only raised $1,307. He says he has roughly $4,000 he's transferring from a legislative campaign fund.
Compare that to Day, who had raised $62,016 by the end of May, including $35,000 she transferred from her Senate campaign fund. Many of Day's supporters are lawyers and judges, who have contributed at least $7,000 of the $15,497 she's raised since the beginning of the year. Day says the ties stem from having a lot of acquaintances in the legal community, including her son-in-law and best friend, who are lawyers, and her sister, Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor.
The 62-year-old Day grew up on a ranch that straddled the Arizona/New Mexico border between Duncan and Lordsburg. She had never run for office when she won her state Senate seat in 1990. Not that she hadn't been around politics--her ex-husband Scott Alexander served in the legislature from 1964 to 1974. (Hoping for a return to those glory days, Alexander, now a political consultant, is challenging Hellon in the race for Day's opening Senate seat.)
Schottel first came to Arizona in 1957 after a three-year stint in the Air Force, landing a job at a consumer finance company that specialized in loans to people needing down payments on cars. In the ensuing years, he's sold insurance, mutual funds and tools, worked a bakery, run a trucking outfit and owned a bar.
It was in the late 1980s, as the trucking gig was coming to an end and the bar business was being tangled by red tape, that Schottel got into politics.
"Government has really inserted itself in the private sector," he says. "And I did a lot of complaining about that, and Linda Barber said quit complaining and do something."
Schottel took the advice of Barber, a former county party chairwoman who is now chairing his campaign for supervisor. He moved swiftly up the precinct ladder but lost his first bid for a District 12 House seat in 1990. Two years later, he won the seat and has served four terms. With his term limit up, he's not ready to call it quits, so he's making a play for the county seat.
Day says she's not ready to retire, either. "I like working," she says, "and the county is in dire need of new ideas and new directions."
Her big new idea is working with the UA College of Business to develop a "business plan" for the county. The business plan would help Day come up with some ideas to trim Pima County's budget, which currently elude her.
Schottel agrees that the budget is out of control. "The county is a financial mess," he says, complaining that Pima County has the highest tax rates in the state "and I don't know we have a hell of a lot to show for it."
Unlike Day, Schottel has some ideas about where to cut. To begin with, he'd quit expanding county parks, because the county doesn't need to be in the real estate business. He'd also sell off the county's troubled Kino Hospital or bring in a private contractor to run it.
Day sees a "geographic need" for Kino. She suggests it remain open with family clinics, a trauma center and psychiatric facilities. She hopes to bring the county subsidy below $3 million annually. "I think there's a need to provide a safety net for the indigent," she says.
When it comes to growth, both candidates oppose the Citizens Growth Management Initiative and both agree that the county shouldn't have the power to downzone property. In fact, both voted in favor of the 1998 law that stripped downzoning power from counties. (For details on the county's downzoning battle, see "Beating Raúl," page 10.)
But they split on other growth issues. Day supports the county's fledgling Sonoran Desert Conservation Plan.
"It's a good step in the right direction of doing comprehensive planning," she says. "The hallmark of that whole plan is to identify where growth will occur or should occur, and obviously we need to better manage our explosive growth. I think the Sonoran Desert Conservation Plan is about that process and about that kind of planning and giving certainty to everybody--conservationists and environmentalists as well as developers--so that we can identify areas that are good for development and areas that need to be protected."
In a day and age when even Growth Lobby candidates have learned to at least pay lip service to "planned growth," Schottel candidly says planning is a moot point.
"I've been here since 1957, and I don't know how many plans I've seen since 1957, but I don't think there'll ever be a plan that works now and into the future," Schottel says. "That plan has got to change annually, just like growth. It's not government's job to control the growth. Government's job is to accommodate and help manage those growth problems, but not even to manage 'em, because the people are going to come. It's not the contractors, or the developers, who are bringing people here. The people are coming and all they're doing is accommodating those people with places to live. And I think that the county has got to do the same thing. If the people start moving to the southeast side of town, then we need to start putting in roads and infrastructure in the southeast side of town. We're always going to be a little bit behind."
As far as using the Sonoran Desert Conservation Plan to help smooth future wrinkles with the endangered cactus ferruginous pygmy owl is concerned, Schottel dismisses the likelihood that the owl is even threatened.
"I think that people come first and I don't think this was a legitimate concern for the pygmy owl," he says. "Texas has got the pygmy owl, Mexico has a lot of pygmy owls. I think the problem is maybe that the habitat that they have is overpopulated and the owls are expanding looking for new territory. They could keep expanding and move to Missouri, I guess, if they keep overpopulating. That doesn't make them endangered."