Thursday, August 03, 2006

Broken Conventional Wisdom

One thing that can be agreed upon from the start of the GOP campaign primary season was that the conventional wisdom was almost completely wrong. Some of what we were treated to:

The Kolbe endorsement will declare the frontrunner.

This really has helped Huffman raise money, but hasn't yet translated to a groundswell of support from likely voters.

The Kolbe Endorsement was the end of Mike Hellon.

A lot of people were thinking that Hellon would drop out once he failed to get the backing of Kolbe. None of these people were that familiar with Mike Hellon.

Jim Kolbe picked the most dynamic candidate out of Huffman and Hellon.

From the campaigning so far, Hellon has run circles around Huffman. If he had been given the financial support that fell to Huffman, I guarantee he would have done a far better job of utilizing it. Currently, I expect him to get more votes than Huffman, possibly a significant number.

Steve Huffman would go negative at the first opportunity.

I posted that because Hellon had been allowed to move in a position between Huffman and Graf, an overly negative campaign would not help him as much as it had in the past. This may change but has held true so far.

Randy Graf was too extreme to get the nomination.

This was shorthand for Graf being a "racist xenophobe." So much so, that Hellon and Huffman have now adopted pretty much all of his official positions with regard to securing the border.

Mike Hellon was wasting his money airing ads early in the summer.

These ads cemented Mike legitimacy and allowed him to define himself free of other chatter. It also allowed him to move toward his current position on border enforcement without being challenged.

The Aiken scandal was the end of Graf.

I was quotedin AZ Congress Watch as saying " A campaign manager is not the candidate, and there is plenty of time to repair the damage and regain momentum." I took a lot of heat for that. I also said that it may be a chance for Graf to bring somebody in that could help better raise money which also happened.

The Huffman media blitz would be relentless.

I must admit to buying into this one. I have to say I have been underwhelmed so far. His first commercial was a complete dud, and his second, although incorporating many of the fixes I suggested misfired in that he just underlined a drastic policy shift. Had the same production been about earmark reform or a non-Graf and Hellon issue, it would have been a lot more effective.

District 8 is more interested in Universal Health Care and the Iraqi War (name any other issue) than securing the border.

We have yet to see how this plays out, but I am extremely skeptical based on the dramatic policy shifts of Hellon and Huffman. They have definitely seen polling that shows otherwise. I believe that Democrats saying this are simply whistling past the graveyard.

This District will only elect a Moderate like Jim Kolbe.
Complete Hogwash. This district was solidly pro-Bush, pro-prop 200, and will pass the marriage resolution if it is on the ballot. Kolbe has enjoyed the advantages of a 20 year incumbent where reelection rates run as high as 96%. There is a chance that the GOP may lose the district, but it will not happen because of some Moderate litmus test. It will happen because a specific candidate has better ideas and runs a better campaign, not because they resemble Jim Kolbe. This goes for Democrats as well.

Summary- The point is that I am not a master pundit. I am a rookie. The ability to see past most of these pieces of "Conventional Wisdom" this was available with just a small amount of research and questioning assumptions, little of which was done by the media or others reporting on the primary. It would be interesting to do a study of this on the Democratic side as well. I haven't made much prognostications on that side, so I am probably not the ideal person to do it, but it would be interesting.

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