Updated July 4, 2017
The mission to oust right-winger Martha “Motormouth” McSally from her Congressional seat launched this week as a suprising array of Democratic candidates made their pitches to progressive loyalists.
The first candidates’ forum was sponsored by the brand-new McSally Take a Stand PAC. The registration of the PAC, with 1,150 members, is exciting because there is no limit to the donations you can make to it.
Inspiring the attendees, most of the candidates supported Medicare for All. The Arizona Democratic Party State Committee has united in support of HR-676 -Medicare For All — single-payer health care.
Here’s my scorecard (also see the latest Scuttlebutt below).
Dropped out. #1 Alison Jones, a water scientist, hydrogeologist and past president of the Arizona Geological Society. She works at Clear Creek Associates, a company that does well design, water supply, and contaminated sites investigations. The political newbie was articulate, smart and organized. She was only candidate with handout materials — hitting all the progressive notes about climate change, humane immigration, sustainable water policy, pro-choice, support the middle class, LGBT rights and sensible gun laws.
She was only candidate with handout materials — hitting all the progressive notes about climate change, humane immigration, sustainable water policy, pro-choice, support the middle class, LGBT rights and sensible gun laws.
I love scientists and she’s assembling a team of them to advise her. It will take a woman to beat McSally. I wish Alison had elected office experience and an existing base.
Best line: “Martha, how can you sleep at night?”
To support her: https://www.facebook.com/Jonesing4AZ/, Phone 520-230-1249, Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
#2 Billy Kovacs, a 30-year old who is the new Operations Manager for the Congress Hotel. The political newbie is tall, articulate, charismatic, handsome and young. His LinkedIn profile shows he has a lot of business experience for a kid. Did I mention he’s young and will attract Millennials who are 25% of the Tucson population?
A diamond in the rough, Billy can ride the wave of new, young volunteers who are flooding the Democratic Party. Before the election, I went to meetings of precinct committeemen and was let down by all the white hair I saw. And I say this speaking as a senior citizen myself. After Inauguration Day, these meetings have quadrupled in attendance and were moved to a bigger location. As Bob Dylan sang in 1963, “Don’t stand in the doorway, Don’t block up the hall, For the times they are a-changin.’” Let’s let the younger people take over.
I wish he had elected office experience and an existing base.
Best line: “We need to reach young people who haven’t seen a Democrat knocking on their doors.”
To support him: https://www.kovacsforcongress.com/, https://www.facebook.com/kovacsforcongress, Email: email@example.com.
#3 Bruce Wheeler, an experienced legislator who was Assistant Minority Leader in the Arizona state house. He has served from 1975-1978, and 2010-2017. Bruce has done a lot for Arizona, sponsoring 71 progressive bills in the house.
He is the favorite of seasoned precinct committeemen, who are holding house parties for him now. I can see why: he is for Medicare for All, a fair immigration policy, combating climate change, securing a woman’s right to choose, jobs not jails, stopping dark money, gay rights and eliminating school vouchers.
He quoted Martin Luther King and Noam Chomsky and said hello to Randy Friese from the podium. Friese is Assistant Minority Leader and a shining hope for Democrats. Bruce has been elected three times, and all of his constituency is in McSally’s congressional district.
I just wish he were as exciting as Governor candidate Steve Farley. I wonder if he can beat a female A-10 pilot in the election.
To support him: http://wheelerforcongress2018.com/, Email: firstname.lastname@example.org, Phone 520-609-7800.
#4 Mary S. Matiella, a former US Assistant Secretary of the Army (Financial Management and Comptroller), appointed by Obama. She has three key advantages: she’s a woman, a Latina and ex-military.
The daughter of migrant workers who grew up in Marana and Picacho, she told heart-rending stories of a childhood without medical care.
Today she is an alumna of the Eller College, where she earned her MBA in 1976. She was the youngest person in her MBA class, the only woman, and the only minority candidate. She has 33 years of military and federal government experience. She supports free public education, a woman’s right to choose, and labor unions.
Mary has the support of Bill Roe, a longtime leader among Arizona Democrats who is the party’s first vice chair. Tim Steller interviewed her for the Arizona Daily Star.
Best line: “Without free pubic education, we cannot give hope to the children who play in the dirt.”
Support her at: email@example.com, phone: 703-321-6447.
#5 Charlie Verdin, an odd guy with no particular points. He is running “to create a better vision of representative democracy.”
#6 Chris Wright, a guy with a beer belly in a blue t-shirt, gym shoes and white cargo pants. Best line: “I do have a clue.” He just launched a Star Treck Facebook page.
No-shows: Jeff Latas, Matt Heinz, Lou Jordan, Ann Kirkpatrick, Joshua Polacheck.
Randy Friese told me he waiting to see if a strong candidate emerges in the McSally race. If there is, he might run against US Sen. Jeff Flake, who may face serious primary challenges from Trump lackeys like State Treasurer Jeff DeWit, onetime state GOP boss Robert Graham, and wacko crackpot Kelli Ward.
Ann Kirkpatrick has moved to Tucson from Flagstaff and Ron Barber is trying to draft her. She was a Congresswoman from Arizona’s 1st district from 2009 to 2011 and 2013 to 2017.
Tamar Rala Kreiswirth, founder of The Arizona Ground Game (where I am a steering committee member) passionately reminded us that 25% of Arizona Democrats did not vote in the last election. In McSally’s district, there are 122,000 registered Democrats, 116,000 registered Republicans and 104,000 independents and others. TAGG is a grass-roots group that supports precinct committeemen like me by recruiting neighborhood Guides. The Ground Game encourages active citizenship through neighborhood building and public policy education. See AZGroundGame.org.
Richard Elías, a Pima County Supervisor Supervisor is the new Chairman of the Nucleus Club, whose memberships pay the mortgage on the Pima Democratic Party office on E. 1st Street. Meetings are on the second Thursday of the month at the Viscount Suite Hotel, 4855 E Broadway starting at 5:30 pm with cocktails and appetizers. The programs start at 6:00 pm. I fondly remember the late Martin Bacall who always encouraged me to attend the meetings.
Larry Bodine is an elected Democratic Precinct Committeeman in Precinct #238.