Tag Archives: Matt Heinz

CD2 Congress Candidate Yahya Yuksel Accelerating a Come-from-behind Campaign

Read: Accused Rapist Yahya Yuksel Must Drop Out Now from CD2 Race

Yahyah Yuksel, a Democratic candidate for Tucson’s CD2 Congressional Seat, plans to capture votes by emphasizing universal health care, creating jobs that pay well and building a well-educated workforce.

“We know what is right for the people. It takes people with courage, integrity and experience to get that done, and that’s what we offer,” he said at a lively open house recently.

Charismatic, intelligent and energetic, Yuksel burst onto the campaign scene in March, stole the show at a candidate forum and promptly filed 2,400 signatures to get on the ballot (only 1,274 were required).

Offering a brunch of scrambled eggs, refried beans, tortillas, salsa, and coffee, he showed off his bustling campaign headquarters at 3776 N 1st Ave. (near Roger Road) in Tucson. He is the first in the field of 7 Democratic candidates to hold an open house where voters, staff, and the candidate could freely meet and mingle. He plans to hold more.

“We have a huge office, bigger than everyone else’s office,” he said. “It’s not that we’re raising a ton more money. We’re more efficient with our money.”

Building a campaign

Yuksel knows how to build a campaign. At age 14 he founded Teen Democrats in Tucson, and organized youth groups to campaign for John Kerry’s 2004 presidential bid.  At age 19, Yuksel worked for Congresswoman Gabby Giffords’ successful congressional campaign. Afterward, he served as the Co-Chair for Vice Mayor Karin Uhlich’s successful 2009 re-election campaign.Born and raised in Tucson, Yuksel is an attorney. He has a Masters in Chinese law from China’s top university. His heritage is Persian, Turkish and Kurdish, giving him a memorable name that is perfect for a bumper sticker. He’ll need to work fast, because the primary is on August 28 and the early mail-in ballots go out in less than 60 days. To meet the challenge Yuksel has assembled an election machine of 20 people – ranging from young interns to seasoned campaigners:

  • Kenny Jacobs came from Portland, OR, to be the Campaign Coordinator. He worked as Executive Director of the Pima County Democratic Party for the 2008 election cycle and also worked on the Obama campaign of 2008. His first federal campaign was with Jesse Jackson’s run for President in 1988. In the early 1990s, he worked statewide with Arizona for Fairness in support of  LGBT issues.
  • Dr. Robert Berrier is the Campaign Strategist. For 25 years he headed leadership and organizational development for clients of Spring International, a national survey and focus group business. Berrier has run 60 campaigns for Democrats and progressives and won 59 of them.
  • Laura Little is the social media director. She is the Director of Marketing and Fan Engagement for UA Athletics, in charge of sports marketing and digital advertising.
  • Diane Cuneo is the Creative Director in charge of advertising. She has advertising agency experience.
  • Ivanna Ferra is the Campaign Manager, in charge of reaching young voters. She is a Tucson business owner with an education in marketing. She has worked with Mi Familia Vota, which visits schools, community centers and homes of citizens to register voters.
  • Priscilla Teran is organizing a novel video ad competition for the campaign. She is the General Manager of Tucson Bike Share and was a Community Outreach and Recruiter for the University of Arizona.

Yuksel is competing with Democrats who have been elected to office, including Ann Kirkpatrick, Matt Heinz, and Bruce Wheeler. “Yeah, they’be been in office before, but that doesn’t mean they succeeded in office,” Yuksel said. “We need a new generation with new ideas to get into Congress and represent the people of Southern Arizona.”

Healthcare“We want to have affordable and universal healthcare for everybody, from the day they’re born to the day they die,” Yuksel said. “I see a path forward with our current system, the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare). We just have to reduce a lot of costs and continually mitigate the growing levels of epidemics, the rising age levels and the cost of new medical advances.””We also have to hold the pharmaceutical companies accountable, as well as the state hospital networks and the insurance companies,” he said. “The ideas behind the Affordable Care Act are not just from Obama. They have been proposed since Truman first envisioned it and Lyndon Johnson enacted Medicare in 1965.”

Jobs that pay wellWhen I was in China I gained a lot of experience learning about how they attracted investment and how they attracted a huge amount of jobs to their region,” he said. “It’s about industrialization and focusing on your strengths. Southern Arizona has a strong potential for solar energy, optics, planetary sciences, and cybersecurity. These are strong sectors that will bring high-paying jobs.”“But it also a matter of education. I’m not talking about a 4-year or 10-year education. I’m talking about quick vocational training programs that are developed in tandem with the private sector. We’ve seen it done successfully all across the US.”“A lot of people don’t want or need to go to 4-year education to get the job that is high-paying. The 2016 median household income is under $50,000 — it’s not that high. And one of three single-parent families live in poverty. Eight out of 10 families live paycheck to paycheck. It’s incredibly important to have a high-paying job.We can do better by focusing on niches that are strong in this region,” he said. “We can focus on building a strong, educated workforce, and making sure the government is supporting that development through economic incentives.”

Campaign finance reform“Campaign finance reform is the biggest issue facing our democracy,” he said.  Candidates like me are spending a lot more time than they should on raising money because it costs so much to advertise. “We’ve got to change it. We have public media like NPR and C-SPAN. Can’t we make them the primary sources of information about candidates?” he asked.Let’s also expose and disclose all money — from campaign contributions to individual donations — no exceptions,” he said. “We can create this system where the only money a candidate can get is from the voters in that district. It’s a small price to pay for democracy.” “Right now I’m traveling across the US raising funds. Let’s incentivize a system where people in the district are the only ones making contributions to the candidates. That’s what democracy is — not candidates spending 75% of their time seeking contributions.”

A young generation with new ideasDespite the odds, Yuksel is upbeat. “I’m willing to work with everyone to find common ground that we can all stand on. That’s the most important thing. We have to get back to the basics of working together again.”“Congress is so broken. We’ve got to work together. This young generation has new ideas to solve the issues ahead. We will reinvent our institutions so that the 21st century can be another American century.”“I would like everyone to come down and see the energy and the magic that’s happening in our office. It’s hard to explain the momentum we have. We have a lot of people volunteering and getting us out there. We’re going to win this, that’s for sure.”Learn more at his official website www.yahya4congress.com.

New Poll Shows Matt Heinz in the Lead Over Ann Kirkpatrick in Tucson’s CD2 Congressional Race

Dr. Matt Heinz

Dr. Matt Heinz

A survey of likely Democratic primary voters in Arizona’s 2nd Congressional District shows Dr. Matt Heinz holding a 4-point lead over former Congresswoman Ann Kirkpatrick in the race for the Democratic Party nomination.

This is within the survey’s margin of error of +/-4.9%.

The poll was commissioned by Heinz. The Heinz campaign released a three-page summary offering highlights of the telephone survey but did not release the entire poll. The live phone survey was conducted by FM3 Research and dated May 9, 2018. It found that:

  • “While Democratic primary voters are familiar with both candidates, they are more likely to hold a favorable opinion of Heinz, and after hearing equal positive information about these two candidates, support for Heinz increases.”
  • “Furthermore, the survey shows that many aspects of Kirkpatrick’s voting record in Congress pose a serious problem for her among Democratic primary voters, particularly her support of Republican tax cuts, cuts to Medicare, and her former “A” rating from the NRA.”

In an initial Democratic primary ballot test, Matt Heinz currently leads the field with 27%, giving him a four-point edge over Ann Kirkpatrick (23%). These results show the highly competitive nature of the Democratic primary, and despite her high-profile and well-financed statewide candidacy for the U.S. Senate in 2016, 2nd District Democrats have not embraced Kirkpatrick. The contest is very much a two-person race, as the other candidates generate only mid-single-digit support.
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Ann Kirkpatrick Stands Out as Gun Safety Candidate in CD2 Race

Kirkpatrick student gun safety

On the anniversary of the Columbine school shooting, Kirkpatrick (at right) joined students across the country in walking out to protest lax gun laws. She was invited by the students of Rincon & University High Schools to be a part of their protest.

Democrat Ann Kirkpatrick, who once supported the NRA, has emerged as a leading gun safety candidate in Tucson’s CD2 Congressional primary race. Among her supporters:

  • She was just named a Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America Candidate. The group pressures lawmakers to improve gun laws, raises awareness about gun violence and educates the public about common-sense gun laws and responsible gun ownership.
  • She is endorsed by the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence. It announced the goal to cut the number of U.S. gun deaths in half by 2025 through background checks that are applied to all gun sales; to “Stop ‘Bad Apple’ Gun Dealers” – the 5 percent of gun dealers that supply 90 percent of all crime guns; and to change social norms around the real dangers of guns.
  • She’s endorsed by the Giffords Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence. Founded by shooting survivor and former Congressman Gabby Giffords, the center’s legal experts research, write, and defend the laws, policies, and programs proven to save lives from gun violence.
Gabby Giffords endorses Ann Kirkpatrick

Click here to see the short video of Gabby Giffords’ endorsement. https://youtu.be/TpnqNlQeQ9o

Democrats Matt Heinz and Mary Matiella are also Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense candidates. All seven of the Democratic primary candidates support gun safety measures.

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Candidates Offer Surprises as 300+ Democrats Flock to CD2 Congressional Candidate Forum

CD2 Candidates at May 3, 2018 forum

Left to right: Mary Matiella, Billy Kovacs, Matt Heinz, Bruce Wheeler, Barbara Sherry and Yahya Yuksel.

Some 300 people packed Catalina High School yesterday night for the CD2 Congressional Democratic candidate forum held May 3, 2018, by the Represent Me AZ grassroots PAC. Here are the high points:

  • This forum showed what democracy looks like: an open, public and free event, as contrasted with GOP candidate forums which are closed, secretly announced and cost money to attend.
  • Yahya Yuksel

    Yahya Yuksel

    New candidate Yahya Yuksel, an attorney, stole the show with his articulate, quotable and confident presence. Born and raised in Tucson he has worked for Democratic campaigns since he was a teenager, including Gabby Giffords and Mayor Karin Uhlich. “I’m a young Democrat. I’m running because we see a broken Congress, we see constant war, and we see the economy not working for everybody. We need new ideas, not yesterday’s answers,” he says.

  • The candidates seethed with resentment for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) which has offended local Democrats by picking candidates so early in the primary. “It is shameful that the DCCC has taken the task, before you have had a chance to vote to endorse a candidate,” Bruce Wheeler said to loud applause. “The outside interference is something that needs to be countered.”
  • Mary Matiella zinged Matt Heinz with the question, “What are you doing different this time to make sure you win?” In 2016 Heinz lost in his run for Congress in CD2 by 44,000 votes in a race where he relied mostly on TV ads.
  • Ann Kirkpatrick made a mistake by not attending. The forum was an opportunity to capture support and deflect criticism. She leads in fundraising, winning important endorsements, and getting the DCCC support that the other candidates, not surprisingly, begrudge.
  • Heinz zinged the absent Kirkpatrick when asked if he would endorse Kirkpatrick if she wins the primary. “It is important that the Democrats nominate a Democrat, he said to loud applause. “As soon as I hear that, I will absolutely endorse them,” he says. Heinz is the leading attacker of Kirkpatrick, criticizing her northern Arizona origin and long-ago top rating from the NRA. Kirkpatrick lives in Tucson and has a “D” rating from the NRA now.
  • Veteran legislator Bruce Wheeler is apparently running a one-man campaign. He says he personally collected 95% of his signatures to get on the ballot. Wheeler has only $8,686 on hand, so he is not raising funds effectively.
  • After a one-year campaign, Mary Matiella still stumbles over her words and has a hard time making herself clear. In a bizarre argument, she said the EEOC [U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission] had been disbanded and should be brought back. This is not true — because the EEOC is still actively litigating discrimination charges and enforcing federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination.
  • Bill Kovacs boldly called for de-funding of ICE, the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency, which is breaking up undocumented families captured at the border. He also says that marijuana should be removed from the forbidden Schedule 1 list of drugs. His says his mother has chronic Crohn’s disease and is a marijuana patient. “When you look at what marijuana and CBD [Cannabidiol] can do for chronic pain, it is a lifeline for America, he says. 
  • Barbara “Chemtrails” Sherry has become a fringe candidate who currently does not have the 1,274 signatures needed to get on the ballot by the May 30 filing date. She bitterly and incoherently criticized front-runner Kirkpatrick.

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GOP Strategist Says Republicans May Lose in Races Across Arizona

Republican Strategist Sam Stone

Republican Strategist Sam Stone

Speaking on KVOI radio 1030 in Tucson, Republican strategist Sam Stone says there may be statewide losses for Republican candidates in the mid-term elections.

“I do think we’re heading into something of a [blue] wave. … If you’re in Wisconsin and other states, Democrats have been undervoting in the last three cycles now and they’re going to come out, absolutely. The question is, are Republicans? So far, the answer in the special elections has been ‘no.’ We’re fat and happy with the presidency,” he said. 

Stone is Chief of staff of Republican City Councilman Sal DiCiccio in Phoenix and a former campaign advisor to Martha McSally. He was interviewed on the John C. Scott political forum, which is now on the radio Saturdays 4 to 6 pm.

Asked if there will be a “blue wave” in Arizona, he said, “potentially a little bit.” He said Democrats may win the races for Secretary of State and Superintendent of Public Instruction.

The race for in Tucson’s CD2

He foresees a Republican defeat in Tucson’s Congressional District 2, even as he sneered, “the Democratic bench that is running in CD2 is pretty pathetically weak. You’ve got a carpetbagger and a bunch of people who Lea Marquez Peterson would normally slaughter. Whoever comes out of that may well win that race.”

The leading Republican contender is Lea Marquez-Peterson, the CEO of several Hispanic chambers of commerce and owner of bankrupt gas stations. See Fear Dominates Secret Tucson GOP CD 2 Congressional Candidate Forum.

Though people disagree, former congresswoman Ann Kirkpatrick is seen as the Democratic front-runner in a primary contest with Mary Matiella, Billy Kovacs, Bruce Wheeler, Matt Heinz, Babara Sherry and others.

Stone said president Trump’s “waned popularity” is a problem for Marquez-Peterson. “Lea has the advantage of clarity that didn’t exist for Martha McSally in the last three years. … The electorate that first elected Martha McSally [in 2014], both in both the Republican primary and general election, is not the electorate that is enamored of Trump. You can run away from him. The electorate that is enamored of him is about 40% of the Republican primary base. She [Marquez-Peterson] has a relatively open primary, she really is not contested very much. So for her, doesn’t need to stray into Trump territory.”

President Trump’s base is “30% of the Republican primary base, and it incredibly strong with him. The rest of the folks who went along [with Trump] voted against Hillary Clinton and for Neil Gorsuch and for a conservative majority supreme court. If he continues to ignore and really inflame larger swaths of the country, those folks aren’t necessarily with him, that voted for him,” Stone said.

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Fear Dominates Secret Tucson GOP CD 2 Congressional Candidate Forum

GOP Congressional candidates Danny Morales, Lea Marquez-Peterson, Marilyn Wiles and Brandon Martin.

GOP Congressional candidates Danny Morales, Lea Marquez-Peterson, Marilyn Wiles and Brandon Martin.

You could smell the fear in the room at the Pima County GOP’s secret CD 2 Congressional Candidate  Forum at the gaudy Oyster Club in Tucson. The candidates were asked how they could win in light of recent democratic victories, and how they could govern without dominating all three branches of government.

Lea Marquez-Peterson repeatedly pleaded for donations, noting with alarm that “Nancy Pelosi has already been in Arizona and made a half-million-dollar ad buy!” and that front-runner Ann Kirkpatrick had raised more money than she did.

Only 40 people attended the event, which the Republicans tried desperately to keep secret. The GOP tried to ban reporters, to prohibit photos, and to require all cell phones to be turned off. The forum was so secret that candidate Casey Welch didn’t show up.

Only one serious candidate

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Candidate Brandon Martin complained, “I hope we can speak in bigger venues.” (Last month, more than 400 people attended the Democrats’ Congressional candidate forum in Green Valley.)

Martin and candidate Danny Morales battled to take the more arch-conservative position. Candidate Marilyn Wiles didn’t really have many positions. Marquez-Peterson appeared to be the only serious candidate.

None of them proposed any idea to actually help people. They were all against things — like “chain migration,” not becoming “part of the establishment,” against the “Dreamers,” against raising taxes, and against the Mueller investigation.

Guns, Guns, Guns

Noting that hundreds of thousands of people were currently in the nationwide March For Our Lives against gun violence, the candidates had differing ideas for gun safety. Marquez-Peterson and Wiles called for better background checks. Morales called for arming teachers. Martin actually said, “We don’t have a gun problem. They don’t jump off shelves and shoot people.”

Firing Mueller

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