Arizona Eagletarian

Arizona Eagletarian

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Update -- CD9 Dem race

Tuesday evening, the three Democratic candidates vying for nomination for Arizona's newest Congressional seat faced off**, sort of, at Changing Hands Bookstore.

Store management figures at least 200 people attended what turned out to be a standing room only forum, pretty much a love fest, in a locally-owned institution in Tempe.

Later that evening, a friend asked me on Facebook how it went. After mentioning that all three candidates did well and seemed to feed off of the warmth of the friendly crowd, the friend remarked,

"Sounds like it would be fairly useless in helping Dems figure out whom to support."

Which is kind of true, but not completely. There were some nuggets worth your time to consider. Early on, the candidates were asked what they believe was the best political advice anyone has given them, and from whom did they receive it.

Kyrsten Sinema responded by saying she had been told (by a long time member of the Arizona Legislature, the only thing she said to identify her source) that it is better to listen than to be heard and to develop meaningful relationships with members on both sides. Though not identifying her source, she later described how that enabled her work with Tucson Republican state Sen. Frank Antenori to get a bill passed which makes all veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan immediately eligible for in-state tuition at any of the state universities.

Andrei Cherny cited former President Bill Clinton as saying, "I keep score," when it comes to political disagreements. Cherny had to specify that Clinton did not necessarily mean it as a way to intimidate people, but that getting results counts. Actually, Cherny needs to re-work that response because it sounded pretty awkward to me.

David Schapira, without hesitation named Harry Mitchell as the source of the best advice. Former Congressman Mitchell told him that "representative" is both your title AND job description and that you can earn it (win the election) by knocking on doors, meeting and listening to the voters.

Rather than give you additional play-by-play, I'll tell you that my overall impressions include that both Sinema and Schapira will do well in campaigning if she or he wins the primary. And at least Cherny did not go negative during the forum (unlike what he had done during Sunday Square Off on Channel 12 two days earlier).

By the way, Schapira is also the only one of the three of them who has won elections facing Republican opposition in a district with a competitive levels of Republican voter registration. To me, that's a game changer.

To get a better idea of the contrasts between the candidates, view this week's SSO (the first segment embedded below) with a debate of sorts moderated by Brahm Resnik.

I have to say that Cherny's answer, "I would put forth ideas" to Resnik challenging him to not avoid the question, "but what would you do" when faced with the GOP obstructing Democrats seems incredibly LAME.

Whoever emerges from this primary will certainly face a great deal of pressure and negative campaigning in the two months between the primary and the general election. So, in that regard, they were all able to practice, reflect and fine tune their approach, and gain confidence that will matter later on.


After last night's forum, Cherny's people responded with characteristic negativity.

My bottom line impression of Cherny from last night is that he cannot point to tangible accomplishments for which he can claim responsibility. Instead, he is big on dropping names. Clinton. Warren.

Those, in my book ARE big names. But what does it mean that he is dropping those names when he drops them? First, Cherny claims to have accomplished what Clinton accomplished. But Cherny was a speechwriter, not a cabinet member or ambassador or economic advisor, etc. And Elizabeth Warren IS a real big name of someone who has genuinely fought for America's Middle Class. I do not dispute that he was associated with (knows) Warren. But she's the one who did the fighting, not him.

When name-dropping is the closest you can come to demonstrating tangible results, the insecurity so apparent in his campaign is understandable.

Isn't it ironic that THE candidate who made the first allegations that his opponents were going negative; THE candidate who responded with a NEGATIVE CAMPAIGNING HOTLINE (602-216-9960), is the only candidate throwing mud?

In the wake of last night's forum, Cherny ax-man Seth Scott issued a press release* (the text of which is reproduced entirely below) that blatantly and brazenly and undoubtedly with malicious intent mischaracterized Sinema's position on Luke Air Force Base.

In the text of the press release, the ONLY reference that does not provide specific citation is the alleged quote from a "questionaire during a bid for the state legislature." Do you remember how vehemently Cherny protested when people (accurately) quoted his campaign materials from 2002? And those campaign materials were faithfully and accurately reproduced. Yet, this allegation he makes is to some unspecified questionaire response.

I'm not going to address whether or not Sinema actually said what Cherny claims she said. She may or may not have. Even if she did, there is a lot more to the situation that Cherny did not tell us, so there can be no question that Cherny's intent is, at minimum, to mislead the reader.

Sinema's campaign provided the following response when I asked about the press release this evening:
  • In 2007, as a member of the Arizona House, Sinema voted in favor of HB 2076 which intended to limit encroaching development around Luke. The bill passed the House and died in the Senate.
  • In 2010, voted in favor of SCR1047, a proposed amendment to the Arizona Constitution to authorizes (subject to voter approval of the ballot measure) the disposition or exchange of state trust lands in order to protect military installation. Voters did NOT approve it.
  • Also in 2010, voted in favor of SB1410 which, if voters had approved the trust land exchange, would have provided the legislative mechanism for those exchanges to protect military installations.

The bottom line in Cherny's attack on Sinema is that they are mean-spirited and intentionally misleading. There is no question in my mind that despite dropping big names, Cherny's campaign is poorly managed, insecure and desperate. That does not make for a candidate who could possibly survive a general election in a competitive district.

July 18, 2012

Seth Scott

Sinema’s Call for Luke AFB
Closure Out of Sync With Arizona
Congressional Delegation Must Be Unwavering In Support of Luke

PHOENIX – Congressional candidate Kyrsten Sinema's past support for closing Luke Air Force Base is out of touch with Arizona, and would deliver a crippling blow to Arizona’s economy.

"I do not support keeping Luke Air Force Base open," Sinema wrote in a The Arizona Republic questionnaire during a bid for the state legislature. "What I do support is shifting funding from the military base to create alternative jobs for all individuals who would be displaced by the closing of the air force [sic] base." [emphasis in Cherny press release original]

Sinema said she supported closing Luke because of America’s "militarization."

Cuts to Arizona's defense industry are "the biggest threat to our recovery in Phoenix," according to Mayor Greg Stanton, who has championed a bipartisan effort to save Arizona's defense jobs. [Source: The Arizona Republic, July 18, 2012]

According to a 2008 study, Luke generated $2.1 billion of economic activity in Arizona. "Luke directly employs 10,281 people, and money from those employees is filtered into the local economy by way of direct and indirect purchases." [Source: Phoenix Business Journal, Jan. 22, 2010]

Arizona's Democratic leaders have offered their unwavering support to keep Luke open and support other Arizona military installations.

Former Attorney General Terry Goddard and Stanton took a leading role in protecting Luke, which prompted the Phoenix New Times to write "Goddard deserves props for filing a lawsuit against the county to protect the base from future encroachment." [Source: Phoenix New Times, July 29, 2010]

Arizona's congressional delegation has a history of strong bipartisan support for Luke. In a Oct. 20, 2009 letter, the entire delegation -- including Reps. Harry E. Mitchell, Gabrielle Giffords, Ed Pastor and Raul Grijalva -- wrote, "We have worked together to enable Luke AFB and the Barry M. Goldwater Range to remain vital national assets in the Air Force’s support of the global contingency operations." [Source:, Oct. 20, 2009]



** Recording of the forum at Changing Hands is available at Radio Phoenix in three segment podcasts.

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