Another page the Republicans can tear from the Democrats playbook is party leadership and that was pretty evident in the state of Arizona primary elections. Obama’s handpicked Senate candidate Former Surgeon General Richard Carmona, newly minted Democrat who didn’t even vote in the 2010 election ran against Don Bivens, former chair of the Arizona Democratic Party. Standing no chance against the wildly popular Republican Jeff Flake in the general, Bivens immediately withdrew upon “suggestion” as the higher profile Carmona might fare better against Flake.
In sharp contrast, in newly gerrymandered congressional district nine, the good of the party was nowhere to be found. Two existing and respected congressmen, Ben Quayle and David Schweikert were offered the district as incumbent. Schweikert, demurred citing two thirds of his constituency lay in newly formed district six opted to stay put. Quayle, In CD9 facing a bluer district than before, moved into Schweikert’s six and kicked CD9 to the curb.
Ultimately Quayle lost against Schweikert in the primary but would have easily won both the primary and general in CD9, the details of which are beyond the scope of this blog post.
Meanwhile, in nearby newly named Arizona’s 5th district, there was an open seat left by Flake running for Senate. Republicans had two stellar candidates in former Congressman Matt Salmon and former Speaker of Arizona’s House, Kirk Adams. A close race that brought Sarah Palin to town, but any Republican voter could have closed their eyes, pointed and been comfortable with the outcome. Salmon ultimately prevailed in the primary and the general.
Which brings us to the train wreck of CD9, the district designed to favor Democrats, had three such candidates vying for the slot. We had seven, ranging from little to not qualified for the seat in the House of Representatives. Boasting twice the turnout of the Democrats, but spread much thinner, the result took several days to establish.
In the absence of term limits, the Tea Party’s distain for career politicians is buoying candidates along who have never served at any level and the result was vote siphoning and money wasting. It is completely self-defeating to send such a candidate to Capital Hill. Upon arrival, the buzzards will circle and the jackals will pounce. The voters who donated, voted and put him there get no meaningful representation from someone trying not to drown.
The Republican candidate Vernon Parker could never jinn up the requisite enthusiasm from a spread thin electorate needed to combat the ultimate winner in the general, pinko hirsute Kristen Sinema who called stay at home mothers leeches. Clearly, corralling the kitty cats would have curbed this caboodle.
The Point to all this is Kirk Adams and Matt Salmon are stellar candidates who I saw coach a weakling opponent through a candidate forum. Ben Quayle and David Schweikert were freshman congressmen with strong, conservative voting records. Why were these four thoroughbreds running against each other while CD9 was left to flounder? The Republican gene pool is deep in Arizona; some Pater Familias from party leadership to redistribute some of this wealth would not have been inappropriate.