Political Hot Stove Season: Time for some 2016 speculation

By Craig McDermott, cross-posted from Random Musings

2014 results are in and the wounds have been licked (still sore, but not sore enough to distract from thinking about 2016).

It’s time for a little speculation (these are pure WAGs; no actual journalism went into the making of this post 🙂 ) –

US Senate:

Republican incumbent John McCain is “leaning toward” a run for another term.  If he chooses to not run, there will be a free-for-all on both sides, and even if he *does* run, there will be a primary on the R side – the tea party types feel that he is too liberal (apparently, pushing for a foreign policy of “kill ’em all and let God sort ’em out” means McCain is too merciful for their tastes) and will attack him from the right.

Since 2016 is a presidential election year and should be a stronger year for Democrats, there will be some strong candidates for the Senate race.  And if McCain doesn’t run, that “some” will become “many”.

At this point, it will be a bit of a shock if Congresswoman Kyrsten Sinema doesn’t take a long look at the race.  She’s young, smart, and very focused on making it to higher office.  In most minds, it’s not a matter of “if” she is going to run for the US Senate, but “when”.

Other possible candidates:  Richard Carmona, the 2012 Democratic nominee for the US Senate seat currently held by Jeff Flake; Felecia Rotellini, the 2010 and 2014 Democratic nominee for Arizona Attorney General.  While she came up short in both races, she’s seen as a good candidate who was swamped by Republican waves in both years.  In a D-leaning or even neutral year, she will be a formidable candidate.


CD2 – Whether or not Democrat Ron Barber pulls out this election (he’s currently down 179 votes to Republican Martha McSally), 2014 is likely his last election.

Update on 11/12 – The Barber deficit/McSally lead is now 161 votes; this one probably going to a recount.

Likely candidates:

State Senator Steve Farley – possibly as smart as Sinema, and certainly as ambitious.  Has long coveted a seat in Congress and has been triangulating his positions/votes in the lege; 2016 may be his year.

Randy Friese, surgeon for Gabby Giffords after her shooting, and leading (faux) moderate Republican Ethan Orr for a seat in the state house of representatives by 182 votes.  Seen as the favored candidate of the Giffords machine (and have no doubt, the former Congresswoman still has some major influence in the district).

Update on 11/12 – Friese’s lead is now 131 votes.

CD9 – If Sinema bolts for a Senate run, this competitive district will see brutal scrums on both sides of the ballot.  And even if she runs for this seat again, it would not be surprising to see primaries on both sides of the ballot.

On the Republican side of the ballot, I have no idea who will run, but I don’t expect the nominee to be Wendy Rogers again.  She’s come up short in three consecutive cycles (2010 state senate general, 2012 R Congressional primary, 2014 Congressional general), two of them being Republican “wave” years.  I don’t if her desire to run for and hold elected office has faded, but 2016 Republican primary voters will probably turn to someone seen as less damaged.

On the Democratic side of the ballot, well, there are whispers about Sinema not exactly being a favorite of most of the grassroots activists in the district.  In other words, if she again is seen as “triangulating” in an effort to portray herself as Republican-lite, she will face a challenger.

And if she goes for a Senate seat, all hell will break loose on the Democratic side of the ballot.

Potential candidates include (but are not limited to):  LD24 legislators Chad Campbell (outgoing House Minority Leader), Katie Hobbs (incoming Senate Minority Leader), LD26 State Senator Ed Ableser, former and current members of the city councils in Phoenix and Tempe.


2015 special:  The winner of the mayoral race in Phoenix will be the mayor of Phoenix; the runner-up will likely mount a 2016 run for federal office, House or Senate (depends on what McCain does).  The likely candidates are incumbent Democrat Greg Stanton and Republican Sal DiCiccio.  Considering that DiCiccio fronted the failed anti-public employee ballot measure that went before Phoenix voters last week, he may reconsider.


Back to 2016 –

Other possibilities:  One or more sitting Democratic state legislators may take a run at a seat on the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors.  Four out of the five supervisor districts are stacked in favor of the Republican incumbents, but in a presidential election year, with the expected “bounce-back” Democratic turnout, a candidate with name ID, access to money, and experience running a campaign?  Feasible enough for a look.


Both major parties will be holding their “reorganization” meetings in January; the results of those will serve as an indicator of the directions of the parties and also the ambitions of potential candidates – those folks who plan on a run at higher office will attempt to exert some influence over the makeup of their party’s hierarchy.

On the Democratic side, don’t be shocked if the Sinema machine works to get one of their allies the chairmanship of the state Democratic party to aid her potential run for Senate.

On the Republican side, long-time ideological bomb-thrower and chair of the Maricopa County Republicans AJ LaFaro will probably attempt to become the chair of his party’s state organization…because he believes that the AZGOP’s current anti-choice, anti-LGBT, anti-woman, anti-immigrant, anti-education…hell..anti- “everything” stances are still too liberal.


More to come…



1 thought on “Political Hot Stove Season: Time for some 2016 speculation”

  1. The same old retreads with same old results! Sinema is ambitious enough ;but I don’t know if she thinks she can win in this still red state un less their is a mssive drive to register hispanics and get them out to vote.

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