FOLLOWING MONEY IN 2016 PRESIDENTIAL POLITICS

Thursday, October 9, 2014

CAUTION! Anonymous National Speculation Re: #AZ01, #AZ02 Ahead - "Fading Star", "Under Increasingly Grave Threat"; Why The Speculation Is Important (ANALYSIS)

Reporter Alex Isenstadt hit the front of the Politico website last night with an article titled "House homestretch: 5 key dynamics." Right there in the middle of the montage of 5 key photos is Arizona Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick (D-CD1). It immediately became a must-read for Arizona's Politics.

The article is entirely based upon the reporter's discussions with "strategists from both parties" who received the promise of anonymity.  Theoretically, that makes it reliable when a Republican strategist makes an anonymous comment that is not in the best interest of a GOP candidate, and it agrees with what the Democratic strategist said about the particular race.

With that in mind, Isenstadt's bipartisan strategists agree that Rep. Kirkpatrick is one of the incumbents "under increasingly grave threat" in her race against State House Speaker Andy Tobin. However, it acknowledges that even she is "not... a guaranteed goner".

The same strategists also label GOP challenger Martha McSally - one "of this year's most hyped candidates" - a "fading star", and that she is trailing incumbent Rep. Ron Barber (D-CD2) in southern Arizona.

Now, these strategists - EVEN WITH ANONYMITY - have reason to make what attorneys call admissions against interest, and should thus be taken with a grain of salt.  With less than one month before election day, they are playing with limited funds and have every reason to try to set traps for the other strategists that Isenstadt is speaking with or who are reading the article. (McSally's fading, says the GOP strategist? Maybe the DCCC will think we are going to scale back our ever-increasing ad buys, and it will, too.)

However, the reason that these anonymous indicators ARE IMPORTANT is obvious, too: Perception can become reality.  With outside groups playing an increasingly-large role in these elections, and with coordination between the candidates, the parties and the web of outside groups (theoretically) restricted, these "anonymous" signals become important. (American Action Network might divert some of its spending from AZ02 to AZ01 to help push Tobin over 50%.)

It will be interesting to watch how the flood of money into the two Arizona districts changes during the next few weeks.  We may not be able to assign a change to this article - or, even to the data that caused the strategists to make their comments - but, that never stopped a good strategist from  announcing a conclusion.  Anonymously, or maybe even under his or her actual name.


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