by David Safier
Jim Kolbe not only stepped forward and endorsed Democrat Andrei Cherny over Republican Doug Ducey for State Treasurer. He's chairing Cherny's campaign.
According to Cherny's press release,
Cherny is the first Democrat on a federal or statewide level that Kolbe has endorsed.
This isn't a half measure by Kolbe. It's an unequivocal endorsement.
(For those new to the state, Kolbe was the Republican Rep. for CD-8 before he retired and Giffords was elected to fill the position.)
Which makes me wonder, where are the other moderate Republican leaders, and why aren't they speaking up?
Most of the moderate Republicans aren't in positions of power now, either because they could no longer stomach working with the wingnut Republican power structure, or because the extremists, in an effort to create party purity, put up far right candidates in the primaries who rallied their base and voted the moderates out.
And yet they remain silent, at least in public. In private, many of them are tearing their hair out. They hate what the Republican party has become. But in public, nothing but crickets.
Yes, it's hard to openly endorse Democrats if you're a Republican politician. Yes, you want to leave your options open, not burn your bridges, maybe get back into politics when/if your party becomes more accepting again.
But this is your state. If you hate Russell Pearce's stranglehold on the state's agenda, if you're genuinely worried about our future, you need to make your concerns clear. You either need to openly condemn some of the Republicans running for office, support some Democratic candidates, or both.
I'll mention one name: Pete Hershberger, my old LD-26 state rep, who ran for state senate and was beaten in the primary by Cap'n Atomic Al Melvin. If Hershberger wants to remain a Republican in the old, not-crazy sense of the term, that's OK by me. But it's not OK for him to remain silent. Hershberger could swing a number of votes in the district if he chose to, away from someone like Terri Proud, a poster child for the new Republican right whose stands are diametrically opposed to his.
Hershberger could make a public statement, affirming his Republican loyalty but endorsing one or more Democratic candidates. Nancy Young Wright could be one. Maybe there are other races where he sees the Democrat as the better choice — or the Republican as an unacceptable choice.
For the sake of Arizona, it's time for moderate Republicans to come out of hiding and help the state regain some of its balance.