VOTE 2012: Post-Election Analysis

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Post-election commentary and analysis from political consultants John Loredo and Stan Barnes.

Ted Simons: Coming up next on "Arizona Horizon." The election is over, let the analysis begin. We'll take a look at what happened last night and at what still is happening with a few congressional races that are still undecided. We'll break down vote 2012 with political consultants from both sides of the aisle. That's next on "Arizona Horizon." "Arizona Horizon" is made possible by contributions from the friends of eight. Members of your Arizona PBS station. Thank you.
Ted Simons: Good evening, and welcome to "Arizona Horizon." I'm Ted Simons. President Barack Obama may not have won Arizona, but he did defeat Republican Mitt Romney in more than enough states to win reelection. Here in Arizona, Jeff Flake is the state's newest U.S. Senator, and we still have a few congressional races that are too close to call. Joining us now with post-election analysis is Republican political consultant Stan Barnes of copper state consulting, and democratic political consultant, John Loredo. Good to have you both here. That thinks for joining us.
John Loredo: Good to be here.
Ted Simons: We'll start with you, what did we learn last night?
Stan Barnes: Well, we learned that supposedly, smart guys like John and myself are wrong about as often as we are right. I was sure that, that Johnson Payton was going to win the race in C.D. one in eastern Arizona. I was sure that flake and carmona would be a little closer than it ended up being. I was sure that Romney would give Obama run for his money. Turns out, I was wrong on many counts, and I was sure that Ron barber was going to hold that congressional seat in honor of Gabrielle Giffords in southeastern Arizona, and he's not. So, there is a lot of interesting things to learn.
Ted Simons: Is there an overriding -- I don't want to pick on you, but is there an overriding reason you were so wrong?
Stan Barnes: I think it's because, bus we read the tea leaves given us and we strap plate, and as it turns out, voters are really a collection of individuals doing their individual thing, and it does not lend itself well to rules and theorem and practice. It is a fluid world we live in, politically speaking, and so, this is one reason that I love election, to see the outcomes.
Ted Simons: John, what did we learn last notice?
John Loredo: You know, it was an interesting election, and part of what made it interesting is the influx of money. You know. This -- we have kind of, as a state, we have kind of made the leap into the next level, you know, tiered states that has ton national money from both sides flowing in. And whenever you have that much money flowing in, you know, it tends to just shift things all over the place, and depending on when it comes and how it is used, it can really make the difference in make or break race.
Ted Simons: Did it make a big difference on any one particular race that you can think of, or was it just, again, everything?
John Loredo: You know, I think probably carmona, the spending at the very end against him. I think, had a serious impact. And but, you know, in a lot of these race, you have situation like the one down in Tucson with barber where there was not a lot of money spent on that race compared to a lot of the other ones. And it kind of -- it surprised people how close it was. I don't think it's over yet. You know, we have got situation where there is upwards half a million ballots that have not been counted in Arizona. And that's a huge number of ballots, and when they do, that's enough to make the difference in a lot of these races.
Ted Simons: I want to get to that race in a second. Stan, let's start in maricopa county, the Phoenix area with a congressional district nine, this was expected to be close race, certainly, a testy campaign on both sides as far as the advertising was concerned. Expected to be close. It still is close.
Stan Barnes: It is. It's going to end up being a historic race, in Arizona terms, like John said, it's, it's a race that got millions of dollars of money from outside of Arizona. And who has not seen an advertisement or being exposed to this campaign in the Phoenix television market area. Everybody has been exposed to this. And, you know, to, John's point, I think that kind of money, had an impact in this race, and I think that he would have won the race outright because that district and those precincts in that district voted if Obama in 2008. And I think that this year, she would have just won it, except that there was so many negative advertising against her, that she couldn't overcome it. Well, she might have, but she's in a tight race.
Ted Simons: We have some analysts last night, wes and Bob and Jay were here, I think wes mentioned the fact that it was so negative, that the Libertarian candidate pulled, perhaps, couple of percentage points more than he usually would have. This is guy on our program who advised viewers not to vote. This is the candidate we're talking about. He winds up, did he impact this election? Taking votes away from Parker?
John Loredo: It's interesting, I think that, independent voters even in legislative races, they got a lot more votes than I think anyone expected, and probably more than they expected to pull. In a lot of these races, and what happens is, you have so much political advertising that you really, by the time that the election comes, you shrink the number of undecided voters, and people just, they get to the point that they have just made their minds up one way or another which way they are going to go, and then it comes down to turnout. And you know, you cross the plain where you are convincing people, and it becomes a matter of who gets their people to the polls better.
Ted Simons: Is the winner of this race destined in two years to do this all over again?
Stan Barnes: You painfully have spoken true words because whoever it is, Kyrsten or Vernon, is going to face a Greek style tragedy of an election two years from now. Because, and that, that's probably the nature of any first term congressman in a split district, but this one, particularly, you can bet two years from now, whoever the opposite party is going to feel the candidate, and it's going to be another multi-million-dollar campaign.
Ted Simons: Congressional district one is another race, that seems to close to call here now, and we went off the air late last night. It looked as though one candidate, Jonathan Paton, had to lead relatively comfortably. We wake up this morning, and kirkpatrick has the lead, relatively comfortably. What happened here?
John Loredo: Last night, you know, the votes from the Navajo nation were not in. And that they are going to, they are going to sway heavily in favor of Kirkpatrick, so you don't look at the overall numbers, but you look at where they are coming from and what's outstanding, and you can tell who is going to win this thing. So, and the Navajo nation, there was a lot of effort to get voters to turn out. They, actually, for the first time, created their Navajo nation elections at the same time as the general election. Which increased their turnouts substantially, and that helps kirkpatrick push over the edge.
Ted Simons: Surprised by this?
Stan Barnes: As I said, at the top of the show, very surprised. And all the polling that, kirkpatrick, the Payton, outside of Arizona polling, had this race going to Payton. There was also a committee of the Navajo nation Government that endorsed Payton. Which was a one-off, hasn't happened very often with the Navajo nation endorsing a Republican candidate. I thought he was going to win. He thought he was going to win when he went to bed last night, I would imagine, and I am still shocked it ended up the way that it appears to have ended up. No one has conceded yet because as you said, there is thousands of uncounted ballots, even in Pima county, some of which effects this district.
Ted Simons: And mentioning that, let's get down to the congressional district 2, and this is another race, and I think that most folks thought that, that Ron barber had little momentum, and it would be close but not this close. This is about as close as you can get. What do you think, John?
John Loredo: You know, there a lot of outstanding ballots in this district, and I think that, that they are going to break barber's way, so it is close enough to put him over the edge. I think that it's big surprise, any way that you slice it, you know, they just got done with the special election in which the national, you know, democrats and Republicans dumped a ton of money, and I think that after that was over, you know, people kind of moved onto other races, and this wouldn't just, this one stayed there by itself, so again, you know, it all comes down to turnout. And it all comes down to, to the 80,000 ballots that are outstanding in Pima county, and which way they are going to break.
Ted Simons: Was it running a strong campaign or barber not being able to use Gabrielle Giffords as well as maybe some --
Stan Barnes: I think it's fair to say that it were a little of both. I think it's also fair to say that number of Republicans had written this off. As, as the barber seat. When he filled gabby's seat in special election, in a district that was less democratic, than the one now, and after redistricting inherited a district more democratic, in registration, and proved that he was serious candidate, and won all the race that is he was in to get to where he was, everybody said, well, can't win, but, as I say, everybody can be wrong. And in this case, it's a real close race, and we may not know for a few days.
Ted Simons: Stan mentioned that he thought maybe the flake-carmona race would be closer. How about you? Were you surprised by the margin in this race?
John Loredo: Not really. The reason why is that if you look at what happened on election day, I mean, it was unprecedent here in Arizona. There were so many ballots that were, early ballots brought in at polling places, and a record number of provisional ballots that, that people were forced to vote. Overwhelming number of these came from democratic areas, and minority areas. And so, you have got upwards of half a million ballots out there, many, you know, of them came from west Phoenix, south Phoenix, and the Yuma area, and Tucson, and democratic strongholds. When you have got upwards of half million of those ballots that are outstanding, and you have got carmona down by 85,000, those are going to break his way, and I would not be feeling very comfortable if I were chip flake.
Ted Simons: Wow, that is bold.
Stan Barnes: I don't know how to react to that. I think that, that it's more hope than, than empirical fact, but, there is an extraordinary amount of ballots still out. And as John said, there is more than half million ballots, and that feels like a giant universe. But a trend is, is ended up being a trend in almost every political circumstance I have ever witness. And flake led the whole night. Even if it was just by a little bit. So, I think it's more, of a wish that it would end up differently once they are all counted. But, in the meantime, it feels like flake is in, and carmona conceded.
Ted Simons: Regardless of how it ends up, I think that we had a good idea how it ends up, but the tally was reasonably close. Carmona seemed like the perfect candidate. Republicans used to think that carmona was the perfect candidate. What happened here?
John Loredo: It's all money. I mean, look, if you buy up all the airtime, and you just plaster somebody, doesn't matter who they are or what side of the aisle that you are, I mean, there is a reason why negative ads are on TV all the time. There is a reason why both sides use them. It's because they work. And whoever plaster the other person better drives the votes down.
Ted Simons: Did the flake camp plaster Carmona better?
Stan Barnes: I still think flake won because generally, Arizona is a center right state, and he was the center right candidate. But then, personalities come, in and resumes come in, and style comes in. And that's where Carmona was gaining on him. The flake campaign, what I think that they did wrong, it may not have been his campaign, it might have been an outside money, campaign, they jumped the shark with this whole, how dangerous he is as an individual. And including the, the banging on the door silhouette thing. Every time I saw that, I thought, you guys are hurting your own cause with that, that overzealous attitude about campaigning. But, nonetheless, when everything settles down, I believe that Arizona is a center right state, and that was Jon Kyl's Republican seat. It was flake's to lose in the first place. It just ended up being Carmona is a wonderful individual, who has got, if he wants to, another bite at the apple, and there is some rumor that he might talk about running for Governor in Arizona. Now, on democratic side of the aisle. Because the democrats don't have a great bench on, for that race.
Ted Simons: Provided he hasn't soured completely on politics in this particular effort. Joe Arpaio, wins again. Not really all that close when you get down to it. If he wins now, after all the reports and all the negative stories and this, that, and the other, and Paul Penzone, a credible candidate and he wins still by nine, 10 percentage points, is he unbeatable? Is that basically what he is in this county?
John Loredo: I don't know that he's going to run any more after this. But, I mean, it's a long term, and, and I think that, you know, he will probably have had enough after this, but, you know, he's more than likely in his last term. He won. He had to dump a lot of money to get there. And, and I think that he did so wisely. And now, he's -- now, I think with, with -- he does not have the political pressure on him. And I think, we'll probably see him -- we'll see more of the real Joe Arpaio with, with maybe a little less glitz and glamour. At least we hope. So, we'll see what happens.
Ted Simons: When I asked if he was unbeatable, I'm looking in retrospect. Did Penzone have a chance in this race?
Stan Barnes: There is a saying you can't beat somebody with nobody, and Penzone was an unknown individual. Penzone represented a credible alternative, but really represented anybody but Joe vote. And, and the anybody but Joe vote, ended up being what it was. 40 something percent. The embarrassment for Joe is, for Sheriff Joe, is that he had to spend roughly, I don't know, $10 a vote this time versus 79 cents a vote last time. If he did not have $8 million, magically say that they had the same money, this would not have been the same race, but everybody got, every has 100% name I.D. and everybody got to see the soft side of Joe Arpaio, with his lovely wife there or with the animals, and it was less on immigration and hard edge politics. But, it sounds like, at concession speech last flight or victory speech time, that he was going to go right back to that, so, you know, John has hopes and I have hopes because I have long lost Joe as, I'm not a supporter. I think that he's abused his office. But yet, he does represent this, this, the whale them and jail them attitude which is a majority of attitudes in Maricopa County. I like to think that I'm in that majority. I want bad guys to be taken care of, in the proper manner, but, the abuse of office has just been so bad that he lost me, he should win in office going away, he should not have to spend $8 million. But he had to spend $8 million, and he just barely won.
Ted Simons: Ok. But again, the same question, with all that said, and with all the background and all the stories and all the pink underwear, the star, the glitz, the 100% name, did Penzone ever really have a chance?
John Loredo: You know, he came pretty darn close. And the fact of the matter is, I mean, Joe Arpaio had more money than any candidate in Arizona has ever had for anything, and he spent more than anyone has ever spent for any, any office. You would think that he would have just blown Penzone out of the water. He did not. And, and that, I think, that's statement in and of itself.
Ted Simons: Indeed but it's almost like the football game where the team is driving, they are down by seven and in field goal range, which is nice but you're not going to win the game.
John Loredo: Sure.
Ted Simons: Ok. Propositions, a couple here to focus on. Prop 121, the idea of changing the nature of elections here in Arizona. This did not just lose, Stan. This got run over by a great train. Was that a surprise?
Stan Barnes: It was. I thought it would be closer. I thought that there was a lot of -- I think, I still think that there is a lot of dissatisfaction with general politics. Most people are turned off by it most think the parties are either too extreme or, or a little, little clubs, and I thought this would have an audience that was natural but it did not have a positive campaign built around it, really. They spent all their money getting it go on the ballot, and they did not have a lot of money to run with after that. It did not organically win the race for itself. And, and so, there you have it.
Ted Simons: John, was this too complicated, was it too much of a change? This -- it's not even remotely close.
John Loredo: It is very, a very complicate thing to explain to voters, and when you are trying to win a vote, you have got very small window of time to explain something. It better be simple enough to explain, and this just wasn't. And part of it is because it was -- I don't think anybody disagreed with the premise that things need to be more moderated. Things need to be a little more balanced in Arizona. But, this was based on a theory. That they could not necessarily show worked anywhere. So, and it was complicated, and it was something that was so, so kind of out in left field that even people who are supporting it, when you ask them about it, they weren't really quite sure how it worked. They just agreed with the premise that, that something needs to be done, so I guess that this is it.
Ted Simons: With that being said, do we see this idea again?
John Loredo: No.
Ted Simons: No. What do you think Stan?
Stan Barnes: I don't think -- there is not any altruistic money behind it to change the thing. But what we might get, the folks behind that, what they really want, is, is a moderated, pragmatic, middle ground candidate to be able to emerge, and I think that we may still get that. But, we're going to get it in spite of the parties, we're going to get kind of the independent play or the non affiliated play over time. I mean, the state of Maine elected an independent, U.S. Senator, yesterday. And I think that Arizona's time is going to come, it's just a matter of time.
Ted Simons: Ok. Another proposition that failed, and failed big-time was 204. This idea of making a permanent, temporary sales tax. And again John, not even close here. Was that a surprise to you?
John Loredo: I think that most people who, at least on the inside, kind of saw this coming. The campaign was not necessarily the greatest. It kind of -- it got overshadow. A lot more spending on the other side in terms of airtime and there really wasn't a response, necessarily, that, that was persuasive, and so, just the coalition wasn't big enough. There wasn't enough money behind it, and, and there were just enough -- the opposition, was well funded. They took control of the airwaves.
Ted Simons: Was it the issue or the campaign, do you think?
Stan Barnes: I think it was more, more the issue was, was in trouble from the get-go, and the reason is, because I think that the average voter was awake and watched Governor Brewer lead on the temporary nature of the one cent sales tax. And it's my belief that the average voter in Arizona understood that it was an extent, this was an extension of the temporary one cent sales tax that got us through the trough, the bad part, and they just didn't buy the very premise of it. The coalition came together, what I call the drug deal between public education supporters and road builders. They said, we're in this together, and they did, and they thought that they could sell Arizonans on voting for education, which generally works in Arizona. But, from, from the beginning, too many people saw it for what it was. Which was just a money funnel for these two special groups, and that's it. And it was supposed to be temporary.
Ted Simons: Is it the kind of thing that we could see in the legislature next session? Something along these lines, focusing on education, once again, what do you see?
John Loredo: Possibly, but not. I don't think it's going to be a priority for them, quite honestly. I mean, as the ,economy starts to recover, you will see the, the collection of sales tax increase a little bit, and so, they will have a little bit more money, and a little bit more money, and a little bit more money. And so, they will be able to start to refund, I think, it's more likely they kick a little bit more money to plug some of the holes that they cut.
Stan Barnes: There will be ice in August in Ajo because there is a tax raised in this regard. And if for no other reason, it was just rejected by voters. That's the nail in the coffin.
Ted Simons: Let's talk about the capital, here. The supermajority, did it hold in the house?
Stan Barnes: No, both the house and the Senate, are shrinking, the house was 40 Republicans. And, is now -- somewhere in the neighborhood of 34, 35, 36. I don't know the exact count because at least three of the house races around the state are in doubt. The votes are too close. We don't really know the answer tonight. But, the house Republicans are going to shrink from 40 to mid 30s somewhere.
Ted Simons: And the Senate, 17-13?
Stan Barnes: Yeah, the Senate was 21, record 21 Republican senators, and that's going to 17. There are 17, that's clear.
Ted Simons: So what does it mean? What does it mean regarding policy?
John Loredo: Well, we'll find out. You know, I think that any time that you have a closer margin. You tend to get a little bit more thoughtful about what you are doing. I mean, there are a whole bunch of different variables that come into play. The Senate comes up with their version of a bill. The House comes up with their version, and they have got to negotiate and then the Governor comes in and there is negotiation back and forth. And when you have a smaller margin, you have got to do more work to keep people together, so it becomes a tougher ball game all the way around. So I think you are going to get a little more thoughtfulness going into things, and people are going to have to work harder in order to get their agendas through.
Stan Barnes: And John is onto something, and the Senate Republicans are not united. They are, at the very outlay, but, you go in one level, and they are not. It's a brand new Senate President. Today, named Andy Biggs, who is from Gilbert. A very smart attorney, that's a seasoned Veteran at the State Capitol, he's from the conservative wing of the Republican Party. A lot of capital watchers, current Senate President Steve Pierce is going to hold that job but when the Republicans gather today, it was Andy Biggs that emerged and that signals the functioning majority of the Senate 17 Republicans, is, you know, the conservative wing of the party.
Ted Simons: Does it not also signal the spirit of Russell Pierce still roams the hallways there?
John Loredo: I think it had more to do with what's happening behind the scenes within the Republican Party. You've got county parties at civil war within the party, and you have had county parties doing resolutions against Andy Tobin and against Senator Pierce. And you have got a lot of this infighting that's happening, and when you look at who the Republicans picked in leadership, they kind of picked people from opposite ends of the caucus. You have got Adam Griggs as the whip and Andy Biggs on the other side. I think what it symbols, it's a move to try and create some peace out there heading into a legislative session. Andy Biggs can calm those people and the country parties down a little bit and say, look, we have got a job to do. You know, we're going to put this behind us and we're going to move on. But, at the same time, the caucus elected McComish and Driggs maybe at the other end to maybe bring some balance within the caucus, and within leadership, so that they moderate each other.
Ted Simons: Is that going to calm those folks do you think?
Stan Barnes: As it ends up, John McComish from Ahwatukee he's going to be the majority leader, and he's from, from a little less conservative wing of the Republican Senate caucus, and Adam Driggs, from east Phoenix is going to be the whip. So that, that -- that three-member leadership group is a pretty balanced group, in terms of, of politically balanced. And the state house is, is more, more of -- everybody from, from the conservative wing of the party, and that place. So, what will balance it, to your point, what will balance it is Senator Biggs as president. He's not a screamer. He's not a loud guy. He's a very calm person. You never see him exercise. You always see him speaking evenly and quietly. Style is as much importance as substance, down there at the State Capitol.
Ted Simons: 30 seconds left. Democrats. Any more influences going around or more of the same?
John Loredo: You know, the Republicans are going to have just a two-vote margin. There, so it's tough as a leader, you have got to keep your people all together, but I think that Democrats will do that. And, you know, once, once, you know, the Senate takes a position, the house takes a position. The Governor comes in, and people start dividing every which way, and I think that Democrats are going to be able to influence the direction and, and if they need to team up with somebody, they will be able to do that.
Ted Simons: Good stuff, guys, great to have you here. Thanks for joining us.
Stan Barnes: You bet.
Ted Simons: Thursday on "Arizona Horizon," we'll look at how accurate some of the polling numbers were on last night's vote. And it's the 40th anniversary of title 9, which opened up school Athletics to women. That's Thursday evening, 5:30 and 10:00 right here on "Arizona Horizon". That is it for now, thank you very much for joining, you I'm Ted Simons. You have a great evening.

John Loredo:Political Consultant; Stan Barnes:Political Consultant;

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