The GOP Clown Car Primary for governor came to Tucson on Wednesday for a debate hosted by the League of Women Voters of Greater Tucson. The debate was broadcast on KUAT, the local PBS station, and was moderated by Arizona Week‘s Lorraine Rivera.
Our sad small town newspaper, the Arizona Daily Star gave the debate front page above-the-fold coverage on Thursday. Congeniality rules at GOP governor debate (print edition headline).”Mostly soft questions served up in meeting at Pima College West.” It was a snooze fest for which the alleged frontrunner, “Cathi’s Clown” Doug Ducey, failed to even attend.
There was another political event in Tucson on Wednesday evening that our sad small town newspaper, the Arizona Daily Star, failed to report on. The Democratic “Dream Team” of Fred DuVal, Felecia Rotellini and Terry Goddard (David Garcia could not attend due to a scheduling conflict) were at Dunbar Auditorium. Apparently the Star did not have a college intern available to assign to cover this event. (Tip: videotape the televised debate and attend the live event, that way you can cover both. Duh!)
Linda Valdez, a columnist for The Arizona Republic and frequent guest on KUAT political programming drove all the way down from Phoenix to cover both events in Tucson. Maybe she should teach the reporters at the Star a thing or two about being a reporter and how to cover events in their own city. But I digress . . .
Linda Valdez did a nice comparison and contrast opinion that the Star should maybe republish on its editorial pages for the edification of its readers. Yeah, not going to happen. So here it is. And thank you, Linda. AZ political hopefuls -sans Ducey – land in Tucson:
Tucson was the center of Arizona’s political universe last night. Democrats and Republicans both put on a show.
The Democrats’ “Dream Team” of Fred DuVal, Terry Goddard and Felecia Rotellini appeared before a gathering of the party faithful at Dunbar Auditorium, repurposed site of the city’s first and only segregated school.
Attorney general candidate Rotellini told the friendly crowd the “awesome power to indict” should be held by someone with “integrity,” which was a two-fer that not only slammed current AG Tom Horne, but also landed a blow on GOP gubernatorial candidate and disbarred former Maricopa County Attorney Andrew Thomas.
Unlike Horne, Goddard served as AG with integrity and left the office with a list of accomplishments – none of which involved baseball caps or parking garages.
Now Goddard wants to be secretary of state, He said Arizona is being “assaulted” by dark money, which will be his biggest headache if GOP SOS wanna-be Justin Pierce is his opponent in November.
Goddard told the enthusiastic crowd he’d pursue disclosure to bring dark money donors into the light. If the Legislature won’t do it, he’ll push an initiative.
Gubernatorial candidate DuVal told the crowd this is the “Tucson ticket,” and he hit on the array of ethical lapses and scandals produced by the GOP crowd now holding office. The state can’t afford much more of that, he said, if it hopes to compete in the 21st century “talent” economy.
These three Democrats have face no primary opposition, which has made them relatively invisible. Too bad. They actually have something new to say. [I believe that is directed at you, Arizona Daily Star.]
Not so the group at the nearby Pima Community College Center for the Arts, where five of the six GOP candidates lined up for a League of Women Voters forum.
I got there late after leaving the Dems’ love fest. But never mind. Doug Ducey didn’t show up at all. Maybe he’s afraid his brand of ice cream will melt in the liberal air of the Old Pueblo.
Moderator Lorraine Rivera of Arizona Public Media apparently did a bang-up job of telling the crowd to maintain silence. Or maybe the crowd didn’t hear anything worth cheering – or booing. At least not while I was there.
The answers were pretty predictable. Ken Bennett remained the nicest guy in the race. Frank Riggs the most self-important. Scott Smith tried his darnedest not to sound as moderate as he is. Christine Jones was all youthful and intense. Andrew Thomas was himself: He told a silent crowd that Arizona faces a threat — and it comes from south of the border.
Somebody tell him that shoppers from south of the border helped keep Tucson’s malls open during the recession, and they still boost the economy far more than he or his pal Sheriff Joe Arpaio ever have.
But really, if there were any sparks at this forum, they happened before I arrived. When given the chance to ask each other questions, the candidates tossed out some Nerf balls. Jones asked Riggs to name his favorite part of the state, for example.
Scariest part of the evening? Jones predicted that less than 10 percent of the state will pick the next governor. Please, say it isn’t so, Arizona.
As the GOP candidates wrapped it up, Fred DuVal was watching from the back of the room, having left the Democrats’ event to get a look at the competition.
As the election plays out, you can bet the Democrats will continue to pay attention to Tucson. The GOP? Not so much.
True that. After the primary the candidates will probably never leave the crazy confines of the state of Maricopa. The Democratic “Dream Team,” however, has committed to the Democrats of Greater Tucson Awards Luncheon on Sunday, September 7. And you can catch them sooner in Amado on Sunday, August 10. Check our calendar for details.
Who knows, maybe the Star will scrounge up a college intern to cover the event by then.