Horizon Roundup: A look back at 2017

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Three reporters look back at their predictions for 2017 made last December, and speculate on what 2018 will bring.

Topics from 2017 include repealing and replacing the Affordable Cre Act, the building of a border wall and whether or not Sen. Jeff Flake would run for office in 2018. Looking to the future, Laurie Roberts of the Arizona Republic, Howard Fischer of Capitol Media Services and Steve Goldstein of KJZZ discuss the special election for former Congressman Trent Franks’ seat, the elections for Sen. Jeff Flake’s Senate seat and Rep. Kyrsten Sinema’s congressional seat that she is vacating to run for U.S. Senate.


STEVE CLAWSON: When we gathered last year to predict what would happen 2017, change was on the horizon in Washington. With Republicans set to control the White House, Senate and House, it appeared the GOP was poised to keep a long-standing campaign promise.

TED SIMONS: Will Obamacare be repealed by this time next year?


TED SIMONS: Will it be replaced with something?

LAURIE ROBERTS: Well there’s the rub isn’t it? I think the will have to replace it with something or it will have people screaming all over the country. There are parts of Obamacare that people really like, so I would think that we will see certain parts of it remain.

HOWARD FISCHER: I think there will still be pieces of Obamacare in effect next year end.

STEVE GOLDSTEIN: Speaker Paul Ryan has made it clear they are going to repeal it. But as he said, there’s parts that is going to take a while. We made see something new in two to four years. We won’t see anything in 2017.

STEVE CLAWSON: Another big question heading into 2017 was the fate of a key promise by President Trump.

TED SIMONS: Will construction begin on a wall between the U.S. and Mexico?

STEVE GOLDSTEIN: Ted, I’m going to say no, but the charitable effort will start. Donald Trump will start. He’s going to ask everyone will get their names on the brick and start the process.

TED SIMONS: Ok. Start the process but the construction?

STEVE GOLDSTEIN: No, the construction will not begin.

LAURIE ROBERTS: I don't think we'll see any meaningful wall in the first year or probably ever.

HOWARD FISCHER: Since Trump said earlier well the wall may not mean a wall, and so I think a five, ten, 15-miles of fence, and therefore he will have said he kept his promise.

STEVE CLAWSON: Our panel was then asked to predict the popularity of President Trump's first year in office.

TED SIMONS: Donald Trump's approval ratings at this time in 2017?

LAURIE ROBERTS: I’ll go with 42%.

HOWARD FISCHER: I think he can actually get to 55%.

STEVE GOLDSTEIN: I was thinking in between 48-50% so I’ll say 49.

STEVE CLAWSON: Entering December, a real clear average of polls shows President Trump’s approval rating at 39.3% and his disapproval rate at 56.4%. Attention then turned to state politics. Will any democrat announce a run versus Governor Ducey?

STEVE GOLDSTEIN: Not officially for governor, though Howie has a good story about state senator Steve Farley. I'll say no one of real consequence.

TED SIMONS: Laurie, will any democrat announce to run?

LAURIE ROBERTS: Yes, his name is sacrificial lamb. No democrat wins state-wide elections any more in this state.

TED SIMONS: So for scoring purposes is that yes or no for democrat announcing?

LAURIE ROBERTS: I'll give it a no.

HOWARD FISCHER: I think that there’s an opportunity for a democrat in an off-year election. As Steve mentioned, Steve Farley certainly seems interested. I think there are other lawmakers who fashion themselves as gubernatorial hopefuls.

STEVE CLAWSON: Another interesting race that is generating national attention is that of first term Arizona U.S. Senator Jeff Flake.

TED SIMONS: Will any candidate, republican or democrat, announce plans next year to run against Senator Flake in 2018?

HOWARD FISCHER: Oh, they’ll be someone announcing. The question of who is the harder one.
STEVE GOLDSTEIN: I suspect that we all believe that Kelli Ward will probably step in at some point because she thinks she did so well against Senator McCain. Two names to throw out really just for fun are Jeff DeWit and Paul Babeu.

LAURIE ROBERTS: Names I’m going to throw out are Paul Gosar and David Schweikert. I think the republic base is not very happy with Jeff Flake right now given his view of Donald Trump, and if that doesn't change at all, I think he's vulnerable from the right.

STEVE CLAWSON Senator Flake announced in October he would not run for reelection. Several candidates are already vying for the seat. Next, the conversation moved to state lawmakers.

TED SIMONS: Laurie, when will the Arizona legislature adjourn Sinai die in 2017?

LAURIE ROBERTS: I’m going to say May 8th.

HOWARD FISCHER: I don’t have my calendar in front of me, but let’s just say June 3rd for the heck of it.

STEVE GOLDSTEIN: I’ll say June 8th.

STEVE CLAWSON: The Arizona legislature session adjourned Sinai die on May 10th, 2017. While they were in session, lawmakers discussed a new home for the Arizona Coyotes.

TED SIMONS: Will the legislature give the A-okay for funding for an NHL arena on Tempe land?

STEVE GOLDSTEIN: There is so much love for the National Hockey League, and so much love for building stadiums, Ted, I'm going to say a big fat no.

HOWARD FISCHER: In terms of actual dollars, no.


STEVE CLAWSON: A bill to fund a new arena died during the session. There was also another sports stadium in the headlines.

TED SIMONS: What happens to Chase Field next year?

Other than they probably don't have to get it ready for the playoffs, I'm going to say the Diamondbacks will sue the county over this issue of who is responsible for the zillions of dollars of improvements that they want.

TED SIMONS: That’s a bold one. I like that one.

HOWARD FISCHER: I like it. I'm going with Laurie.

STEVE GOLDSTEIN: I love the answer. I have to go against it. I think there will be enough of a Kum Ba Ya they will still look for a buyer. I don’t think they will succeed.

STEVE CLAWSON: The Dbacks filed a lawsuit in January, and the judge ordered the team and county to work out their differences in arbitration. So far, that hasn’t happened. How would the stadium issue impact the team in 2017?

TED SIMONS: Will the Diamondbacks make the playoffs?

STEVE GOLDSTEIN: No, Ted, I’m sorry.

HOWARD FISCHER: What she said.

STEVE CLAWSON: The Arizona Diamondbacks finished with a record of 93-69 and won a wild card playoff game before losing to the Los Angeles Dodgers in the National League Division Series. Finally, our panel is always asked for a long shot and a sure-thing prediction.

STEVE GOLDSTEIN: I will say in the next State of the State address by Governor Ducey, he will praise Superintendent of Public Construction Diane Douglas’ plan for education and he will actually try to use a rainy day fund for a plan. That is a long shot.

TED SIMONS: I was going to say.

STEVE GOLDSTEIN: And the sure thing in the sports realm, after the 2017 season, ASU will be in need for a new football coach and so will the Arizona Cardinals.

TED SIMONS: Sure shot, long shot?

HOWARD FISCHER: Sure shot, next year Arizona faces litigation by the Senate for Arizona Policy over the way it funds, or in this case does not fund, school construction and repair. I don’t know if there will be final ruling on it next year, but that’s where we are. My long shot sort of fits in with what you were talking about. The amount of money the legislature eventually puts into schools next year, additional money, not 301 money, is going to be less than $35 million.

LAURIE ROBERTS: For my sure shot, I'm going to say Greg Stanton will run for Secretary of State. And because the Republicans are worried Michelle Reagan won’t be able to beat him, Michelle Ugenti will run as well challenging Reagan. My long shot is that Jeff Flake decides not to run for the senate because he can't get reelected and Doug Ducey decides to seek his seat as his political aspirations will have to be put off

TED SIMONS: Who runs as a democrat?

LAURIE ROBERTS: If it's Ducey, Sinema.
TED SIMONS: Sinema and Ducey.

LAURIE ROBERTS: If it's an open seat.

STEVE CLAWSON: Now it’s time to find out who did best job predicting 2017. Steve Goldstein finished with seven points, Laurie Roberts finished with nine points and Howie Fisher wins with 10 points.


LAURIE ROBERTS: I want to protest that.

TED SIMONS: You want to protest that.

LAURIE ROBERTS: I want to protest that because my long shot should be worth at least three points.

TED SIMONS: We are giving you a gold star for saying Flake wasn't going to run again.

HOWARD FISCHER: It was a three point shot. She shot from the outside.

TED SIMONS: Congratulations. All right. We'll start with Trent Frank's seat in CD8, who replaces Trent Franks in?

LAURIE ROBERTS: Phil LOVAS. He was an early supporter of Trump, chaired his campaign, went to work for him in the administration. I think it will be Phil Lovas.

TED SIMONS: What do you think, Howie?

HOWARD FISCHER: I think Bob Stump, and while I recognize there were not a lot of people now who were here when the other Bob Stump was around, I think the name I.D., he was on the corporation commission, had an interesting time there. I think he could take it. You can't rely solely on gee, I supported President Trump.

STEVE GOLDSTEIN: I will say Debbie Lesco, although I will say that many people there think Clint Hickman is a good egg.

TED SIMONS: Come on now. We have to subtract points for that. We can’t allow that to happen.

STEVE GOLDSTEIN: I finished third anyway, right?

TED SIMONS: Who wins the democratic and republican primaries for Jeff Flake's senate seat?

STEVE GOLDSTEIN: I'll make the presumption that Martha McSally gets in and wins the Republican primary and Kyrsten Sinema wins it for the Democrats.


HOWARD FISCHER: I think that's where you have to go. We are still waiting to hear from McSally, but I think that’s as good of a bet as any.

LAURIE ROBERTS: I think it's the only bet.

TED SIMONS: Who wins Flake's U.S. senate seat?

LAURIE ROBERTS: By not so much as a nose more like a nostril, Martha McSally.

TED SIMONS: Howie, who wins?

HOWARD FISCHER: I’m going to give the edge to Sinema although McSally is a very attractive candidate taking the gender out of this. She’s got that military background. Kyrsten has managed to triangulate and does a great job on constituent service.

TED SIMONS: Alright, so you got your two candidates here Steve, who’s going to win?

STEVE GOLDSTEIN: By a slightly different nose, I’m going to say Sinema, razor thin.

TED SIMONS: So we got two Sinema and one McSally. Very interesting. Alright, Congressional district 9, Howie. Let's start with the primaries. Do we have enough candidates for the primary?

HOWARD FISCHER: You have a lot of folks out there in terms of names anyone recognizes, particularly on the republican side, I recognize Seth Leapson from the anti-marijuana campaign. Maybe that’s a name that some ID. On the democratic side, it's good to be the mayor of Phoenix and have that name I.D. I think he becomes the democratic nominee and ultimately wins it.

TED SIMONS: Steve, what are you seeing out there?

STEVE GOLDSTEIN: Going along exactly what Howie said, I'm very surprised because Kyrsten Sinema made that really not a safe seat for her. I'm very surprised republicans are not running people that at least people have better name I.D.

TED SIMONS: When that district was first created, everyone thought it would be a rock 'em sock 'em affair. It hasn’t been.

LAURIE ROBERTS: People say it’s a swing seat, but it’s demonstrated itself as a democratic seat. I say Greg Stanton because they have nobody else in the democratic party, apparently. I'll say Steve Ferrara, who is a doctor, long-time veteran. I think on the Republican side, nobody's heard of any of them, but I'll go with Ferrara.

TED SIMONS: The winner is?


HOWARD FISCHER: Stanton, yes.

STEVE GOLDSTEIN: Make it three.

TED SIMONS: Ok so Stanton all around for CD9. CD2, start with you on this one. Give us a winner of CD2.

STEVE GOLDSTEIN: I'll give it to Anne KirkPatrick even though she's something of a carpet bagger in that district by some people. As long as she stays away from the boot ads, she’s going to win it.

TED SIMONS: Laurie, CD2.

LAURIE ROBERTS: I was going to say the same thing. The boots are just not working outside of rural Arizona. I'm going to say Anne KirkPatrick.

TED SIMONS: What do you think, Howie?

HOWARD FISCHER: Bruce Wheeler has made noise about getting in. He's been on the legislative city council. I'm going to give him the edge.

TED SIMONS: Wow. Provocative pick. Start with you, Howie since you’re so provocative. Will the democrats win either the U.S. house or the U.S. senate next year.

HOWARD FISCHER: I don't see anyway of winning the house with what's there. Given what happened in Alabama, and maybe some other shoes waiting to drop with some sitting republicans, I would say, this could be a 50/50 senate, which of course gives the edge to the republicans because of the Vice President. I'm going to say 50/50.

TED SIMONS: Are you buying that, Steve?

STEVE GOLDSTEIN: I'm going to give the democrats 51/49 because I feel generous. In the House, I think it's possible they'll pick up 5-7 seats, but not nearly enough.

TED SIMONS: Alright. Laurie, what do you think?

LAURIE ROBERTS: I disagree with both of you. I think it will remain republican because far more democratic seats are up this year to defend, and ten of those seats are in districts that Donald Trump took, or in states Donald Trump took. I think it will remain in republican hands.

TED SIMONS: Alright, will any republican challenge governor Ducey in the primary?

LAURIE ROBERTS: Well, there is probably some guy out there that we never heard of somewhere that wants to get his name on a ballot. If you are talking about a credible republican challenge, no.

TED SIMONS: Credible republic challenge, Howie?

HOWARD FISCHER: I was weighing the office for myself, but other than me, no. I think it's going to be Ducey's -- when the guy can raise millions of dollars from the Koch brothers, why would you bother other than to make a statement?
TED SIMONS: Safe ride all the way through for Governor Ducey, huh?

STEVE GOLDSTEIN: Indeed, if we see the impact of write in votes in the Roy Moore race, I think Howie would have finished behind the write ins.

TED SIMONS: As far as the democratic gubernatorial primary, what are you seeing?

STEVE GOLDSTEIN: Though he couldn’t be Diane Douglas, I'll say David Garcia will win the democratic nomination.

TED SIMONS: Laurie, democratic nomination?

LAURIE ROBERTS: I’ll say David Garcia as well in part because he's from Maricopa county and some people have at least heard of him. I don't think a lot of people know who Steve Farley is.

HOWARD FISCHER: The other piece of it is if you have listed the two of them, David Garcia after botching the race against Diane Douglas, at least knows how to be conversational. He has learned to speak to people. Steve Farley talks like he's lecturing people and that doesn't go over well.

TED SIMONS: Who wins the Governor's race?

HOWARD FISCHER: You certainly have to give the edge to Ducey. There are some wild cards in there. We’re going to talk a bit about whether the voucher referendum makes the ballot, and that could bring in a lot of people. Again, he’s got a lot of money. It's a republican state. Garcia was going to pull in some stuff, but I think Ducey picks up 54 or 55%.

TED SIMONS: Give us a number for bonus points here.

STEVE GOLDSTEIN: I think he will win by less than he did against Duvall but he still wins safe. I’ll say 53%.


TED SIMONS: It's Ducey's to lose. Who is going to be elected treasurer?

LAURIE ROBERTS: We don't even know who is running, but assuming it all shakes out, I think it will be Kimberly Yee. She’s got a lot of experience in that area. I think it's a year where women fare very well in the polls.

TED SIMONS: Steve, what do you think?

STEVE GOLDSTEIN: Ted, when you get that hard to get Jeff DeWitt endorsement, I’m going to go with Kimberly Yee.

TED SIMONS: Look at you.

HOWARD FISCHER: Assuming based on when we are taping this, she doesn't go after the CDA seat given the number of republicans, that seems to be a suicide.

TED SIMONS: Don't overthink the room here, Howie. Who’s going to win treasurer?

HOWARD FISCHER: It’s going to be Kimberly.

TED SIMONS: Will Michelle Reagan be reelected Secretary of State?

STEVE GOLDSTEIN: I never thought I would say this so hopefully we can burn the tape since I finished last, but I think so based on the people she’s going to face.

TED SIMONS: You think so? You don’t sound very confident.

STEVE GOLDSTEIN: I don't at all. Why should I?

TED SIMONS: Do you have any confidence in your analysis?

LAURIE ROBERTS: I don't have any confidence in anything I write. I’m going to say just to be contrary, that she will lose and lose in the primary.

TED SIMONS: Oh interesting. That's provocative.

HOWARD FISCHER: I think there's a history of things they can bring up in terms of all of the botches, whether it’s her fault or somebody else's, you run that list and you say, “wait a second is this the person in charge of elections huh huh.”

TED SIMONS: Diane Douglas, will she be reelected superintendent of public instruction?

HOWARD FISCHER: Yes, I think she will because you have David Shapiro running against her and she does have some primary foes, but they could end up splitting the anti-Diane Douglas vote. She’s very good on her feet. She’s been around the state with her I’m listening tour if you want to call it that. She did very well in the debate last time here. Knows how to speak about the issues, served on the school board. Even with some of the screwups on the funding, she can say, look, I'm out there arguing for more money for teachers. Reelect me.

TED SIMONS: Diane Douglas, is she going to win reelection?

LAURIE ROBERTS: I do not believe she will win reelection. I don’t think that her right wing group is that happy with her. I don’t see that she has any constituency anywhere else. She’s really been a nonfactor in a year where education has been the state issue. While she's tried to make statements, and she's said some good things, she hasn't been a factor. A superintendent should be a factor. She should be out there representing our kids and what they need, and just haven’t seen it.

TED SIMONS: Break the tie, Steve.

STEVE GOLDSTEIN: Even the wonderful challengers, Frank Rigs likes to bring out the big guns when he runs for office. I think Douglas will win that. I’m going to say because I think this could potentially be a big year for K-12 education that democrats could take advantage of, I give Shapiro a slight edge in the general.

TED SIMONS: Interesting. A republican and democratic break down of the Arizona house and senate?

STEVE GOLDSTEIN: I’m going to say the democrats pick up one senate seat and one house seat. So I’m going to say 16-14 republicans in the Senate and 34-26 in the House.

TED SIMONS: Give me some numbers, Laurie.

LAURIE ROBERTS: 17-13-25-25.

HOWARD FISCHER: I think they pick up one in the Senate, but probably 35-25 in the house.

TED SIMONS: Howie, since you referred to this earlier jumping the gun a little bit trying to produce the program while you are sitting in that chair. Will voters reject school voucher expansion by way of a ballot measure?

HOWARD FISCHER: I said this several weeks ago on the show, it doesn't get to the ballot. Leaving aside the legal challenge, I see no way that this legislature won't screw with the underlying legislation and try to kill it. If for some reason it fails, I think the vouchers are dead when it gets to the ballot. People will vote no on prop 305, but I don’t think it’s going to get that far.

TED SIMONS: Will voters reject expansion of school vouchers?

STEVE GOLDSTEIN: If voters get a chance, they will.

TED SIMONS: That's an if.

STEVE GOLDSTEIN: I'm going to say it will get to the ballot, and voters will defeat it.

TED SIMONS: Thank you.

LAURIE ROBERTS: Dang. You took my sure thing prediction. I will say it will not get to the ballot. If it gets to the ballot, it will be defeated.

TED SIMONS: I gotcha. The Mueller investigation, does it lead to an indictment of anyone in the Trump administration or in the Trump family.

LAURIE ROBERTS: I'm thinking. I'm going to say, no.

TED SIMONS: No? Howie? Mueller investigation?

HOWARD FISCHER: Are you kidding? You have Eric and Donald Jr. out there holding forth. I can't help but believe that there is at least one family member and at least one member of the administration that will end up with federal charges.

STEVE GOLDSTEIN: Jared Kushner is not a blood relative, but I would not be surprised to see him get into some trouble.

TED SIMONS: Will President Trump issue Pardons regarding the Russian investigation?

STEVE GOLDSTEIN: If it's Jarred Kushner, then yes.

LAURIE ROBERTS: If his son-in-law is indicted -- he Pardoned Joe Arpaio, why wouldn't he Pardon his son-in-law?

HOWARD FISCHER: But would he Pardon Eric?

LAURIE ROBERTS: No. And certainly not Don Jr.

HOWARD FISCHER: If it's a family member, I think he does. But If it’s an administration member, he's on thin ice anyway. I say, no, he lets it play out as far as it goes.

TED SIMONS: Will the United States drop bombs on North Korea in 2018?

LAURIE ROBERTS: I'm personally counting on Dennis Rodman to smooth the waters and keep us safe, which probably means yeah, no I don't think so.

TED SIMONS: Howie you think bombs will fall?

HOWARD FISCHER: No. Forgetting who has his finger on the big red button, everyone recognizes it makes no sense. Talking conventional because it's a small peninsula. You’ve got a well-armed enemy and the fact is, we are going to have to accept North Korea as a nuclear power.

TED SIMONS: Steve, bombs dropping, falling from the sky?

STEVE GOLDSTEIN: Unless the U.S. gets someone on the Olympic team in South Korea, which I don't think will happen, I will say no.

TED SIMONS: Huh? What does that mean?

STEVE GOLDSTEIN: There is not going to be some navy seal on the Olympic team that sneaks into North Korea. That’s not going to happen Ted. But if it does, there may be bombs.

TED SIMONS: I think he’s completely lost it, but we got to keep going with the game. Will there be a vacancy on the U.S. supreme court 2018?

LAURIE ROBERTS: There will be three members of the U.S. supreme court over 80. That's about when they hit their stride, isn't it? I say no.

HOWARD FISCHER: I’m going to guess just the law of averages, that yes someone will decide, I'm not going to do this anymore. Although, Democrats may want to hang in there to see what happens after 2020.

STEVE GOLDSTEIN: I'll amend that. I think you will say no but I think someone like Anthony Kennedy in 2019, because we predicted democrats take the senate, they have to influence Trump in picking a moderate candidate, more like Merrick Garland-type, with the democrats controlling the senate. I'll say no, but not until 2019.

TED SIMONS: Quick sports question. Very quickly. Will the Diamondbacks return to the playoffs?

LAURIE ROBERTS: It depends if they have J.D. Martinez. If they do, I’ll say yes. If they don't, I say no.

HOWARD FISCHER: Last year’s thing with the wild card, you know I’m sorry, the rules is such that any idiot can make the playoffs. I still don’t think they make the playoffs .

STEVE GOLDSTEIN: You know Ted, I'm going to try and make it up to you. I'm going to say yes they will.

TED SIMONS: Wow. Thank you for that. That's refreshing. Time for long shot sure thing predictions. Howie, you’re the defending champion, proceed.

HOWARD FISCHER: My sure thing is that the legislature will try to rein in the power of the board of regents, perhaps even try to take the tuition setting chores for itself, which is probably the stupidest thing they can do. Again, this is the Arizona legislature. My maybe not so long shot is that some Arizona lawmaker, state or Federal is going to also end up in trouble. I'm not talking about the names on the table like Shooter, that will also end up in sexual harassment and will be forced out.

LAURIE ROBERTS: That’s a long shot? That sounds like a sure thing.

HOWARD FISCHER: You may be right.

LAURIE ROBERTS: My sure thing is that the legislature will crack down or at least attempt to crack down on ASU for its policy of now developing property and sucking up all of the proceeds from that rather than putting it on the property tax rolls where it's not there. I think they're going to take a look at that, the whole state farm complex out there is the state’s largest commercial office space project. It's totally tax free, and legislators are beginning to figure that out. My long shot, you’re going to love this, is that in a year we will have a new president, Mike Pence for whatever reason.

TED SIMONS: That is bold.

LAURIE ROBERTS: Could be. A lot of different ways that happens, and he will tap Doug Ducey to join his administration in some major way and Michelle Reagan will be governor for a brief amount of time until she’s out.

TED SIMONS: You have to follow that one right there. That's really good stuff. You have the flake thing right. No stopping her now, Steve.

STEVE GOLDSTEIN: My sure thing is Greg Stanton leaving city council as mayor, we see a shift there. That what we all thought was going to happen with the Suns, all the refurbishing they wanted in the arena, will be outski. That’s potentially going to put the Suns on a track to leave town. My long shot involving Jeff flake, he will either get a nightly show on MSNBC after Rachel Maddow, or he’s going to start a PAC with Mitt Romney to put up more highly moral candidates against people Trump and Bannon back.

TED SIMONS: Highly moral candidates according to them?

STEVE GOLDSTEIN: Yes, and according to Howie, probably.

TED SIMONS: We are all in. Thank you all Congratulations to Howie. Congratulations as well. I thank you all for being here. That's it for now. I'm Ted Simons. Thank you so much for joining us. You have a great evening.

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