The 2014 Republican Dream Team is assembling…

By Craig McDermott, cross-posted from Random Musings


well, "Dream" by my standards; probably not so much by the GOP's

Republican fields for the various statewide offices that are up for
election next year are becoming clearer, to the point that in many of
the races, there are favorites. 

As in, candidates who people who are not Republicans hope emerge victorious in the Republican primary.

the theory that many of candidates have weaknesses that are so
overwhelming that they should be easy to defeat in the general election.


…The team "Cap'n" of the Dream Team is, of course, candidate for governor "Atomic" Al Melvin.

Currently a state senator, he's part of the "Bay at the Moon" caucus at the state lege.  In fact he's one of the leaders.

When he isn't trying to turn Arizona into a nuclear waste dump or pushing to expand slave prison labor here, he is spouting off, like with his recent assertion that trees cause drought conditions.

looking to pull off the same play that the notorious Ev Mecham pulled
off more than a quarter century ago.  If he does gain the office, he has
the potential to embarrass and even damage the state even more than
Mecham.  However, his presence at the top of the ticket will serve as an
anchor on the rest of the ticket.


…The Dream Team's candidate for Cap'n in Waiting, aka "Secretary of State", is State Senator Michele Reagan
She's nowhere near as colorful as Melvin.  Never a true "moderate", she
was known as someone who would do the right thing for her district and
state.  However, her political hard right turn over the last few years,
perhaps in preparation for a statewide run, has her firmly ensconced in
the heart (such as it is) of the Republican establishment.  Even
though she is running for Secretary of State, the state's chief
elections officer, she pushed nearly every anti-voter bill that was
heard by the Arizona legislature this year.  The provisions of most of
those bills were rolled into the blanket non-Republican voter
suppression package known as HB2305.

However, none of the above is the reason she is on this list.

Nope.  It's simple statistics.

the past 20 years, literally dozens of sitting Republican legislators
have sought higher office* while still in the lege.  Two have succeeded –
Matt Salmon ran for Congress in 1994 and John Huppenthal ran for State
Superintendent of Public Instruction in 2010.

And Salmon did it during a period that held the legislature in somewhat higher esteem than it is now.

be sure, in AZ, many statewide and federal electeds are former
legislators.  However, other than the two exceptions, all had at least
one term away from the legislature before gaining the higher office.

= Federal or statewide office.  County and municipal offices in AZ are
steps up in esteem level (or at least reductions in notoriety level),
but steps down in influence level.


…The Dream Team's candidate for enforcer, aka "Attorney General", is the incumbent, Tom Horne.

Possibly the weakest candidate of a weak bunch, an almost unheard-of description of an incumbent.

However, any state attorney general with a resume that includes a federal investigation over campaign finance violations, charges stemming from a hit-and-run accident while leaving a nooner at his girlfriend's home, and giving that girlfriend a highly-paid taxpayer-funded job probably should be looking for a new job.

However, Horne is looking for another term as AG.  It will be up to the voters to tell him that it's time to leave.

Dream Team's candidate for Mr. Moneybags, aka "State Treasurer", is
Randy Pullen, former chair of the AZGOP and treasurer of the Republican
National Committee.  On Thursday, he announced his "exploration" of a
run for treasurer (source: Channel 12's Brahm Resnik).



A candidate for state treasurer who's known more for his divisiveness and his poor judgement (note: those are three sources that I never even imagined that I'd link to 🙂 ) in handling others' money than for his financial acumen?

That would be a gift…to whoever else is on the ballot for that office.


…The Dream Team's candidate for Minister of Propaganda, aka "Superintendent of Public Instruction", is the incumbent, John Huppenthal

Hates public education in a state where the vast majority of parents can't afford private schools and he hates Hispanic people in a state where the Hispanic population is growing both in size and political influence.

That combination is more ripe for a political Darwin award than it is for re-election.


I am not including the office of State Mine Inspector because it is too
low-profile.  Most people in AZ don't know the office exists; most that
do cannot name the officeholder.  Perhaps at the founding of AZ, it was
a necessary position, but these days it just a place for former rural
legislators to pad their pensions and a chance to hobknob with mining
industry lobbyists.


Predictions: If the Rs were to nominate this slate, I would be very happy…and very surprised.

doesn't seem likely to emerge from the primary, but neither did Ev
Mecham in 1986.  At least by the standards of the AZGOP,  being "bay at
the moon crazy" doesn't disqualify someone from being their candidate.

is the "establishment" candidate, in a party that is being wracked by
paroxysms of anti-"establishment" fervor.  Probably the favorite, for
now, but not a prohibitive one.

…Horne should be
toast.  Someone who's even a little more polished should have little
trouble dispatching him in the primary.  If no one does, however,
Felecia Rotellini, the presumptive Democratic nominee for the job, will
thoroughly kick his ass in the general election.  Which is the main
reason that Horne will face a primary challenger.

…Pullen may very well win the nomination, but he has so many enemies within the AZGOP that it won't be easy for him.

…Huppenthal, well, many people (me among them),
have written his political epitaph before.  And we've been wrong each
time.  He is utterly unqualified for elected office or any position of
public trust.  Having said that, no smack talk until it's proven that he
can be defeated.


6 thoughts on “The 2014 Republican Dream Team is assembling…”

  1. Damn. Apparently, a little snark touched a nerve.

    Taken in order:

    1. There’s a reason that the people of Nevada don’t want to be a nuclear waste dump. The people of Arizona aren’t dumber than the people of Arizona. And if you gave Rand enough money, they would happily publish a study that says that the sun rises in the west and sets in the east.

    2. Huppenthal’s antipathy toward public education and the state’s Latino community is well-documented. Trotting out the “some of his best friends are…” defense doesn’t change that. As for your personal attack on me, I don’t hate students of any kind; so far as I know, charter school students are no worse (or better) than public school students. The same cannot be said for charter school *operators*. While there are some “good apples” in that group, too many are con artists simply looking to get their paws on taxpayer money. As for the rest, I used to work for a home school curriculum company, leaving for higher pay and not for ideological reasons. And I am Catholic (though admittedly, not as devout a Catholic as my grandmother would prefer 🙂 ). As for the attack on my honesty and integrity, please point out any false facts that I have used or cited. If I have made any errors of fact, I will correct them and apologize. I’ve done so in the past, and if it happens in the future, I will do so again.

    You may disagree with the opinions that I have formed based on those facts, but that doesn’t mean that I am dishonest.

    3. Using the word “screwing” and “Tom Horne” in the same comment is not a bright idea, given the nature of his bad acts.

    Bottom line: he’s a sleazeball who has misspent taxpayer monies on keeping his girlfriend close. He may survive an R primary on the basis of the IOKIYAR principle (don’t think he will, but I’ve been wrong about internal R races before), but I think that he’s absolutely toast in the general election.

    4. Pullen’s experience is part of his problem. As you correctly point out, people don’t necessarily want personality in their treasurers, but they definitely don’t want controversy. And Pullen has some serious controversy, including financial controversy, in his recent past. Also, the governor’s support may not help much in an R primary. Money is nice, but votes are better, and a lot of Rs are upset over Brewer’s legacy program (Medicaid restoration). I don’t have a problem with it (one of the few areas that I am in agreement with her), but many R primary voters are pissed.

  2. Finally, speaking of Pullen, you have three problems. First, he has a reputation as a rib rock conservative and you are talking Treasurer. Also, his work experience is compatible with the office. Second, your biggest problem is that he publicly supported Medicaid expansion. Finally, his support of Medicaid expansion likely makes him the governors candidate. She’s worth at least $500,000 to him. He may be so boring that he would bring joy to watching grass but you can likely forget about it if he comes out of the primary. Voters don’t need personality in their treasurer.

  3. Returning to Huppenthal. When McDermott says that Huppenthal is utterly unqualified for public office what does he mean by that? Huppenthal prime sponsored and successfully passed more more legislation than any other legislator in Arizona history. Huppenthal passed more legislation that was passed by majorities of both parties than any other legislator in Arizona’s history. Huppenthal passed more legislation that was signed into law by Governor Napolitano than any other legislator.

    Also, it was quality. Huppenthals probation management legislation is a national model. Since it was passed felonies by probationers have declined by 1700 per year. Over 3,000 fewer probationers kicked back to prison annually. All time record successful completion of probation by Arizona. That’s just one of his bills.

    What McDermott really means is that he, McDermott, has a blog and a keyboard and that he doesn’t have to be even slightly honest. He can say whatever the hell he wants so long as it might work to improve his electoral odds.

  4. As for Tom Horne, don’t count your chickens yet. He is doing his thing again. Horne has an intuitive sense of of dramatic flair, must be his classical music training. Hornes various investigations are going to have high political appeal. Also, no primary challenge, Republicans might not like his various shenanigans, but they noted that the owner of the car that his car bumped into hadn’t even noticed the slight abrasion until is was pointed out by FBI agents. Cost to taxpayers $576,000 of the FBI investigation.

    They also noticed that Hornes independent campaign was his own money. Rottellinis independent campaign was funded by taxpayer dollars laundered through the prosecutors association. What Horne did may have been illegal but it was honest. What Rottellini did was legal but it was absolutely corrupt.

    Of all the entities in this conflict, only Horne wasn’t screwing us.

  5. As for Huppenthal hating public education and hispanics, that’s not going to wash. Huppenthal grew up in south Tucson, all of his friends were Hispanics. He was the only Caucasian in his social group. Jimmy Ortega, Manny Gonzales, Luis Rodriguez, Charlie Praciado, Marcelino Lucero. Just because he won’t support the “we hate Whitey” curriculum of extreme Chicano activists doesn’t mean he can’t do well among Hispanics.

    As for Huppenthal hating the education of the public. That’s McDermott’s problem. He can’t bring himself to think of homeschoolers, charter school students and Catholics as human beings much less members of the public.

  6. Craig McDermott has allowed his ideology to turn himself into an idiot. A nuclear repository may challenge us, but it is a big idea that has generated hundreds of millions for Nevada and they don’t want it. Why not have it generate millions for our teachers? Contrary to the screeching of liberal Neanderthals like Mcdermott, it is beyond completely safe. As for prison work, the Rand corporation found a stunning 43% reduction in recidivism among inmates who participated in work programs such as Senator Melvin is proposing. In this context, Mcdermott’s spin is truly vile.
    Melvin likely does not have the personality skills needed to win but unlike the democrat candidate, he has ideas that would work, and work powerfully, when implemented.

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