Morgan’s Choice in the CD1 Democratic Primary: Kurt Kroemer

For many months, I’ve been conflicted about choosing a preferred candidate in the Democratic primary in my Congressional district, CD1. Rated as one of the most competitive in the country (and one of the most likely turnovers from R to D), this race attracted six Democratic candidates. The incumbent Republican, David Schweikert, was nearly defeated in 2022, and he seems to be eminently vulnerable. He disguises his MAGA affiliation – for instance, he voted to accept Biden electors in Arizona, while declining to do so for Pennsylvania. 

I’m certain to vote against Rep. Schweikert in the general election, but I have been on the fence for the primary, as I usually am – not knowing who will win, I generally prefer to not weigh in publicly until we have our Democratic candidate. Each of the Democrats vying for this seat would be a reliable vote for the Democratic Congressional caucus. Each of them has some aspects that I thought well of. And to add to my indecision, for some time I was hoping that a favorite local figure would also join in; that didn’t happen.

I have been to or seen several events where the candidates debated and have had conversations with a number of them; and I also have dutifully listened to the “Who’s the One” podcast, which has focused on the CD1 primary. And until the last few days, I remained neutral. I have a great excuse – I’m much more focused on the state legislature, where there are enough competitive races that we have a good chance to achieve a Democratic majority. And all of them appear to have views that are more or less consistent with my own, and with the Democratic electorate in general.

Morgan makes up his mind

But as I write this, I’ve actually made up my mind. I’m supporting Kurt Kroemer, who has often been regarded as a “dark horse” candidate – lower on campaign funds and on media attention than several of the others. And since this has been a hard choice, I wanted to comment on the factors that have gone into my decision.

The initial, precipitating factor was the response to a question in the Clean Elections debate about the “crisis at the border.”  While it is clear that there is work to be done there, the idea of “crisis” brings to mind the MAGA fantasies of hordes of terrible people flowing over the border. Images of Genghis Khan riding in with his “Mongol horde.” This is far from the reality, and it shouldn’t be supported by using the same phrasing. And beyond mere language, there’s a problem with the practice of Democrats trying to sound like Republicans to respond to Arizona being a purple state (and CD1 being a purple district). We rarely win that way – we just sound like weak Republicans when there is still the option for voters to go for the real thing. 

Of the six candidates, only Kurt gave a clear, unapologetic, and rational response to this complex question, pointing out the need for more judges and other resources in order to handle the influx of needy immigrants. Four of the others sounded like they were running for the other party, and the fifth dodged the question.

What about other factors?

This exchange got my attention, and then I began considering other factors again. Kurt lacks the money of some of the others, true; but as he has pointed out, if he wins the nomination, there will be no shortage of money as many in the country understand the importance of this race. Kurt also has a history of working for humanity – consistently – with organizations like the American Red Cross and Make-A-Wish.  

Kurt has also consistently remained positive, which has not always been true for some of the others, especially one of the apparent front runners. While it will be necessary to include hard truths about the extreme MAGA opponent, suppressing Democratic turnout by attacking one another is counterproductive, in my view. And in the event that one of those being attacked wins the nomination, this can only help the extreme MAGA candidate.

In the end

I will ultimately support whichever Democrat wins the nomination, for so many reasons. But I will be voting for Kurt Kroemer, and I  would urge primary voters to consider him seriously. And should he win in August, I would hope that the many activists who are working so hard for other candidates will work even harder to help Kurt defeat Rep. Schweikert. As with the Presidential contest, democracy might just depend on it.

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3 thoughts on “Morgan’s Choice in the CD1 Democratic Primary: Kurt Kroemer”

  1. I live in CD1, and while I probably won’t make decision until I have a ballot in hand, I’ll definitely consider your words.

    Having said that, I just watched part of a debate between two of the R primary candidates (Schweikert wasn’t there). Since neither of them will appear on my primary ballot (and I expect that neither of them will appear on a general election ballot), I didn’t bother getting their names. One was a man; one was a woman.

    And both are running to the right of Schweikert. He, like Ciscomani in Tucson, is MAGA-stealthy, but there’s nothing stealthy about them. They openly hate society.

    The worst Democrat on the primary ballot will be better than anyone who gets through the R primary.


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