Yesterday was a good beginning toward building a progressive governing majority in Arizona. Democrats appear to have prevailed in some state house races :
- Jennifer Jermaine in LD 18
- Jennifer Pawlik in LD 17
- Aaron Lieberman in LD 28.
Democrats also prevailed in local contests (notably school board) laying the groundwork and foundation for future progressive advances.
Democrats should also take comfort in recruiting many capable and compelling local and congressional candidates who gave Republicans a run for their money and performed well against the odds. Hopefully, many of these candidates will decide to run again.
- It may take until March but Kate Gallego appears to be the odds-on favorite to be the next Mayor of Phoenix.
- Jennifer Longdon, a role model for people who can overcome great adversity, coasted to victory as a State Representative in LD 24.
- Anne Kirkpatrick came back into the political arena to win in Congressional District Two.
- Former Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton, possibly on a career track to run for Governor in 2022, easily won Congressional District Nine.
- Kathy Hoffman, who went from political novice to perhaps becoming the next Superintendent of Public Instruction, may be a rising star.
- The races for Katie Hobbs and Kyrsten Sinema, as of Nov. 7, are still too close to call with up to 500,000 votes in Maricopa County still to be counted.
Youth turnout rose dramatically. Yes, yesterday was a good beginning.
However, much work still needs to be done to make Arizona purple or blue. Republicans, thanks to a money advantage, were able to overcome their record of high child poverty and low education funding and emerge victorious on a campaign based on lies, smears, inaccurate ads, and avoiding debates. Their allies were able to spend huge amounts of funds that will hinder making Arizona the solar capital of the country by defeating the renewable energy Proposition 127.
Republicans were able to advance the causes of the plutocratic and oligarchical class by passing the clean elections Proposition 306, which will allow partisan interference in our clean elections campaigns. They also shifted the tone and trajectory of the race with the Ducey packed Supreme Court torpedoing the Invest in Ed Ballot Initiative.
Yes, fundraising matters
Democrats and their allies at the candidate, national, state and local levels need to better prepare for future elections by performing better at the fundraising game. Not attending to that this year probably cost Democrats this election cycle. The national, state and local levels of the Democratic Party including organizations like the Democratic Governors Association need to do a better job at fundraising and marketing the candidates.
Unity among the candidates and promoting a vibrant progressive program is another area that Democrats need to work on as some candidates were not interested in working and interacting with others. In order to win across the spectrum, the party needs to project, at least openly, unity with an agreed upon program to move the state forward. Such a program based on ideas LD Democratic candidates embraced like Medicaid expansion, full public education funding (which is still an issue,) free community college, expanding universal broadband in rural areas, green infrastructure job projects, expanded childcare and pre-kindergarten, a rail line connecting Tucson to Phoenix to Flagstaff to Vegas, promoting public safety and border security would be the ingredients for a winning and united progressive formula. Promoting future ballot initiatives on green energy and education funding should also be a priority.
With regards to the governors’ race, voters should not have needed much prodding to be convinced Ducey was not the one. The fact is Dr. Garcia, either because of lack of funding, media inattention, verbal gaffes, and poor strategy could not win a statewide race against a flawed Republican candidate for the second time in four years.
For whatever reason, the Garcia campaign failed to resonate with the majority of the people and this may have affected the other statewide races. Dr. Garcia is a very able and charismatic man whose program, despite the inattention shown to it by the mainstream media (who were more focused on his Netroots comments or the Senate race between Sinema and McSally), offered a pragmatic progressive vision for the state. Yet he failed to connect to the people who were not satisfied with the low education funding, high child poverty, shaking hands with “white supremacist” incumbent Doug Ducey.
Thankfully, the future looks bright and there are candidates from this election on the local and state level that can pave the way. We can hope that January Contreras, Kiana Sears, Bill Pierce, and Mark Manoil will still seek to serve and run for either the same or other offices. Hopefully, there will be a place for talented Steve Farley and David Schipara as well.
Local and Congressional candidates like Hiral Tipirneni, Anita Malik, Joan Greene, Sharon Atinard, Lynsey Robinson, Elizabeth Brown, Denise Link, Michelle Harris, Kristin Dybvig-Pawelko, Jennifer Samuels, Julie Gunnigle, Tonya MacBeth, Hollace Lyons, Ralph Atchue, Eric Kurland, Joe Bisaccia, Dr. Bradley Hughes, and Steve Weichert should consider running again as well.
Democrats will need to do better at uniting as a team and campaign on a united progressive program (on which most LD candidates were agreed), including a better and more pronounced/public pivot on the immigration issue that will appeal to the independents and disaffected Republicans still on the fence. (The LD candidates had a good message on this but the mainstream media did not cover it to their shame as they were too focused on Dr. Garcias verbal gaffes and the Senate race.)
Again, yesterday was a good beginning but more work needs to be done to build on the foundation laid down on November 6.