The Primary is Over – on to the General

Today, there are 77 days to Election Day 2022; but there are only 50 days to ballots dropping in the mail. The primary election is over. Some of the intra-party competitions have been extremely civil – for instance, Jevin Hodge and Adam Metzendorf vied for the CD1 nomination largely by presenting their own views and credentials, without casting aspersions on the other’s character; and while Jevin has won, I have no doubt that Adam will put in his customary extra effort to help him against Rep. Schweikert. In contrast, some other competitive races within each party, particularly for the Republicans, have been quite rancorous.

But I don’t want to imply that the Democrats have had no tough battles. There have definitely been cases where serious blows have been struck. And many of these may have really found their mark, touching on potentially significant weaknesses in the other’s campaign.

I have my own opinions about which of these charges were legitimate, which were focused on a minor flaw, and which were raised from almost nothing to claims of a major flaw of character. But I’m not going to share those opinions here. Because the primaries are over.

A Serious Challenge

They are done, and we face a far more serious challenge. At this point, our focus must be on defeating candidates who threaten to take our state and country to a very dark place. This year there are great risks for our democracy, our health, the education of our children, our environment, and even our bodily autonomy. These are not small things. Any animosity left over from the primary campaign must very quickly be discarded if we are to have any hope of success.

Many of the Democratic candidates are really quite impressive; and while it still seems odd to have to say this, unlike many of their opponents, they actually favor democracy. But they (like all the rest of us) are human and have flaws, some of which have been a focus of the intra-party competitions we have just experienced. Now we have to move on.

Of course, some of our candidates did not face competition in the primary. In LD4, for instance, Christine Marsh ran unopposed for the AZ Senate, as did Laura Terech for the AZ House. In the Maricopa County Attorney race, Julie Gunnigle was the sole Democrat in the primary. In this cycle we are fortunate to have outstanding candidates like these, and they don’t have obvious intra-party disputes to contend with.

Some Tough Primaries

But some Democratic races were contentious, for instance the contest for Secretary of State. Each of the two candidates had many endorsements, official and otherwise, many of which not only extolled the virtues of their candidate but also attacked what they saw as negative about the other. I had my own opinions in this race; I’m a fan of Adrian Fontes, and while I thought that Reginald Bolding had fought hard in the legislature for values I also hold, I felt that Fontes was a much better candidate for the job they both were seeking. But I wish Bolding well, and I look forward to Fontes beating the MAGA insurrectionist Finchem soundly.

But most importantly, we HAVE TO move past these skirmishes and all work together, no matter who we backed for the primary.

This is true in every election cycle. Candidates fight within their party, often vigorously, and after their primary work, can come together to defeat the other party. But this period, including both 2022 and 2024 cycles, is arguably one with much higher stakes than we have seen in many years. We haven’t had an attempted insurrection since the 19th century, an insurrection that also has the potential of resurging in 2024. We haven’t had such widespread successful legislative and judicial attacks on women’s health for 50 years. Public education may never have been under attack here in as many ways as it is now. Our climate challenge is at a critical tipping point. Even human lifespan is declining after many years of extension. Republicans are pushing to make all of these trends far worse, and Democrats are trying to reverse them.

It’s time to do whatever we can. Our first need in the coming period is to understand as much as we can about each race, including each ballot initiative, and then to find enough common ground with as many voters as possible.

There’s too much at stake to falter.