FOLLOWING MONEY IN 2016 PRESIDENTIAL POLITICS

Monday, December 31, 2012

DIPLOMACY NEVER STOPS: From Hospital, Clinton Congratulates Haitians, Sudanese On Anniversaries Of Independence

As her blood clot continues to receive attention from doctors (latest medical statement here), media and Republicans, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton continues to work!  In my e-mail box this afternoon were two missives setting forth the Secretary's comments today congratulating the people of Haiti and Sudan on the anniversaries of their independence. (One nation is celebrating 57 years of independence and the other 209 years; can you guess which is which?)

Sure, they are short statements, and she might even have lifted most of the language from last years' congrats, but COME ON, Secy. Clinton, take a break!  Oh, and, Happy New Year's and dissolve that clot quickly!






We welcome your comments about this post. Or, if you have something unrelated on your mind, please e-mail to info-at-arizonaspolitics-dot-com or call 602-799-7025. Thanks.

WATCH: Kyl's Final Senatorial Appearance On Weekend News Shows

Retiring Arizona Senator Jon Kyl has been on his share of the Sunday news shows over the years - not as many as his Arizona colleague, John McCain, but who could top him?  Yesterday was Kyl's final appearance as a Senator, and he again sat next to New York Democrat Chuck Schumer and they went back and forth on the "fiscal cliff" negotiations.

Nothing much newsworthy came out of this discussion.  Here is the video and the transcript:



The entire transcript can be found here, but I have included a couple of the excerpts below the jump.


McCain Reams President, Wants To See "Leadership" Instead Of "Denigrating Republicans"

McCain spoke for exactly 10 minutes before turning over the (Senate) floor (supposedly for a colloquy) to his amigo Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC).  He spent most of his time complaining about President Obama's statement this afternoon at the White House, saying that it was "cheerleading" and "denigrating Republicans."  McCain said he wanted to see the President lead, and meet with Republicans seriously.  He also believes that the President does not seem to understand that many House Republicans took a pledge to not raise taxes and could not vote against it.

McCain also compared this crisis to the last time the government shut down:  Last time, "we pulled back from the brink... after we went over it."



Here is the Obama statement.

We welcome your comments about this post. Or, if you have something unrelated on your mind, please e-mail to info-at-arizonaspolitics-dot-com or call 602-799-7025. Thanks.

WATCH LIVE: Sen. McCain Speaking His Piece On Senate Floor

U.S. Senators are taking whacks at the emerging "fiscal cliff" pinata.  Arizona Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) is in line after Maryland Democrat Barbara Mikulski.




(Click here, or on picture, for live streaming video)

McCain spoke for exactly 10 minutes before turning over the floor (supposedly for a colloquy) to his amigo Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC).  He spent most of his time complaining about President Obama's statement this afternoon at the White House, saying that it was "cheerleading" and "denigrating Republicans."  McCain said he wanted to see the President lead, and meet with Republicans seriously.  He also believes that the President does not seem to understand that many House Republicans took a pledge to not raise taxes and could not vote against it.

McCain also compared this crisis to the last time the government shut down:  Last time, "we pulled back from the brink... after we went over it."

Here is the Obama statement:

We welcome your comments about this post. Or, if you have something unrelated on your mind, please e-mail to info-at-arizonaspolitics-dot-com or call 602-799-7025. Thanks.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

UPDATE: Pres. Obama Signs Bill Authorizing Pascua Yaquis To Determine Own Membership


Two weeks ago, Arizona's Politics reported on the Senate's passage of a simple (one sentence0 bill that would allow the Pascua Yaqui Tribe to determine its own membership.  After a brief stay on the President's desk, that bill has now been signed into law.


The Pascua Yaqui Tribe has a small amount of land in Pima County and has a number of members living in the Phoenix-area community of Guadalupe.

We welcome your comments about this post. Or, if you have something unrelated on your mind, please e-mail to info-at-arizonaspolitics-dot-com or call 602-799-7025. Thanks.

HERE WE GO AGAIN!?!: New Senator Follows Obama's Footsteps

How long 'til we see non-ironic mentions of this, with demands for birth certificates and college transcripts, and whispers of Manchurian candidates?  Hawaii's new U.S. Senator, Brian Schatz (D), has these similarities with the current President.

1) Midwestern roots. Schatz born in Michigan, Obama's mother from Kansas.
2) Grew up in Hawaii.  BOTH attended same independent school there, Punahou School.
3) Went to college in California.  Only part of the time for Obama.)
4) Visited Kenya!!!
5) Schatz worked in non-profit sector, Obama was community organizer.
6) State legislative experience.
7) Got to U.S. Senate in non-traditional way. Obama in election where Democratic and Republican front-runners (former Senator and incumbent, respectively) withdrew. Schatz named by Governor.
8)  Abrahamic faiths. Obama is Christian who is sometimes accused of being a Muslim.  Schatz is Jewish.

One can only imagine what Schatz and Obama are plotting TOGETHER on Air Force One tonight!!!  (Hmm, if Schatz runs in 2016, he would have spent the same amount of time in the Senate as Obama did.)

We welcome your comments about this post. Or, if you have something unrelated on your mind, please e-mail to info-at-arizonaspolitics-dot-com or call 602-799-7025. Thanks.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

WATCH: McCain Says Adios To Amigo "Joe, Meant Him" Lieberman

Senator John McCain (R-AZ) continued his Saying Farewell Tour today, bidding an adios to his long-time amigo Senator Joe Lieberman (I-CT).

The short speech (7 1/2 minutes) was unsurprisingly personal, recounting much of what we have already heard McCain say about his buddy, who retired this year rather than face a(nother) tough re-election bid for a fifth Senate term.

"He came here to do justice, Mr. President, to love mercy and to walk humbly with his God.  It’s hard to find anyone here who doesn’t like and admire Joe. He’s impossible to dislike even if you only know him a little. Most of his detractors seem to be people who don’t know him and who tend to view people very strictly through the perspectives of their ideology and partisan identity. The only thing to resent about Joe Lieberman is that he’s so damn considerate of everyone that you can find yourself feeling a little ashamed when he catches you raising your voice to someone or behaving in other ways that fall short of his unfailing graciousness."
(click picture to view video)

McCain added that he "nearly" nominated Lieberman to be his Vice Presidential nominee in 2008.  (It was widely reported that McCain preferred Lieberman - who had been on the Democratic ticket eight years earlier - to eventual pick Sarah Palin.)





We welcome your comments about this post. Or, if you have something unrelated on your mind, please e-mail to info-at-arizonaspolitics-dot-com or call 602-799-7025. Thanks.

WATCH: McCain On Benghazi Report, Hillary Not There Because She's Physically Unable

Arizona Senator John McCain sat down yesterday with his most-frequent interviewer, Fox News' Greta Van Susteren, and discussed the Benghazi Accountability report.  The Senate Foreign Relations Committee met yesterday and this morning on the report.

McCain told Van Susteren that he has never known Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to back down from a fight and that he believes that she is not testifying this week because she is legitimately physically unable to do so.



We welcome your comments about this post. Or, if you have something unrelated on your mind, please e-mail to info-at-arizonaspolitics-dot-com or call 602-799-7025. Thanks.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

WATCH: Sen. Jon Kyl's Retirement Speech On Senate Floor Today; "It IS Difficult To Say Goodbye"

Retiring Arizona Senator Jon Kyl (R-AZ) gave his valedictory speech on the Senate floor this afternoon.   He finished by saying that "It's been an honor, really the privilege of a lifetime, to serve, and it IS difficult to say goodbye.  But I will depart Capitol Hill with enormous faith in the American people, a profound appreciation for the miracle of the American republic and a resilient optimism in America's future."

Kyl served three terms (18 years) representing Arizona in the U.S. Senate, and has been the Republicans' Minority Whip since 2008.




By the way, the Senator spoke for almost exactly 30 minutes.

We welcome your comments about this post. Or, if you have something unrelated on your mind, please e-mail to info-at-arizonaspolitics-dot-com or call 602-799-7025. Thanks.

WATCH: AZ Secy/State Bennett Testifies On Voting; Alleges Groups Registering Voters Signed People Up For Early Ballots Without Their Knowledge

Arizona Secretary of State Ken Bennett (R) testified about the state's elections process before the Senate Judiciary Committee in Washington this morning.  He provided a defense of Arizona's process and of the voter identification requirements.  And, under questioning, he noted that two of the groups that mounted voter registration efforts in Arizona this year acknowledged that they had signed people - mostly, Hispanics - on to the Permanent Early Voting List ("PEVL") without their knowledge (by checking the box for the PEVL after the form had been filled out by the voter.  Bennett was trying to explain why some Hispanics may have had to vote provisional ballots on election day. (Although it would appear that that might contradict his claim that there was not a higher proportion of Hispanics who had to vote provisionally.)

"One of them admitted that of the 34,000 Latino voters that they registered within the last few weeks, or the month or two, before the election, on many of those voter registration forms, the voter themselves had not checked the box to be on what's called the Permanent Early Voter List and receive their ballot by mail.  For the purposes of the organization that was pushing the drive, I was frankly a bit surprised that they admitted to me that the organization officials had checked a box on the voter registration form that the voter may not have known had been checked by the group that they gave it, which caused a ballot to be mailed to those voters, and they were thinking that I'm going to go to the polls to vote and a ballot actually shows up that they thought was a sample ballot or whatever." (this quote is from the final six minutes of the hearing, and is transcribed by Arizona's Politics)



(click on picture to go to video)

Arizona's Politics is seeking a response from the groups that Bennett references, and will update as necessary.

Here is a link to Bennett's written statement to the committee.


(http://www.senate.gov/isvp/?comm=judiciary&type=live&filename=judiciary121912 link to Senate video)



We welcome your comments about this post. Or, if you have something unrelated on your mind, please e-mail to info-at-arizonaspolitics-dot-com or call 602-799-7025. Thanks.

WATCH: Sen. John McCain Says Goodbye To Sen. Jon Kyl On Senate Floor

Arizona's senior Senator, John McCain, gave his goodbye tribute speech to retiring junior Senator Jon Kyl yesterday.  Kyl gives his valedictory at noon today.



Kyl thanked McCain:


We welcome your comments about this post. Or, if you have something unrelated on your mind, please e-mail to info-at-arizonaspolitics-dot-com or call 602-799-7025. Thanks.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

WATCH: Sen. McCain Eulogizing "Unique, Brave, Wonderful" Sen. Inouye On Senate Floor

Sen. John McCain spoke on the Senate floor yesterday about his longtime colleague, Sen. Daniel Inouye (D-Hawaii), who passed away earlier in the day.

McCain led off noting that the "unique, brave, wonderful" Inouye was "A MAN WHO BROUGHT TO THIS INSTITUTION THE MOST UNIQUE CREDENTIALS THAT I WOULD ARGUE PROBABLY OF ANYONE WHO'S EVER SERVED IN THIS PRETTY DIVERSE BODY."

McCain yielded the floor when he saw Hawaii's other Senator, Daniel Akaka, arrive to deliver his own eulogy.





We welcome your comments about this post. Or, if you have something unrelated on your mind, please e-mail to info-at-arizonaspolitics-dot-com or call 602-799-7025. Thanks.

WARM UP VOCAL CORDS, SEN. KYL! Farewell Speeches Running Long

Long acts to follow!  Many of the U.S. Senate's departing members gave their farewell addresses last week; Arizona Senator Jon Kyl (R) is set to give his tomorrow (at noon, AZ Time), and has to decide how much time he wants to take to give his valedictory.

Retiring Democratic Senators Ben Nelson (D-NE) and Kent Conrad (D-ND) and defeated Senator Scott Brown (R-MA) spoke last week, as did Maine Senator Olympia Snowe (R).  (Others may have, as well.)  Their speeches ran in the range of 15 minutes to an hour.  Sen. Kyl's office notes to Arizona's Politics that he has not decided how long he is going to address his colleagues (and the nation, via C-Span).

There are one dozen members of the 10-person Senate who are spending their final weeks there.  In addition to Kyl and those named above, there are: Joe Lieberman (I-CT), Daniel Akaka (D-HA), Richard Lugar (R-IN), Jeff Bingaman (D-NM), Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-TX), Jim Webb (D-VA), and Herb Kohl (D-WI).

Kyl was one of the more high profile retiring members, due to his role as the Republican's Minority Whip.  He will be replaced by Rep. Jeff Flake (R), who won a close election over Richard Carmona.


We welcome your comments about this post. Or, if you have something unrelated on your mind, please e-mail to info-at-arizonaspolitics-dot-com or call 602-799-7025. Thanks.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Bloomberg News: Arizona Gov. Brewer "May Challenge State Constitution To Run"

Bloomberg News' Phoenix correspondent Amanda Crawford, who broke the story of Governor Jan Brewer's trip to Afghanistan last week, is reporting that the Governor said again yesterday that she has not ruled out running for another gubernatorial term in 2016.

The Governor spoke with reporters yesterday afternoon after a ceremonial bill signing.  She was also asked about the $250,000 contribution from casino magnates the Adelsons to her Jan PAC.



We welcome your comments about this post. Or, if you have something unrelated on your mind, please e-mail to info-at-arizonaspolitics-dot-com or call 602-799-7025. Thanks.

On The President's Desk: Allowing Pascua Yaqui Tribe To Determine Its Membership

A measure sponsored by Rep. Raul Grijalva (D-CD7) (and co-sponsored by Rep. Paul Gosar (R-CD1-->CD4) has made it to the President's desk, and will permit the Pascua Yaqui Tribe to determine its own membership.

H.R. 4413 is a one sentence resolution amending federal law "To allow the Pascua Yaqui Tribe to determine the requirements for membership in that tribe."  It removes the previous language that set forth four different clauses, and states that "membership of the Pascua Yaqui Tribe shall consist of any United States citizen of Pascua Yaqui blood enrolled by the tribe."

The Pascua Yaqui Tribe has a small amount of land in Pima County and has a number of members living in the Phoenix-area community of Guadalupe.  They recently celebrated the 34th anniversary of the U.S. government's recognition of their tribe.

It is expected that President Obama will sign the measure shortly.

We welcome your comments about this post. Or, if you have something unrelated on your mind, please e-mail to info-at-arizonaspolitics-dot-com or call 602-799-7025. Thanks.

WATCH: Rep. Gosar On House Floor On Slain Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry, Fast and Furious

Two days before the 2nd anniversary of the killing of U.S. Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry on the Arizona-Mexico border, Arizona Rep. Paul Gosar (R-CD1) spoke about Terry and about the Fast and Furious gun-walking investigation.

After using the first half of his 2 1/2 minute speech remembering Terry and recounting the events of December 14-15, 2010, Gosar recapped the subsequent Fast and Furious investigation, vowed to continue to demand answers from the Justice Department, and said he would "look to the Hispanic Caucus to break their silence and to take up this issue affecting everyone in Mexico."



The speech also comes one day after one of the "straw buyers" - who purchased guns pretending they were for personal use but sold them to others who smuggled them into Mexico - was sentenced in U.S. District Court to 57 months in prison.  Jaime Avila, Jr. had purchased/re-sold one of the AK-47-style weapons found at the scene of the battle that killed Terry.

We welcome your comments about this post. Or, if you have something unrelated on your mind, please e-mail to info-at-arizonaspolitics-dot-com or call 602-799-7025. Thanks.

GETTING CATTY(ier): Did Rep. Schweikert Get Booted From Committee Because He Leaked Story About Skinny-Dipping In Sea Of Galilee?; Sen. Rand Paul Jumps In

(UPDATED, 12:31pm: Lede updated to reflect that Roll Call had initially covered yesterday's "boisterous" meeting.)

The saga of Arizona Rep. David Schweikert (R-CD5-->CD6) and three other Republicans getting removed from their coveted House Committee slots continues to unravel. Roll Call covered the Republican Study Conference meeting yesterday, and  Politico now is leading with unnamed Congresspeople and other sources saying that Schweikert and two of the others are "the most egregious assholes" in the Republican caucus.

The incident that led to Schweikert being removed from the Financial Services Committee is reportedly the August reports (that started on Politico) that the FBI had investigated Representatives' (and staff's) behavior on a privately-funded trip to Israel in 2011; one Representative skinny-dipped in the Sea of Galilee and others apparently partially disrobed to frolic in the religiously-significant lake.

Schweikert was locked in a contentious primary fight with fellow Republican lawmaker Ben Quayle (R-CD3), they had both been on the trip, and Quayle was one of the Congresspeople who went into the lake (Schweikert was not).  Quayle was forced to respond shortly before the August 28 primary.




Meanwhile, many conservatives are escalating the intra-GOP battle with House GOP leadership.  Yesterday, Kentucky Senator Rand Paul - a Tea Party favorite and the heir apparent to the Ron Paul following - used his leadership PAC to send out an e-mail urging his and his father's followers to petition House leadership to reverse their committee assignment decisions.  (Arizona's Politics is on various Ron Paul e-mail lists but not on Rand Paul's; the list was definitely rented.)  The e-mail is reproduced below the jump. ("RAND-PAC" did not support either Schweikert or Quayle in the election.)

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

WATCH: Rep. Gosar Lines Up With Dick Butkus, Disagrees With Charles Barkley In Hearing

Arizona Rep. Paul Gosar (R-CD1) was able to friendly-question NFL icon Dick Butkus in a Congressional hearing this morning, and the two agreed that the National Football League should begin testing (current) players for Human Growth Hormone (HGH).

Gosar urged the NFL to, as the famous Nike slogan suggests "just do it," and took the opportunity to disagree with former Phoenix Suns (basketball) great Charles Barkley's famous Nike commercial, in which he stated "I am not a role model."  Butkus - an NFL Hall of Fame linebacker - agreed with the first-term Congressman.  (Barkley is in basketball's Hall of Fame.)





We welcome your comments about this post. Or, if you have something unrelated on your mind, please e-mail to info-at-arizonaspolitics-dot-com or call 602-799-7025. Thanks.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Sheldon and Miriam Adelson - Mega GOP Money Couple - Give $250,000 To Governor Brewer's SuperPAC; Brewer Banks It

Arizona Governor Jan Brewer's (R) eponymous SuperPAC has a quarter-of-a-million dollars in the bank, ready for 2014 or 2016.  That cushion was provided by Republican mega-money couple Sheldon and Miriam Adelson.

On October 19*, the same day that the casino magnate and his wife gave $10 Million to GOP Presidential nominee Mitt Romney's SuperPAC, they wrote a check to Jan PAC to help Brewer work Arizona Congressional races, the Montana Senatorial campaign, and pro-Romney robocalls.

The Adelson contribution is easily the largest to the Governor's committee (no dollar limits for Super PACs), making up more than one-quarter of the $909,267.71 raised through November 26, per her new FEC filing.  Brewer's private meeting with Adelson one month later at the Republican Governors Association made national news, and it morphed into the primary piece of evidence that Brewer might consider herself a presidential aspirant in 2016.

The Adelsons spent approximately $150 Million during the 2012 campaign in their efforts to defeat President Barack Obama and other Democrats.  (Given that almost the entire amount spent on independent expenditures had been raised before the Adelson contribution, it is unclear whether the JanPAC contributions should be thought of as part of the 2012 effort, or an opening salvo for the future.)

***

Other interesting notes from JanPAC's post-election filing indicate that - besides the mailers previously reported on - the committee spent $30,000 on Get Out the Vote calls on behalf of Romney.  JanPAC also acknowledge for the first time that it did spend money on robocalls on behalf of unsuccessful Montana Senatorial candidate Denny Rehberg.  Those robocalls received unwelcome attention because Montana law makes robocalls - even for political purposes - illegal.

In addition, JanPAC did not file the required FEC disclosures regarding the Montana calls.  Those same disclosures were required for the Romney robocalls.


*October 19 was a big day for last minute campaign contributions, because any monies given after October 18 did not need to be reported until one month after the election was over.

We welcome your comments about this post. Or, if you have something unrelated on your mind, please e-mail to info-at-arizonaspolitics-dot-com or call 602-799-7025. Thanks.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

WATCH: Sen. McCain's News Conference Today On Syria, Russia, Human Rights

Arizona Senator John McCain was among a handful of Senators holding a news conference this afternoon after the Senate voted 92-4 to pass a "bill to authorize the extension of nondiscriminatory treatment (normal trade relations treatment) to products of the Russian Federation and Moldova and to require reports on the compliance of the Russian Federation with its obligations as a member of the World Trade Organization, and for other purposes."  Here is the text of the bill.


Here is the link (not yet embeddable) to the news conference regarding reports that Syria may have weaponized some of its chemical weapons.  (C-Span had some confusion and initially sent us erroneous links.)  



We welcome your comments about this post. Or, if you have something unrelated on your mind, please e-mail to info-at-arizonaspolitics-dot-com or call 602-799-7025. Thanks.

PHOTOS: Gov. Brewer Ready To Launch Drone, Posing With Arizona Soldiers, More

Now that Arizona Governor Jan Brewer has left Afghanistan, the embargo on her trip there has been lifted.  Her office was very secretive, which resulted in a lot of "Where In the World Is Jan Brewer?", or "Where's Jan-O?" publicity around the country.  Amazingly, her gubernatorial travel buddy - Missouri Governor Jeremiah (Jay) Nixon (D) - had no such problems.

The two governors were brought to Afghanistan by the U.S. Military, and were able to interact with some of the soldiers from their states.

Here are some pictures of Brewer, released by the private contractor that handles public affairs for the U.S. Military in Afghanistan.

(Caption: Warrant Officer Joseph Tyson, an Unmanned Aerial Surveillance Operator assigned to 8th Squadron, 1st Cavalry Regiment, 2nd Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 2nd Infantry Division and attached to Task Force Steel at FOB Frontenac, explains how the launch controls for the RQ-7 Shadow function.)
(Caption: Sgt. 1st Class Jason Packard, assigned to 8th Squadron, 1st Cavalry Regiment , 2nd Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 2nd Infantry Division and attached to Task Force Steel at FOB Frontenac, explains some of the capabilities of the Stryker vehicle.)
Ariz. Gov. Janice K. Brewer poses Dec. 5 for a photo with soldiers from her home state who are currently deployed to Afghanistan with 8th Squadron, 1st Cavalry Regiment, 2nd Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 2nd Infantry Division. 

There was military action in Afghanistan while the Governors were there, including a couple of operations that resulted in deaths or arrests of either "insurgent" or "Taliban" leaders.  The U.S. currently has approximately 68,000 combat troops in Afghanistan as part of the NATO efforts, and the deployment of combat troops is currently scheduled to end in 2014.


We welcome your comments about this post. Or, if you have something unrelated on your mind, please e-mail to info-at-arizonaspolitics-dot-com or call 602-799-7025. Thanks.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

WATCH: Rep. Schweikert Rides To Tombstone's Rescue

Arizona Rep. David Schweikert (R-CD5, East Valley) took to the House floor yesterday to try to keep "The Town To Tough To Die" alive.  His one-minute speech came the day after the Goldwater Institute argued on behalf of Tombstone in front of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.  Tombstone is seeking the right to use mehanized equipment in the federal Huachuca Mountain Wilderness Area in order to repair a vital water pipeline damaged in last year's Monument Fire.

Schweikert's talk was entertaining, complete with a picture of four men working on a boulder on a mountainside.  "They're not allowed to take a little Bobcat up the mountainside to get to the springs to fix their water, so you have to go up by hand up a mountainside to remove the boulders.  Is there an adult in the Forest Service who has a little sense?"



Of course, it would be impossible for Rep. Schweikert to go into detail in his allotted sixty seconds.  We will provide a brief synopsis here, and will paste (below the jump) some of the factual background set forth in Hon. Frank Zapata's May 14, 2012 Order denying Tombstone's (2nd) motion for a preliminary injunction.

Rock and debris slides following the Monument Fire damaged the water system that supplies Tombstone with most of its water.  Tombstone claims that the Forest Service ("USFS") has been hindering its efforts to reach and fix the water system by requiring Tombstone to tell it what repairs it intends and what materials and equipment they will be using to make the repairs.    The USFS says that it has approved Tombstone's requests when it has provided the information necessary to determine that the Wilderness Area would not be inappropriately disturbed for other users.  There also is a dispute about the extent of Tombstone's water rights in the mountains - Tombstone's claims are based on maps and springs systems that the Forest Service claims are difficult to determine today.

The appeal on the denial of the injunction was argued by the Goldwater Institute (for Tombstone) and the USFS on Tuesday, after the U.S. Supreme Court twice refused to hear the appeal (on different grounds).

(There are other issues standing in Tombstone's way, as this article in its local paper sets forth.)

(Below: The "Background", as set forth in the May 14, 2012 Order)

Rep. Schweikert To Speaker Boehner: Where's The Line Of Acceptable Behavior?

Arizona Rep. David Schweikert (R-CD5-->CD6) apparently voiced his concerns about being removed from the Financial Services Committee to House Speaker John Boehner today in the closed door House Republican Conference.  According to Politico, Schweikert "want(s) to know where the line of acceptable behavior is."

The freshman Republican from the East Valley is enjoying a wave of positive attention from this intra-party fight.

The Politico article notes that "sources" are saying that Schweikert and the other three lawmakers removed from good committee assignments were removed not for ideological reasons, but because they "worked against their colleagues or leadership."

Arizona's Politics asked Schweikert's spokesperson yesterday how the current committee shuffling compared to any shuffling that occurred when he was in the Arizona state legislature.  He has not yet responded, but apparently did note at the House Republican Conference today that he had had to kick people off of committees when he was the Majority Whip in the Arizona House.

We welcome your comments about this post. Or, if you have something unrelated on your mind, please e-mail to info-at-arizonaspolitics-dot-com or call 602-799-7025. Thanks.

ARIZONA SUPREME COURT: Prop. 204 Petitions Met "Substantial Compliance" Test, And "Fatal" Test Would Be Too Tough

The Arizona Supreme Court today released its extended opinion on the summer lawsuit drama involving the petitions for the initiative that would have raised the state sales tax by 1% to help fund (primarily) education.  The Justices reaffirmed that it must "liberally construe initiative requirements," and refused to accept Secretary of State Ken Bennett's proposed test that any substantive difference between the versions were "fatal".

However, the Justices defended Bennett's controversial position (he was criticized by the initial judge) to not accept the petitions, and they declined to grant the Quality Education and Jobs Committee attorney's fees.  The Committee had submitted (to the Secretary of State's Office) an electronic copy of the initiative that differed from the paper copies that they had submitted and circulated.

"Although we recognize the pressures to speed
election cases through the courts, we disagree that the defense
interposed was inconsequential or wasted judicial resources.
This case presented an unusual circumstance not of the
Secretary’s making. He was placed in a difficult position by
the Committee’s filing of conflicting versions of its
initiative. The Secretary proceeded properly in bringing this
issue to the court." (¶ 20)
Courts typically lean towards allowing voters to having a say, whether it is regarding candidate's petitions or, especially, initiative petitions.  This opinion strongly reaffirms that:

 Here, by contrast, the parties circulated the intended
version so that all signers had the opportunity to review it
before signing a petition.  ¶13 Most importantly, we conclude that our current test
strikes the appropriate balance between protecting our citizens’
right to initiate laws and the integrity of the election
process. For these reasons, we are not persuaded that we should
change our standard for reviewing initiatives.
¶14 Under the substantial compliance standard, we conclude
(and the parties agree) that the Committee’s filing of differing
versions of the initiative was a clerical error, done without
any intent to defraud or deceive. And in the circumstances of
this case, there was no significant danger that voters would be
confused or deceived by the discrepancy between the paper and CD
versions; the voters who signed the petitions had the
opportunity, if they wished to take it, to study the correct
provision. Moreover, the Secretary of State’s Office received
and had on file the complete copy of the initiative circulated. (¶¶ 12-14, citations omitted)

Proposition 204 was defeated on November 6 by approximately 30 percentage points, and the one percent temporary sales tax increase approved in 2010 is set to expire in 2013.





We welcome your comments about this post. Or, if you have something unrelated on your mind, please e-mail to info-at-arizonaspolitics-dot-com or call 602-799-7025. Thanks.

BREWER IN AFGHANISTAN? On State Business? Is She "Presidential Aspirant" NOW?

On Monday, Arizona's Politics reported on the news that Arizona Governor Jan Brewer had been one of five Republican governors to have one-on-one meetings with GOP mega-millions man Sheldon Adelson, and how it had morphed into media outlets calling Brewer a potential Presidential candidate in 2016.  It was right after that that the "Where In the World Is Jan Brewer?" game started.

And, with today's new news (kudos to Bloomberg News) - not a sighting, but word from someone "familiar with the Governor's schedule" - that Jan Brewer is in Afghanistan visiting Arizona-based soldiers there, we can at least begin to surmise that she might consider herself to be a "Presidential aspirant".
(photo NOT from current trip)

There are a couple of interesting aspects of this story that deserve fleshing out: First, yesterday afternoon, both U.S. Senators from Arizona (of the same party as Brewer) proclaimed emphatically that they did not know where she was.  Why would our Governor take a foreign trip to a war zone without notifying either John McCain - who has been there several times - or Jon Kyl?

Second, the "Where in the world?" articles have all noted that the Governor's spokesman, Matt Benson, says that the trip is "official business".  That would lead to the reasonable assumption that Arizona taxpayers are picking up the entire tab for this trip.  After all, this is not a trade mission that is expected to bring financial benefits back to the state and can be expected to get the tab picked up by private interests. She is not going to hold a fundraiser in Kabul for Jan PAC.  Arizona's Politics has asked the Governor's Office for an answer.



We welcome your comments about this post. Or, if you have something unrelated on your mind, please e-mail to info-at-arizonaspolitics-dot-com or call 602-799-7025. Thanks.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

BACK TO WORK: Rep. Ron Barber Voting In House 8 Days After Tumor Removed

Only eight days after having a cancerous tumor removed from his tongue, Arizona Rep. Ron Barber (D-CD8) was back in the Capitol casting votes today (Tuesday).

The votes were not consequential - he was part of a 398-2 majority to pass the American Energy Manufacturing Technical Corrections Act, for example - but, it answered the concerns that were apparently lingering in some southern Arizona Republicans' minds, after the attempted assassination of previous Rep. Gabrielle Giffords in January 2011 (in which Barber was also shot, and 13 people were killed) left the district without a vote in the House for almost all of 17 months.



We welcome your comments about this post. Or, if you have something unrelated on your mind, please e-mail to info-at-arizonaspolitics-dot-com or call 602-799-7025. Thanks.

LISTEN: Rep. Schweikert In Spotlight For Getting Booted From Financial Services Committee - Lovin' It!

News broke last night that soon-to-be-2nd-term Congressman David Schweikert (R-CD5-to-CD6) was getting booted from the House Financial Services Committee, apparently because the House leadership (Boehner, etc.) were not happy with his lack of support.

This is becoming a badge of honor that Schweikert is wearing proudly, and that may benefit him politically down the road.  It certainly did not hurt him in the primary against fellow frosh Ben Quayle, when the same leadership had to be publicly called out by the Club For Growth in order to not play intra-party favorites.

Rep. Schweikert had a lively interview on KTAR (92.3FM) this afternoon (with Karie Dozer and Chuck Powell): hear it here.




We welcome your comments about this post. Or, if you have something unrelated on your mind, please e-mail to info-at-arizonaspolitics-dot-com or call 602-799-7025. Thanks.

WATCH: McCain, Kyl On Opposite Sides Of Treaty For Rights of Persons With Disabilities; Failed To Get 2/3 This Afternoon

Arizona's two Republican Senators both spoke passionately this afternoon on the Senate floor regarding the treaty setting out rights of persons with disabilities around the world.  McCain was among the 61 Senators who voted for it, but it needed 67 for ratification.

McCain and Kyl spoke back to back; here is the clip:


Here is more about the treaty from PolitiFact.  Below the jump is the text of the treaty and the reservations that the Senate was going to put on its ratification (if it had been successful).

Monday, December 3, 2012

Gov. Brewer Not Yet "Considered Presidential Aspirant" But Meets With GOP Big Money Guy

Politico is reporting that Arizona Governor Jan Brewer was one of five Republican Governors to have private meetings with GOP money super-heavyweight Sheldon Adelson last month after the election.  However, the article points out that she was one of two that are "not considered presidential aspirants."

Adelson and his family contributed "a record $84 million or more" to GOP groups and plans to continue to spend big, according to the Politico article on potential presidential candidates starting to court the big money.

Brewer had her own eponymous Super PAC "Jan PAC") this past election cycle, and raised (and spent) a fraction of Adelson's efforts.  As Arizona's Politics has reported, Jan PAC has apparently violated federal election and Montana laws in its support of unsuccessful Montana Senate candidate Denny Rehberg, and accepted support from a major payday lender shortly before defending Arizona Congressional candidate Jonathan Paton (in CD1), who was being attacked for his ties to the payday lending industry.

(h/t David Fitsimmons at Arizona Daily Star)



We welcome your comments about this post. Or, if you have something unrelated on your mind, please e-mail to info-at-arizonaspolitics-dot-com or call 602-799-7025. Thanks.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

WATCH: Rep. Grijalva Makes Market Fall By Ruling Out Medicare Cuts

Arizona Rep. Raul Grijalva (D-CD7) prompted the New York Stock Exchange to drop today, demonstrating both the awesome power that the Congressional Progressive Caucus and the CNBC hosts hold as the country inches toward the "fiscal cliff".

Grijalva was on CNBC this morning.  During the first 3 1/2 minutes of his interview, the S&P500 dropped from $4.04 down to $5.92 down.  One of the interviewers then noted that Grijalva is stoking the fears by saying that he will not give on certain issues, and that the markets drop.  "Do you care that markets are selling off dramatically?"  "Of course I do," replied Grijalva.




We welcome your comments about this post. Or, if you have something unrelated on your mind, please e-mail to info-at-arizonaspolitics-dot-com or call 602-799-7025. Thanks.

WATCH: McCain "Significantly Troubled By Many Of The Answers That We Got And Some That We Didn't Get"; Transcript Of Rice's 9/16 Comments

Arizona Senator John McCain (R) met with U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Susan Rice this morning, and came out "significantly troubled" about how Rice had handled the interviews five days after the Benghazi attack and the intelligence community's handling of the run-up to that event, which took the life of U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens and three others.

The meeting had been requested by Rice, and was with Rice, McCain, Sens. Lindsey Graham and Kelly Ayotte, and a Deputy Director of the Central Intelligence Agency.  The three Senators have promised to block Rice's nomination if President Obama chooses her to succeed Hillary Clinton as the Secretary of State.

Visit NBCNews.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy


Arizona's Politics has previously printed the transcript of one of Rice's September 16 interviews, and noted that McCain sat in the same chair moments later.  Here is more of that transcript, with some highlighting for emphasis:


BOB SCHIEFFER: And joining us now, Susan Rice, the U.N. ambassador, our U.N. ambassador. Madam Ambassador, he* says this is something that has been in the planning stages for months. I understand you have been saying that you think it was spontaneous? Are we not on the same page here?
SUSAN RICE (Ambassador to the United Nations): Bob, let me tell you what we understand to be the assessment at present. First of all, very importantly, as you discussed with the President, there is an investigation that the United States government will launch led by the FBI, that has begun and--
BOB SCHIEFFER (overlapping): But they are not there.
SUSAN RICE: They are not on the ground yet, but they have already begun looking at all sorts of evidence of-- of various sorts already available to them and to us. And they will get on the ground and continue the investigation. So we'll want to see the results of that investigation to draw any definitive conclusions. But based on the best information we have to date, what our assessment is as of the present is in fact what began spontaneously in Benghazi as a reaction to what had transpired some hours earlier in Cairo where, of course, as you know, there was a violent protest outside of our embassy--
BOB SCHIEFFER: Mm-Hm.
SUSAN RICE: --sparked by this hateful video. But soon after that spontaneous protest began outside of our consulate in Benghazi, we believe that it looks like extremist elements, individuals, joined in that-- in that effort with heavy weapons of the sort that are, unfortunately, readily now available in Libya post-revolution. And that it spun from there into something much, much more violent.
BOB SCHIEFFER: But you do not agree with him* that this was something that had been plotted out several months ago?
SUSAN RICE: We do not-- we do not have information at present that leads us to conclude that this was premeditated or preplanned.
BOB SCHIEFFER: Do you agree or disagree with him that al Qaeda had some part in this?
SUSAN RICE: Well, we'll have to find out that out. I mean I think it's clear that there were extremist elements that joined in and escalated the violence. Whether they were al Qaeda affiliates, whether they were Libyan-based extremists or al Qaeda itself I think is one of the things we'll have to determine.
BOB SCHIEFFER: There seems to be demonstrations in more than twenty cities as far as we know yesterday. Is there any sense that this is leveling off?
SUSAN RICE: Well, on Friday, of course, I think that's what you're referring to-- there-- there were a number of places around the world in which there were protests, many of them peaceful, some of them turned violent. And our emphasis has been-- and the President has been very, very clear about this, priority number one is protection of American personnel and facilities. And we have been working now very constructively with host governments around the world to provide the kind of protection we need and to condemn the violence. What happens going forward I think it would be unwise for any of us to predict with certainty. Clearly the last couple of days have seen a reduction in protests and a reduction in violence. I don't want to predict what the next days will yield.
BOB SCHIEFFER: The Romney campaign continues to criticize the administration. Paul Ryan was on the campaign trail yesterday saying that the Obama administration has diminished America's presence overseas and our image, a direct quote, "If we project-- if we project weakness, they come. If we are strong, our adversaries will not test us and our allies will respond to us." What's your response to that?
SUSAN RICE: It's two-fold. First of all, Bob, I think the American people expect in times of challenge overseas for our leaders to be unified and to come together and to be steadfast and steady and calm and responsible and that certainly what President Obama has been. With respect to what I think is a very empty and baseless charge of weakness, let's be plain, I think American people know the record very well. President Obama said when he was running for President that he would refocus our efforts and attentions on al Qaeda. We've decimated al Qaeda. Osama bin Laden is gone. He also said we would end the war in Iraq responsibly. We've done that. He has protected civilians in Libya, and Qaddafi is gone. I serve up at the United Nations and I see every day the difference in how countries around the world view the United States. They view us as a partner. They view us as somebody they want to work with. They view President Obama as somebody they trust. Our standing in the world is much stronger so this charge of weakness is really quite baseless.
BOB SCHIEFFER: Do you think Mitt Romney spoke inappropriately when he criticized and issued a statement so early in this turmoil?
SUSAN RICE: Bob, I think you know, in my role, I'm-- I'm not going to jump into politics and make those judgments. That's for the American people to decide.
BOB SCHIEFFER: Madam Ambassador, thank you for being with us.
SUSAN RICE: Thank you very much.
BOB SCHIEFFER: And joining us now for his take on all this, the ranking Republican on the Senate Armed Services Committee, John McCain. Senator, you've got to help me out here. The president of Libya says that this was something that had been in the works for two months, this attack. He blames it on al Qaeda. Susan Rice says that the State Department thinks it is some sort of a spontaneous event. What-- what do you make of it?
SENATOR JOHN MCCAIN (R-Arizona): Most people don't bring rocket-propelled grenades and heavy weapons to a demonstration. That was an act of terror, and for anyone to disagree with that fundamental fact I think is really ignoring the facts. Now, how long it was planned and who was involved, but there is no doubt there was extremists and there's no doubt they were using heavy weapons and they used pretty good tactics--indirect fire, direct fire, and obviously they were successful. Could I just say that our prayers are with Chris Stevens and Glen Doherty and Tyrone Woods and Sean Smith who gave their lives. I met Chris Stevens in Benghazi during the fighting. He was putting his life on the line every day. He was living in a hotel. I was with him on July 7th when the Libyan people voted and he and I were down where thousands of people were saying to him, "Thank you, thank you, America, thank you." So the last thing that Chris Stevens would want the United States to do is to stop assisting Libya as they go through this very difficult process of trying to establish a government and democracy.
BOB SCHIEFFER: Why do you think the-- is there something more going on here than a difference of opinion when the administration spokesman today says that she believes and the administration believes this was just a spontaneous act?
SENATOR JOHN MCCAIN: How-- how spontaneous is a demonstration when people bring rocket-propelled grenades and heavy weapons and-- and have a very tactically successful military operation, but there are so many things that we need to cover but the fact is that the United States is weakened. And, you know, it was Osama bin Laden that said when people see the strong horse and the weak horse, people like the strong horse. Right now United States is the weak horse.
In Iraq, it's unraveling. In Iraq, al Qaeda is coming back. It is in danger of breaking up into Sunni, Shia, and Kurd. By the way Iranian flights are overflying Iraq with weapons for Bashar Assad. In Afghanistan again, you just saw, the worst thing for any military morale is these killing by your allies that continue to escalate. It's unraveling because all we tell the Afghan people is we're leaving. We are not telling them we're succeeding. We tell them we're leaving.
***
Even this morning, McCain is trying to portray Rice's September 16 remarks as being "incorrect" because she said that "it was a spontaneous demonstration", when in fact she clearly said "what BEGAN spontaneously... extremist elements, individuals, joined in with heavy weapons... and it spun from there...."  

Is there a significant difference in whether it started out as an attack or whether it started as a demonstration that terrorists used to launch an attack?  Was the difference significant enough for the Obama Administration and Rice to stick to what they may have already known was an incorrect intelligence report about the genesis of the attack?  And, do McCain and the other Republicans reap enough benefit by ignoring the nuances of Rice's remarks and continuing to pretend that she flat out denied that it was a pre-planned attack?


* "he" refers to the previous guest,  the President of Libya's General National Congress Mohamed Yousef Magariaf. He had expressed that he had "no doubt" that it was "pre-planned" by foreigners who entered the country to carry out this attack.  
We welcome your comments about this post. Or, if you have something unrelated on your mind, please e-mail to info-at-arizonaspolitics-dot-com or call 602-799-7025. Thanks.

Monday, November 26, 2012

WATCH: McCain Preparing To Meet With Susan Rice, Declines To Take O'Reilly Bait Dissing President

NBC News and Fox News are reporting tonight that Arizona Senator John McCain (R) will be meeting with U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Susan Rice tomorrow.  (Both note that Rice requested the meeting, which will apparently also be with Sens. Graham and Ayotte.) President Barack Obama is considered likely to nominate Rice to be the next Secretary of State, and McCain has been one of the loudest anti-Rice voices in the Senate.

McCain has blasted Rice for what he perceives as her untruthfulness when she appeared on Sunday morning news shows shortly after the terrorist attacks killing the U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens and three others in Libya on September 11.  He memorably called her interviews "probably one of the worst  things I've observed in my entire life".  (Arizona's Politics laid out McCain's and Rice's video out side-by-side with the transcript, and noted that McCain had followed Rice on Face the Nation - in the same seat - and had declined to criticize Rice at that point.)

Tonight, McCain was on FoxNews' O'Reilly Factor, and repeatedly declined to take the host's bait and declare that Obama's likely nomination of Rice would be a "slap in the face" of McCain.  He also continued his walk-back of his strident rhetoric about Rice:  "I don't think it was a matter of dishonesty.  It was a matter of, again, responsibility."




We welcome your comments about this post. Or, if you have something unrelated on your mind, please e-mail to info-at-arizonaspolitics-dot-com or call 602-799-7025. Thanks.

VOTE COUNT WATCH, FINAL: Observations, Continued

Before the holiday (hope you had a nice one), Arizona's Politics published some observations on the final vote count.  One comment generated several e-mails and deserves a quick follow-up observation.

We tallied the total number of votes that Arizonans cast for the nine Democratic candidates and eight Republican candidates for Arizona's nine seats in the U.S. House of Representatives.  We noted that the GOP slate received a lot more votes, but that the Democrats go to D.C. with a 5-4 delegation edge.  We suggested that that outcome is not that surprising when recalling how upset Republicans were about the districts set up by the IRC.

One e-mailer thanked me for backing his or her claim that the GOP got screwed, and another basically told me that that was just the way the ball bounced.  The Republic ran a lengthy article on Saturday on the numbers, and gathered some interesting comments from winning Congressmen and others.

The bottom line can be looked at like this:  there are six "noncompetitive" districts.  The GOP holds a baseline 4-2 advantage, which is more than they would deserve simply based upon the registration numbers.

The three competitive districts could/would - especially, in a Republican wave election - result in a 7-2 GOP-dominated delegation.  In a Democratic wave - almost like the one this year - it can result in a 5-4 Democratic advantage.  Anything in between could also happen.

If a Democratic wave election could result in a 7-2 Democratic-dominated delegation, that would be wrong.  But, it cannot.

It would seem to Arizona's Poltics that any Republicans comlpaining about this year's result are basically admitting that they cannot and will not be able to win those three swing districts.  Even though - as the Republic points out - registered Republicans outnumber registered Democrats in two out of those three districts.  A self-defeatist argument that none should try to make.


We welcome your comments about this post. Or, if you have something unrelated on your mind, please e-mail to info-at-arizonaspolitics-dot-com or call 602-799-7025. Thanks.

Why Newt Gingrich Has "No Idea" Whether He'll Run For President In 2016; Hasn't Ruled It Out

Yesterday, Newt Gingrich, former Republican frontrunner for the GOP 2012 Presidential nominee and former Speaker of the U.S. House, indicated that he has "no idea" if he will run for President again in 2016.  And, an e-mail today from his campaign-turned-marketing-machine gives us the reason: there may not be an election (or, not a fair one)!

Today's e-mail is provocatively-titled, "THE SECRET BEHIND OBAMA'S THIRD TERM."  The "From" line notes that it emanates from "Newt 2012", although a disclaimer notes that the opinions belong to the advertiser and not the "Newt 2012 Campaign".

The e-mail from Porter Stansberry claims that "Most people believe the election was all about whether or not Obama will have a second term. But it was not.  What was actually at stake was whether or not he will have a third-term." Stansberry believes - seemingly incongruously - that Obama's secret plan to remain in power "through 2020 - or even beyond" will INCREASE the wealth and power of the U.S. in the world AND will enable the Presdient "to implement the most terrifying socialist policies in the history of our country." (emphasis added0

Gingrich is obviously not sure either whether there will be an election in 2016, or whether it would be winnable to go up against the surprisingly-powerful Obama.

Interestingly, there is evidence that the Gingrich campaign is well aware of Mr. Stansberry's views.  The week before the election, a previous Stansberry-via-Gingrich e-mail also predicted that Obama would go after a 3rd term if he won on November 6, ABC News reported on it, and a Gingrich spokesperson said that Stansberry was not supposed to be approved to pay Gingrich for the right to e-mail Gingrich supporters under the Gingrich family of for-profit e-mail lists.

Now, instead of mistakenly sending out the Stansberry e-mail to Gingrich's "Human Events" newsletter,  Gingrich's actual campaign has sent out the e-mail.  ABC News noted that Stansberry has been found partly liable in an SEC lawsuit for "an online newsletter scheme that defrauded investors out of more than $1,000,000."  (Which is why Arizona's Politics is not even clicking on the link from the Gingrich campaign.)

Gingrich has long been noted for his conservative cause money-making efforts (e.g. "Newt, Inc."); however, selling his supporters to operations touting unconstitutional conspiracies that are in direct conflict with his Presidential "ambitions" may be taking it many steps too far.  

(Arizona's Politics disputed Democrats who expressed views that President George W. Bush was going to try to remain in power beyond January 2009; it looks like we may spend the next four (lonnggg) years disputing Birthers-turned-dictator-preventers.)







We welcome your comments about this post. Or, if you have something unrelated on your mind, please e-mail to info-at-arizonaspolitics-dot-com or call 602-799-7025. Thanks.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

WATCH: Rep. Grijalva Fields Questions On C-Span This AM;


Rep. Raul Grijalva (D-CD7) fielded a half-hour's worth of questions last week on C-Span.





We welcome your comments about this post. Or, if you have something unrelated on your mind, please e-mail to info-at-arizonaspolitics-dot-com or call 602-799-7025. Thanks.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

VOTE COUNT WATCH, FINAL: Observations Re: Cong. Delegation, Sheriffs

Arizona's vote count is ready for certifying, as Maricopa County finished tallying provisionals, and a few thoughts occurred to Arizona's Politics.  The statewide finals can be seen here.

1) The U.S. Senate lead for Rep. Jeff Flake kept shrinking to the final count.  He ended up with a 49.2%-46.2% win (68,000 votes out of 2.245 million cast) over former U.S. Surgeon General Richard Carmona.  That not-quite-majority was a bit surprising considering that the Presidential contest in Arizona favored the GOP nominee Mitt Romney over Pres. Barack Obama 53.5%-44.5%.

2) Glad to see Secretary of State Ken Bennett and others seem to be serious about working on ways to make our voting process better.  (That can't help but make the vote-counting process better, too.)  I plan to continue pursuing a few of the ideas I have raised previously.)

3) Much ink and many bytes have been spent discussing the 5-4 Democratic edge for Arizona's House delegation.  Now that we have finished the vote-counting, we can look at the total number of votes Arizonans cast for Arizona's 9 Democratic House candidates and 8 GOP candidates (the Republicans failed to field a candidate in the CD7, against juggernaut Rep. Ed Pastor).

While it is not a definitive statistic - the quality of candidates put up by a minority party in a district that is "safe" for the other party can vary widely - it is worth noting that Republican House candidates received approximately 184,000 more votes than the Democratic candidates.  That is approximately an entire district's worth of votes; the average AZ CD saw 225,000 votes cast.

That Arizona winds up with a slightly-blue House delegation seems slightly more surprising given the totals - as well as the totals of the race for President, Senate, voter registration figures, etc.  But, not as surprising when one remembers the GOP howling about the redistricting maps adopted by the Independent Redistricting Commission.

4) Both Arizona Republic and Phoenix New Times columnists are noting that longtime Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio barely crossed the 50% threshold in his re-election race.  Less noted is that the 50.7% mark for GOP Arpaio is EXACTLY the same that longtime Democratic Pima County Sheriff Clarence Dupnik received in the heart of Baja Arizona country.  Arizona's Politics found no similar columns in the daily or weekly papers talking about the closeness there (although I will be keeping my eyes open this weekend).

Given that the Democrats have a significant edge in Pima, it would seem that both big-county Sheriffs are losing some altitude among their (previously) faithful.

We welcome your comments about this post. Or, if you have something unrelated on your mind, please e-mail to info-at-arizonaspolitics-dot-com or call 602-799-7025. Thanks.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

TO DO LIST BEFORE 2014, PART 2: Suggestions To Improve Elections

The day after election day, I set out some of my impressions from my day and believing that most of the issues can be traced back to the elected officials in charge of running the elections at the county and state levels.  The last several days of methodical vote-counting has gained much unfavorable attention around the country, and has given all of us time to think about further ways to improve the process.

I am thinking that some of them will need to be addressed at the legislative level, and I will draft or help draft some possible bills that could be introduced.

Here are two of the points that I would like to see addressed.  (More to come, and your suggestions/feedback/etc are welcome.)

1)   I previously discussed the responsibilities of various parties in the process.  When it came to voters, I noted that pre-election information given to voters is spotty, and that noone can expect Jane and John Q. Public to try to remember necessary information (e.g. re-registering each time you move) between elections.
   a) When a voter registers, he/she must be better-informed about the voting process, and what he/she needs to do.
   b) When the voter registration cards are sent out, each voter must be clearly informed about where to vote (where he currently lives) and whether he/she needs to update registration.
   c) Most importantly, every polling place should post the statutes and explain them so that EVERY VOTER can determine what kind of ballot (regular, provisional, conditional) he/she will be permitted to cast AND whether it will be counted.  Currently, we rely on poll workers and - to a lesser degree - observers, political parties, media and other organizations to inform the voters.  Many voters never get clear and correct information, and many of those votes (approximately one of every five provisionals, according ) will not be counted.

We post many things at each polling place; there is no reason something like the following should not be, as well:
***
1. Arizona requires you to register to vote. The deadline was 29 days before the elecction.
2. If you received an early ballot and mailed it in (or voted early), you may not vote a 2nd time.  This is not Chicago (e.g. "vote early, vote often"), Illinois.  (just kidding)  However, if you believe in good faith that you mailed your early ballot too late for it to be received by 7:00pm tonight, you MAY vote a "provisional ballot" today.  We will check to make sure that only one of your ballots will be counted. (This takes days after the election, and we will count your mailed ballot if it was received before the deadline.  We do not even look at early ballots that come in the mail tomorrow or later.)
3.  YOU MUST VOTE at the polling place designated for your CURRENT residence. (Not always closest to your residence, the posted maps or our poll workers will help make sure you vote in the right place. If you do not vote in the correct place, your vote will not be counted!
   a)  If you have moved within the past 29 days (within the county), you can vote (1) in your old precinct, or (2) a provisional ballot at your new precinct.
4.  ID
5.  Conditional provisional.
6.  Assistance.
7.  Challenged.
8.  Other issues.
***

2)  It is not reasonable for county or state elections officials to follow up with those voters who cast conditional provisional ballots (because of lack of sufficient identification at the polls); however, it is reasonable that political parties and/or other organizations should be able to follow up. Each polling place currently builds a register of voters who cast provisional ballots, and the parties' observers are able to take the "tear sheets" of this register.  There would seem to be no reason that that register cannot have an additional column to designate whether the provisional was conditional or not.

We welcome your comments about this post. Or, if you have something unrelated on your mind, please e-mail to info-at-arizonaspolitics-dot-com or call 602-799-7025. Thanks.