Can an Independent candidate win in a Tucson City Council race? For the first time in a long time, an Independent (Gary Watson in Ward 3) is running for political office in Tucson. Having reported for Tucsoncitizen.com for 4.5 years and here at Blogforarizona.net for 3.5 years, I’m trying to recall when Independents have run or been in political office.
Former Republican Pima County Supervisor Ed Moore ran for re-election in Nov. 1996 as an Independent, and lost to newcomer Democrat Sharon Bronson. Tucson City Council member Carol West was a long time Democrat and changed to Independent, then did not seek re-election in 2007. Former Republican Gene Chewning ran for AZ House in LD 27 in 2010 as an Independent and lost, as did former Dem AZ House Representative Ted Downing in LD 28 State Senate race. And didn’t Green Party candidate Dave Ewoldt also run as an Independent for State Senator in LD 28, to get onto the 2010 General Election ballot? They both lost to the Democrat incumbent Senator.
So, no Independent candidate has run and won in Tucson (as far as I know). Chewning told me after his 2010 loss, that because he ran as an Independent, he no longer had a party structure to assist in his campaigning. He got a lot more votes as a Republican for the same LD 27 House race in 2006.
Firefighter /Captain of a Northwest fire station Gary Watson (I, former Republican) said at a recent AZ Independents forum at Murphy-Wilmot library that he was “not R enough for the Republican Party”, and “not D enough for the Democratic Party”.