An Open Letter to Representative Chad Campbell


By Tom Prezelski

Cross-posted from Rum, Romanism and Rebellion.


We have known each other for nearly ten years. In that time you have
been my friend, ally, and occasional opponent. Through it all, I have
known you to be one of the keenest and most articulate public policy
minds in the state. We also share similar taste in music, which just
further proves that you must be a genius.

However, I am writing this to ask you not to pursue a run for Governor in 2014.

Fred DuVal, we have not only a universally respected and exceptionally
well-qualified candidate, but also someone who has thoroughly thought
through what a successful campaign will entail and has already done the
work that he needs to have done by now. He has secured the endorsements
of elected officials and leaders all over the state, including every
living former Democratic Governor.

On the Republican side, there
are perhaps half a dozen candidates who are making noises about running
at this point. Even if some of them fail to follow through, you know as
well as anybody that this promises to be a messy and ugly Republican
primary which may well yield an extremist or otherwise damaged nominee.
This bodes well for a well-positioned candidate, particularly one with a
thoughtful reputation and a potential for bipartisan appeal like DuVal.

than this, DuVal is already well on his way to building a statewide
organization. With all due respect to the awesome work you have done not
only in the legislature, but as an activist before you were elected,
your reach does not extend much beyond central Phoenix. It will be
impossible for you or any Democrat to win the nomination, much less the
general election, without a substantial presence across the state. DuVal
has left you little room to build such machinery, and there is insufficient time to
work around him.

There are those that argue that contested
primaries are inherently good for the party. I happen to disagree, and
their best arguments do not apply here. There are few if any substantial
differences in policy between you and DuVal, so there is no case to be
made that this will give voters a choice, allow for debate, or give
voice to some forgotten constituency. A primary here will be pointless
at best and divisive at worst. All it can really accomplish is to delay
DuVal's general election campaign and make victory more difficult.

four years, we tell folks (some would argue that we tell ourselves)
that this is a critical, if not the most critical election ever. This
time, however, there is some real basis to say this. Despite your heroic
efforts, much of what was accomplished to move Arizona forward under
Governor Napolitano has been reversed, and most of the good things that
have happened in this state during our lifetime are in peril under the
current regime. With DuVal, we have a real, viable chance to restore
sanity to the ninth floor. Though this is certainly not our last
chance to elect a Democrat as Governor, it may well be our last chance
to stop our current slide into backwardness. A contested primary can
only jeopardize this.

I realize that you are term limited and want
desperately to stay in the game, having been in exile myself I can
sympathize with the sentiment, but this particular election is far too
important. You know that I would support you under slightly different
circumstances, but for the time being, for the sake of your party and
your state, please do not run for Governor this time around.

Sincerely, your friend, fellow Concrete Blonde fan, and former colleague,

Tom Prezelski

Tucson, Arizona


  1. Moreover, do we want everything done in private? I think it’s healthy to have some public conversations. Besides, is anyone worried that no one talks to Chad?

  2. First of all, that is some limited data samples. Second, I would not call that 2002 Dem. primary “contested.” I think Janet had it wrapped up before it started…

  3. I don’t know if I like to positions of Chad Campbell any more than I do those of Fred DuVal. I do know that political competition helps provide more options to the voters. May the best man win.

  4. Barb, your analysis is spot on, with one exception. It’s not fair to conclude Fred sought this out. That’s a bit of a logical leap. Let’s hope he’s bigger than that and, on that front, let’s give him the benefit of the doubt and assume Tom acted on his own.

  5. Kilgore Trout, with all due respect, I will match my record up against Mr. Duval or any other Democrat in AZ. As the Democratic Leader in the House for the past three years I know exactly what needs to be done for AZ. I know it better than any other potential candidate, in fact. And if I decide to run I look forward to discussing my experience and the issues.

  6. Josh is correct. Let’s examine the last few major gubernatorial contests. 1998 – no contested Democratic primary, Paul Johnson loses general. 2002 – contested Democratic primary, Napolitano wins general. 2010 – no contested Democratic primary, Terry Goddard loses general.

    While I agree that Chad has obviously not done what it takes to win a statewide campaign, let’s not pretend keeping Fred on his toes is a bad thing.

  7. I think I would find this more sincere had you done this in private with Chad instead of in the public forum. To me it makes it sound like an infomercial for Fred Duval. It also makes it sound to me as if Fred is not where he wants to be at this stage of the game and is hoping to use “public pressure” to remove a strong contender. It does not make me see Mr Duval as a strong or admirable candidate. For me personally this blog is an epic fail. Primaries are for vigorous internal discussions, as Josh Kilroy said.

  8. Primaries exist precisely so that parties get to define themselves at the grassroots level. For legitimate candidates to cede the field is wrong. And a good primary can sharpen the skills of the winner – as I would argue was the case with Sinema last year – and increase name ID. Primaries engage a wide array of the base and confer legitimacy to the winner, again as the CD-9 demonstrated last year.

    I say this as Tim Nelson’s campaign manager back in 2008. We hated that Gerald Richard’s ran against us in the primary. But it was good practice for the general and Tim lost for reasons that had nothing to do with Gerald.

    A strong party is a dynamic party and that means having the sort of vigorous internal discussions that only a contested race can provide.

  9. Beautifully stated. Thank you. Chad, you are universally respected by grassroots folks like me. And you have a bright future in our state. But now is not the time for a divisive primary. And I know a few things about divisive primaries!