Horizon, Host: Ted Simons

August 25, 2010


Host: Ted Simons

Post Election Analysis


  • An examination of news and results from the August 24th primary elections with Arizona Republic editorial columnist Bob Robb and Bob Grossfeld president of the Media Guys and publisher of the Arizona Guardian.
Guests:
  • Bob Robb - Arizona Republic
  • Bob Grossfeld - President of the Media Guys and publisher of the Arizona Guardian
Category: Vote 2010

View Transcript
Ted Simons: Good evening and welcome to "Horizon." I'm Ted Simons. Statewide voter turnout for Tuesday's primary election was about 25%, meeting most predictions. In the Republican race for U.S. senate, incumbent senator John McCain soundly defeated his challenger, J.D. Hayworth. But the Republican nomination for state attorney general is still uncertain. In that race, Tom Horne is leading Andrew Thomas by fewer than 400 votes. Tonight -- analysis of yesterday's vote and what it all means regarding general election matchups.

Ted Simons: Joining me is Bob Robb, an editorial columnist for "The Arizona Republic," and Bob Grossfeld, president of the Scottsdale-based, The Media Guys, and publisher of "The Arizona Guardian." Thanks for joining us.

Bob Grossfeld: It's a pleasure.

Ted Simons: What turned the race, Bob?

Bob Robb: Well, there was certainly the building blocks of a tea party-style challenge to McCain in the Republican primary with posing the bush tax cuts and bailouts and amnesty and illegal immigration and a variety of other subjects and issues. Cap and trade. But Hayworth just wasn't a credible champion of that cause. There was first of all, his own history as a congressman, who brought home the bacon and bragged about it and the revelation of the info commercial he -- infomercial he made for tree government money sealed the deal and kept him from getting any traction for what could have been a powerful critique of McCain in a Republican primary.

Ted Simons: Margin of victory, Bob, surprised there at had all?

Bob Grossfield: I think the only surprise was it wasn't more significant. McCain had a 30,000 vote advantage just with the early vote. And just clobbered -- clobbered Hayworth and I think it in addition to the things that Bob had to say, the additional material is he just spent an enormous amount of money. And you know, when you have that much money and willing to spend it, you control the conversation.

Ted Simons: On the democratic side, Rodney Glassman, how did he separate himself from the others.

Bob Grossfield: I think there's less of a separation and more of a concentration. As a former elected official down in Tucson, vice mayor, he had a -- run campaigns there, and focused very, very heavily there and probably more than anything else, he jumped in when nobody else was thinking about temperature long before Hayworth got in, which was the trigger point for other Democrats getting in and getting the attention of Democrats in Washington.

Bob Robb: Even though it didn't reach McCain-esque height, he outspent everyone else in the race.

Ted Simon: Conventional wisdom when you have one party in a primary and they're going after each other, the other party stands back and watches and reaps the benefit in the general election. Glassman, any chance against McCain?

Bob Robb: In politics, there's always a chance. Given this is a strongly leaning Republican year, I would say scant chance.

Ted Simons:: What do you think, Bob? Any chance there at all?

Bob Grossfield: I'm a believer in a higher power and that's how I've survived all these years in Arizona. Is there a chance? Of course, there is, but is the big money out of D.C. going play in that one? And I suspect at this point, that it all hinges on what kind of negotiations may or may not be going on between the White House, McCain's people, about legislation, particularly, dealing with border issues.

Ted Simons: Interesting. Let's get to the attorney general race and at last report, we've got Tom Horne with a slight lead. This was too close to call a long time ago, wasn't it? This really isn't a surprise, is it?

Bob Robb: I think the dead heat is a bit of a surprise. I wouldn't be surprised by anything by a narrow Horne victory to a substantial Thomas victory given how prominent illegal immigration played in the Republican primaries. It's going to be a while before we know, but the significance of it, that even among the most conservative voters in the state, those who participate in Republican primary, at least half of them rejected Andrew Thomas and on the basis of a sense that he has abused his authority as county attorney. In order to move from here, if Thomas were to get the nomination, he would have do something highly uncharacteristic in terms of reaching out to others and making an appeal to independents. Not exactly a skill set he has shown in the past. So irrespective of how it comes out, I think he's going to have a hard time -- I don't think those were mostly pro-Horne voter, even though Horne has won statewide election before. I think this race was a referendum on Andrew Thomas and the fact that he couldn't win it in at least half of the Republican conservative electorate rejected his candidacy is a very foreboding sign for the general election.

Ted Simons: How do you see it, Bob?

Bob Grossfield: I think either one of them is going to have a difficult time. In the general. And again, depending on how it turns out. Because at this point, at least, Rotellini appears to be the democratic nominee and will be once the votes are counted and there's a ton that are still out there. And given the tone and nature of her campaign so far, she should be able to get in there and basically -- either one of these guys is not someone you want to trust.

Ted Simons: Let me ask the same question regarding the Democrats and how Rotellini separated herself. Not a big separation, it was a close race with Lujan, but what did she do to get the extra votes?

Bob Grossfield: I'm not sure you can point to any given factor. I think they each had a constituency and they spoke very well and the question going through someone's mind, if the third player, had not been in the race, what would have happened then. Go ahead.

Bob Robb: Surprising how little she separated herself. She had more money than the others and on paper better qualified and I think she makes a better presentation, and yet she's barely won it and won it by running up a fairly large margin in Maricopa County. She ran behind Lujan outside Maricopa County. So I think there's a lot riding on this election, figure particularly not only for Democrats but others. I think there needs to be an evaluation of the way that campaign was run and whether they got all they should have expected out of it.

Ted Simons: Is that a warning -- you talked about a warning on the Republican side. Is that a warning for the Democrats in general.

Bob Robb: I think so. If you're depending exclusively on winning Maricopa County to win the democratic nomination, that's difficult to do it a general election. I think she's a attractive candidate and because of the fisty cuffs on the Republican side, I think there's a good chance for the democrat to take advantage of the split within the Republican party and get a large share of the independent vote but suggests she has tooling up to do of her campaign apparatus.

Bob Grossfield: But her success in Maricopa County, that actually portends for her in the general because Democrats, you know, the statewide formulas as well as I do. For a democrat to win, you've got to win heavily down south and take everything that's non-urban and stay within a 7-10 point margins in Maricopa County. And if she can have Maricopa County as a strength then she -- this may be a game-set match and spend the money and get through November.

Ted Simons: Are democrats hoping that Horne hangs on? Or are Democrats hoping Thomas comes from behind pulls this thing out?

Bob Grossfield: That’s a good question. I think thoughtful Democrats would not want to wish Thomas pulls anything out.

Ted Simons: What do you think, Bob? Who would Democrats rather face?

Bob Robb: I think Democrats clearly believe that Thomas gives them the best chance for victory, but he represents things that Democrats find so appalling that I suspect they would be quite willing to accept the more difficult challenge of facing Tom Horne.
Ted Simons: Let's go to the county attorney's race. Vacated by Andrew Thomas. This was an easy win by Montgomery over Romley. Surprise?

Bob Robb: It wasn't to me, Romley chose the most difficult electric rat for him. And that is Maricopa County Republican primary voters and in -- and he also began his tenure as county attorney by stepping back from a lot of the things that Andrew Thomas had implemented. Particularly, to address the issue of illegal immigration. That wasn't a formula for success in a Republican party primary. I don't -- obviously, Sheriff Joe Arpaio invested heavily in anti-Romley messages and I believe it was less the Arpaio-Romley issue than the backtracking on being aggressive and going after the illegal immigration issue.

Ted Simons: How do you see this race, Bob? It seems as if Rick Romley has a name recognition and been there and done that. And loses big time. This wasn't even close.

Bob Grossfield: Yeah, I think it's probably of all of the signs, that -- that have shone up, it is -- shown up, it's the best cater how far to the right the Republican core voters have gone. Where they're going to basically ignore what the fellow's done since taking over with one exception and that's the stuff around illegal immigration. And -- and basically trying to get the ship upright, rather than continue policies that were just ridiculous. And I think for that matter that's why Thomas made such a race out of it with Horne. It's an indicator how far off the edge they are -- cater how far off the edge they are.

Ted Simons: What do you think?

Bob Robb: There's no question that illegal immigration was the dominant issue in Republican primaries this election. But all polls indicate that the general electric rat in Arizona is largely sympathetic with those views. So it's hard to describe this off the edge viewpoints.

Bob Grossfield: But the same polls show that the electric electorate is in favor of comprehensive immigration reform. They want to get the problem solved.

Bob Robb: Polls which no -- there's no politician saying elect me because I'll bring comprehensive immigration reform. It is -- it was the issue that dominated the race and explains a lot of results, and explains Jan Brewer decimating all opposition in the gubernatorial race. So it was a -- the central story of Republican primaries.

Ted Simons: What explains Ben Quayle and congressional district 3?

Bob Robb: Lots of money. Lots of name I.D. And a many-fractured -- lots of candidates divided up the rest of the votes.

Ted Simons: 14,000 votes in a primary and you are looking pretty good for going to Washington. Talk about this race, Bob. Is it the fact that the last name is Quayle, is that really that big a deal and the money as well?

Bob Grossfield: I'm not a Republican living in that district so it didn't have a heck of a lot of effect on me. But there was a cachet that came along with it and a enormous amount of money and publicity and coupled with the fact that you had a cast of thousands who couldn't figure out what they were doing, all the way from -- on one extreme, you had the staid old-styled business Republican, and I won't even pick a direction and someone shooting an AK47 and threatening to shoot anyone who got in their way. It's the kind of thing that makes us giddy just watching and now what we have is a race where Mr. Quayle can't do what he did to get this far. I mean, what was it? The night of the election, the day before, his daddy had to write him a note. He's a good boy and didn't really do that, the filthy website.

Ted Simons: But not with standing, he still won. He still is the guy. Managed to beat -- Jim Waring a polished and a long-time -- a polished politician with a lot of standing, beat him handily. And do the Democrat versus a chance against a relative unknown like Ben Quayle?

Bob Robb: If they were to have a chance, this is their chance. Hulburd is a impressive candidate and long ties to Arizona and the district, well spoken and raised a lot of money, but it would be particularly in this election year, in 2006 or 2008 when the national trend was Democrat, you might see it, off in the distance. This year, where everything is trending Republican, nationally, it would require defining political gravity for him do it.

Ted Simons: Schweikert wins and will face Harry Mitchell. Compare this particular primary to the last go-round, a tough contest, if I remember correctly.

Bob Robb: Schweikert against a comparable cast of characters won by a larger and more comfortable margin. He lost to Harry Mitchell last time by about nine percentage points in a big Republican-registered district. However, 2008, was again, a big democratic year and Harry Mitchell has always owned independents. Schweikert has some things he can talk to them about. In terms of the healthcare vote and the stimulus funding, and so -- and it's a Republican trending year. So I would anticipate this is going to be a closer contest than in the past.

Ted Simons: What do you think, Bob. Mitchell's is vulnerable and he wins, all he does is win. Can he do it again?

Bob Grossfield: Yes. You know, if for no other -- if you don't want to go any further than the Vegas odds, the re-election rate among members of congress is somewhere over 98%. But beyond that, Harry has a characteristic that darn few electorates have. People like him. Janet Napolitano had that. At times when her policies, there was polling showing we don't like this, we don't like this. Do you like Janet? Oh, yes, we love Janet. And he has that kind of relationship with the voters and so Schweikert should be very, very careful about how he goes about making his case and defining Mitchell and what narrative he throws out.

Ted Simons: Let's good to the first congressional district and again we've got a democrat up there who some Republicans see as vulnerable. Can the Republican win this election, this general election?

Bob Robb: I think in general, Democrats in Arizona are probably pretty pleased with the cast of Republican challengers that have been thrust at the three thought to be vulnerable democrat, including Ann Kirkpatrick. All of them are sitting on a pile of money. Ann Kirkpatrick has integrated herself well with that district and worked it hard. This was a race in which the Republican Victor, he relied upon dentist money from across the country. That's not going to get it done in a profile national race. Kirkpatrick has a lot of her own money and my guess, she'll get national money. I'm not sure the Republican challenger will.

Ted Simons: What about Jesse Kelly defeating Jonathan Paton and the question has to be is the Gifford Camp happy about this.

Bob Grossfield: I don't think they would let on. They're going to be tough and fight. Internally, behind closed doors they're absolutely giddy. Setting aside the one kind of imagery of being a veteran and all of that, you lay out the things he said and we're talking not just tea party extreme, but he was setting the table and pouring the thing and -- and will be trapped on a lot of the material that has come out of his mouth.

Ted Simons: The -- I want to get to the state legislative races here and I have no time to go over each and every one of them. One in particular, Allen beat Konopnicki. Was that some sort of harbinger of things or is that a particular race and the entire legislature looks to you as being what?

Bob Robb: I don't think there's a change as a result of the Republican primaries. There's some talk about it gets more conservative because in the Republican primary, generally the more conservative candidate won, but that has generally been true for a awful long time. You largely had like replaces like in these races. You had Allen, is the incumbent, so obviously, there's no change there. But you had Adam Driggs defeating Davis and that was thought to have a conservative moderate race but Driggs replaces Barbara LEFF. It's remarkable how the people stepping into the shoes resemble strongly the people they're replacing. I don't think the ideological coloration of the Republican caucus has changed much at all.

Ted Simons: Someone watching and hoping to see a change in the legislature, new ideas and different direction, you use saying don't hold your breath?

Bob Grossfield: There might be new ideas but god help us. Protect us from some of these new ideas. I think what might happen and it's still a possibility, I suspect, is the leadership change, particularly in the senate where you effectively had Jan Brewer's slate versus Mr. Pearce's slate. And if I remember correctly, Brewer won 3-2, so that may very well deprive Mr. Pearce of being senate president with the powers invested therein.

Bob Robb: There's a lot of new people for the house and I saw a awful lot of talent and well-qualified people in both parties. In terms of new energy and ideas, I think you'll see it particularly in the house. You've got people with deep policy background and understanding. And good experience in both parties that I think are going to join the house.

Ted Simons: Voter turnout, what did you see as far as the numbers show and the impact on everything we've talked about tonight?

Bob Robb: It's a -- you get the official report of a 25% turnout but that's all the people who voted in both primaries, and as a percentage of everyone who has registered in the state. In reality, there was a significantly larger Republican turnout than Democratic turnout. About twice as many people voted in the Republican primary for U.S. senate as voted in the Democratic primary for U.S. senate. Close to that in the A.G.'s race. I'm guessing there was over a 40% turnout among registered Republicans in this election, which duplicates what is being seen -- or echos, what's seen nationally. There's a larger interest in this election among Republicans than Democrats have shown thus far.

Ted Simons: What do you make of the turnout?

Bob Grossfield: Pretty much what Bob said. I think part of the problem was that the -- where there were the possibility of interesting races, and -- and the kind of competition that one would hope for, there just wasn't much coverage, you couldn't get the attention of anybody. With the senate race, you know, the assumption going in, ok. The Democrats are competing for what will get trounced by McCain so there wasn't a lot of attention paid to the multiple candidates within that race.

Bob Robb: And Republicans had four sharply contested congressional races as well which the Democrats didn't have.

Ted Simons: Great discussion. Thanks for joins us.

Bob Grossfield: It's a pleasure.

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