Journalists’ Roundtable

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Ted Simons: Coming up next on "Arizona Horizon's" "Journalists' Roundtable," this week's primary election is for the most part history. We'll talk about the winners, the nonwinners, and what lies ahead in the general election campaign. An election recap next on the "Journalists' Roundtable."

Ted Simons: Good evening and welcome to "Arizona Horizon's" "Journalists' Roundtable," I'm Ted Simons. Joining us tonight Jeremy Duda of the "Arizona Capitol Times," Howard Fischer of the Capitol Media Services, and Bob Christie of the Associated Press. The elimination of two incumbent state office holders. In general, Jeremy, any surprises?

Jeremy Duda: Not too many. You knocked out Horne and Huppenthal, who were both beseiged, Horne for the past two and a half years and Horne recently but no less so. For the most part I think a lot of these ended up the way we expected.

Howard Fischer: Although the margins I think were a little different. I did not expect Ducey to win by that large a margin. From early on he was 38, 39% of the vote in a six-way race. Brnovich's victory was a little surprising, given that his total campaign was hi, I'm not Tom Horne. I thought Andrew Thomas would do better, he didn't crack double digits. What's going to be interesting to see is now that, as you say, we've knocked a couple of incumbents out, what opportunities that creates for the Democrats in the races. At least one of them is going to be a Democrat seat.

Ted Simons: Again, Bob, any surprises?

Bob Christie: I think the seventh Congressional District was somewhat of a surprise, not necessarily because Reuben Gallega won, but because Mary Rose Wilcox has been representing parts of that district for 25 or more years, she should have had a good ground game. Reuben Gallego went out and worked that district. It was filled with Wilcox signs in front of every house. Three weeks before the election it all switched to Gallego. I know, that's the ground game.

Ted Simons: Sign says it all. Before we get any further now, independent voters were supposed to be a big factor. Could you see anything there?

Jeremy Duda: Not so much. Everyone figured more independent voters would mean more votes for Scott Smith. It was pretty clearing he was banking on this a lot. You sure didn't see it if it helped. He lost by 15 points. He got a better showing than Christine Jones who spent money out of her own pocket for a distant third place. We really didn't see anything so far at least that would show that independents --

Howard Fischer: And the funny thing, we go through this every two years with the Latino vote. We've got them registered, now they are going to come out. We keep waiting and looking and it hasn't happened, the same thing with the independents. We talked about that at this table, how you can go in and request a ballot for either of the parties. There were a lot of requests but the returns didn't seem to be on par. Only about half of those early ballots from the independents' return. Maybe it was, my God, is this the best we can do.

Ted Simons: So the Republican fear was that independents would mean moderate candidates would get more votes? Not founded?

Bob Christie: We didn't see it in this vote, that's for sure. At least they didn't sway the races away from the more conservative candidates. We didn't see it in the Governor's race where Mr. Ducey got the majority of the votes. Everybody who thought Smith needed a huge independent turnout to win, and they didn't show up.

Ted Simons: Let's get to the governor's race here. Did Ducey win this thing? Or did Scott Smith and some others just simply not get to where we or some thought they would get to?

Jeremy Duda: You have to give Ducey a good credit, it was a well-run campaign, good help. He benefited from a lot of missteps by his opponents. Scott Smith just got in too late. He was really struggling for a while. When he finally started to get momentum with the Brewer endorsement, it was way too late to matter. Then Christine Jones, who barely a month ago looked like Ducey's top contender, she got carpet bombed with really effective negative ads.

Howard Fischer: Certain debates, certain forums he was supposed to attend, the League of Cities, this is an important group, elected officials from around the state. No, I have a prior commitment. And I think he recognized that perhaps he didn't do as well in those sort of situations. It's going to be fascinating to see now that we've got a head to head race -- I'm not minimizing the Libertarian candidates, how many of these people he shows up for. His spokeswoman says oh, we'll be out there. I'm not sure he really wants to do as many head to heads with DuVal. He's trying to paint DuVal as a liberal lobbyist, we still don't have answers on all the money he got from a successful businessman for the sale of Cold Stone. After they actually looked at the books and went through arbitration, maybe he only got two cents on the dollar.

Ted Simons: You're ducking debates, ducking public appearances, you're afraid. Whatever happened with the Cold Stone situation. So an arbitrator had to be involved, and there was a little conflict there. Was it really worth it?

Bob Christie: That's not really going to be the issue in the general election. What's going to be in the general election is weather DuVal can get Ducey to pin down, you don't like Obamacare, you've talked about in three yours you're going to tweak it. What are you going do about the school funding that's due. Well that, kind of hints that there's going to be a big change in there.

Howard Fischer: And it goes beyond that. Other things could be interesting to watch. DuVal will be interested because he doesn't have a primary. In the primary you run to your right, your far right, as far as you can go comfortably. Now he needs to pivot back. Particularly since DuVal is lining up a bunch of current Republicans, people like former Senate easily I can't Corbett, President of the Board of Regents who gets a lot of cover on the charge that he was somehow responsible for higher tuition. He's been out building coalitions and the vast building. If they do show up, that makes a big difference.

Jeremy Duda: For one thing, I think Ducey has going for him that he's weathered so many of these attacks already. It's going to be different than the general, but he had almost $1.4 million of attack ads run against him, seems to have shrugged it off. Nobody really knows Fred DuVal. The Republicans are defining him the most right now. Grant woods, I'm a former Republican Grant Woods, I supported Jan Brewer and now he supports Fred DuVal. The next day the former Republican governor said lobbyist Fred DuVal raised your tuition. The immediate response was we were forced into that because of the Republican budget cuts.

Ted Simons: But again, what they are arguing is Fred DuVal did not raise tuition. He was on a board that decided to raise tuition for a variety of reasons.

Howard Fischer: And never mind the rest of it. I did a little bit of analysis. From the time Fred DuVal started on the board until he finished, 8,000 students down Foye,000 and the percentage of the budget went from 29% to 17. Those are inconvenient truths.

Ted Simons: But they are ads and they do stick if you repeat them over and over again.

Bob Christie: They sure do. Ducey ran a very smart primary campaign. By the time he pulled out the last week and a half of the race, no more forums for me because I'm up too high -- he had effectively created the narrative and stuck to his message. He's going to keep doing that in the general. He's got the name I.D. now. Now he can make, you know, reinforce that among Democratic voters and independent voters and try to get some of them to secure his base. Then the other folks will come along and take out his opponents.

Howard Fischer: A lot of this comes down to whether DuVal or DuVal, depending on who's pronouncing it, can define the sweet spot. Well, we need an ethics commission. There is a spot that voters will go to. It goes to the issue of the school funding. $2.9 billion cheated from students, even as the relationship legislature gave away millions and millions in tax breaks, 30% reduction of corporate income taxes, accelerated depression. If Fred can make that an issue, do you believe in funding our schools, and do you believe that we shouldn't be giving corporate tax breaks rather than funding the kids, he might find the sweet spot in there.

Jeremy Duda: The Democratic polling here is transferred pretty good. In the past showing basically a horse race with Barry hensive ran in 2006 and 2010. I'm not sure if it gets to 12%. I don't know if Barry's going to get that high. I showed pretty high negatives for Ducey, the down side of taking all these attacks. He still won, but there's a lot of negative there.

Howard Fischer: And that's the thing. 60% of those said Fred who? Which again, can be an opportunity but it's a variation of what happens with ballot measures. You don't know somebody, you vote against them.

Bob Christie: It's not uncommon. The people engaged in the primary, there was a 23% turnout, some horrible turnout. But the people involved in the primary are the real core of each party. The Republicans and less on the Democrat, they didn't have a real race. Right after a primary you would develop, have a pretty flat poll. The sample size is pretty small, below standards that I can report for the Associated Press because it doesn't meet our polling standards. But it gives you a snapshot. That is okay, nobody's engaged yet.

Jeremy Duda: Poll is Doug Ducey versus Democrat X. DuVal hasn't been campaigning. A lot of people feel he would have really benefited from a primary, he's going to try and paint Ducey into the extremist right wing corner and reach out from the middle. And Ducey will try to pivot to the center. Ducey was very good at walking up to the line and talking a good game but not really saying what he's going to do.

Ted Simons: That may be a reason he doesn't want to do debates.

Jeremy Duda: He never said keep it or get rid of it. Common core, terrible, offender taking over education.

Bob Christie: Remember, there were six candidates. The debates, even though the longest one I think was two hours, they were not one on one, not one candidate versus another.

Ted Simons: When he ran for treasurer he was on the set a couple of times for debates. It's not like he can't handle the situation. You wonder whether or not he's got folks telling him, you don't need the situation.

Howard Fischer: I think he wants to avoid a lot of specifics. When you're up, that's what you do. One or interesting factor in there, our good friend Jan Brewer, up until about 7:01 p.m. election night, my boy Scott is going do it. Then the returns started coming and by about 9:00 she's downstairs, saw the video at the top of the show supporting Doug. And you know, are people going to buy it. She's a good soldier. She went out to the ice cream social, she's done all that, traveled, doing some stuff for him. But at this point what is her endorsement going to mean if you can pivot from a guy who supports everything you want like Medicaid expansion and common core, to a guy who supports none of what you want.

Ted Simons: Will she be out there supporting Doug Ducey?

Bob Christie: She will be to a certain extent. She's not on the unity tour but she wants a Republican successor. Will she try to -- you know, what you hope in your successor for Jan Brewer once he gets into office, oh, my gosh, I can't cut Medicaid because the business community will go nuts.

Jeremy Duda: And the things that Jan Brewer learned when the Republicans said we finally got rid of Napolitano -- wait a minute, what's she proposing?

Ted Simons: Let's say she does go out there and support and stump for Doug Ducey. Does it make that much of a difference?

Jeremy Duda: I think it probably does. Especially because she's been -- she's reached out to the middle so much. What she need to do do with that is basically heal this very fractured Republican electorate. It was a very nasty primary. And she's got to help bringing people together.

Ted Simons: She talked about that, her endorsements in other races around the state.

Howard Fischer: It's interesting because the Republicans, the incumbents who she endorsed and gave money to out of Arizona's Legacy PAC, one of whom became the Republican nominee for Secretary of State. But she also put up a slate of challengers to go after the bad Republicans and they didn't do so well. Even the kind of money she can put behind you, that'll make it interesting to see what happens in January in terms of Medicaid.

Bob Christie: The website races, the money spent with some exceptions like senator Worsley where he spent a huge amount of money for an L.D. seat, a fairly low budget race, the Governor chipped in ten or $20,000 to some of them. The challengers that the governor wanted to go in were in conservative districts. You would expect the conservatives to win there.

Jeremy Duda: The big story is more than what is Jan Brewer's endorsement doing. Challengers were going up against incumbents, she challengers she was supporting all lost. Both sides pretty much claimed victory. Well, you know the incumbents won, that was the main thing.

Howard Fischer: We were sending a message, everything else. To come back to the base question here, what she can do for Doug Ducey is take some of the Smith people who still have hurt feelings, who might otherwise skip the general election or skip that particular thing and maybe bring them back into the fold.

Ted Simons: Are we going to see Scott Smith out there, Christine Jones stumping for Doug Ducey?

Jeremy Duda: I think most of the opponents will probably endorse Ducey. I think Smith will. Jones I'm not so sure about. She seemed a little more upset about the way that primary went.

Howard Fischer: You spend $5.3 million of your own money and more of your boss' money to get third place, that's a lot of hurt feelings.

Ted Simons: Thoughts on what happened and thoughts on what happens next as far as the general. Because Democrats think they have a shot in both of them.

Jeremy Duda: For the A.G.'s race this is clearly the worst outcome for the Democrats. They wanted that rematch for Rotellini and Horne. Brnovich, there's still a lot of hope. Most Democrats except who worked for the DuVal campaign will tell you that is their best chance of winning back one of the state offices. Rotellini is battle tested, has a ton of money, a better candidate than four years ago. But she no longer has a horrendously wounded opponent. Brnovich has a good record, he just doesn't have a ton of money.

Bob Christie: Of all the top statewide races that one has the biggest chance of going to a Democrat and here's why. Diane Douglas' anti-common core, her one issue. The business community and a lot of moderate Republicans aren't buying that, the conspiracy theory, what many believe is a conspiracy theory that common core is a federal top-down thing. They think it's necessary, especially the business community, they think that we really need to raise the bar in education and this is the way to do it. David Garcia, who's a moderate Democrat I think has the best chance of any of these candidates for statewide Office.

Jeremy Duda: But this is such a far down-ballot race, no one has any money. He just came out of a tough primary, very little money left. Douglas won't have much, either, she's a Clean Elections candidate. A majority might feel like Garcia is a better candidate, how is he going get that message out to people with no money? Nine out of 10 people will say, Republican or Democrat: Okay, Republican.

Howard Fischer: If you look at how the ballots are, it's the federal races and couple of congressional districts that are up. All the legislative race, and somewhere, if you've managed to get through that, you might find some of these other races. And there is a ballot drop-off. We've seen it over and over in the state. People have to be committed enough to find those names.

Ted Simons: Secretary of State race: Reagan versus Goddard. Just the last names alone get your attention. Could Terry Goddard win this?

Howard Fischer: Well, here's a guy who is the proverbial three-time loser in terms of wanting to be governor. He's pulled back his sights a little bit. I think terry might have a shot but Michele Reagan is in most things fairly moderate. She has a few things that might cause folks to think twice. She did try to go ahead and change some of the election laws, make it harder for folks to collect early ballots and things like that. It's not the bright spot. Terry has the name I.D. but it's from when he ran for governor in 1990 and ran again against --

Ted Simons: That was a statewide race. As Doug Ducey found out, it really helps you.

Bob Christie: Just running the campaign helps you. The same people around Ducey's campaign for treasurer ran it this time and he's become a better campaigner. Terry Goddard, Michele Reagan, that's a straight party election. I don't see --

Howard Fischer: That comes back to the point who can find the independents, the 1.3 million independents.

Jeremy Duda: Goddard being in the race was boon for Democrats, a guy who can peel off the people in the middle in a down-ballot race. The last name of Reagan, the ability to peel off independents and Republican women. She's a moderate, a pretty good fund-raiser. This is the worst opponent Goddard could have drawn out of those three.

Howard Fischer: He was hoping for Will Cardin I think.

Ted Simons: What's going on up there the Congressional District 7?

Howard Fischer: Given the three-way race it was bound to be a split. A lot is a geographic split. You've got Andy Tobin just outside the west end of the district. Gary Kiehne and Adam from the southern part of the district. He was clearly going to fall off the bottom at some point. Tobin thought if he kept his mouth shut, given that Kiehne and Adam had a tendency to blow themselves up, he would do okay. But he also didn't have a lot of money. National did come in with a little bit of cash.

Bob Christie: I mean, I think Andy Tobin is probably very surprised. When he saw the chamber come in with this big ad buy in the last two weeks with Andy Tobin out there with the Ann Kirkpatrick ad designed to scare off Democrats -- really, it tells you Andy Tobin thinks he might not win. 366 votes, four or 5,000 left to count.

Jeremy Duda: Even most Republicans would tell you no, the Republican Party wrote off of that seat last summer. Sinema is very strong, she's gone from the resident left-winger to blue dog moderate Democrat. She's raised a ton of money, she's a very savvy politician. Very little chance we're going anywhere.

Howard Fischer: The Republicans are going to use CD-1, try and unseat Ron Barber. How much do you want to put into a race where you could end up throwing a lot of money down the toilet.

Bob Christie: And you're already up in the House of Representatives so you don't need to pass that for the Senate.

Ted Simons: 30 seconds left. Will the legislature be more or less conservative next session?

Howard Fischer: I think it'll be a little more conservative depending on how you measure it, including things like abortion and such.

Bob Christie: A small bit, possibly. If the moderates of intact they will be able to beat back some of the things but not the abortion thing.

Jeremy Duda: Slightly more, they got a couple more conservatives in. A little on the margins, not too much, not enough to threaten Medicaid.

Ted Simons: Thanks for being here, we appreciate it.

Jeremy Duda:Journalist, Arizona Capitol Times; Howard Fischer:Journalist, Capitol Media Services; Bob Christie:Journalist, Associated Press;

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