Horizon, Host: Ted Simons

August 12, 2010


Host: Ted Simons

Arizona’s Congressional Primary Election Races


  • Dan Nowicki, a reporter who covers national politics for the Arizona Republic, discusses the state races to win a seat in Congress.
Guests:
  • Dan Howicki - Arizona Republic
Category: Government

View Transcript
Ted Simons:
Controversy in the Republican primary for congressional district 3 continues. The secretary of state's office lists 10 candidates running in that race, but much of the attention has been focused on Ben Quayle the son of former vice president Dan Quayle. The younger Quayle has admitted playing a role in a website that looked at the trashy side of Scottsdale nightlife, even though he denied the connection at first. And the mud continues to be tossed in the U.S. senate race featuring incumbent John McCain and former congressman J.D. Hayworth. Here with the latest on the state's congressional races is Dan Nowicki, who covers national politics for "The Arizona Republic." Good to see you again.

Dan Nowicki:
Thanks, Ted.

Ted Simons:
Interesting times.

Dan Nowicki:
Sure is.

Ted Simons:
Let's talk about the Republican side and then democratic side. John McCain is pull ago way from this thing, isn't he?

Dan Nowicki:
It looks that way. The last polls show him with a lead, from 20 percentage points to 25 percentage points. What looked to be a fight of his political life and a potentially big upset for cane kin isn't turning -- for McCain isn't turning owl that way that. That J.D. Hayworth had appeared in a late-night info commercial. And he said buyer beware and gave McCain a lot of fodder for a lot of TV ads and exploded the situation and around greater Arizona, the perception of J.D. Hayworth, they didn't follow him outside of Maricopa County, they didn't follow his congressional career that much and perceived him as, well, he's the conservative running against McCain. Particularly, those voters outside of Maricopa County, is kind of a TV Huckster.

Ted Simons:
But it could seem, though, with immigration so front and center as far as politics in Arizona right now and as a public issue, that's made for Hayworth, you would have thought it would catapulted him.

Dan Nowick:
The narrative couldn't have worked out better. He's the hard-liner, the guy who wrote the book, whatever it takes on border security. But to McCain's credit, he seemed to see this coming early on and Hayworth accused him of having a election year conversion, but he became more border security focused and the drug cartels but he says it's not a position change, but allowed him to steal that issue from Hayworth and the build the fence ad was ridiculed but it's seemed to help McCain.

Ted Simons:
On the democrat side, polls seem to show a lot of folks are undecided. Who is getting traction?

Dan Nowicki:
The conventional issue is the former vice mayor of Tucson, probably the front runner because he's had more time to organize his campaign and raise money. He debuted a new TV ad today. He's out in front, but all four of the candidates are not well known, it seems the polls show half of the Democrats aren't decided yet.

Ted Simons:
So with that in minds, this basically a race for second place here? Whoever comes out of the democratic side, I think a lot of them thought they're going against Hayworth, they're going against a pretty strong McCain.

Dan Nowicki:
I know all four of them would love to run against Hayworth. But they're expecting to run against McCain. They make the case they're the one who can beat McCain. I think the national Democrats agree that McCain will be tough to beat. Generally speaking a Republican year and might be tough to beat McCain in the general election.

Ted Simons:
Let's get to some other races. Congressional district 1. Eight Republicans in this case against Ann Kirkpatrick. Any campaign picking up steam here?

Dan Nowicki:
That's the toughest race to get a handle on. It's sprawling and goes into several little Arizona markets. Radio stations and lots of little newspapers and it's hard to get a handle on who is pulling ahead there. Not really done much to distinguish themselves from one another. Paul GOSAR got the coveted Sarah Palin endorsement.

Ted Simons:
And sounds like Sydney Haste leads as far as raising money and the leading candidate last election?

Dan Nowicki:
Well known. And rusty Bower, he's the former -- rusty bower, the Mesa Republican, back in those days and he's been trying to beat the carpetbagger rap. He's running up in northern Arizona. Seems he's not gotten as much traction as I and some others thought early on. Kirkpatrick vulnerable at all. If there's a big GOP tidal wave, I think potentially, she's definitely vulnerable. But it's going to depend understanding a lot of these races who the Republicans wind up nominating.

Ted Simons:
Let's go to district 3. The mud is flying, everything is going every which way. Is this pretty much still up in the air in?

Dan Nowicki:
It seems like every time you see a poll, there's no public poll so you have to rely on campaigns to lend you their internal numbers. So you have to take it with a grain of salt. Seems like the numbers are shifting around. The most recent poll I saw showed Steve Moak in the lead. It seems really close. I don't know how much you can count on any clear frontrunner. It seems that things are changing rapidly.

Ted Simons:
There's one democrat in the race, and the conventional wisdom, the lone wolf has a better handle on it. But does that work in this district.

Dan Nowicki:
It's a GOP-leaning strict. John Shadegg dominated it for years. The Republicans are counting on keeping the seat no matter who is the nominee. The Democrats strenuously disagree. They think that hole berg is a good -- hole berg is going to be a good candidate.

Ted Simons:
With two libertarians and one green candidate, are there so many folks in there that anyone can pop out of anywhere?

Dan Nowicki:
Yeah, the green party or the libertarians -- going to get much traction, but things are moving and not settled. People are telling me, too, that they're watching very closely the early returns and telling me in CD3, people are hanging on to their ballots more than other districts. I assume this race has something to do with it.

Ted Simons:
CD5, we've got six Republican candidates in that one and looks like the same folks from the last go-around.

Dan Nowicki:
One new face is Jim Ward. He's picked up some moderate business community, Republican support. SCHWEIKERT seems to be the one with the energy.

Ted Simons:
But he did lose to Harry Mitchell in the last election. Is Mitchell considered more vulnerable? And how close is he running to Obama. Is that name mentioned a lot?

Dan Nowicki:
Oh, yeah, you hear them running against the Obama administration and I think they're counting on -- and a lot has to do with the timing and the mood of the American people and maybe the timing wasn't right two years ago but it might be right now. Harry Mitchell has defined political gravity, it's Republican leaning as well. He beat J.D. Hayworth in an upset. So obviously a popular former Tempe mayor, well known. But just the number, you can't be too comfortable if you're Harry Mitchell.
Ted Simons:
But what if you're Gabrielle Giffords.

Dam Nowicki:
I thought that -- I think he probably went into this not expecting much of a primary fight but his GOP rival, Jesse Kelly seems to have the momentum down there.

Ted Simons:
Overall, and I guess I should have asked this earlier, are the Democrats maybe shying away a little bit from the Obama administration? What's happening as far as national politics and identification is concerned.

Dan Nowicki:
You see it on the border issue a lot. All the three so-called vulnerable democrat, the centrist district, one, five and eight. You see them, they all decried the Obama administration lawsuit against Arizona and you see them all calling for more border security. You know, you've had quotes in my notebook and I could read it to you and I don't know if you would able to guess if they're Gabby Gifford or Jon Kyl.

Ted Simons:
The last question, very quickly. Primaries we've seen this week, any indication, any tide, anything going on there?

Dan Nowicki:
Well, supposedly the year the incumbents are going to get beat. The year of the tea party. Holding up to some degree. You see anti-establishment candidates doing well. I don't know how that's going to apply to the Arizona. The big race is McCain versus Hayworth and as we talked about, McCain seems to have taken steps to alleviate the concern that he's going to fall prey to the tea party anger.

Ted Simons:
All right, Dan, good stuff. Thanks for joining us.

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