Saturday, July 29, 2006

Mystery Candidate Huffman

Huffman's candidacy is becoming another "Where's Waldo?" exercise with Steve Huffman missing another candidate forum in Green Valley yesterday. Perhaps he considered it Graf territory and could spend his time better elsewhere. The previous missed forum was in Marana where he claimed he was called to Phoenix for an important vote, but was spotted in Yuma at a photo-op with "W." With a 50% attendance record in the legislature, he should have come up an excuse that wouldn't have been so suspicious.

Public appearances by Huffman have been few and brief. His campaign strategy is a real puzzlement considering he is trailing so much in the polls. One would think he would feel a need to get in front of people as much as possible.

Then again, next week's NFIB candidate forum appears to be happening absent Mike Hellon and Gabrielle Giffords.

Who can figure?


Anonymous said...

Huffman is not used to actually needing to campaign. My prediction is he will take the lazy way and hope his "name" will carry him through. I also think he has a snowball's chance in ...well...Arizona of winning.

His hanging out with W for a photo op is par for the course. He has decided he needs to appear more to the right in order to win. According to my sources - and they are irrefutable - he asked the state house majority leader to teach him how to look for conservative. At the time, it was rumored he was doing that to take on Tony Hellon - which was his first choice - but realized he couldn't possibly beat Al Melvin, the only conservative candidate in LD26. So, instead he figured he could ride the Kolbe train to the US House. Huffman has to run this year - he's term limited in his existing seat, which is a good thing, actually.

Anonymous said...

Steve is DOA on Sep 12th.

His Johnny come lately response to Dan Scarpinato (Dan had to call him after the forum to get his opinion on the library issue) was lame and weak. I wouldn't be surprised if he finishes 4th. I’m still scratching my head on the line in his add “the best hope for Arizona.” If Huffman is the best hope we’re in big trouble. He misses votes in the legislatures, he misses what are tantamount to mandatory campaign appearances, one can only imagine how truant he will be if he does make it to Washington.

I was at the Green Valley Forum yesterday and I have to say that out of all the candidates, Antenori seemed to be the sharpest on the issues and was definitely the most dynamic speaker. Randy Graf did very well citing legislation, specifics in the federal law and an overall high level of general knowledge.

Hellon seemed to say the same thing. It may have been just me, but some how it seemed every question he answered was with “I’m the guy that’s better connected” “I know how to wheel and deal with other members of Congress and those in the federal bureaucracy.” Mike may have thought it was a good answer, but all I kept saying was just what we need in Washington another wheeler and dealer. He also seemed to bring the questions back to one thing … Illegal Immigration. I think he believes he’s going to steal that issue away from Randy some how. Not a chance. Randy owns the immigration issue.

Mike Jenkins just seemed to ramble a bit. He’s a great man, great American and fine Republican, but his public speaking just doesn’t have what it takes.

It may have been his military style or up his up front candor when responding to the questions, but at times it appeared Antenori owned the stage. His take charge and in your face attitude may have been a bit rough for some of the folks, but it seemed the majority of them liked it. He came across as a strong leader and he definitely had some of the better responses when it came to reforming healthcare (something near and dear to seniors’ hearts) and tort reform. He also blew the room away when he responded to the porn issue, saying he would back up Ray Carroll any way he could, to include helping get those that wanted porn in the libraries tossed out of office in the next election.

Afterward I heard several of the "who's who" in Green Valley and Pima County politics talking. The resounding comment was in the vein of "Thank God Antenori doesn't have any money, he'd be unstoppable."

I think Framer is dead on with his assessment of Antenori emerging as the guy in 2008 if Graf somehow, again, somehow loses the general. Antenori is definitely a rising star in Arizona politics and I think he's just the type of “Fresh Air” candidate we need to unite the GOP base in Pima County and get rid of the Kolbe - Graf infighting that has divided the Pima GOP over the last 4 years.

If Antenori got some financial backing and a bit more polishing (he still has some rough edges from his military career and he talks way too fast), he'd be a political juggernaut in 2008.

I agree with the assumption that Graf is going to take the primary, hands down. I see Hellon coming in 2nd and I wouldn’t be surprised to see a close run between Huffman and Antenori for 3rd. I also wouldn’t be the slightest bit surprised if Steve Huffman didn’t opt out of the race before the 12th of Sep.

I think the Huffman camp has got to be seeing the writing on the wall as well. Rather than be labeled the ultimate political failure (a guy that couldn’t win with $500,000 and the Click/Diamond/Kolbe machine behind him), he might step aside for “personal reasons” and lend his support to Hellon just so Graf doesn’t win and so he can save his political skin for another run in 10 years. This of course (defeating Graf) would make Kolbe happy, salvage some political capitol for Click and Diamond (by not backing a total loser), and prevent having to run a new candidate against an incumbent Graf in 2008.

What ever happens, this thing is far from over, almost anything can happen and I’ll be sitting back, waiting in anticipation for the fireworks on September 13th.

Karl said...

Huffman is not good in front of people. He is not very warm and doesn't seem to like campaigning. He has gotten a pass up in 26 for a long time and it may really cost him this time around.

"figured he could ride the Kolbe train" Is that kind "pulling a train" but (sorry I should have said except) for guys? Are you trying to imply something about Steve that is not commonly known?

Anonymous said...

Steve is also dragging his feet on a major NW Tucson candidate forum in August. If he misses one of two more of these events then his absence will become the story.

x4mr said...

Frank Antenori is the only republican candidate who had the chutzpah to hoof it to Willcox and face an auditorium full of democrats. Some of his speaking drew applause from an audience strictly instructed to hold applause for sake of time.

What anonymous has to say about Green Valley does not surprise me at all. Based on Willcox, I can almost picture how it went.

The Committee said...

Steve Huffman will not back out of the race on any count. He needs the job based on his struggles with his real estate business. He has to stay in the race.

Anonymous said...

What business? Steve is no longer listed as an agent in the Tucson MLS.

Anonymous said...

I hope Steve goes to church, because it's going to take an act of God to resurrect his campaign.

Kralmajales said...

Zowy! Glad to see that Demo activists aren't the only ones to eat there moderates (smile).

All that said, this is fascinating and not at all different than what I have been saying.

To win, Huffman is going to have to play the "Randy Can't Win" card over and over again. He will also have to use his dough smartly to work on those early vote by mail petitions. My bet is that he has quite a campaign doing just that right now. Probably hired the same group that helped win the RTA in Pima County. I would also look for an "independent" ad from the Click/Diamond/etc group that blisters Randy over and over while a smiling Huffman reaches out to voters positively. That has been the M.O. of the Click gang for years now.

Anyhow, if Huffman is not working the turnout machine for early voters as I am suggesting, he is dead in the water. But I bet he is. It is the only way he is going to get moderate Republicans out in a primary.

Anonymous said...

Problem is the moderate voters might just vote for someone decent like Mike Hellon.

Kralmajales said... are right. They very well might.