Around Arizona: Southern Exposure

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Get caught up on all the big news from the southern part of our state in our monthly segment, “Southern Exposure” with Tucson Weekly senior writer Jim Nintzel.

Ted Simons: Each month we look at issues affecting the southside of our state in our series southern exposure. Here now is Jim Nintzel, senior writer for the Tucson weekly. Welcome back.

Jim Nintzel: Always a pleasure.

Ted Simons: Good to hear because we like having you here. Let's start with having you here talking about congressional district 2, barber versus McSally. How is it shaping up?

Jim Nintzel: Big rematch in congressional district 2 down there. Ron Barber and Martha McSally went at it in 2012, one of the closest races in the country, she lost by only about 2500 votes. She has been very aggressive in getting her campaign off the ground for this year, easily won with about 70% of the vote in the Republican primary last week. It's going to be one of the closest watched races in the country I think. You've got a district that is split one-third Democrat, one-third Republican, one-third independent. I think you'll see both trying to grab that middle ground and try to show that they are the ones who are going to work across the aisle and try to build bipartisan solutions to the challenges facing the country.

Ted Simons: The shadow of Gabrielle Giffords. How much is that still a factor in that race?

Jim Nintzel: It depends who you talk to. I think what you call the persuadable voters down there, the ones you really have to win over, I don't think the Gabrielle Giffords factor has a lot to do with winning those voters over. Talking with the Barber campaign they said that when they have done polling that's not a big factor although you will see Gabby have a presence in the race, I understand her group, the Americans for responsible solutions, is going to be going up with ads if they haven't already in that district in support of Ron Barber.

Ted Simons: Congressional district 1, that massive district, half the state it seems, it's set now Tobin versus Kirkpatrick. Thoughts.

Jim Nintzel: Very difficult race for Andy Tobin. They have been counting votes all since election day. They finally his opponent Gary Keanny conceded in that Republican primary. I think Andy Tobin comes out of that race without a lot of money. He had about 80 grand and Ann Kirkpatrick had about 1.3 million as of early August in that campaign. She definitely has a big advantage there. But you'll see both the democratic congressional campaign committee and the Republican national Republican congressional committee coming in. Already up on the air with ads attacking both those candidates. So I think we'll see a lot of mud slinging. A lot of attacks on Kirkpatrick's side saying she supports Obamacare, voted to raise the debt limit, things of that nature, linking her to Nancy Pelosi. On the other side Tobin faces attack ads about his cuts to education when he was speaker of the House of Representatives here in Arizona. So I think Kirkpatrick probably has the advantage there. It's a slightly democratic district. She certainly has the financial advantage.

Ted Simons: Statewide races, Democrats -- common sense says Democrats have to win big in Tucson. How much stumping are we expecting from some of the statewide candidates?

Jim Nintzel: I think a lot of them down there. We have already seen Fred Duval opening up a Fred quarters. Had a full house down there. It's interesting to see his message is all about education and he's got Grant Woods, the former Republican Attorney General, chairing his campaign, so a lot of crossover effort to reach out to Republicans and independents on the part of Fred Duval. The Ducey campaign was down there as well, a lot of Republican candidates are to swing through Southern Arizona last week.

Ted Simons: Before we leave politics, the leanings in southern Arizona, Cochise County, Pima County, Yuma, Santa Cruz County. We think of Tucson as democratic as somewhat liberal. What about the others?

Jim Nintzel: Santa Cruz County very democratic County. That's the one where you'll find Nogales and Cochise County tends to lean a little more Republican. Yuma County tends to lean Democrat although it's relatively close. I would say the southern part of the state leans more democratic but there are certainly Republican strongholds within that area.

Ted Simons: We have seen representation as such in the legislature from some of the Sierra Vista, Oro valley, those places.

Jim Nintzel: Exactly.

Ted Simons: Who is Charles Bo den?

Jim Nintzel: Charles Boden, well known author, wrote a lot about the southwest. I first encountered his work as a paper boy at the Tucson citizen folding the papers and seeing his by line in that now defunct newspaper. He formed a magazine in Tucson then went on to write books starting out books about nature but very hard boiled sort of approach to writing about nature. More recently writing about the drug war, killings in Juarez and that sort of topic. Passed way just over the weekend down in Las Cruses, New Mexico, where he had recently relocated.

Ted Simons: You described him as environmental Noir. Which I thought was really well-put, hard boiled, yes. Like the old school journalist.

Jim Nintzel: Certainly was. A guy who really got the story, the details of the story, the people behind the story. It was not nature writing as sort of pleasant sort of happy trees and things like that. It was a much more dark approach about mankind's impact on nature and how brutal nature could be. Read in tooth and claw.

Ted Simons: Same as hunter S. Thompson, Edward Abbey.

Jim Nintzel: Exactly. He worked with Hunter Thompson on books at some point and was a friend of Edward Abbey as well. Certainly will be much missed in southern Arizona. We're going to have a big tribute issue in the Tucson Weekly next week from folks who want to write and say goodbye to him.

Ted Simons: Linda Ronstadt apparently can't stop talking -- can't stop being asked about why she left Tucson to live in San Francisco. She just goes after that town like crazy. What's going on?

Jim Nintzel: You know, I don't know why journalists keep bringing this up. Linda does not pass up opportunities to bad mouth her hometown. She has -- it's changed a lot since Linda was at Tucson high and running away to California to launch her rock 'n' roll career. We're still very proud of Linda Ronstadt as a hometown rock 'n' roll star. We don't have many celebrities in Tucson, Arizona, but I don't think she shares those feelings. She's off in San Francisco now. Doesn't seem to -- it has changed a lot.

Ted Simons: She called the downtown architecture the new architecture similar to Stalinist Russia. Is she the only one who feels that way?

Jim Nintzel: There may be others. That's a fairly harsh assessment of what it looks like these days. Downtown Tucson is on a great rebounded. I have a lot of fun. I'm looking forward to the hotel Congress this evening. I think that's an OVERLY harsh assessment.

Ted Simons: She mentioned car culture similar to living in Los Angeles. She knees to come to Phoenix and see what we go through here. The traffic in Tucson, is it getting more miserable?

Jim Nintzel: It is not. You know, when I was driving up here and seeing what was going on on the interstate in a southerly direction, we have nothing like that happening in Tucson. We just got our streetcar, people are riding it left and right.

Ted Simons: Do people in Phoenix, you have folks who don't care because they haven't been here long enough, old timers lamenting the loss of downtown as a focus, seeing a renaissance. Are there wistful folks Tucson isn't what it used to be, I wish it were more like X, as opposed to Y.

Jim Nintzel: Of course there are. People will always lament the lack of old fashioned barbershops and soda fountains in downtown Tucson but it's bouncing back in a way that we haven't seen in decades in Tucson. It's more lively than I have seen did in my lifetime. A lot of new restaurants, clubs opening up for live music. The modern streetcars now running, which is bringing a lot of people who are -- that thing is jammed on weekend. People are squeezing in every single spot they can on that there are some really great things going on.

Ted Simons: Thanks for joining us. Enjoy the show TONIGHT.

Jim Nintzel: I certainly will. Thank you for having me on.

Jim Nintzel:Senior Writer, Tucson Weekly;

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