Cat (Catherine) Fifer, a retired public servant at the Maricopa County Assessors Office and City of Phoenix, who is now the Democratic chairperson of Arizona Legislative District 21, sees a path to the blue promise land.
The district, which includes all or parts of Peoria, Surprise, El Mirage, Youngtown, and Sun City, saw marked improvement in the Democratic Party’s 2018 turnout and electoral performance compared to previous election cycles.
Ms. Fifer, elected as the district party chair after the November 2018 elections, wants to “keep the fire alive,” and build on last year’s momentum by competing heavily in Sun City and convincing Independents to support the Democratic candidates.
They have already recruited 2018 Independent Senate Candidate Kathy Knecht to run as a Democrat for the State House and are in the process of finding one for the State Senate.
Sitting down at Lola’s, the home of the sea salt chocolate chip cookies, Ms. Fifer discussed Legislative District 21’w performance and its designs for forging ahead.
- Please assess your LD’s performance in the 2018 elections.
“We almost flipped for special election (Tipirneni) but not as well in the general. Our statehouse candidates fared better. Sinema was short by 4.9 points. The Independent Senate Candidate (now 2020 Dem State House candidate Kathy Knecht) did not lose by much and she is a known quantity. Dr. Brad Hughes (one of the 2018 State House candidates) is running for Peoria City Council in the Ironwood District. With a lot of work, the district can be won. We will have to really get out the vote among Democrats. Independents, and like-minded Republicans.”
- In terms of moving forward, what are two things you would do the same in preparing for the 2020 election cycle?
“If the trajectory follows we will flip. When I was a volunteer, people rushed to sign petitions opposing Lesko. We are going to keep increasing P.C’s. In 2012 there were: 22; 2014: 33; 2016: 28; 2018; 48 2019: 60 The difference (in motivation) was the 2016 Trump’s election and the surge in Democratic activism. There has been an increase and encouraging trend in involvement and volunteers (just as important as P.C’s). We want to keep the fire alive. We will continue the door knocking and canvassing.”
- In terms of moving forward, what are two things you would do differently in preparing for the 2020 election cycle?
“Fifteen of the Forty Two precincts do not have a PC and that needs to be changed. We have to improve outreach. We have 40 to 50 people that show up at monthly meetings, which is an increase. We need to get people to form relationships with Democrats in their neighborhoods. Surprise is fertile ground to raise Democratic fortunes. We may move into establishing home offices, or meetings in coffee shops and other venues to expand exposure.”
- Please explain:
- Method for recruiting P.C.’S:
“ It has happened naturally or by referral. More important to have them want to be engaged and get involved.”
2. Method for recruiting candidates if the same ones do not run again:
“Get the word out like going to the Sun City Dems meeting and recruiting. Need to go with a natural flow and not force people.”
“We have had success with debate watch parties and 50/50 raffles. We just now secured an ACT Blue account. We have tee shirts that we sell. We need to keep our eyes on the local ball first before the Presidential candidates. It is imperative for local candidates to get assistance.”
4. Voter Registration:
“Marvin McCullum who got the reward at the last MCDP convention for registering over 10,000 new voters is our secret weapon. We sometimes tag along with Outlaw Dirty Money activists. Marvin finds many community events where he can register voters.”
Ms. Fifer is confident that Legislative District 21 is “swimming out of the redness” and is enthusiastic about the Democrat’s electoral prospects now that the party is consistently fielding candidates to run for office.
Furthermore, she feels that the enthusiasm and momentum are moving naturally and organically in the Democrats direction and the key is convincing the people that the Democratic program is the right one for them and getting them to turn out and vote.
If you live in Legislative District 21 or are interested in local Democratic politics, please contact LD21AZDems@gmail.com if you are interested in becoming part of their quest to turn the district purple/blue. There are meetings on the fourth Tuesday of the month except for December at 6:00 p.m. at the Peoria High School Library at 11200 North 83rd Avenue, Peoria Arizona 85345. It is wonderful opportunity to meet the local candidates and get to know your Democratic neighbors.
Featured Image of Legislative District 21 Democratic Party Chair Cat Fifer