OK, are you ready to dive into speculation on the 2008 District 8 Congressional race? Let's get this party started.
There have been quite a few names bandied about as who may be possible candidates on the Republican side. I intend to clarify things a bit.
The first point of fact is that this race is going to be expensive. Giffords will have money pouring into the district from many outside sources. I do not believe it too presumptuous to think that the price to play in the Republican primary is going to be upwards of one million dollars, before even the PAC money is given to the winner of the primary. This eliminates many people right away. As much as we love them, Mike Hellon and Frank Antenori will not be able to compete with those stakes. And although there have been rumblings, this will most likely leave out Ray Carrol as well. His base is local, and is not moneyed enough to get him to a million. In my opinion, that leaves us with exactly three possibilities.
1. Tim Bee. Although getting to a million may prove difficult, I believe he can get there as long as he begins the chase early enough. He knows many of the state players and should be able to extract donations. He is also pretty popular in the area and has a solid record of legislative success, which may contrast nicely if Giffords proves lackluster in her first term.
The downside for Bee is that with his leadership position, early campaigning may be a problem due to his being needed in the senate. He would hardly be allowed to put up a Steve Huffman-like attendance record from his position of responsibility. The leadership position, however, does give him a chance to serve Southern Arizona more directly and address our needs in particular, which could shine on the stump. It is a double-edged sword.
2. Jonathan Paton- (Welcome Back Jonathan) Of all those named, I believe that Paton will have the easiest time getting the needed funds. With his backstory, he could probably reach the needed number from out-of-state donations alone. How many Iraqi vets are out there with Legislative experience, and a polished campaign manner? You can bet that the NRCC would give its left arm to have him as the eventual candidate just to nationalize him.
It appears that in-state money probably won't be much of a problem either. In looking at the sponsors of his Welcome Back Fiesta in Phoenix, I see many of the players you may want to see in your corner when thinking about running.
The only advice I would give to Paton is to review the game film from the last primary. It is quite an easy thing to become over confident in your early advantages. Make sure that you appear often in front of the people that you intend to represent.
3. Bruce Ash- I haven't heard a lot said about the possible candidacy of Bruce, but it is extremely likely. He has the ultimate advantage that he would be able to self-fund any shortfall that he doesn't get from fund raising. His status as a successful business man should help him squeeze more money out of his circle of close contacts. Bruce will likely look to position himself to gather many of the previous Graf primary voters, and with no Legislative commitment, he can begin introducing himself to the voters early and often.
And should you doubt the power of Bruce Ash, remember that he obtained the anonymous Framer's cell phone number and talked him into going on the radio, which was not an inconsiderable feat.
So there you have it: Bee, Paton, and Ash. Unless there are any other thoughts to who I am missing.