Among all the candidates running for Congress in Tucson, no one but Bruce Wheeler can say that he’s been elected three times from the district. That is the #1 reason that he can beat Martha McSally.
“I understand the district,” he said at a home reception in my own Precinct 238. “This is the district where Hillary won by 15,000 votes.”
Indeed, Wheeler was a state representative for Tucson from 1975-1977, a Tucson City Council member from 1987-1995, and state representative again from 2011 to 2017.
This gives him name recognition, which will be backed up by a door-to-door initiative and a social media campaign. Wheeler knows how to win elections.
It also gives him a leg up on other candidates like carpetbagger Ann Kirkpatrick – who has the backing of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) and ex-Congressman Ron Barber – and candidate Mary Matiella, who has the backing of Bill Roe, the First Vice Chairman of the AZ Democratic Party.
2. McSally is vulnerable this year, especially because she voted against health insurance for 22 million Americans. “I am absolutely convinced she will be defeated,” Wheeler said. “She is an enabler for Donald Trump’s policies.”
Wheeler favors Medicare for all.
“It’s an idea whose time has come,” he said. “Universal healthcare is a human right and it makes economic sense. Why are we tinkering around the edges and working with a middleman – the insurance companies? Medicare works just fine and dandy. It’s efficient and it works.”
In contrast, McSally owns Trumpcare.
“She supported Trumpcare, she was one of the cheerleaders. We heard her rallying cry ‘let’s get this bleeping thing done.’ When I was in the legislature in 2013, we passed Medicaid expansion which added 150,000 people to the program. That is the difference between Martha McSally and me.”
3. Wheeler is bilingual, which should be handy in a district that is now majority Hispanic. You heard right, after dramatic growth from 2000 to 2005, minorities now outnumber Anglos in Tucson. Wheeler grew up in Venezuela, Columbia, Equador, and Peru and spoke Spanish to his Mom. ¡Muy bien!
4. Wheeler will fight the spread of school vouchers. It’s bad enough that Gov. Ducey signed Empowerment Scholarship Account (ESA) program into law, but now Trump wants to use Ducey’s law nationwide. This is the first step in the privatization of public education funded by taxpayer dollars. School vouchers are primarily used by more-affluent families to subsidize their private-school tuition at the expense of public education.
5. Wisdom counts. At age 68, Wheeler has twice the experience as another candidate who is 30.
6. Wheeler will be a voice in Congress to act on climate change. “Global warming is an existential issue. It is not something that can be put off,” he said
“It’s whether we’re going to have a planet envisioned by Kurt Vonnegut’s ‘Requiem – The Crucified Planet Earth’ or if we’re going to have Henry David Thoreau’s idea of a beautiful planet that is a canvas for creativity and beauty.”
7. Wheeler believes he can overcome the Koch brothers’ dark money. “No Democrat will match McSally dollar-for-dollar. She raised $7.9 million in 2016. We will raise money from grass-roots contributions from individual people,” he said.
“Nationally we have the dark money issue. We’re beginning to lose the essence of our democracy. Is it of, by and for the people? Or is it who has the most money to buy and influence candidates?” he asked.
He identified the dark money villains:
- Sean Noble has run campaigns for Ducey and worked with his chief of staff, Kirk Adams. Noble is the former distributor of Koch dark money. The Federal Election Commission levied +$200,000 in fines against three dark money groups for failing to report contributions from an organization run by Noble.
- Kirk Adams is Gov. Doug Ducey’s chief of staff. He and Noble coordinated two shady “pro-business” groups that spent heavily in during the 2012 elections to fight increased education funding in California. Adams and Noble went to such great lengths to hide their donors, that they were fined $1 million by the state of California for violating campaign finance laws.
- Jim Norton, a lobbyist, also has a strong personal relationship with Ducey, whom he has known since college. Photos of the two appeared on Norton’s Facebook page. Norton was indicted in June 2017 in federal court on charges of bribery, conspiracy, and fraud.
“My record, the name recognition, our strategy of walking and using social media, and the argument that we have of being superior to our opponents will lead us to victory,” he said.
To support him: http://wheelerforcongress2018.com, Email: firstname.lastname@example.org, Phone 520-609-7800.
I heard Bruce speak at a recent CCDC meeting in Douglas. He is fit, energetic and inspiring, easily refuting the issue of his being too old. Kovacs was a better retail politician and very polished, but he is young and needs experience. I can see him making a big splash in AZ politics inthe next decade.
okay, since when did 68 years mean decrepit? not everyone over 60 is a doddering old fool like the one in the white house. older americans vote as a civic duty, we’re the products of education that was not dumbed-down, and are more than capable of critical thought. the assumption that bruce cannot appeal to a cross-spectrum of ages is short-sighted, just as it was in the case of bernie sanders. the man is fully qualified, committed, and being bilingual while it may not be a decider, certainly cannot hurt wheeler’s candidacy. he can beat mcsally – who is helping him by sabotaging herself by thinking she can hide her trump rubber stamps behind enough f-10s.
tim kaine was supposed to fool latinos too! why should latinos and millinials want vote for yet another old white? this party runs to many rich old white farts! bernie sanders was the exception and clintonista kept calling him an old white male fool! how about running a young latina?
The party doesn’t “run” candidates. People run as Democrats or Republicans.
Great summary, Larry. I stand by BRUCE. Age is in one’s mind. Bruce has progressive ideas, his spirit is young!!
bilingual? that sure helped tim kaine didn’t it. latino’s prefer a young latina/latino not another rich old white. why would the majority of hispanics not want one of their own? the clintonista’s want one of their own ann “boots” kirkpatrick. who wants this old white guy ;but other old white guys. as for being 68 and wise I am 68 and how unwise I am, I am told all of the time here. look at trump or the clintons. more old farts like us are not anymore wiser then when I was 30.
I’m conflicted on the age issue. Ultimately, it depends on the individual. But I am wondering if older people running for office who are not incumbents will get painted with the same tar brush while younger people observe the effects of age in many politicians.
The older politician/candidate is going to have to prove that age is not a factor, I’m afraid. And it can be done, look at Bernie Sanders.
Larry, great having you post here, but please use the page break feature if you’re going over 200 words.