Saturday, June 17, 2006

State of the Campaign - Randy Graf

Over the next couple of weeks, I hope to add a post describing the state of the campaign for each of the contestants. I hope to also add a post for all of the Democratic challengers as well. I had hoped to start with the lesser known candidates and move on to the front runners, however, due to the breaking news I should probably start with Randy Graf.

The Bad- Generally, I would have started with the Good, but in this case I'll reverse the two. The firing of campaign manager, Steve Aiken is a pretty huge setback to a campaign that was just gaining steam. It gives something for the other candidates to natter about that does not play into Randy's strengths, and takes him off message for at least the next few weeks. The other difficult part is that Aiken has a weekly radio show. This will force more discussion on the issue and will not allow him to fade into the background. Additionally, Graf is falling behind in campaign financing and this is unlikely to help in that area. Finally, the Tom Tancredo's Team America PAC is stirring up quite a bit of controversy while locked in a nasty squabble with other Republican Representatives. Some of the blowback of this may be linked to Randy.

The Good- There is really no good that can be made of this affair, but it could have been a lot worse. This was released relatively early in the campaign cycle, before a lot of people are paying attention. Had this happened weeks or days before the primary, the overall impact would be a lot larger. Also, it appears that the opposition researchers have been looking into Graf and managed to get his campaign manager instead. This more than likely means that they were unable to find much that was of use against Graf. A campaign manager is not the candidate, and there is plenty of time to repair the damage and regain momentum.

Aside from this scandal, is the fact that it is looking less and less likely that an immigration bill will be returned from committee before the election in November. This is good for Randy because if a completed bill, good or bad, was passed, it would have lessened the urgency of the issue. Now Graf has specific bills to run for or against and can place the actual text of the House and Senate Bills before the other candidates to differentiate their views.

More good news is that Graf seems to have turned in the most signatures for the GOP candidates, possibly demonstrating the strength of his grassroots. This is especially in comparison to Steve Huffman who looks like he just got enough to get by, as he was far outpaced by Mike Jenkins. If Randy Graf can hold onto those who voted for him in the primary two years ago, he should be in relatively good shape for the Primary.

What's Next ?- Graf needs to appoint a new campaign manager, preferably an upgrade over Aiken in experience and stature. If this happens, the whole effect of the Steve Aiken mess could be a net positive. It could also help in fundraising efforts where it appeared that Aiken was falling behind. Randy has sufficient grassroots, he just needs to solidify his financials, especially for a possible general election run and a change of leadership could really help.

Additionally, Graf needs to stay on message and use the Senate Immigration Bill as his sounding board. The House is the only thing standing between that bill and passage, and he needs to make the people of the district understand that replacing Kolbe with Graf would go a long way to keeping the Senate bill in check. Randy also needs to be careful about not letting Tancredo or members of his PAC define him. He needs to "be his own man" in this regard. Finding something (even small) to disagree with Tancredo and Co. on might be a help.

Finally, now is the time to rally his base. Randy Graf street signs becoming prominent would certainly help to show strength and put the last couple of days behind him.


Anonymous said...

Interesting that you mention Mike Jenkins in the article and how he obtained more signatures than Huffman, but do not link to him or his website.

Michael Bryan said...

I am having a hard time evaluating whether there is a bias in this blog toward any of the candidates. It seems to me there is, so I would like to know who is writing this blog to more clearly understand any bias.

Who's Framer?

Anonymous said...

Thanks for reading,

I have to admit bias. I am a conservative Republican who would like to see this seat remain GOP. As far as the over-coverage of Randy Graf, a lot of that is because most of the news out there is about Randy at this point. I am working on my Steve Huffman article currently and should have that up soon.

My actual plans for the site is to gather some other bloggers from all points of view and let them add to the site as well. I have a couple of experienced bloggers that should be on- board soon. Hopefully I can get someone from each of the campaigns to contribute. My goal is to have enough material that the site is updated several times a day right up through the general election. There are a few very solid liberal blogs out there that closely cover this campaign from that side and I thought that there was a need for this site to get the entire picture.

As far as for who I really am, I have been in a conundrum about that issue. I own my own business in Tucson and I am not overly eager to join politics and my business at this point. Many of my customers are politically active in both parties, and although I don't believe my participation to be a show- stopper for most of them, I'm really wary of unintended consequences. As I add more bloggers I think it would probably be appropriate to use my real name. If you need my information, please email and I will more properly introduce myself.

Additionally, if you want to contribute, or know anybody who would like to contribute to writing articles for this site, please email me as well. I am especially looking for a Mike Hellon supporter for help.

Again thanks for reading and your comments.

Michael Bryan said...

Net anonymity is fine, as long as there is enough disclosure to evaluate bias. Seems to me Framer has given us enough basis for judgment, and I thank him for it.