AZ Republic won’t endorse in any Legislative race in the general election


Crossposted at

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I got forwarded an email by a Dem consultant earlier. It was an exchange between a Dem campaign manager and an editor at the AZ Republic. I’m not calling this particular editor out because this is endemic problem at the paper and it is clearly coming from the top. Here’s the editor’s brusque reply to the manager’s query about general election endorsements:

We are not endorsing any legislative races in the general election. It’s a matter of staffing, time and resources.

Oh really? They had plenty of staff, time, and resources to devote to endorsing in the primaries, not to mention endless op-eds hand-wringing over them and cajoling those precious “independent” voters to ride in and save “moderate” Republicans. And now they don’t have anything to spare for general races? Not even for the handful of competitive ones like the House races in LD9, 18, and 28 (apologies if I’m forgetting other LDs)? This is not only unfair to Democrats who didn’t have primaries, thus never got interviewed for the primary endorsement, but it is incredibly dismissive of the majority of voters who show up for the general election. Basically the Republic is telling the general voters in LD28 that there’s no difference between Dr. Eric Meyer (D) and former Rick Santorum staffer and Tea Party darling Shawnna Bolick (R). Same goes in LD18 for teacher and community leader Mitzi Epstein (D) and Jill Norgaard (R), who is so rabidly anti-choice she doesn’t even support exceptions for the life of the woman, as well as Dr. Randall Friese (D), the surgeon who saved Congresswoman Giffords’ life and who is running to be a strong advocate for health care and Ethan Orr (R), who (yes) is not the worst Republican in the Legislature but that’s hardly high praise.

My theory is that the Arizona establishment’s fixation on primaries, and their near-religious certainty that all elections are won in them is of a piece with their belief that Clean Elections caused all the extremism here. It’s myopia and elitism. The idea is that if they could just get those damn unruly activist base primary voters out of the way, moderation would reign in Arizona! They’re wrong about that but appear to be uninterested in pursuing an actual solution to the problem with our Legislature, which would be to have Democrats take over at least one chamber. The invariable response I get to that from them is that it would be impossible for that to happen. Well guys, this ongoing project of rescuing the GOP from the radicals via primaries doesn’t seem to be working either. The thing that has moderated the Legislature in recent years was the addition of enough Dems to deprive them of a veto-proof majority.


  1. The Republic has a long history of endorsing Republicans WHEN IT MATTERS and Democrats WHEN IT DOESN’T MATTER. (to appear balanced) For the legislature and other offices most people know little about the paper’s endorsements do matter.
    In this year’s races any serious comparison between D’s and R’s would necessitate an admission that a lot of R’s, including incumbents, are nuts. Many of their positions are indefensible outside a Tea Party audience. Putting them under scrutiny of some serious questions could sink enough to swing the balance of power.
    Same goes for higher office.
    They will endorse Ducey. If Terry Goddard is way ahead in the polls they will support him. Garcia will get the nod because his opponent is so whacko she is in hiding. They might toss us a bone for Felicia Rotellini.

  2. For reals? No legislative endorsements? I guess that is because Laurie Roberts cannot seriously argue to “De-Kook the Capitol” (from 2012), when all but three members of the GOP voted in favor of the Religious Bigotry bill, SB 1062, and every member of the GOP (except those absent) voted to put the Neo-Confederate Nullification of federal laws measure, Prop. 122, on the ballot in November. Even those Republicans the media portray as “moderate” vote for these kooky bills.

    Maybe The Republic has finally come to the realization that it cannot in good conscience endorse Republicans for the Arizona Legislature. Nah!

  3. I was told 30 years ago that a newspaper endorsement was worth about 14 votes most of the time and was merely good for candidate’s egos. The lucky candidate would then furiously copy the endorsement article and distribute it at her/his expense frantically. Guess this unfortunate decision saves one kind of effort.

  4. As an informed voter in LD 9 let me share some facts with you about Ethan Orr.

    1. Ethan Orr is no moderate; his voting record has a very dark side. His votes have left women vulnerable because he thinks a fertilized egg should have “person-hood”, i.e. equal rights to a mature woman!

    2. His votes have left our environment vulnerable because he has a “6%” rating from the Sierra Club.

    3. His votes have left victims of gun violence vulnerable because he has an “100%” rating from both the NRA & the Arizona Citizens Defense League, the latter of whose goal is to “[r]estore and protect the right of law-abiding citizens to carry a firearm openly or discreetly anywhere they have a right to be.”

    4. His votes have left people who want to participate in our electoral process vulnerable by voting for HB 2305 which would make it harder to start citizen initiatives or to get third parties on the ballot but easier to kick people off the early voter lists.

    By these votes Ethan Orr has lost any claim that he is a compassionate or moderate person. In fact re-electing Ethan Orr perpetuates the Tea Party’s domination of the state legislature because as a GOP member of the state House he votes for party leadership that is Tea Party dominated.

    For example, Ethan Orr has come out in SUPPORT of State Rep. David Livingston (a Tea Party Republican) for House Majority Whip. A few facts about State Representative David Livingston:
    1) Livingston Voted YES on 1062,
    2) Livingston received 100% rating with Center for Arizona Policy (Cathy Herrod’s anti-choice group),
    3) Livingston has 0% rating from Planned Parenthood,
    4) Livingston received a 0% ratings from Sierra Club, and
    5) Livingston is ENDORSED by former state Senator RUSSELL PEARCE (listed on his website),
    And here’s the kicker: David Livingston traveled to Nevada to support CLIVEN BUNDY

    Re-electing Ethan Orr will perpetuate the Tea Party’s domination of our state legislature. Let’s start the process of breaking that domination. Let’s vote for 2 Democrats for state legislature in LD 9: Victoria Steele & Dr. Randy Friese.

  5. It is sad that the attitude you describe is so ingrained in the general pop of this State. Arizona could be a place where folks of every stripe would be happy to call “Home”.

    That a certain segment of its people reject any departure from strict Con dogma is a huge lost opportunity to move AZ into the 21st century.

    The biggest hurdle for Democrats/Progressives/Liberals is that they have not countered the fact that there is a distinct identity politics affinity here, mostly exercised by folks who really should be supporting the Democratic Party. I rarely hear any verbiage about unions. How can Democrats expected union support if they ignore the union people – active and retired. I just don’t understand that.

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