The Skinny


Well, maybe not right here--after all, Election Day is still several days away. (And Pima County election officials aren't letting us know which way they're rigging the races anymore--though we wouldn't be surprised to see Pima County Supervisor Sharon Bronson capture 92 percent of the vote against Republican Barney Brenner.)

We kid, we kid. But we will indeed be bringing you election results as soon as we get 'em on our new political Web site,, and at the TW blog. And for even more analysis, tune into KUAT Channel 6 for a special one-hour election edition of Arizona Illustrated at 10 p.m., Tuesday, Nov. 4. Skinny scribe Jim Nintzel will be joining Arizona Illustrated anchor Bill Buckmaster, political pollster Margaret Kenski and UA political scientists William Dixon and John Garcia.

If you feel like partyin' with the pols, you'll find the Democrats hanging out at the Marriott University Park, 880 E. Second St. The Republicans will be hanging out at the Manning House, 450 W. Paseo Redondo. Both parties start around 7 p.m., and we're expecting the first local election results--from early ballots--sometime around 8 p.m.

Meanwhile, all the cool kids will be down at Hotel Congress, 311 E. Congress St., where they'll really be putting the party back into politics with updates on the results across the country, live bands and even a balloon drop. We know where we'll be for last call.


Three polls earlier this week showed that Democrat Barack Obama is closing in on Republican John McCain right here in Arizona.

A Rasmussen Reports survey released Monday had a 5-percentage-point gap between the candidates, with 51 percent of voters supporting McCain, and 46 percent backing Obama.

That's a staggering drop from a Rasmussen poll released late last month, which showed McCain with a 21-percentage-point lead. In that survey, 59 percent of voters were supporting McCain, and just 38 percent were supporting Obama.

The Rasmussen survey came after the release of a poll commissioned by Project New West, which shows that 48 percent of voters were supporting McCain, and 44 percent are supporting Obama.

The survey of 600 likely voters has a margin of error of plus or minus 4 percent.

Finally, local pollster Carol Zimmerman recently released a poll that shows that 43.5 percent of voters back McCain, while 41.5 percent support Obama.

The Zimmerman poll showed Obama clobbering McCain by 19 points in Pima County.


We don't think John McCain will actually lose Arizona, but the narrowing race reflects a general lack of enthusiasm for our senior senator, particularly here in Southern Arizona.

We expect that will have a ripple effect on other races in Southern Arizona. That's bad news for Republican Tim Bee, who picked the wrong year to challenge Democratic Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords.

Bee has tried to mimic McCain by portraying himself as a maverick who can reach across party lines. But he's undercut that very message--much as McCain has--by running standard-issue attack ads that come straight from the GOP playbook. The Bee campaign could have used a whole lot more imagination and a whole lot less paranoia.

Meanwhile, the Democrats are doing all they can to win underdog races in the Arizona Legislature. We mentioned last week that the Arizona Democratic Party is spending big in GOP-dominated districts in Southern Arizona as part of an effort to flip four seats statewide and win control of the Arizona House of Representatives.

In Legislative District 30, which includes Tucson's eastside and Green Valley, the Democrats have used their campaign committee, Victory 2008, to drop at least $13,783 on mailers hitting Republican Frank Antenori, one of the GOP candidates being challenged by Democrat Andrea Dalessandro.

Antenori had about $12,200 in the bank as of Oct. 15 that he could use to fight back, according to his latest campaign-finance report. Unlike the other Republican in the race, David Gowan, Antenori doesn't get matching funds when Democrats attack, because he's not participating in the Clean Elections program.

The Democrats have reported spending an additional $2,945 to support Dalessandro, who received more than $32,000 in Clean Elections funding for her campaign. That includes a boost of more than $13,000 in matching funds that Dalessandro received after the Arizona Association of Realtors dropped a bundle supporting Antenori and Gowan.

The Democrats are also active up in Legislative District 26, which includes the Catalina Foothills, Oro Valley and SaddleBrooke. The Dems are aiming for a sweep in the GOP-leaning district, where Republican Al Melvin is facing Democrat Cheryl Cage in the race for an open Senate seat, and Republicans Marilyn Zerull and Vic Williams are facing Democrats Nancy Young Wright and Don Jorgensen for the two seats in the House contest.

Victory 2008 spent roughly $12,300 on mailers targeting all three Republicans while also dropping about $2,900 on mailers boosting the Democratic slate.


One thing's for sure: There are plenty of voters left to persuade. Even though Pima County mailed out a record 231,004 early ballots, only a little more than half of those--roughly 116,700--had been sent back to the Recorder's Office as of Monday, Oct. 27.

It's too late to ask for an early ballot, but if you want to beat the crowds on Election Day, you can still visit one of the early-vote locations set up by the Recorder's Office, which you can find online. As of earlier this week, about 5,500 people had cast ballots at the satellite locations.


Still need to learn more about the candidates or the propositions? Our political Web site,, has plenty of info about the campaigns.

If you're looking for a second opinion, we'd recommend you check out Project Vote Smart, a clearinghouse of political information about candidates for federal and state office. You'll find more information than you could possibly need at


Let's face it: A lot of these races around Southern Arizona aren't all that competitive. To make it more interesting, we're offering the 2008 Skinny Line, with percentage-point spreads between favorites on the left and underdogs on the right.

McCain in AZ6Obama in AZ
Prop 102 YES9Prop 102 NO
Prop 105 NO4Prop 105 YES
Prop 200 YES2Prop 200 NO
Prop 202 YES12Prop 202 NO
Prop 300 NO32Prop 300 YES
For entertainment purposes only. Arizona law strictly forbids wagering on the outcomes of elections.

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