Saturday, September 30, 2006

New Kenski Poll Results

Inside Tucson Business/Wick Communications Poll

Giffords 52%
Graf 34.1%
Undecided 9.7%
Other 4.2%

Only 402 most likely voters surveyed. Margin of error plus/minus 4.3%.

Some irregularities yet to be explained.

Thursday, September 28, 2006

New Poll Lows

Now, apparently, people can just make up poll numbers from thin air and pass them off.

A New York Times story claims an Emily's list representative that says that Giffords has more than a twenty point lead on Graf.

I searched their site and Giffords site for any mention of this "poll" but couldn't find anything. Tedski seems to have got a release of the poll. But I would assume that he is on the mailing list.

If you cannot even place the actual results of the poll in the public domain, I am sure that the internals aren't going to be forthcoming. I can only assume that everyone involved is aware that this is a cartoon version of a poll. However, if you knew the poll was a lie, why would you release it?

Maybe so you can blame the actual election results on Diebold at a later date :)

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

GOP Coming; Giffords Playing Huffman Dodgeball

It looks like Randy Graf has garnered needed support from the GOP with Hastert and Rove coming to town to rally the troops. Of course, they could be coming to bolster Kyl's campaign, but the fact they will be in Tucson suggests the target is Graf. A recent GOP fundraiser where Click announced his "150%" support for Graf is another indicator that the party is coming together and making an effort to repair the damage inflicted during the primary.

With Grijalva taking a substantial role in her campaign, Gabrielle Giffords has all the party support she needs. It would seem she only needs to concentrate on getting her message out. What's puzzling, however, is why she is finding a variety of pretexts to excuse herself from public discourse. Several sources have stated that Giffords will only appear if there are at least 200 participants present. Other sources place the required number at 300. Furthermore, regardless of the number of scheduled community forums and debates, Giffords will commit to appearing at only six, and insiders suggest there may be a few that she skips.

We're not sure why she seems hesitant to appear in public, but some have speculated that like the late night vote ad for which Weiss took her to task she may feel uncomfortable reconciling her recent tough border talk with her voting record and connections to Las Adelitas, Migra Matters and other radical open borders groups.

We are also not sure why Gijalva, who is in the middle of his own re-election campaign, would want to take on Gabby's campaign as well. Even if he is confident that he will be remaining in Washington, helping Gabby would seem to be a distraction for him stretching his abilities in both campaigns.

Monday, September 25, 2006

Poll Magic

As I have stated in the past, the art of polling has fallen into the same disrepute as statistics. And I have some bones to pick with the two polls that have been released recently.

#1. If you do not release your methodology, it is hard to take your poll seriously. There is absolutely no reason to do this other than trying to hide something. If you are trying to hide something, there has to be bias in your poll. It is as simple as that. If your job as a pollster is to ferret out what is happening in the electorate from an objective sample, you will want to release your methodology to stamp your reliability. Neither of these polls have done that.

Both third party polls taken during the primaries DID do this.

#2. Obviously the Greenburgh-Quinlin-Rosner poll was sloppy and can almost be tossed aside in terms of value. I would bet a dozen Krispy Cremes (and those are hard to get now) that this poll by far oversampled Democrats. We do not know why this poll was commissioned, or what feedback was being targeted by the Giffords campaign that led to these results. It could have been Pima County residents for all we know. Again without the methodology, the results are almost as useful as an online poll.

Also, look at the favorablility ratings for Graf. 82% of respondents know who he is, only 32% think favorably of him, and yet 35% will vote for him? Who are these people that have no idea who Graf is, or actually have an unfavorable opinion of Graf, but will vote for him anyway? Also notice that there are 11% of respondents who know Randy Graf but have no opinion on him. This seems very unlikely. It appears to me that people were being pushed to answer certain questions, perhaps not in a specific way, but nevertheless it diminishes the sampling credibility of the poll. An "I don't know" is perfectly valid as a choice.

And finally, anyone looking at this poll with an analytical bone in their body would immediately know that Gabby is not 19 points up. That was just silly.

#3- I believe the Star poll to be more sound fundamentally, but definitely not beyond question. Again, no breakdown is listed. What I can tell you right off the bat is that women were oversampled in comparison with men. It is also telling that in the Star poll released during the primaries, they DID give the breakdown and defined "likely voter."

Here is the thing that also makes me question the poll. If you buy that 45.8% of the voters view that Border control is the number 1 issue for this race, and that Gabby beats Graf on this issue, that means that Graf has to be beating Gabby on other issues such as the war and health care in order to make the numbers stand up. This is very counter to the conventional wisdom going both directions which could happen, but is unlikely. I also do not buy that Gabby is outdistancing Randy in the outlying counties, unless the sample size of these counties is statistically insignificant (which would explain a lot.)

The over sampling of women and the probable bad sampling of the outlying counties would suggest to me a rushed, inexact poll that the Star knew was flawed, but released anyway minus the internals. "600 likely voters" is probably the truth, but you also need to account for party registration, location, et al. I doubt that this was done.

So while this poll is certainly better than the Giffords poll, it does not, nor cannot tell the entire story.

I would argue that the last valid, verifiable, accurate poll that was taken was the Star poll just before the primary. And that poll is getting moldy.

I am sure that there are others who disagree. But take notice that whenever the poll methodology tightens up, so does Gifford's lead.

Money, Money, Money

Interesting that many think that the withdrawal of the DCCC from funding an advertising blitz is an indication of "having the race in the bag."

The truth is that things aren't going as well in the House elections as Democrats had hoped and the money is needed elsewhere at this point in the race, especially in New York where the GOP is holding strong in 4 of the 5 districts the Democrats had counted on going blue. I believe that the Republican and Democratic Congressional PACs are just about equal in terms of fundraising, so the NRCC moving its money to New York, for instance, would be a huge problem for the DCCC if left unanswered. Especially since there five competitive races in New York and only two (if one is generous)in Arizona.

All that said, this is a tremendous advantage for Graf as The NRCC was never really going to donate any more than it could get away with after their failed primary incursion. This is further mitigated by the fact that Graf will get a lot of help from non-Party PACs. I would argue that his advantage here is far greater than Giffords.

The last tidbit is that the Graf Campaign has picked over the festering, rotted carcass of the Huffman Campaign and tapped fundraiser Julee Dawson. It could easily be argued that she is the only member of that group that still has any business being in politics. Huffman certainly had no problems fundraising, and I doubt it was due to his glittering personality.

The word is that Team Graff has set some very ambitious goals for her, and she is performing admirably. Between the new Campaign Manager, Gregg, and Dawson, I believe that Graf's former weakness at fundraising has been overcome.

The coming weeks should be interesting, although I do not believe that we have seen the last of either party committee.

I'll talk about those "polls" in just a bit.

Saturday, September 23, 2006

Too Little, Too Late

The Tucson Citizen must have had a good spate of cancellations based on the most recent editorial.

Everything they recount is true. The state Democratic party and the DCCC have acted reprehensibly, however the racist meme was started by one of their own, and he seems to escape mention.

Of course one wouldn't expect an apology from the Democratic party, but the Citizen should offer one to Graf for the Smith slime piece. This "makeup" article is far from that.

Perhaps the best thing for this race would be for both national and state parties to leave this race altogether alone. The state party is certainly doing Giffords no favors at this point.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

DCCC versus Randy Graf

The headlines read "Only 25% Approve of Congress." Yet most voters are afraid to let go of their current representative. 53% say they like their congressman. Even when their congressman votes mostly with the other party, the fear of the "other side" candidate keeps them hanging on to what they can count on. Not that I put too much stock in a poll that is so long that it only attracts the disgruntled who have an axe to grind. But let's face it, nobody looks at today's congressmen and talks about what a great job they're doing.

What does this mean in a race with no incumbent? Well, we know that the outgoing incumbent's endorsement made little, if any, impact on the primary other than his ability to partner with big money to try and buy the election. If the endorsement, of itself, had no positive impact, than it suggests that either this district was not satisfied with its particular congressman, or that voters' overall dissatisfaction with congress was so great as to overshadow any positives from the departing official.

In either case, it suggests voters are demanding a change.

If the candidates stay on task and debate the issues directly, Randy holds the edge because the most salient issue to voters where substantial change is demanded is the border where Giffords record is weak and Graf owns the issue as the Border Hawk. This issue alone has the power to unite Republicans, Independents, Libertarians and even some Democrats.

The Democrat party knows this, so the DCCC is trying to create so much noise, or distraction, that the real issues become obscured and indistinguishable with the intent that voters will end up voting on likability or dis-likability instead of on issues. That this IS the strategy of the DCCC is evident by the Huffman-like slander TV ads right out of the gate followed by Jeff Smith's hack job and the pseudo-relationships contrived by the DCCC to smear Graf.

The ultimate question here is whether the Huffman/Republican party establishment figures have inflicted enough damage on Republicans and the Graf campaign for the DCCC to capitalize on, which they are obviously trying to do. If they have, the problems created for Republicans are voters staying home and volunteers bailing out of other campaigns like the struggling Kyl campaign.

Less certain is whether Tom Reynolds and the NRCC have enough sense to recognize the widespread damage they have inflicted and pour money into the Graf campaign which can create a windfall of support for Kyl by re-igniting his conservative base.

Of course, Giffords is banking on a hard-hitting smear campaign by the DCCC early on and Bill Clinton's poll showing a strong Giffords lead to weaken the NRCC's resolve.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Who is the Bigot?

I haven't seen a lot published about this article by Jeff Smith in the Citizen. I guess I will go ahead and discuss it.

The one thing I will have to give Mr. Smith is that he had enough guts to publish his phone number with the article. So I called him.

I have never met Mr. Smith before, so I wasn't certain what to expect. I basically started the conversation by pointing out that this was the most vile, vapid, un- researched, lazy article or opinion piece that I had ever seen published in a "real" newspaper. He went on to tell me that this was an opinion piece and was separate from the news reporting that the Citizen does. He then asked if I was a Graf supporter.

I told him that I was a blogger, and very interested in fair and accurate reporting which there was none of in this article. He actually sneered at me (as much as you can on the phone) and told me that he has never read, nor will he ever read a blog. He explained that if me or anyone else had a disagreement with his piece we could submit a letter to the editor (Once upon a time, someone could actually buy ad space to respond and go around the editor, but that would now violate federal law. Thank you John McCain.)

I asked him if he knew Randy Graf, and he told me that he had met him once. I then asked him if Randy Graf was a racist. He said "yes" without any hesitation or hedging. I then asked him what Randy had ever said or did that would make one think that he was a racist. He told me that Randy was more careful than that, but he could just tell by the way he carried himself that he was a racist. So, no, he had no proof other than his ability to see a man's character by his own all-seeing psychic ability.

He then confided that he has made it his current life's mission to make sure that Graf is never elected.

So there you have it. An article totally devoid of facts, specifics, or fairness as an attempt to paint Graf as a racist, which the author admits that there is no real proof other than the author's belief that he "feels it in his soul."

I asked him if he felt that it was just as bad to call someone a racist on no evidence than to actually be a racist, and he told me that there was no comparison at all. I guess there is a different standard for those of us who require evidence and proof than those who are magically blessed with the ability to see into men's souls.

Or something like that. Somebody better inform Graf's Panamanian-born wife that he hates South Americans.

All-in-all this was an embarrassment for the paper. I would have been equally as upset if something like this were done to Gabby Giffords or any other candidate. I do have to wonder with all of the outrage manufactured for the Ad Watch about Giffords, if there are any Democrats out there who would stand up to call this for what it is, a vindictive poisonous attack devoid of proof or evidence and bad for discourse as a whole.

I suspect that there are, and that gives me some amount of comfort and hope for politics.

Newspapers on the other hand. . .

Welcome New Blog

Longtime reader and poster (by this blog's standards) x4mr has started his own blog.

His initial offerings are pretty good. Make sure that we all get out to support him;

even if he is an unapologetic lefty :)

Sustainability, Equity, Development: A Quest for Context and Meaning

First up, a reader contest for a shorter more pithy name.

Monday, September 18, 2006

Giffords Starts Negative

Giffords picked up where Huffman left off while the bodies were still warm. Between the DCCC and the Giffords campaign, the tanks are full and it's full throttle ahead for attacking Randy Graf. So much for the speculation that Gabrielle would run a clean campaign and stick to the issues.

After surprisingly positive campaigns from Weiss and Giffords (with a couple of exceptional incidents), it was widely speculated that Giffords was strong enough to run on the issues and would avoid the risky nasty tactics used by Steve Huffman. But the DCCC has already begun ads using Huffman language that Graf is "too extreme." A negative push-poll over the weekend also suggested Randy Graf is the one who divided the Republican party—an interesting interpretation of events. The poll cited many of the same bills Randy opposed that Huffman used in his revisionist explanations of legislative activities.

Since the poll took nearly 15 minutes to respond to, and the Huffman campaign burned everyone out on polls the last several weeks of the primary, workers were reported to be having difficulty getting respondents. No surprise there.

Watch for Huffman to be squeezed to refute some of his earlier claims in order to undo some of the damage of his primary campaign.

Friday, September 15, 2006

How much does "electability" cost

Democrats, I promise to get to you momentarily :)

There is an interesting article in "The Hill" concerning the narrowing of competative races. Good article, but it carried an important piece of information that I will get to in a second.

Remember the "electability" swipe that Kolbe took at Graf before the election even got underway and the unnamed polls that he cited saying that the district would not vote for Graf? Given his behavior since Graf's nomination I believe it is safe to say that this had a lot to do with Kolbe's personal dislike of Graf rather than his concern for the district or the Republican party. If not for Graf, Kolbe would probably be looking forward to his next term. Again, door, behind, on the way out.

But more puzzling is the NRCC involvement. Why this race, and why only this race? There are certainly more candidates for election that are far more "extreme" than Graf and there was no involvement in those primaries. I then looked at the Senate race where the NRSC became involved and noticed something. If the party comes after you, they play to win. In the Chafee-Laffey primary, the GOTV effort was utilized to it's fullest to marginalize Laffey as well as negative advertising. The GOP effort increased primary turnout by almost 1000% over similar RI primaries in the past. That is some serious "gunning."

As far as I could tell, the RNCC effort in this race was a single television commercial run incessantly, but not the usual Huffman slime shot. It certainly was effective looking at the results, but it almost seems that if the party had tried harder like they did with Chafee they might have turned the election.

When the NRCC stepped in, Huffman was seriously short of money, and his donors were tapped out. The Click machine is deep, but not wide. There is a limit that can be donated from the group based on law, and I believe that the core group was at the limit for the reporting period. Huffman and Click needed cash fast.

In steps the NRCC with a cash infusion of at least $200,000. Notice however, that no extra voter targeting was done, nor was the advertising negative. There appear to have been rules attached to the money. Of course the ads were produced by the NRCC because they had probably seen his earlier attempts.

So where is the quid-pro-quo? Obviously there had to be some sort of payback to the NRCC besides their love of Click and Huffman. The NRCC took a lot of heat and further placed CD-8 in jeopardy because of their actions.

Refer back to the article I linked:

Reynolds also showed members of the conference yesterday that individual Republican candidates had closed their gap on the competition by erasing a $7.2 million deficit in total receipts at the end of June to boast a $200,000 edge by the end of July.

To further boost those efforts, Rep. Eric Cantor (R-Va.), who has been charged with running the so-called Battleground Program, accepted $2.2 million in donations yesterday, bringing the total to $13.2 million, a Cantor aide said yesterday.

That windfall is due in part to a surprising $602,500 donation by Rep. John Shadegg (R-Ariz.) that raised the eyebrows of members and staff present.

"“I think we are at a critical juncture," Shadegg said yesterday.

"This could be … the most important election in my lifetime” from a national security standpoint," Shadegg said. "“I think [withdrawing U.S. troops] would embolden Iran, embolden radical Islam, embolden even North Korea."”

The outspoken conservative, who ran unsuccessfully for majority leader earlier this year, has never been a major donor to the party, but he told the Speaker that intends to give more money to the party this cycle.

Shadegg said much of the money was from large donors who wrote checks directly to the NRCC on his behalf.

Now obviously Click couldn't just write a check to the RNCC to cover the difference plus interest, as that would raise a tremendous amount of red flags and questions. He would have to find another way to get them the money.

Does anyone else know any doners from the area that could funnel $600,000 or more in Shadegg's name to the NRCC?

It would certainly be interesting if Shadegg could better clarify the source of this money.

Huffman Concession

Nice to see that an adult finally got to Steve and let him know what is expected when you lose an election, especially if you ever hope to have a future in politics again. I suspect that Steve felt that he could blow the concession off and never intended to acknowledge Graf at all.

The text and method of delivery speaks volumes. Is it normal that a concession is delivered to a single member of the media as an email? I would suspect that Scarpinato was preparing an article to slam Huffman, and had requested comment. This was more of an attempt to avoid scrutiny than to actually leave with honor and class.

The text of the message is vague and passive, almost brooding. He makes it clear that he intends to make no active effort to help Graf. The damage done by his campaign to the Republican nomination has been very great, and he will need to do more if he ever intends to run in this area again. His weak quasi-concession is not a good start.

It is, however, much better than the bitter, self-serving performance of Jim Kolbe, who seems to think the "big tent" is only applicable to those who fall into his bigoted preferences.

And yes, I wrote and meant "bigoted."

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Huffman Concedes

Steve Huffman sent this email to Dan Scarpinato of the Star apparently asking him to forward it on to the Graf campaign headquarters.

Steve Huffman's statement:

"I would like to take this opportunity to clarify my statement from yesterday regarding the campaign. I would like to congratulate Randy Graf for his victory in Congressional District 8. While we may differ on some issues, we are both Republicans. This Congress must be kept in Republican hands and it is time for all of us to support our Republican nominee for Congress. I would like to once again reiterate my best wishes to Randy Graf for the duration of his campaign."

We haven't heard the Graf campaign response yet, but we will post it as soon as we do.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

More Graf as a conservative folk hero. . .

If this keeps up, Graf's funding may take care of itself with or without the NRCC:

National Review Online



And they were discussing the race on the Hugh Hewitt Show on the way home from work.

We Shall Never Surrender!

Everyone knows that Kolbe will not endorse Graf in order to satisfy his grudge against Graf for challenging him as a Republican incumbent. But Huffman can't do that because he has to do whatever he can to salvage his political future, which is generally accepted as nil.

Huffman has not called Graf about the election results, but he did send a statement over to the Graf headquarters today saying that he will support the declared nominee. Huffman has stated he will wait until the provisional ballots are counted and a final winner is announced before accepting defeat. That could be as late as September 25th.

After experiencing Huffman's unscrupulous behavior during the campaign, some are concerned that Steve Huffman may have an alias of "Al Gore." Be on the lookout for boxes of ballots that mysteriously appear, or ballots that get rejected because they have Graf votes on them when the voters thought they were voting for Huffman. Remember too state senator Paula Aboud and the magically appearing ballots that all happened to be voting for her.

In this election, anything is possible.

Good thing we don't have Chads. . .

OK, I thought I could take a small break this morning, but there is late news,

First of all Jim Kolbe has refused to endorse Randy Graf, no surprise there really.

The second is that Steve Huffman has announced that the race is not over as there are still a large amount of early and provisional ballots out there that have yet to be counted.

Graf better have a lawyer, because I smell vote finding.

Here is the breakdown:

Current lead by Graf 3354 votes

Number of outstanding provisional ballots 2, 700

Number of early ballots still not counted 2,800

It would be foreseeable that this could possibly make a difference except that the above numbers are a combined total of Republican and Democratic ballots.

Let's give Steve the benefit of the doubt and say that by some incredible fluke, 75% of these ballots are for the Republican primary.

That leaves a possible vote universe of 4125 votes.

Keep in mind that this assumes that all the provisional ballots are valid.

This would mean that in order to secure a tie or better, Huffman would have to score 81% (I rounded down) of this remaining vote AND have the remaining 19% uniformly move to another candidate other than Graf. Any vote going to Graf increases the percentage that Huffman needs.

The fact that this is still be floated as a remote possibility even should make one wonder if there is some sort of chicanery afoot. If I were Graf, I would make sure to have observers present for the rest of the "counting" process.

The Extreme Candidate

The day speedily cometh where we will mention Steve Huffman no more.


Steve Huffman is a petulant twelve-year-old.

I was joking with Mike Hellon, who had a rather good, if a little somber, party last night that I couldn't find the location of the Huffman victory party on his website. I figured that the Jim Click living room was being used for another function so the party was called off. What I later learned, however, was that the truth was stranger than my joking. Steve Huffman sat at home, watching the returns on his television, and kicked the members of the press out once it became apparent that he was not going to win.

Classic Huffman. Do you think maybe that those volunteers that were walking for him, working his campaign, or donating money to support him would have liked to see some form of thanks for their efforts? Nope, it was, and always has been, about him. Had he won, there would have been few to share the glory with. When he lost, there was nobody left to see him cry.

But it gets worse. At 8:00 after the polls had closed, Steve was still running negative ads against Graf, at least according to my television set.

And finally, to my knowledge, Steve has never called to concede or congratulate Graf, who had the temerity to challenge his superiority by not conceding before the election and ran a gentlemanly campaign, considering the slime-soaked innuendo that comprised almost the entirety of the Huffman campaign. Graf did nothing to earn the disdain shown him by Huffman.

When we keep hearing about "electability" keep in mind who this man was. It wasn't to long ago that civility and honor were a large part of our culture. If keeping the Republican seat meant giving up those principles, than it just wasn't worth it. For what it is worth, I saw those qualities in every Republican candidate save one.

And he will be resigned to the dustbin of history. Couldn't happen to a nicer guy.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Arizona 8th Calls the Race

With 60% of Cochise County reporting 48% to 34% Randy Graf over Steve Huffman.

That should be enough to seal the deal.
Just for the record, I believe that Mike Hellon will do far better than 10 to 12 percent.

Update on Election Activity

Pima County reports over 32,000 early ballots in. Polling stations report a light turnout so far. The weather report forecasts afternoon and evening showers. What do these have in common? They all favor candidates with a strong support base that will turn out and vote namely Randy Graf and Mike Hellon in the Republican camp.

The characteristics of the Democratic primary are considerably different than those of the Republican primary and will probably not be as influenced by these factors.

It is widely expected that early balloting will favor Randy Graf and Mike Hellon who held greater name recognition and an existing base early in the campaign. A light turnout will reveal primarily dedicated voters showing at the polls again favoring these candidates. Rain will chase away the less committed voters as well leaving most of the undecided voters home waiting for the general election.

We predict a 10-12 point spread between Graf and Huffman with Hellon picking up 10-13% of the vote.

Blog Milestone

We just reached over 10,000 visits (not hits but separate visits). Some blogs do that before breakfast, but for a blog with as limited a scope and potential audience as we have, we are very pleased with what has happened in our short run thus far.

Thank you for visiting. If you have any comments or questions you can reach us at Without you, we are just talking to ourselves.

And if you like what we do, tell a friend.

Monday, September 11, 2006

Salmon On Click Payroll

Outrage on the surface, quiet calculating underneath.

The Arizona Republican Party headquarters has been overwhelmed with calls from irate Republican activists complaining about chairman Matt Salmon's phone calls supporting Steve Huffman. Salmon's calls were made with party money, on party time and with party equipment. Staffers say the calls were necessary to ensure there were no misunderstandings resulting from the DCCC ads against Huffman. Callers see it differently and want a pound of flesh.

Southern Arizonans don't seem to care about Salmon's twisted justification now that they know Salmon is on the Click payroll as his lobbyist. Party officials aren't talking publicly, but privately reveal that Click pressured Salmon into making the calls. Can anyone say "conflict of interest?" "Payoff?" "Corruption?"

Party activists now want Salmon's head. They are mounting a quiet campaign calling for the resignation of Salmon and any party leader that supported the decision to join Huffman.

It probably doesn't matter if the campaign succeeds. Salmon is up for re-election soon and the result will be the same.

Arizona Eighth Blog Endorsements

Its time for the endorsements:

We endorse:

College Football, but not the BCS (we want playoffs).
Arizona never playing at LSU again.

The FasFuel gas station on the corner of Prince and Oracle ($2.49 a gallon).

T-shirts with the "Stop the Johnson Invasion" slogan.

The chimichanga as the official food of CD-8.

Blackjack Pizza with green olives.

Battlestar Galactica (both versions).

"Oh Brother Where Art Thou," both the movie and the soundtrack.

Lemon-scented essential oils as mosquito repellent.

And, finally, we endorse voting for the person who best represents your beliefs regardless of any other endorsements, advertising, chances of winning, or browbeating. The primary is the last true bastion of grass-roots democracy, and if we lose that, we lose a lot. If you wish to vote for Mike Jenkins, please do so and be proud. If you go with Jeff Latas, he certainly deserves your consideration. Just be sure that you vote with your heart and your vote will in no way be wasted. The biggest waste would be casting a ballot for a candidate you only half-heartedly support.

We have the general for that folks.

Salmon Breaks the Silence-Party Self-destructs

First the news from

" I just received an automated call from Arizona Republican Party chairman Matt Salmon urging me to ignore the negative attack ads against Steve Huffman being run be the Democrats. Matt weakly claimed that he was not endorsing any candidate.

Sorry Matt your pathetic attempt to help Huffman and say you are not favoring him is too transparent. For the record Matt Salmon did not call when Huffman was lying about and attacking the reputation of Randy Graf. Salmon was also absent when the NRCC intervened in a primary and backed one Republican candidate over the other.

If you are sick of the backroom deals being made by Republican higher-up during a primary please call the Arizona Republican Party at (602) 957-7770 and tell them what you think. You might also try to reach Matt at his office (602) 445-8274."

The breakdown:
Insiders say that when the NRCC broke its promise and began advertising for Huffman, Matt Salmon made an alleged verbal protest, but a compliant nod, and stood by while the NRCC moved in. If there was any sign of leadership, it was behind closed doors. A call from Click has broken the silence, however. Now Matt Salmon is running a phone ad on behalf of Huffman claiming it's not an endorsement, just a clarification. 'Kind of like the NRCC "non-endorsement." If it walks like a duck, quacks like a duck, etc., it's still a dog, cow or something else according to the Arizona Republican Party.

The calls coming in to the party headquarters are not flattering. Some report constituents threatening to stop all contributions to the party, or worse, leaving the party altogether. In any case, don't expect to see Matt Salmon as the state party chairman after this term if he is able to make it to the end. It's doubtful that his friends in Maricopa and Jim Click will be able to save him from the anti-Huffman constituents of CD8 candidates and conservatives throughout the state.

The latest attack ads against Mike Hellon, the last minute Huffman lawsuit against the Minutemen to stop their ads, and pressure on neighboring state parties as well as our own Arizona Republican Party suggests Huffman is not polling well. His efforts to steal votes from Mike Hellon will fail. Mike's support base is solid. Will more ads and more endorsements make a difference? Probably not. Party activists are the only ones who care about a de-facto party endorsement, and they have chosen Hellon or Graf overwhelmingly. So the party endorsement will have little effect. More attack ads are reinforcing the belief that Huffman has nothing to offer and is simply a nasty person. So we don't expect tremendous gains here either.

Huffman has peaked and he knows it.

This latest act by the state party may actually put the final nail in the coffin for Huffman as it brings out the outraged party activists. It may also spell doom to the Republican Party in Southern Arizona with ripple effects throughout the state. If enough activists rebel—and some reportedly have—what chances do fellow conservatives like Kyl have in Southern Arizona? And how will the party ever rebuild regardless of who wins the primary and general elections in this race?

Like sharks in the water, the Democrats are circling....and they smell blood.

Expect more of this. . .

In the threads there has been considerable discussion that with a Graf win, funding for his campaign would dry up. We have argued that the situation he faces would actually make him some type of conservative folk hero that would allow him to gather funds from a cross-section of disaffected conservatives across the country, even without NRCC support.

The "framing" of his candidacy on a national basis has already begun.

I'll bet that many of the major conservative publications and national reach blogsites won't be far behind.

Saturday, September 09, 2006

Is Arizona Eighth Blog Deceiving the Public?

This was bound to happen sooner or later:

For immediate release:

Arizona Eighth Blog is Hiding its TRUE beliefs!

Arizona Eighth is a blog. Did you know that Howard Dean used the internet and blogs to raise money during the 2004 Presidential Campaign? Howard Dean is now in charge of the Democratic National Committee. Blogs are a part of his overall strategy. The DNCC under the control of Howard Dean has made advertisements criticizing Steve Huffman's record. Arizona Eighth blog has accused Steve Huffman of negative campaigning. The Arizona Eighth blog is working hand in hand to spread the lie that Steve Huffman is refusing to campaign on the issues, and is spending his time and resources trying to tear down his opponents instead. Can that be a coincidence?

Arizona Eighth is hiding its Muslim Fundamentalist fanaticism

Traditional Muslim law prohibits the printing of images associated with the prophet Muhammad and other pictorial references of their religion. Instead, they rely on ornately inscribed text in their tomes and mosques. The Arizona Eighth Blog has never published pictures of Mohammad. In fact they do not publish images at all. This could be argued as a very extreme form of fundamentalism. This is certainly very disturbing and not representative of the beliefs of Arizona CD-8.

Arizona Eighth Blog is run by a man named "Framer" who is more than likely a criminal.

While a framer could be understood as an individual who builds the outside and inside structure of a house using a hammer and a lot of sweat, it also has a darker, more sinister meaning. A "framer" could also be somebody that accuses another of a crime that they themselves have committed. Obviously, since this individual prefers to remain anonymous he has something to hide. Likely, if given a chance he would burn a religious symbol on YOUR private property as criminals often do. Is this the kind of person we need running a blog in Southern Arizona!!

Please note that this is a parody and is not Paid for by Huffman for Congress

Friday, September 08, 2006

Huffman Attack On Hellon

It's hard to blog on anything other than Huffman when he makes the bulk of the news. We hate to give him such an unfair advantage with all the extra coverage, but the other candidates are uninteresting in comparison. Sorry about that, gents.

Here's another Huffman hit piece, this time attacking Mike Hellon. Mike luckily wasn't subjected to the disfigured computer-modified picture like Randy Graf. In fact, Mike's picture was pretty good.

The attack points came from Project Vote-Smart which asks the candidate to check the statements to which he agrees. Two of the three attack points come from boxes Mike did not check. We find it ironic that Huffman would zero in on unchecked statements considering he refused to answer any of the questions. In fact, one could have a heyday attributing positions to Huffman on unchecked statements. Furthermore, Project Vote-Smart states the following:

Please Note

The National Political Awareness Test (NPAT) asks candidates which items they will support if elected. It does not ask them to indicate which items they will oppose. Through extensive research of public polling data, we discovered that voters are more concerned with what candidates would support when elected to office, not what they oppose. If a candidate does not select a response to any part or all of any question, it does not necessarily indicate that the candidate is opposed to that particular item.

Project Vote-Smart posted this on Steve Huffman:



John McCain, Republican Senator
Geraldine Ferraro, Former Democratic Congresswoman
Michael Dukakis, Former Democratic Governor
Bill Frenzel, Former Republican Congressman
Richard Kimball, Project Vote Smart President

Now, for the attack points. This piece is so irrational that it is difficult to figure out how to break it down for analysis. So, I will simply address one statement in the paragraph along with the three bullets.

Claim: "He recently joined groups like Howard Dean in attacking the National Republican Congressional Committee."

Fact: We are unaware of any alliance with Howard Dean. Mike recently joined with all three Republican candidates in the race (except Huffman) to denounce the NRCC's interference with the election in which the NRCC contributed over $250,000 in advertising for Steve Huffman's campaign.

Claim: "Supports public funding for abortions.'

Fact: Mike left the following phrase unchecked which, according to the survey note, does not indicate agreement.
f) Prohibit public funding of abortions and to organizations that advocate or perform abortions.
Because "f" was not checked, Huffman makes the case that Mike opposes the statement. This conclusion is false and contrary to what is explained in the survey.

Claim: "Will not vote for a Constitutional Ammendment to protect traditional marriage."

Fact: Mike's response is consistent with the claim as shown below.
No i) Do you support a constitutional amendment that would define marriage as a union between a man and woman?

Claim: "Opposes mandatory jail sentences for selling illegal drugs."

Fact: As indicated below, there is no check indicating that Mike opposes mandatory jail sentences for selling illegal drugs. The claim in the Huffman ad is, therefore, false.
a) Support mandatory jail sentences for selling illegal drugs.

Only one of four points in the ad has any validity.

Steve Huffman's mailer is easy to declare a negative advertisement.
From Project Vote-Smart:
Project Vote Smart does not permit the use of its name or programs in any negative campaign activity, including advertising, debates, and speeches.

I guess they haven't seen Steve's ads.

New on Arizona 8th: Images!!

As promised, here is the image of the infamous Bush photograph in Randy Graf's office that was turned upside down:

It's not really what I had envisioned either.

And don't be expecting fancy things like images and such on this blog in the future. I almost made this image black and white on principle alone.

Check of the Facts Check

In a Huffman hit piece, Steve makes several remarkable claims about Randy Graf which the AZ Daily Star critiqued. We aren't going to comment on the ad mischaracterizations responded to by the Star, but we will give the results of our research.

Claim: "Compared sexually abusing a child to buying beer for a minor."

Fact: The statement quotes ABC which took it's quote not from Graf, but from Steve Huffman. ABC later corrected the story, but Huffman is perpetuating the error. The statement that Aiken "was convicted and served time in jail for having sexual relations with two teenage girls" is completely false. He did serve a brief sentence in Pennsylvania for a misdemeanor "corruption" charge. In Pennsylvania, the definition of "corruption" includes selling alcohol to a minor which is the phrase Aiken used to describe the seriousness of the charge.

Claim: "Disrespected President Bush by hanging his picture upside down."

Fact: Huffman hung his own picture of President Bush upside down for his ads. The actual picture in Graf's office was a snapshot of Randy Graf with President Bush on Mt. Lemmon. It was briefly rotated 180 degrees to illustrate a point that they disagreed about granting amnesty to illegal aliens.

Claim: "Refused to make it a crime to burn a cross."

Fact: Graf supported and voted for this bill twice: In committee and when it passed the House. The Senate ammended the bill to include any symbol burned on private property with intent to intimidate. Graf voted against the new bill because the bill's vagueness could allow it to be used contrary to its original intent.

Claim: "Voted against drug benefits for seniors." "He did not reject the idea of ending Medicare."

Fact: The prescription drug program to which this ad refers was presented with no funding mechanism at a time when the legislature was cutting programs to satisfy a mandate to balance the budget. Graf felt it was irresponsible to support it at that time. He later voted for a similar bill when funding was available.

We can find no basis in fact relating to Graf wanting to end Medicare.

Claim: "Advocated firing teachers, firemen and police."

Fact: The bill referenced is actually a tongue-in-cheek statement about term limits another legislator read to a legislative committee presenting another perspective. Graf signed on as party to the statement.

Next we will address the Huffman hit piece on Mike Hellon. Stay tuned.

Huffman, fact checked

Arizona Star seems to be a little upset that Huffman sourced them in his latest hit piece.

We have also obtained a copy of the infamous photo of President Bush that was turned upside down in Graf's office. I will post that later today after I find a place to host it.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Goldwater Institute Scores Are In

Scores for elected officials running in CD8 according to years they served in office:

Acknowledging the Goldwater Institute as a conservative organization, some of these results will not be surprising. Giffords, for example is consistent with what you would expect from a Democrat being evaluated by a conservative standard. From 2003-2005 she was graded F, D+, D, respectively.

Steve Huffman served from 2003-2006 and was graded D-, C-, C+, C-, respectively. He took his biggest hits in the categories of reducing regulations and reducing taxes and spending (budget) where he received a D in both. Steve was just one point from receiving a D grade this year. This seems to support his position early in the campaign when he billed himself as a moderate rather than the conservative label he is touting now.

Randy Graf, from 2003-2004 received B ratings for both years. It is not quite as high as you would expect from a declared conservative, but the Goldwater Institute standard for an A is rarely reached. At the same time, a B grade suggests that Randy isn't the "extreme" conservative candidate suggested by Steve Huffman.

If the other three Republican candidates in the race had served in the legislature, we suspect they would probably have been graded this way (in order of grade): Antenori, similar to Randy Graf; Hellon, likewise with a possible exception in the Education category; Jenkins, slightly below Hellon. All would probably score higher than Steve Huffman since they tend to lean more conservative.

Huffman Stalker Investigation Now Suggests Fraud

The discovery of Clodfelter as the owner of both the stalker web site targeting Toni Hellon and the Huffman campaign web site further incriminated Huffman. But by not answering questions from the Tucson Weekly regarding his involvement in the affair, Steve drove the stake in deeper receiving a revoked endorsement from the Weekly. To top it off, the investigation has led to a new revelation. It was first rumored, and now confirmed by FEC filings from the Huffman campaign, that web hosting, design, and registration of the domain name worth thousands of dollars have been provided by Clodfelter and Sam Douglas as in-kind donations without being reported to the FEC opening up charges of campaign finance fraud.

Further Poll Analysis

Seen a lot of the poll analysis out there in the press and in the blogosphere and I will add in my two cents:

1. Gabby should be picking out her celebratory alcohol of choice . Obviously, there will be a different cross-section of voters that will vote in the primary this year. You do not want to be in the position, however, of depending upon them for a win.

"We know that we're going to live and die by occasional voters."- Patty Weiss campaign

This is especially bad news if you are 17 points down. You wouldn't trust your business to occasional workers, your campaign is no different.

I will bet that the overall margin of victory will be under 17 points, however.

2. Huffman's ads have made some impact. It looks like there have been a few drop-offs from Graf, and looking at the numbers, they have moved to Antenori which is logical. This has to be a disappointment for Hellon who was expecting them to go his way.

Notice, however that these were likely voters polled, not likely primary voters which are an entirely different creature. Just this fact alone could have accounted for the jump for Huffman, outside of him gaining momentum. This is a very lenient measure for Huffman and almost a best case for him under the circumstances, especially as this was before the other candidates started hitting back at him.

The other issue is that many of the Graf and Hellon voters have already voted. Huffman's early voting drive was almost non-existent. He is depending upon people to show up the day of the primary, One vote in the bank is worth two in the bush so we will have to see what happens.

I would bet, however that 24.5 percent will prove to be the high water mark of his campaign.

Finally, not sure that the general election polling is incredibly useful right now, but if it turns out to be accurate, I would wager that that Huffman and the RNCC's just under 1 million has purchased the ten point lead for Gabby. Go team Go!!!!!

Huffman Peeping Tom Connection

Via Sonoran Alliance

Tucson Weekly has revoked their endorsement of Steve Huffman due to his unwillingness to answer questions relating to his involvement in the peeping tom incident.

Here is what they said:
"Huffman demanded to know what kind of investigation the Graf campaign had done into Aiken's background. And Graf, to his credit, has discussed the Aiken scandal with us and other members of the media.

So why is Huffman hiding from the press now? We don't know, but it's a reasonable question for us--and for voters--to ask.

And because Huffman won't answer it, we have no choice but to revoke our endorsement of him in the Congressional District 8 race. We still appreciate Huffman's moderate pro-choice positions; we appreciate how he championed our local half-cent sales tax; we're glad that until this year, he resisted the urge to score cheap political points by giving in to the border hysteria that gripped so many of his fellow Republicans at the Legislature."

Apparently, it was discovered that Todd Clodfelter, another Huffman staffer who created the hellontoni web site with the pictures, is also the webmaster for the Huffman campaign web site.

Poll Results Are In

Results in early. Go to the Arizona Star to view poll results.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Poll Results Thursday, September 7

Despite the flurry of polling activity that is fast becoming the bane of dinner time, not much has been released to the public. Here is some of the information seeping from the various candidates and organizations.

A variety of internal polls show Steve Huffman gaining on Randy with Hellon holding steady. Precinct committeemen (PCs) in LD26, Huffman and Hellon's home district, are supporting Randy Graf at 33%, Mike Hellon at 25%, and Steve Huffman at 10%. As Steve Huffman gets further from his home district, his numbers go up and Mike Hellon's go down, an interesting statement on popularity. Of course, any poll in LD26 will be skewed one way or the other, although we believe Graf's numbers to hold across the board.

The Arizona Daily Star will release it's poll of 500 or so voters tomorrow. We expect little change from Randy Graf and Mike Hellon with Graf in the mid thirty-something percentiles. Our sense is that Huffman wil show some gains but that Graf will maintain as least a double digit lead.

Arizona Eighth Blog Apologizes

When we are wrong, we say so.

A while back I made a comment concerning the apparent objectivity of Margaret Kenski over her analysis over the poll that she conducted. I have never met Ms. Kenski, but believed by the comments quoted in the analysis article and her prior relationship with the Kolbe campaign showed that she may have a little more invested in the outcome of the primary.

After reading the latest article in the Tucson Citizen I must admit that her analysis is right down the line. It is quite possible that she was selectively quoted in the other article I read. Her analysis is quite possibly the most refreshingly honest that I have seen over the whole NRCC kerfuffle and with her experience, she is definitely in a position to know.

Again, my apologies to Ms. Kenski and I hope to hear more from her in the future as she looks to be the only political analyst the local press can go to that actually adds to the story.

New Rumor

Been hearing the rumor that the Dark Lord of Democratic Defeat is planning a visit to Tucson later this month.

I wonder if this has anything to do with "making nice" with the eventual Republican nominee should Huffman fall short. I'm pretty sure that they would not be sending him to deliver a "Sorry buddy, you're screwed," message.

If and when it happens, we will do our best to be there to report it.

Context for the Announcement

Each political party holds a primary election to determine who the party wishes to have represent them in the general election. Rather than an individual, or group of individuals, making the selection, the primary is a democratic process that gives the decision to the people. It's a lot like selecting division all-stars in sports when fans are given the opportunity to vote for who will best represent them in the division. If, during the voting process, the division leadership decided to hand pick a winner and lobby using vast sums of money from an athletic footwear sponsor, this would be considered unethical and an attempt to "fix" the outcome in the interest of the sponsor.

Since this analogy is not perfect, we would also have to imagine that fans donated money to the division for use in preparing their final picks for the actual all-star game and that this money was being used to "fix" the outcome of the voting. Again, this would be unethical (probably illegal) and counter to the efforts and wishes of most of the fans.

Add to this scenario, one player (vying for a position several other players hope to be selected to fill) trespassing on other players' private property, peaking in windows and posting pictures on a website in an attempt to discredit the competition. This same player lies about a player's performance statistics and attitude toward team members to suggest he would be a poor choice.

At the least, this player would be considered a poor sport. He would also be considered harmful to the division as fans lose faith in the all-star selection process and opt out in future years.

How should the problem be addressed? Should the players and division leaders pretend that nothing is happening, or issue meaningless statements about non-endorsements? Is the future of the organization more important than one wealthy sponsor?

This is the state of the Republican party in Southern Arizona. State party chairman Matt Salmon, stated a few months ago that anyone running a campaign like Huffman has, would have to deal with him. We're not sure what that meant because there has been no response to evaluate at this point. And with the election a few days away, it becomes clear that no answers will be forthcoming. Likewise, Judi White, the county chairman, has managed to remain silent on the issue.

With the lack of courage displayed throughout the Republican leadership, it is all the more impressive that four candidates were willing to step up and state unequivocally that "the seat is not for sale." It could be considered an "In yo' face" response to Click, or simply a courageous act by four Republicans willing to call power-mongering for what it is. Or maybe it's a little of both.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

WaPo is first out of the gate

Here is the first article covering the candidate announcement:

Well, OK, it's the AP

Hellon is still pretty steamed. I got that. He has every right to be.

Good to see somebody with press creds asking Ed Patru questions. Hopefully there will be more.

Not sure I agree with the final statement. It's a race by all means, but there is a favorite. That is the reason the NRCC intervened.

Further Press Conference Details

It wasn't that large of a press conference, and it was almost embarrassingly sparsely covered (as have been all of the CD-8 events for that matter). What took place, however was perhaps one of the most significant events in Arizona politics that has occurred for several years.

It is a pretty shallow secret that Jim Click rules Arizona GOP politics. He not only writes the checks, but he also controls the money. If he doesn't give to you, nobody else will either. If he cannot wrestle an endorsement for his chosen candidate, he can freeze the endorsement from going to the competition. His power is such that he sits on candidate committees even when they are using clean elections money (Len Munsil) and can bend the national party to the point of almost committing Hari-Kari in perhaps one of the most important districts in the 2006 congressional election, just to satisfy his whim.

What is unique here, is that for perhaps the first time, a group of candidates have aligned against the area GOP power structure and, more importantly, they are going to prevail.

Mr. Click's name was never mentioned during the press conference, most of the heat was reserved for Steve Huffman and the RNCC and deservedly so, as they are ultimately responsible for their own decisions, and each have made some very poor choices.

After the general statement that I already posted was read, each of the candidates delivered their own statements. Here are a few highlights:

Frank Antenori- Frank was very well spoken, referencing the fact that he has served in the military and also served the Republican party, by volunteering, donating money, and even filming an ad for President Bush's reelection campaign. He was repaid by a knife in the back. Moreover, Ron Drake is fighting for his political life in CD-7 and can't get a dime from the national party. It is a travesty that Republican donor dollars are being used to fight other Republicans on behalf of a weak candidate who has put together a disaster of a campaign.

Randy Graf- Of all the candidates, I felt that Graf was the most restrained. He commented that he has been the victim of a slew of reckless and unwarranted negative campaigning by Huffman and those who support him. He also reiterated that the National party had broken their word, and meddled in the campaign that was the domain of the voters. He also unveiled a telephone hotline that he said will be use to further clarify what was discussed here and to counter the salacious lies and smears that have been passed by the Huffman campaign. The number is available at his website at

Mike Jenkins- He just gets better and better with his public speaking, and this was perhaps his best moment so far. He emphasized the desire of Republicans to maintain the seat and control of Congress and how he is saddened that the NRCC is breaking its own rules and supporting one candidate over another during a hotly contested Primary. The primary election belongs to the voters, not those who would overwhelm the race with selective financial support. The actions of the RNCC amount to stealing control of the election from voters.

Mike Hellon- He was the highlight of the conference, and the most direct and to the point in his condemnation. He recounted his considerable experience in serving the GOP in Arizona and than said "Steve Huffman's campaign has been bought and paid for by special interests." he then went on to discuss Steve's absences from voting when border legislation was brought up. He also went on to discuss that border security is not really a priority of the current congress, and their support of Huffman is due to the fact that he will "do as he is told."

His most striking quote, however, was "The unprecedented intrusion into a primary election by the NRCC is, in my opinion, tantamount to institutional corruption. . ." As I get more time tomorrow I will try to get the transcription of his remarks digitized in their entirety.

The question and answer session was highlighted by the question. "If Steve Huffman wins, would all of you support him in the general election?" which in turn was answered by the sound of chirping crickets.

Huffman-Click Threats

Some have reported that Frank Antenori received death threats over the weekend for his anticipated involvement in today's press announcement. We thank Matt Neely, Antenori's campaign manager, for providing the facts that this was not accurate. What Matt did not report, however, is that all of the four candidates, except Randy Graf, had received telephone calls threatening their political futures if they held the press conference as planned. Interestingly, the calls were made with blocked numbers.

One candidate was told over the phone, "You don't know who you're messing with," to which the candidate replied, "Suppose you tell me. Are you the car dealer or the other candidate running in this race?" which question was answered with a click (no pun intended).

Official Joint Statement Press Release

I attended the press announcement and will have more about this later, including statements from the candidates individually. However, I do need to get some personal capitolism taken care of before I can do that. In the meantime, here is the official joint release:


September 5, 2006

"Today, we, four of the five Republican candidates for Congress in Arizona's Eighth District take a bold step to jointly declare our unified outrage at the highly unusual actions taken by the National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC) to openly support one candidate, Steve Huffman, in this Republican primary.

On March 30, 2006, RNC Chairman Ken Mehiman visited Tucson to attend a local party fundraiser. During his visit, Mehlman held a private meeting with the five declared candidates for Congress or their representatives. Present at that meeting were Frank Antenori, Randy Graf, Mike Hellon, and Mike Jenkins. Steve Huffman sent a representative, his former treasurer, Bill Arnold. At that private meeting, Mehlman made it clear that the national Republican Party would stay out of the primary race, promising to help whomever the voters of the Eighth Congressional District chose as their candidate for Congress in the upcoming General Election. Those sentiments were echoed by NRCC officials during private meetings in Washington, D.C. with some candidates in this race. Sadly, the promises that were made have been broken.

Additionally, the funds expended by the NRCC are monies reserved to defeat Democrats in the fall, and are not used to work against other Republican candidates in the primary. That right is usually - and should always be - reserved for the voters. What's more, these funds are raised from hardworking Republicans across the country, folks who support Republican principles. These donors would be shocked to know that their contributions are being used to defeat credible Republican candidates here in Arizona. We call on the NRCC to immediately stop using Republican fundraising dollars to defeat fellow Republicans. This primary campaign should remain above the belt and outside the Beltway.

We want the people of Congressional District Eight to know that this seat is not for sale. We trust the voters to choose their Republican nominee - not Washington special interests."

Contact Information:

Frank Antenori for Congress
Matt Neely, (520) 419-0609

Randy Graf for Congress
R.T. Gregg, (520) 877-2984

Mike Hellon for Congress
George Gobble, (520) 319-8217

Mike Jenkins for Congress
Lauren Blevins, (520) 403-7973

Shadegg Litmus Test—Who Passes the Test?

In John Shadegg's remarks at a Trunk 'N Tusk event last week, Shadegg revealed what he would like in a congressman holding the CD8 seat. John Shadegg wants someone to stand with him in helping to stop the spending frenzy. He stated that since 1995 the average citizen's annual income has risen 8% while government spending climbed 25.6%. He wants someone to stand with him in the fight against earmark spending who will be able to "sell" their ideas for balancing the budget. Let's take a look at who of the Republicans will pass the litmus test.

Frank Antenori says congress should reduce spending to the level of inflation. That act alone would have saved over $141 billion this past year. As with most of his positions, Frank takes a strong position on reducing government spending and balancing the budget. A lack of experience in politics will be the one potential drawback for Frank, but it isn't hard to see him joined at the hip with Shadegg taking on the establishment.

Randy Graf cites government spending as the country's number two problem. Randy is rated a "Friend of the Taxpayer" and one of the top 6 legislators according to the Arizona Federation of Taxpayers (AFT). As a legislator, Randy has refused to support new programs that would further increase the state budget deficit until funding could be secured for those programs. Randy has opposed wasteful earmarks and would stand with Shadegg on this issue. When it comes to knowing the facts and figures, Randy is supurb. Again, as a known maverick himself, Randy would be a good fit for John Shadegg.

Mike Hellon was a national committeeman for many years. He has been around lawmakers and has developed relationships with the Arizona delegation—a great head start advantage. Mike articulates a clear message that government spending is out of control and must be reined in. Consistent with Shadegg, he proposes an end to earmark spending and supports a balanced budget. With his years as a party loyalist, Mike would not be labeled a "maverick," but we would expect him to be strong on this issue and a strong advocate with whom Shadegg can work.

Steve Huffman was labeled "Needs Improvement" by the AFT and voted to increase spending more than $150 million above Governor Napolitano's budget request. He has taken the "No New Taxes" pledge but has said very little about the need to control spending or reduce earmarks. With his record, it would be hard to see Steve standing firm alongside Shadegg trying to hold the line on spending. We have to assume that if Steve isn't holding the line on spending at the state level, he won't do so at the federal level. He would simply be a replacement for Kolbe which Shadegg has had to deal with since first holding office.

Mike Jenkins supports freezing congressmen salaries until the budget is balanced. He strongly opposes pork barrel projects and supports holding down taxes. He does, however, support the use of earmarks, clearly in opposition to John Shadegg's desire to eliminate them. Mike Jenkins is vocal about wasteful pork barrel projects but feels that emergency earmarks are sometimes necessary. Shadegg, however, believes that it doesn't matter how legitimate the earmark; Once a congressman goes down that path, he will be hard-pressed to break away from it. Jenkins's position on earmarks will be a challenge for Jenkins and Shadegg.

Shadegg has indicated his willingness to work with whoever wins the primary. But, no doubt, he would love to enjoy a colleague more like-minded than Kolbe. We believe there's a reasonable chance he will get his wish.

More Tidbits

1) At the risk of creating an anti-Huffman site, you can check out this link to news about Huffman's experience with his neighbors

2) Four CD8 candidates will be making their big announcement Tuesday morning. Plan to read it here first.

Friday, September 01, 2006

Breaking News

First on Arizona Eighth. . .

It seems that Frank Antenori, Randy Graf, Mike Hellon, and Mike Jenkins have called a joint press announcement for Tuesday, September 5 at 11:00 am at the at the Reid Park Doubletree Hotel. The topic of the announcement has yet to be addressed.

If I were a gambling man, however, I might place money on this being a protest about the way that Steve Huffman and his backers have turned this campaign into a cesspool of innuendo and sour grapes desperation. This discussion may include the NRCC who seems to be doing their level best to alienate District 8 Republican voters and guarantee this seat falls into Democratic hands, something which most of their contributors no doubt would oppose. It may also have something to do with the extreme interference in the electoral process by Jim Click who seems to be a bit miffed that the candidate that he bought and paid for is likely to lose, despite the enormous sums of money that he has arranged to be funneled to Huffman, but be excluded from Hellon.

Or, it could be a little Tuesday morning quarterbacking over tomorrow night's football game coupled with predictions for the upcoming NFL season. Fantasy football picks will be available on a subscriber only basis.

Probably one of the two.