It’s early, but candidates for 2014 are already starting to line up


By Craig McDermott, cross-posted from Random Musings

…In significant news, in Scottsdale, anyway, Bob Littlefield, member of the Scottsdale City Council, formed an exploratory committee for a run at a seat in the Arizona House of Representatives.

He's term-limited on the City Council, so he will not be able to run for reelection to the Council in 2014.  However, his interest in a legislative seat doesn't directly set up a primary challenge against one or both House incumbents in his district, LD23. 

The current state senator there, Michele Reagan, is "exploring" a run at the AZ Secretary of State's office next year, opening that seat.

One of the current state representatives, John Kavanagh, is "exploring" a run for the senate seat currently held by Reagan, opening his seat (presumably, the other LD23 House incumbent, Michelle Ugenti, is going to run for reelection to her seat). 

Now, Littlefield is "exploring" a legislative run of his own.

"Exploring" is in "quotes" because in most cases, it is a facade, a false front of sorts.  The exploring label is meant to shield the users from the state's "resign to run" law.  That law requires that current officeholders who aren't in the last year of their terms to resign from their office once they begin to run for another office.  Most of the time, that law is ignored with the use of none-too-subtle subterfuges like the "exploratory committee", and a lot of winks and nods.

Littlefield is thoroughly conservative but has earned a reputation as a straight shooter (meaning that he's direct and to the point).  However, he's not a "bay at the moon" type (actually, he can be a little impatient with that type), so there will be a primary here from one or more other candidates.  

Obviously it's early and things could change, but he is probably the biggest "name" who can be expected to jump into that race.  Joe Arpaio lives in the district, but he seems unlikely to resign as Maricopa County Sheriff to take a chance on a run at a seat in the lege.  Jus' sayin'…

The steepest learning curve for him will be learning the differences between a municipal campaign and a legislative campaign.  Municipal campaigns tend to be focused on practical issues, while legislative campaigns, especially is safe Republican districts, tend to be focused on ideological issues.

…Speaking of "bay at the moon" types, Rep. Carl Seel (R-Birtherland) has opened an exploratory committee for a 2014 run at a seat on the Arizona Corporation Commission.  If elected, he'll fit in well with the bunch that's on the ACC now in that he'll place ideological whims over real world facts.

…One of the Republican targets of tea party ire in late 2010/early 2011 was Sophia Johnson.  She was a newly-elected officer of the LD20 Republican Party who was caught up in the mess created when tea party elements of that district objected to the fact that their district party elected an African-American chair, Anthony Miller.  Miller and Johnson (and I believe, others) ended up resigning their positions because of the toxic, even threatening, atmosphere and the situation ended up in court

Now Johnson is in Avondale, and has opened a committee for a run at the AZ House in the new LD19. 

I met her while covering that mess, and she was one of the nicest people that I have met while writing this blog.  Wrong on pretty much every political issue, but that's part of politics.  If you can't handle civil disagreement, stay away.  Disagreement is no excuse for incivility.

I don't wish her victory in the race (hey, I *am* a Democrat 🙂 ), but I am glad that she wasn't intimidated and scared off of political activism by the ugliness of the LD20 situation in 2010/2011. 

One thing that is necessary for our democracy to continue to work (or if you are a cynic like me, to begin to work again) is for people with spines to step up and become, and remain, involved, regardless of their political stripe.

Today, we can count Johnson as one of the ones who have stepped up.

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AZ BlueMeanie
The Blue Meanie is an Arizona citizen who wishes, for professional reasons, to remain anonymous when blogging about politics. Armed with a deep knowledge of the law, politics and public policy, as well as pen filled with all the colors stolen from Pepperland, the Blue Meanie’s mission is to pursue and prosecute the hypocrites, liars, and fools of politics and the media – which, in practical terms, is nearly all of them. Don’t even try to unmask him or he’ll seal you in a music-proof bubble and rendition you to Pepperland for a good face-stomping. Read blog posts by the infamous and prolific AZ Blue Meanie here.