Daily Archives: May 4, 2018

Candidates Offer Surprises as 300+ Democrats Flock to CD2 Congressional Candidate Forum

CD2 Candidates at May 3, 2018 forum

Left to right: Mary Matiella, Billy Kovacs, Matt Heinz, Bruce Wheeler, Barbara Sherry and Yahya Yuksel.

Some 300 people packed Catalina High School yesterday night for the CD2 Congressional Democratic candidate forum held May 3, 2018, by the Represent Me AZ grassroots PAC. Here are the high points:

  • This forum showed what democracy looks like: an open, public and free event, as contrasted with GOP candidate forums which are closed, secretly announced and cost money to attend.
  • Yahya Yuksel

    Yahya Yuksel

    New candidate Yahya Yuksel, an attorney, stole the show with his articulate, quotable and confident presence. Born and raised in Tucson he has worked for Democratic campaigns since he was a teenager, including Gabby Giffords and Mayor Karin Uhlich. “I’m a young Democrat. I’m running because we see a broken Congress, we see constant war, and we see the economy not working for everybody. We need new ideas, not yesterday’s answers,” he says.

  • The candidates seethed with resentment for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) which has offended local Democrats by picking candidates so early in the primary. “It is shameful that the DCCC has taken the task, before you have had a chance to vote to endorse a candidate,” Bruce Wheeler said to loud applause. “The outside interference is something that needs to be countered.”
  • Mary Matiella zinged Matt Heinz with the question, “What are you doing different this time to make sure you win?” In 2016 Heinz lost in his run for Congress in CD2 by 44,000 votes in a race where he relied mostly on TV ads.
  • Ann Kirkpatrick made a mistake by not attending. The forum was an opportunity to capture support and deflect criticism. She leads in fundraising, winning important endorsements, and getting the DCCC support that the other candidates, not surprisingly, begrudge.
  • Heinz zinged the absent Kirkpatrick when asked if he would endorse Kirkpatrick if she wins the primary. “It is important that the Democrats nominate a Democrat, he said to loud applause. “As soon as I hear that, I will absolutely endorse them,” he says. Heinz is the leading attacker of Kirkpatrick, criticizing her northern Arizona origin and long-ago top rating from the NRA. Kirkpatrick lives in Tucson and has a “D” rating from the NRA now.
  • Veteran legislator Bruce Wheeler is apparently running a one-man campaign. He says he personally collected 95% of his signatures to get on the ballot. Wheeler has only $8,686 on hand, so he is not raising funds effectively.
  • After a one-year campaign, Mary Matiella still stumbles over her words and has a hard time making herself clear. In a bizarre argument, she said the EEOC [U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission] had been disbanded and should be brought back. This is not true — because the EEOC is still actively litigating discrimination charges and enforcing federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination.
  • Bill Kovacs boldly called for de-funding of ICE, the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency, which is breaking up undocumented families captured at the border. He also says that marijuana should be removed from the forbidden Schedule 1 list of drugs. His says his mother has chronic Crohn’s disease and is a marijuana patient. “When you look at what marijuana and CBD [Cannabidiol] can do for chronic pain, it is a lifeline for America, he says. 
  • Barbara “Chemtrails” Sherry has become a fringe candidate who currently does not have the 1,274 signatures needed to get on the ballot by the May 30 filing date. She bitterly and incoherently criticized front-runner Kirkpatrick.

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VP Mike Pence’s self-debasement with an implied endorsement of crazy Uncle Joe Arpaio

A ”whiter shade of pale” Mike Pence was in Phoenix this week for the GOP tax scam tour. See earlier, VP Mike Pence in Phoenix today on GOP Tax Scam Tour.

But Vice President Pence did much more than that. He gave a big wet kiss to disgraced convicted felon, crazy Uncle Joe Arpaio, whom fellow Birther conspiracy theorist Donald Trump gave his first pardon as president in order to demonstrate just how far he was willing to go to obstruct justice and to protect his circle of sycophant supporters. Was Pence’s big wet kiss meant to be an implied endorsement of Joe Arpaio by “Dear Leader” in the GOP Senate primary? (“Chemtrails” Kelli Ward and Martha McSally had a sad).

The Washington Post reported, A champion of ‘the rule of law’: Pence praises pardoned Arizona sheriff Joe Arpaio:

Vice President Pence called former Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio, who was convicted of contempt of court last year, a champion of “the rule of law” and said he was honored by his attendance at an event with him Tuesday in Arizona.

During remarks at an event in Tempe, Ariz., on tax cuts, Pence acknowledged Arpaio was in the room, suggesting he had not expected to see him.

“I just found out when I was walking through the door that we were also going to be joined by another favorite, a great friend of this president, a tireless champion of strong borders and the rule of law, who spent a lifetime in law enforcement,” Pence said.

“I’m honored to have you here,” the vice president added.

* * *

Arpaio’s conviction has done little to dampen the praise he continues to receive from the Republican establishment.

A recent Magellan Strategies poll found Arpaio running second in a three-person race with a 67 percent favorable rating among Republican primary voters.

Because haters gotta hate.

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April jobs report well below expectations, second month in a row

Steve Benen has the April jobs report, Unemployment drops, but job growth falls short of expectations:

[W]hile it’s true that the job market looks healthy, the latest figures aren’t worth getting too excited about. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported this that the economy added 168,000 jobs in April, well short of expectations, while the unemployment rate dropped to 3.9%.

AprilJobs

While the 168,000 total is underwhelming, the 3.9% jobless rate is the lowest since before the Bush/Cheney administration took office.

[It was the 91st consecutive month of gains, far and away the longest streak of increases on record.]

Meanwhile, the revisions for the two previous months –February and March – didn’t change too much, and pointed to a combined gain of 30,000 jobs as compared to previous BLS reports.

In terms of the larger context, this morning’s data points to 799,000 jobs created so far in 2018, which is up a bit from the totals we saw in the first four months of 2016 and 2017, but short of the totals from the first four months of 2014 and 2015.

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Thank God it’s Sine Die!

The Arizona legislature adjourned around 12:26 a.m. Friday morning. This farce is finally over.

The AP reports, Arizona Legislature closes session with big issues undone:

The Arizona Legislature adjourned its 2018 session early Friday, leaving without taking action on two of Gov. Doug Ducey’s biggest initiatives of the year, a water policy overhaul and an ambitious school safety proposal (called it!) that fell victim to concerns about the civil rights of gun owners.

The March for Our Lives student led movement for gun safety can now turn its organizational skills and energy to defeating the legislators who thwarted their efforts to save students lives in the election this November.

The Republican-controlled Legislature also failed to repeal a contentious school voucher expansion law that is set to be on the November ballot after opponents of the 2017 measure gathered enough signatures last summer to block its implementation. The fate of the voucher expansion was caught up in a momentous push by public school teachers who rose up in early March and eventually went on strike, forcing the Republican governor and lawmakers to award them with big raises and more school funding in the budget, although not enough to meet the demands of teachers who are ending a six-day strike and heading back to class on Friday.

Republican Sens. Kate Brophy McGee and Bob Worsley both went on record Thursday opposing any repeal, with Worsley calling the issue “kryptonite” and Brophy McGee simply saying “it needs to go to the ballot.” With all Democrats opposed, there was no way it could pass the Senate.

“The huge grassroots group, and I’ve talked to them multiple times, checked with them multiple tomes, they’re willing to take it to the ballot,” Brophy McGee said. “That’s where they want it to go.”

“It’s honoring the people who got it to the ballot,” Brophy McGee said, noting that opponents of expansion of the voucher program gathered more than 100,000 signatures.

Teachers and other education advocates banded together as Save Our Schools Arizona and gathered more than 100,000 signatures to block the universal voucher bill last summer, a move that kept it from taking effect until voters statewide could weigh in.

They argued that private school vouchers siphoned money from the state’s cash-strapped public schools, while backers said they give parents a choice about where their children attend school.

There has been talk all session of majority Republicans repealing or replacing it to negate the ballot measure.

The organizational skills and energy of the #RedforEd movement of the past few weeks can now turn to the campaign for the Prop. 305 referendum and defeating all of those legislators who voted for this “vouchers on steroids” bill and the governor who signed it. You will be needed to offset the massive dark money campaign coming from the “Kochtopus” school privatization forces, and the Center for Arizona Policy and the American Federation for Children.

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