QUESTIONS AND ANSWERSSo who was the biggest winner in last week's primary election?
That would have to be Congressman Jim Kolbe, simply because he had the most at stake and he did such a convincing job of knocking challenger Randy Graf's dick in the dirt with his 15-point win.
What's next for Graf?
Well, Graf gave up his District 30 seat in the Arizona House of Representatives to go after Kolbe, which will surely go down as one of the worst political career moves of 2004. Despite the pounding Randy took, we hear he's already talking about a rematch against Kolbe--and to keep his profile up, he wants to run for chair of the Pima County Republican Party later this year, when attorney John Munger steps down. Moderates are already scrambling to kneecap that effort.
Who else was in the winners' circle?
Rep. Jennifer Burns, who was targeted by conservatives in District 25 for her decision to roll leadership during last session's budget negotiations; Rep. Marian McClure, who faced the same problem in District 30; and Jonathan Paton, who ran ahead of McClure in District 30 to win a House seat on his third try. (Given Paton's recent gig as a lobbyist for the Southern Arizona Homebuilders Association, we reckon the Growth Lobby was a winner on Election Night as well.)
Who were the losers?
Conservatives in Southern Arizona, who saw all of their major targets--Kolbe, McClure and Burns--cruise to re-election.
Biggest among the losers, next to Graf, was his mini-me, the oafish David Gowan, who finished a distant third in the District 30 primary. After spending a good chunk of his Clean Elections funds slinging mud at McClure, Gowan was either audacious enough or clueless enough to tell the Arizona Daily Star that he didn't think his campaign went negative.
We'd like to introduce Exhibit A, the accompanying hit piece, as evidence to the contrary. Oh, and by the way, it arrived in mailboxes the day after the election. Way to run a high-speed campaign, doofus.
Auxiliary losers included the precinct committeemen of District 30, whose endorsed candidate, Republican Doug Sposito, came in dead last. Marian, who didn't get the District 30 endorsement, shouldn't hesitate to tell the district's paper-tiger leadership to go fuck themselves the next time they try to threaten her.
More losers: the South East Arizona Republican Club, whose wack analysis of the campaign dynamics included the observation that Randy was a shoo-in because The New Yorker was planning to include him in a list of the 100 Most Interesting Men in America. (We're just speculating, but if and when that piece ever runs, we suspect it's not going to be as flattering as the SEAR Club anticipates.)
In the days leading up the election, SEAR Club president Todd Evans was posting headlines on the SEAR Club Web site about the Graf campaign's unstoppable momentum that were so surreal that they echoed the pronouncements of Baghdad Bob, the Iraqi information minister who insisted U.S. troops were being slaughtered even as U.S. tanks were rolling in the background.
What about outside Southern Arizona?
Well, that's where the Republican conservatives struck back. Up in Maricopa County and elsewhere around the state, the mods were mostly taken out on stretchers. The state Senate will see some dynamic shifts with the toppling of Slade Mead in Phoenix; plus, the seat held by mod Linda Binder of Lake Havasu, who didn't run for re-election, got picked up by a guy who proudly flies the Confederate flag. We're anticipating some great copy during the next session!
Final Jeopardy!: What are the races that matter in the general election?
The presidential race will chew up a lot of oxygen, although we have a hard time seeing Kerry win Arizona. Locally, the most interesting race is county assessor, in which Republican Bill Heuisler easily beat out Roger Condra. Heuisler, an old-school politico, will push his anti-property tax platform against Democrat Bill Staples, a Grijalvalista who merely promises to run the office smoothly and professionally.
Pima County Sheriff Clarence Dupnik should have little trouble dispatching his Republican opponent, Roland Youngling.
Most of the legislative races are all but over, except for the aforementioned District 25, a Democratic district with a Republican incumbent, Jennifer Burns. Can Burns hold on against incumbent Democrat Manny Alvarez and primary winner Monica Perez, a Deaniac from Douglas? We don't know, but we're willing to be she won't be running on a ticket with her fellow Republican, right-wing wack David Stevens.
CITY LIMITSWater pressure continues to build at City Hall as City Manager James Keene finds himself defending his new push to force developers to agree to future annexation before they can get water service. Proponents of the plan, including Mayor Bob Walkup and council members Fred Ronstadt and Carol West, say it's a sound strategy that will help planning in the future. Critics, including council members Steve Leal, Shirley Scott and José Ibarra, say it amounts to extortion, which is a shitty way to do business. The swinger, in this case, is Councilwoman Kathleen Dunbar, who normally runs with Walkup & Co., but who appears to be leaning toward the Democrats in this case.
Underlying the debate appears to be a realization that nobody is likely to agree to annexation into Tucson if given a choice in the matter.
The council was scheduled to discuss the matter Monday, Sept. 13, but a late start and a lengthy discourse on impact fees stretched past 4 p.m., so Walkup moved to table the discussion to next week.
But Ibarra, clearly believing there was a fourth vote to scrap the whole concept, pushed for a vote that afternoon. During the heated debate that followed, Dunbar got in Keene's grill as the two bickered over whether the council had approved the new policy.
Given Dunbar's recent clashes with Keene, we're wondering if she'll be the fourth vote to depose him next time his contract is up.
Ultimately, Dunbar voted with Walkup's team to table the discussion, disappointing members of the crowd, including representatives of the Corona de Tucson Fire Department and the Growth Lobby. What do you bet Kathleen is getting pressure from all directions even as we speak?
Here's a question for the city officials who are now raising the notion that the policy is a good idea because the city might be running out of water, so city residents must come first: If we're running out of water, what difference does it make if the houses are inside or outside the city limits? If we're running dry, maybe it's time to quit building all these fucking houses!
Say, do you guys know something about our alleged 100-year assured water supply that we don't?
SUFFRAGETTE ALERTThe sensational Tucson Suffragettes want to remind everyone that the deadline to register to vote in the Nov. 2 election is Monday, Oct. 4. The ballot-box beauties continue their hunt for virgin voters this Saturday night with an all-ages rock 'n' roll show at Skrappy's, with performances by Blues for the Martyr, The Double Helix, By Deaths Design, Armchair Robots and Six. Around the corner at Biblio Bookstore, you'll find poetry readings, along with an ongoing show of political poster art by Robbie Conal.
Next week: The Suffragettes do Nogales! Olé!