Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Primary Day in Arizona

Today is Primary Day in Arizona with only two big races… GOP governor and GOP Congressional District 8. Barry Goldwater’s nephew Don Goldwater is running for governor with a nativist message on immigration. His opponent is Len Munsil, the former head of the Center for Arizona Policy, a social conservative advocacy group. Strangely enough, Munsil has been tagged as the establishment candidate, even scoring an endorsement by Sen. John McCain.

I voted for Munsil. I have no idea how this race is going to pan out. Both candidates were generally unknown to the typical Republican primary voter a few months ago. The message-suppressing Clean Elections regime in Arizona has not done much to change that situation. Goldwater benefits from his famous name while Munsil benefits from his years building a social conservative grassroots network.

How does turnout impact the race? I think a high turnout most likely helps Goldwater with his name recognition(?) and demagogic message. Munsil’s loyal supporters will show up for their man.

We have yet to see in Arizona a tidal wave of support (or opposition) to a candidate based on the immigration issue. Today’s vote might be the first, especially in CD8.

In that southern Arizona congressional district, the Republicans are about to hand a longtime GOP U.S. House seat to the Democrats. The seat now held by Congressman Jim Kolbe is a nominally Republican district though populated by a more moderate breed of Republican than the ones you find in the Phoenix area.

The two establishment, mainstream GOP candidates are state Rep. Steve Huffman and former Republican National Committeeman Mike Hellon. Former state Rep. Randy Graf is the immigrant-baiting, nativist candidate who registered 40% against Jim Kolbe in the 2004 GOP primary.

I’m afraid that this will be yet another example of two (or more) regular Republicans splitting the mainstream vote and allowing a Buchananite to take the primary with under 40%. Because the district is squishy anyway, this is a recipe for a Democrat pick-up. The GOP doesn’t have seats it can give away this year. But it looks like we are.

Speaker Pelosi anyone?

1 comment:

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