Tag Archives: Bruce Wheeler

CD2 Congress Candidate Yahya Yuksel Accelerating a Come-from-behind Campaign

In short order, Yahya Yuksel has assembled a 20-person campaign staff composed of enthusiastic interns and seasoned pros to win Tucson's CD2 Congressional seat.

In short order, Yahya Yuksel has assembled a 20-person campaign staff composed of enthusiastic interns and seasoned pros to win Tucson’s CD2 Congressional seat.

Yahyah Yuksel, a Democratic candidate for Tucson’s CD2 Congressional Seat, plans to capture votes by emphasizing universal health care, creating jobs that pay well and building a well-educated workforce.

“We know what is right for the people. It takes people with courage, integrity and experience to get that done, and that’s what we offer,” he said at a lively open house recently.

Charismatic, intelligent and energetic, Yuksel burst onto the campaign scene in March, stole the show at a candidate forum and promptly filed 2,400 signatures to get on the ballot (only 1,274 were required).

Offering a brunch of scrambled eggs, refried beans, tortillas, salsa, and coffee, he showed off his bustling campaign headquarters at 3776 N 1st Ave. (near Roger Road) in Tucson. He is the first in the field of 7 Democratic candidates to hold an open house where voters, staff, and the candidate could freely meet and mingle. He plans to hold more.

“We have a huge office, bigger than everyone else’s office,” he said. “It’s not that we’re raising a ton more money. We’re more efficient with our money.”

Building a campaign

Yuksel knows how to build a campaign. At age 14 he founded Teen Democrats in Tucson, and organized youth groups to campaign for John Kerry’s 2004 presidential bid.  At age 19, Yuksel worked for Congresswoman Gabby Giffords’ successful congressional campaign. Afterward, he served as the Co-Chair for Vice Mayor Karin Uhlich’s successful 2009 re-election campaign.
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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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GOP Strategist Says Republicans May Lose in Races Across Arizona

Republican Strategist Sam Stone

Republican Strategist Sam Stone

Speaking on KVOI radio 1030 in Tucson, Republican strategist Sam Stone says there may be statewide losses for Republican candidates in the mid-term elections.

“I do think we’re heading into something of a [blue] wave. … If you’re in Wisconsin and other states, Democrats have been undervoting in the last three cycles now and they’re going to come out, absolutely. The question is, are Republicans? So far, the answer in the special elections has been ‘no.’ We’re fat and happy with the presidency,” he said. 

Stone is Chief of staff of Republican City Councilman Sal DiCiccio in Phoenix and a former campaign advisor to Martha McSally. He was interviewed on the John C. Scott political forum, which is now on the radio Saturdays 4 to 6 pm.

Asked if there will be a “blue wave” in Arizona, he said, “potentially a little bit.” He said Democrats may win the races for Secretary of State and Superintendent of Public Instruction.

The race for in Tucson’s CD2

He foresees a Republican defeat in Tucson’s Congressional District 2, even as he sneered, “the Democratic bench that is running in CD2 is pretty pathetically weak. You’ve got a carpetbagger and a bunch of people who Lea Marquez Peterson would normally slaughter. Whoever comes out of that may well win that race.”

The leading Republican contender is Lea Marquez-Peterson, the CEO of several Hispanic chambers of commerce and owner of bankrupt gas stations. See Fear Dominates Secret Tucson GOP CD 2 Congressional Candidate Forum.

Though people disagree, former congresswoman Ann Kirkpatrick is seen as the Democratic front-runner in a primary contest with Mary Matiella, Billy Kovacs, Bruce Wheeler, Matt Heinz, Babara Sherry and others.

Stone said president Trump’s “waned popularity” is a problem for Marquez-Peterson. “Lea has the advantage of clarity that didn’t exist for Martha McSally in the last three years. … The electorate that first elected Martha McSally [in 2014], both in both the Republican primary and general election, is not the electorate that is enamored of Trump. You can run away from him. The electorate that is enamored of him is about 40% of the Republican primary base. She [Marquez-Peterson] has a relatively open primary, she really is not contested very much. So for her, doesn’t need to stray into Trump territory.”

President Trump’s base is “30% of the Republican primary base, and it incredibly strong with him. The rest of the folks who went along [with Trump] voted against Hillary Clinton and for Neil Gorsuch and for a conservative majority supreme court. If he continues to ignore and really inflame larger swaths of the country, those folks aren’t necessarily with him, that voted for him,” Stone said.

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Ann Kirkpatrick is Front Runner at Candidates Forum for Tucson’s Congressman

http://blogforarizona.net/wp-content/uploads/2018/02/candidates.jpg

Tucson congressional candidates Mary Matiella, Matt Heinz, Barbara Sherry, Bruce Wheeler, Ann Kirkpatrick and Bill Kovacs unanimously raise their hands in favor of supporting renewable energy.

Former Congressman Ann Kirkpatrick emerged as the Democratic candidate with the best chance to be elected to Congress in Tucson at a candidates forum watched by 400 people Sunday in Green Valley.

I’ve studied and met all the candidates and heard them three times at previous candidate forums. My conclusion is that Kirkpatrick has the Congressional experience, common-sense positions, and key political backing to beat the upcoming river of poisonous money from the Koch brothers during this year’s elections.

The Democrat who wins the August 28 primary will likely oppose Lea Márquez-Peterson, a Republican who is closely linked to Kochbot Gov. Doug Ducey. She operates several Hispanic chambers of commerce and is noted for her business bankruptcies.

Knows the job & has support

Kirkpatrick knows the job, having served in Congress from 2013 to 2017 in northern Arizona. Impressively, she has raised a record $750,000 in the campaign’s first five months, with $465,000 cash on hand. She has the endorsement of former Congress members Gabby Giffords and Ron Barber, and she has the backing of the national Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.

She disagreed with all the other candidates on the subject of Medicare for All, an idea that Progressives cheer but which has no known funding source. “I don’t support Medicare for all in a single-payer system because I don’t see a way to pay for it all,” she said, noting that 140 million people already get health insurance from their employers. However, she said people should be able to buy into Medicare especially when there is no reasonable option to get health insurance under the Affordable Care Act.

Regarding gun safety, Kirkpatrick says she has changed her position. Nine years ago she had an “A” rating from the NRA, but in 2016 she was given a “D” rating by the gun lobby. Continue reading

Congress Candidate Ann Kirkpatrick Vows to Take on GOP

Vowing to take on the Republican leadership over unfair tax reform, trashing the environment, and sabotaging education, Congressional candidate Ann Kirkpatrick said it’s time for a Democrat to represent Tucson in Washington.

She got a warm welcome at the Democrats of Greater Tucson meeting on Monday.

“My focus is on holding (House majority leader) Paul Ryan accountable,” she said. “He is complicit. We have a slight chance of taking back the majority in the House, and we could be a check on Trump and hold him responsible.”

Kirkpatrick is considered the favorite by national news outlets in the crowded Democratic race to take back Congressional District 2. “Hillary won by 5 points in this district, and it should be a Democratic seat,” she said. The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee named Kirkpatrick in its Red to Blue program, which highlights strong Democratic candidates and opens doors to donors.

Kirkpatrick has the endorsement of former Congresswoman Gabby Giffords, Rep. Ruben Gallego, EMILY’s List and End Citizens United.
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400 Turn Out to Hear Democratic Congressional Candidates

400 Democratic primary voters turned out at the candidate forum at Rincon High School.

400 Democratic primary voters turned out at the candidate forum at Rincon High School.

Illustrating the intense interest among Democrats in ousting Martha McSally from Congress, 400 people turned out to hear five Democratic congressional candidates at a forum organized by the progressive PAC Represent Me AZ.

A show of hands revealed that the audience was made up of primary voters. They showed up on a Thursday evening 10 months prior to the primary, looking for the candidate who can recapture the District 2 seat in Tucson.

And it may turn out that McSally will bail on re-election as she considers running for Flake’s Senate seat.

All the Democratic candidates supported a pathway to citizenship for Dreamers, allowing women on Medicaid to use Planned Parenthood, restoring funding for the Affordable Care Act, requiring a background check for gun purchases, and opposing changes to boundaries of national monuments.

As a precinct committeeman, I listened for a candidate who would most interest voters on door-to-door visits. Here’s my take.

Candidates who have been elected to office

Bruce Wheeler is the candidate with the most-clearly expressed platform. He emphasized his support for Medicare for all. “Each one of us knows someone that’s on Medicare. It works, it’s efficient, and it’s cost-effective. It’s already covering the most expensive section of the population, and by making it universal we strengthen it,” he said.

Calling for action on climate change, Wheeler said, “it is an existential issue, a ticking time bomb. Every year we go backwards is robbing future generations of a healthy planet.”
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