In less than a week Arizonans will go to the polls and the parties will pick their candidates for the general election. The most crucial primary is in AZ-03, where Big Business is running a lifelong Republican-- a fake Democrat-- in the hope of defeating Raśl Grijalva. Blue America is supporting Raśl and we have an ActBlue page dedicated to helping him win reelection-- first in next Tuesday's primary and then in the November general election.
There are three other races we're watching closely. In AZ-01, corporate shill Ann Kirkpatrick, who was defeated as part of the Great Blue Dog Apocalypse of 2010, is running for her old seat as is progressive champion Wenona Baldenegro. When Kirkpatrick first ran in 2008 for the sprawling open seat that takes up most of the state she took 56%-- 155,791 votes (as opposed to 109,924 for her GOP opponent). She won 6 of the district's 8 counties with the biggest, Yavapai, being a virtual tie-- 45,014 for her and 45,487 for her opponent). Last cycle, her confusing voting record-- she stuck with the Republicans whenever it mattered most-- depressed Democratic turnout and the results were astonishing. Paul Gosar won even more GOP votes than the previous GOP candidate-- 112,816 but over 50,000 of Kirkpatrick's initial supporters evaporated. She only managed to get 99,233 votes, a pathetic result of a pathetic 2 years in Congress. She only won 3 counties of the 8-- and was trounced by Gosar 47,449- 27,179 in Yavapai. The Democratic activists and the base hate her. The DCCC, of course, is pushing Kirkpatrick and she's raised $1,439,151. So far Kirkpatrick has spent $626,950 in the primary. Baldenegro has raised just under $100,000. It's another David vs Goliath race-- with the DCCC and shady corporate interests backing Goliath... as usual.
And then there's the complicated, messy primary in the new 9th CD, pitting 3 people who I know and like, moderate Democrat Andrei Cherny, the DC Establishment face (an Arizona ex-state Democratic Party chair and a former Clinton White House aide; former state Senator Kyrsten Sinema, usually considered to have the best shot (but the choice of untrustworthy Beltway organizations like EMILY's List and the Victory Fund); and progressive champion and state Senate Minority Leader David Schapira, who's been endorsed by DFA, Raśl Grijalva and, oddly, failed conservative ex-Congressman Harry Mitchell.
And then there's the race in the new AZ-02, basically a slightly bluer version of Gabby Gifford's old 8th district seat. Up top you can watch the TV forum with ConservaDem Ron Barber and Blue America-endorsed Matt Heinz. It was as close as Barber would get to a debate. But if you watch closely, aside from seeing him lose his shit when he's confronted about backing a Tea Party bill to gut a package of crucial environmental laws (his first substantive vote in Congress), you see how crafty he is about never answering any questions in a way that gives away how he really stands on anything. The man is a repulsive weasel-- perfect for Steve Israel and Joe Crowley, which explains why they're backing him so heavily. Even after being asked twice if he'd back legislation to restrict high capacity gun magazines, like the one used to wound both Gabby Giffords and himself, he showed his true cowardly, weasely nature by repeatedly ducking the question. He says we "need to talk to law enforcement to find out what they believe are the right answers to these problems and then with their advice and the advice of our community move forward and take whatever action is appropriate." But law enforcement has been begging Congress for years to get assault weapons and high capacity magazines off the streets. Barber is a not just a coward; he's a liar. And then he went on obfuscating with the typical NRA post-tragedy line: "But this is not the time in the emotion of these three shootings, of the two most recent shootings, to engage in this kind of political debate. I think we have to respect the people who were shot and were killed and we have to have a longer and more serious discussion with the people who know about this issue in depth and law enforcement is one of those groups and then we can get to some answers that are important." Hard to imagine anyone who considers themselves a Democrat could vote for this walking pile of turd.
Coverage in the Arizona Daily Star, Tucson's biggest newspaper, didn't refer to Barber as a walking pile of turd... but it would be difficult to read their account without walking away with that impression. They emphasized Matt Heinz's more germane response to the same question:
Mental-health services need to be beefed up, but it's also time to have a serious dialogue about high-capacity magazines, said Heinz, a Tucson doctor and state representative. This discussion would be a way to honor the memories of the victims of the mass shootings.
"I'm not saying there needs necessarily to be a ban, but that should be on the table," said Heinz, pointing out that many of the mass shooters have used high-capacity magazines.
Heinz acknowledged it's impossible to stop all disturbed people from going on rampages, but he argued that having fewer bullets may reduce the number of people killed. Having fewer bullets in each magazine would have lessened the bloodshed in the Tucson shooting, he said.
"If he had to stop for five or 10 seconds and fumble around, and reload, and get tackled at that point, 20 fewer bullets would have left his gun," Heinz said.