Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Gov. Brewer Leads Arizona Into Group Of Only Seven States Approved For Healthcare Reform Monies While Suing To Overturn

Arizona was among the first states to (apply and) be approved for a federal program that will reimburse Arizona for medical claims for state employees (and spouses and dependents) who have retired but are not yet eligible for Medicare, according to a U.S. announcement today.  This distinction comes three weeks after Governor Jan Brewer issued a news release indicating that she is moving Arizona forward with the coalition of (19 or 20) states challenging the constitutionality of the same healthcare reform laws.

Seven states are in the ironic category of seeking and being approved for the funds while challenging what Brewer called "unconstitutional" and "an onerous federal mandate".  According to the Associated Press, joining Arizona are Idaho, Indiana, Louisiana, Michigan, Nebraska and Nevada.

Here are the other 18 Arizona governmental bodies and companies who have also sought for and received approval to be reimbursed - out of a $5 billion pool - for uncovered medical costs for early retirees who are not yet eligible for Medicare.  The program is a temporary "bridge" until other provisions of the healthcare reform bill become law.

AZ Central Reports Andrew Thomas Has Conceded In Republican Race For Arizona AG Nomination

The Arizona Republic's website is reporting that fmr Maricopa County Attorney Andrew Thomas has conceded this a.m. that he will not be the Republican nominee for Attorney General. 

(will update when available)


State Department Explains Why It Mentioned Arizona In Report (full text and link below); Fox News Headline Misleading

[[Yesterday morning, we published our Fact Check Analysis on Gov. Brewer's "Indignant, Offended, Misleading" letter to (U.S.) Secretary of State Clinton demanding removal of the "unconstitutional" mention of Arizona's S.B. 1070 law.  In concluding that the letter was "COMPLETELY MISLEADING", we noted that it can only be seen as an effort to appeal to and motivate a segment of the electorate, to further endear herself to conservative media, and to foment misunderstanding and distrust of the federal government.  Well, Fox News was paying attention.]]

A reporter at the State Department's Daily Press Briefing stopped spokesperson Phillip Crowley just before he wrapped it up, and asked him about S.B. 1070's inclusion in the State Department's human rights Universal Periodic Review ("UPR").  (If you can identify this reporter, please let us know.)  She asked what the State Department's "motivation" was in the mention.
Mr. Crowley's response was as simple and low key as the original mention in the UPR (and was very similar to our postulation).  Here is the text (verified with the video)(text/video are at end of briefing, 35:18 in video):
QUESTION: Wait, P.J., can I get one question in? For Secretary Clinton’s UN report that was submitted August 20th, she talked about the Arizona immigration law. What was the motivation for putting that into the UN report?

MR. CROWLEY: Well, we had a process where teams went around the country, and during the course of the preparation of our report, the issue of the Arizona immigration law came up. And that’s the reason why it was included in the report.

We’re very proud of our human rights record. We think it’s second to none around the world. But the universal periodic review, we believe, can be a model to demonstrate to other countries – even other countries on the Human Rights Council – this is how you engage civil society. And where issues arise from a genuine discussion and debate within societies, there can be issues that are resolved under the rule of law. And the Arizona immigration law is a good example of how we are debating this as a society. There is a legal case ongoing, and this issue will be resolved under the rule of law.

QUESTION: Under federal law?

MR. CROWLEY: Under federal, yeah.

Fox News apparently gave this story heavy airplay yesterday, as well (I am guessing the reporter who asked the question of Crowley was thus a Fox reporter or producer.)  According to this article, Fox interviewed both Gov. Brewer and Republican state Sen. Frank Antenori (Fox misspelled Mr. Antenori's name; corrected here). 

Forgetting that Fox apparently did not feature a viewpoint different from Brewer's and Antenori's, the headline of Fox News' website article is that "State Department Stands By Decision to Include Arizona in U.N. Human Rights Report." (emphasis added)  That is a bit of a stretch.  Crowley was not asked to respond to Brewer's letter (or Antenori's equally-insulted remarks).  Crowley was not asked if the State Department would remove the mention from the report (as if that would keep someone else from raising the question).  He was asked to explain the back story, the motivation.  And, that is all that he did.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Former Republican Congressman Jim Kolbe Moves BEYOND HYPTER-PARTISANSHIP To Endorse Democrat

One of the things that ArizonasPolitics.com intends to highlight during the next several weeks is efforts to get beyond hyper-partisanship.  We believe that most Arizonans are tired of every issue being framed in an Us vs. Them, Republican vs. Democrat, black vs. white partisan way.

Therefore, it is with great pleasure that we have a breaking news item that highlights a former Republican Congressman crossing the aisle to endorse a Democrat for Arizona Treasurer.  Rep. Jim Kolbe just sent out an e-mail on behalf of Democratic candidate Andrei Cherny.*  As he notes, it is the first time he has endorsed a Democrat (beyond local offices), he is "still a proud Republican", and he is also going to co-chair Cherny's campaign.

Kudos to Congressman Kolbe, for again displaying political courage in this day and age of hyper-partisanship.

The Republican nominee is Doug Ducey.  There are no Green or Libertarian Party candidates on the ballot.

*Text of August 30 e-mail:
Dear ,

I served as a Republican in Congress representing Arizona for over 22 years, as a Republican in the Arizona state legislature for 6 before that, and I’m still a proud Republican. I’ve never endorsed a Democrat for any office other than local ones. But as we find ourselves in a worsening fiscal crisis, we need to have the most qualified people in leadership positions and there is no doubt in my mind that Andrei Cherny is the right person for State Treasurer.

Without any hesitation, I not only endorse Andrei, but am joining his campaign as its Chair. During and after all my years of service, I have come to realize that party labels do not mean a lot. I have known Andrei for several years and I believe that his accomplishments and experience in managing organizations; his work and record as a prosecutor in the Arizona Attorney General’s office; and his sheer drive, intelligence, and education are what we need in this position.

I’ve signed on to help and am ready for whatever guff comes my way. Will you help as well by making a contribution today? In a campaign like this, every little bit helps if we're going to break the mold and get past the old divisions.

Andrei and I don’t agree on every issue, but I have a lot of respect for his commitment and his vision and I know that the guy I’m supporting is the best person for this job.

Given the problems the state has I think we need to bring both parties together and support Andrei because of his skills, leadership and vision.

We aren’t going to fix problems if we don’t have leaders that will cross party lines. And we won’t have those leaders if we as voters don’t support and help the candidates who are willing to break out of the partisan strongholds. By asking me to chair his campaign, Andrei has shown he’s ready to do that. I hope you’ll lend a helping hand to our efforts today.


Jim Kolbe

P.S. Your contribution right now will help us hit the ground running in the general election. We don't have a moment to waste!

FACT CHECK ANALYSIS: Gov. Brewer Judges U.S. State Dept. Report "Unconstitutional"; She Is Indignant, Offended, Misleading (links to Brewer letter, State Dept. report)

On Friday, Gov. Jan Brewer decided to attack a U.S. State Department overview on the United States' positions and progress on human rights.  She sent a letter to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton

In doing so, she declared her "indignation" and stated that it is "downright offensive" that there was a brief mention of the not-so-secret legal action surrounding Arizona's SB1070 law.  Fine.  However, she incorrectly asserted that the federal government is "apparently... trying to make an international human rights case out of S.B. 1070" and that inclusion of Arizona in the report is "internationalism run amok and unconstitutional." 

The "Universal Periodic Review" is a process whereby each nation can submit a report, self-surveying the positives and negatives of efforts in the ever-developing area of human rights.  As the U.S. report indicates, the Declaration of Independence was a key step in furthering human rights and that the United States has been a leader in promoting human rights awareness elsewhere. (paragraphs 1-5)  The U.N., other nations or NGO's may submit reports on their own.  In November, the UPR Working Group will meet and make comments, recommendations, etc. on reports from the U.S.  - all of which can be accepted or rejected by the U.S. 

The United States (and 15 other nations) are part of the ninth group of the 192 member nations being reviewed - the 4-year cycle will be completed next year.  Examples of the reports of some of the other nations' reviews may be enlightening:  here are reports on the United Kingdom, Saudi Arabia and Iran.  Safe to say that the report on the U.S. in November will look more like the U.K.'s than Iran's. 

It would be silly for anyone to think that simply because the U.S. self-review did not mention S.B. 1070, that noone else would bring it up.  So, the State Department politely tip-toed around the subject.  Here is what the report stated:  "95. A recent Arizona law, S.B. 1070, has generated significant attention and debate at home and around the world. The issue is being addressed in a court action that argues that the federal government has the authority to set and enforce immigration law. That action is ongoing; parts of the law are currently enjoined."  No braggadocio about the federal government filing an action and arguments which convinced Judge Bolton.  No asking that the international community issue a decision on the human rights aspects of the law.  Not even an insinuation that the law is offensive to human rights at all; simply a note that it is being included because it "has generated significant attention and debate at home and around the world," and that it is in the judicial process.  We have it under control, World, and our institutions are working.

Gov. Brewer insists that this is "downright offensive", that it is piling on and making "an international human rights case" on top of the federal lawsuit.  (Note, use of the word "already" conflating the UPR and federal suit.)  And, while she (barely) conditions her sentence by stating that "The idea of our own American government submitting...,"  she calls this report "UNCONSTITUTIONAL" (and "internationalism run amok").  

Such comments made with full knowledge that there is no sliver of an argument to be made that the UPR - and participation in the voluntary and non-binding UPR process - is against any provision of our beloved U.S. Constitution can only be seen as an effort to appeal to and motivate a segment of the electorate, to further endear herself to conservative media, and to foment misunderstanding and distrust of the federal government.

For her posturing, accusatory letter, Gov. Brewer earns a "COMPLETELY MISLEADING"

Friday, August 27, 2010

Thomas Ready To "Concede" While Result Is Too Close To Call? WHY?

According to New Times' Stephen Lemmons and the Republic's Laurie Roberts, sources are indicating that Andrew Thomas is planning to "concede" this afternoon.  This, even though there does not seem to be any discernible trend in how the late early ballots are distributed between Thomas and Horne.  Horne's lead went from the 300's on Wednesday to just over 1,000 on Thursday, and has now gone back down to 817 as of 1:40 this afternoon.

Channel 12's Brahm Resnik appropriately pointed this out in a Tweet and asked why.  And, I agree:  even if later votes are more likely to be cast for Horne - presumably because of the late release of the grand jury information - there is still too much unpredictability.  Not much seems to be gained by "conceding" now.  It does not stop the tabulation process, and it does not prevent the state from having to conduct a required recount if the final result is within 200 votes.  It does not free up Horne to start campaigning to any significant degree, and it does not mean that Thomas would not accept the nomination if the final count is in his favor.

So, again: Why?

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Greta Does Arizona! Again.

And, like that Deb in Dallas, the hits just keep on coming.

Last night, Greta Van Susteren interviewed Republican Ben Quayle, as he gets ready to face off in the general election against Democrat Jon Hulburd.  Highlight of the 5 1/2-minute interview? Don't know yet - her videos are not playing on my computer at the moment.

Continuing her tour down the right lane of Arizona's political highway, John McCain is her featured interview tonight.  Democrat Rodney Glassman should not hold his breath for a rebuttal invite.

Ready for a snarl-off!

Who else should Greta interview as part of her Arizona series? 

UPDATE:  Greta's blog just picked up on this item from the New Times, noting that J.D. Hayworth did not call McCain to concede and congratulate, even though John waited.  Nothing wrong with a few kissing-up points just before the interview.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

RECOUNT WATCH: Update On Arizona Attorney General Races

Previous post: http://arizonaspolitics.blogspot.com/2010/08/most-eyes-on-primary-results-for.html

UPDATE:  The Secretary of State's Office has updated its vote tabulations, as of 3:14p.m.  The Republican nomination race between Horne and Thomas has widened slightly, and is just outside the Required Recount Zone ("RRZ").  The Democratic nomination battle between Rotellini and Lujan has narrowed slightly, and is still outside of the RRZ.

While the official count page now shows Horne leading Thomas by 0.09% (319 votes), the RRZ percentage is slightly lower at 0.08%.  Remember, the magic number is the lesser of 200 votes or 0.10% of the votes cast for the two candidates - not for total votes cast. If the differential is between 200 and the 0.10%, there would not be a required recount, but the result might be more likely to be the subject of a legal action for a recount.  This a.m., the RRZ differential was 0.07%.

On the Democratic side, Rotellini's lead shrunk slightly to 0.50% (1,261 votes), and the RRZ percentage slipped a smidge to 0.62% (from 0.66% this a.m.)

(Please see earlier post for more detailed explanation, citations.)

(This post was edited to correct typo, clarify statute.)

Andrew Thomas' Morning After Statement: I'll Support Horne If He Wins Nomination

Here is Andrew Thomas' morning after Tweet-linked statement.  No analysis of uncounted votes, but a back atcha to Horne that he will support his primary election opponent if the vote counting ends up counter to his hopes.  Notably, it also might quell any talk of pressing for a challenge if Horne ends up leading outside the required recount zone.

Thomas' full statement:

"The time for debating and tough words in the Republican Primary is over. The time for vote counting is upon us. I appreciated Tom Horne's words earlier in the campaign and just last night when things were not looking his way that he would support me were I to be the nominee. Likewise, if Tom prevails I don't want there to be any doubt that I will support him against the Democrat. Let's see where the vote counting takes us knowing that in the end the Republican Party will offer a nominee that is vastly better than a Democrat counterpart who opposes Senate Bill 1070 and who refuses to challenge ObamaCare by joining other Attorneys General across the U.S."

Tom Horne's Morning After Update and Analysis: Unlikely I'll Lose Lead From Uncounted Precincts

From his Twitter, Tom Horne links to his analysis of where the rest of the counting (of precincts, not of yet-uncounted early ballots) is headed.  Take-away quote:  "It seems not impossible but unlikely that I will lose the 373 vote in the remaining 7 precincts. Most current uncertainty would seem to come from the questioned ballots."  He does seem to acknowledge that he will not get out of required recount territory - at least not from the uncounted precincts.  I am unsure why he does not mention the many early ballots that were mailed/dropped late and have not yet been counted - those are distinct from "questioned ballots."

Noting his Maricopa and Pima County tallies-to-date, he notes that 5 precincts are uncounted in the former (where he trailed Thomas) and only 2 are uncounted in Pima (where he won a majority).

Horne's full analysis:


Thank all of you for your support!

Here's what I have figured out this morning:

My lead is 373, just short of what is needed to avoid a recount.

There are 5 precincts out of 1142 left to report in Maricopa County. There are 2 precincts out of 417 to report in Pima County. My overall loss in Maricopa County was 48.86% to 50.56%. My overall win in Pima County was 52.97% to 46.59%. Last night when there were still 34 precincts to report in Maricopa County, and 14 in Pima, and it shrank to 5 and 2 precincts, my lead only shrank by 50 votes. It seems not impossible but unlikely that I will lose the 373 vote in the remaining 7 precincts. Most current uncertainty would seem to come from the questioned ballots.


Morning After Analysis From Pollster Bruce Merrill

Here's some morning-after analysis of Arizona primary elections, from pollster Bruce Merrill on KJZZ.  Highlight: big muscle-flexing for Arpaio, tough row to hoe for Terry Goddard, SB1070 saved Brewer.

Merrill conducts the Cronkite/Eight Poll.

Most Eyes On the Primary Results For Arizona AG

Both the Democratic and Republican nominees for Arizona Attorney General are still unknown after election night results are tallied.  The early ballots (received by mail in the past few days and dropped off at polling places on Tuesday) may or may not make the results clearer.  At this point (state figures last updated at 5:55a.m.), a required recount would not be conducted on either the Republican or Democratic side.

Here are the current numbers:  Republicans:  (State Schools Supt.) Tom Horne is leading (fmr. Maricopa County Atty.) Andrew Thomas by 0.08% (373 votes);  469,533 Republican ballots have been counted so far.  Democrats: (Fmr. Assistant AG) Felecia Rotellini is ahead of (fmr. State Rep.) David Lujan by 0.54% (1,350 votes); counted Democratic votes to date total 248,488.  (Neither the Green Party nor the Libertarian Party posted a candidate.)

Arizona law REQUIRES a recount if the candidates are separated by less than one-tenth of a percent of the votes cast for those two candidates, or 200 votes - whichever is the lesser number.  If the differential between the two candidates is in between the 200 and the 0.10%, there would not be a required recount, but the official result may be more likely to be the subject of a legal challenge.  (For percentage purposes, the current numbers are 0.07% on the Republican side, and 0.66% on the Democratic.)

Of course, any elector can file a court challenge against the primary election results (within 5 days after official canvass/declaration of results). 

We'll all keep an eye on this one together.

(edited to clarify the 200 vote differential)

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

COMING SOON - very soon: General Election campaign coverage

Most of the party nominations will be set by tomorrow - a few may take a few days as the early ballots are sorted and counted.  While the primary season has been an active and interesting one and we would have liked to have been providing coverage, it was not to be. 

But, watch this space for interesting and objective coverage of the general season.  If you have any questions or suggestions regarding what kind of campaign information you would like to see here - especially that you are not receiving elsewhere - please let me know!