Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Arizona State Chairman Prediction:The McCain Factor

Although this race is probably getting more press than it deserves, the lure of speculation continues to drive bloggers to comment. So here we go again.

I believe four issues are driving supporters in this race: ideology, recognition, perceived influence, and McCain. Ideology is a factor for those who are looking for leadership from like-minded individuals. For these delegates, Randy Pullen represents the conservative viewpoint, and Lisa James the moderate, even though both have professed very similar views on social issues. I'm going to call it basically even on this point as far as state delegate support for one candidate or the other.

Name recognition plays a greater role among those new to party activism. Randy will have the edge in recognition because he has been around much longer, very involved in the party at all levels, including the grassroots, and for several years traveled the state meeting fellow party activists. Of course, it helps that he has served the past few years as a national committeeman. All of this has led Randy to build a base of support over a period of years. Lisa, on the other hand, is at a distinct disadvantage here. Her experience in high level positions on campaigns that afforded her little opportunity to mingle with front-line party workers has made her an unknown in most areas of the state. Although she is working hard to overcome her lack of recognition by traveling and meeting with delegates, she is definitely in a position of playing catch-up.

Perceived influence relates to how delegates perceive the candidate to be chosen or supported by those in highly influential roles in the state party. Some delegates are concerned that the winner be well-connected and able to attract greater funding in the next election. The most obvious group impacted by this includes those considering future positions within the party as well as those contemplating a run at elected government office. Among these, Lisa probably has the edge due to support from the entire GOP congressional delegation as well as a number of large party donors.

The McCain factor is probably the most controversial of the four. Considering that Randy Pullen has been open in his opposition to the McCain-Feingold and amnesty-for-illegal-aliens bills sponsored by McCain, McCain undoubtedly expects few favors from Pullen. On the flipside, Lisa, as an unabashed supporter of McCain, would relieve some anxiety in the campaign if she were to hold the top post. While both have been accused of conspiring to work for their biases, each has publicly stated his or her commitment to be fair with all candidates and support whoever wins the GOP nomination. Now here's how the McCain factor plays out. McCain holds a level of unpopularity among party activists in the state, and he knows it, which is why he went to such great lengths to enlist Fife Symington and Lisa James to seek key positions in the party. The fact that many Republicans perceive McCain to be too cozy with the Democrats will not change in the next few weeks. Although there are many who are indifferent to McCain, there are those who either strongly support him or reject him. I believe McCain is rightfully concerned that among party activists with an attitude his supporters may be in the minority. Consequently, most of those influenced by the McCain factor will see James as too connected with McCain. And that will hurt her.

And the outcome? It won't be a squeaker, nor will it be a landslide. But my money's on Pullen by a moderate margin with recognition and the McCain factor making the difference.


Maricopa Isn't Evil said...

Interesting Post Ace!

Sonoran Alliance at has a running scoreboard of committed State Committeemen for those who are interested!

Anonymous said...

Their "poll" is based on assumptions and skewed information. Going down the lists of supporters on their collective web sites hardly qualifies as legitimate.

As to the McCain factor; I remind everyone Lisa backed Bush in 2000 AGAINST the favorite McCain. But as chairman, her loyalty is first and foremost to the party. She is a woman of high moral character and strength and would NOT sell out her reputation or position for anyone.

She has never supported a Democrat financially or publicly, she has been true to Republican core values in all her endeavors, and her ability to lead the party is unmatched.

It is time to get past the lines in the sand that would separate us and possibly cause irreparable damage. Lisa James is a leader, a team builder, a proven vote getter and can provide the necessary financial backing to build a war chest that will prevent us from draining our resources and truly mount statewide campaigns of quality and victory.

Any McCain baggage needs to stay with McCain. The entire Arizona Congressional delegation has endorsed Lisa. They, too, would like to be re-elected and they understand what it takes and what she can offer. I would never insult these fine men by denying their ability to offer their own opinions as some have suggested. The list of those who understand Lisa’s ability and the needs of the party, those who realize it is no disrespect to anyone to say she is the better choice this time, that list is long and growing.