Journalists Roundtable: Opioid Epidemic, Arizona Education System, Arpaio Senate Run

More from this show

Journalists from throughout Phoenix joined Arizona Horizon tackled topics dealing with Gov. Doug Ducey’s Opioid Epidemic Act, the status of the state’s education system, predictions of Arpaio staying in the race and more about Arizona’s legislature.

Arizona Opioid Epidemic Act

One of Ducey’s highlights in his State of the State Address was the necessity of attacking the opioid epidemic. The act passed unanimously and bipartisan.

Solving this issue is not easy. While it does help that both parties are agreeing that it needs to be addressed, there will most likely be conflict dealing with funding in the future, as Jeremy Duda, capitol reports assistant editor for the Arizona Capitol Times, points out.

The Democrats were focused on making sure there were parts in the act that talked about recovery and treatment. Politics and State Government Reporter for Associated Press Bob Christie says Republicans were nervous of the act being rammed through and what effects it would have on patients and how much it would cost doctors.

There are a small number of bad actors, Duda says, that ruin the reputation of other doctors who prescribe opioids for good reason. In order to prevent the faulty doctors from over-prescribing, there will be stricter rules doctors will have to follow in order to prescribe opioids to those who really need it. Democrats don’t want to seem like they’re trying to play doctor, and Republicans are concerned that these restrictions will cause doctors to hesitate when they are prescribing medication, Christie says.

Cara Christ, director of the Arizona Department of Health Services, was on Arizona Horizon last week to discuss how with plan will impact the state.

Ducey’s full plan can be read here.

Ad Campaign Promotes AZ Schools

“If you ask the people funding the [education] system, they’ll say how great the Arizona school system is and how unfairly it’s been maligned,” Duda says.

Duda and Christie agree that Ducey and those funding the schools only talk about how great the system is in the state. Duda says that those who are unsure about the schools, they turn to Ducey for answers.

Governor’s Officer Reporter for Arizona Capitol Times Rachel Leingang says she spoke with the Arizona Education Association and they say they haven’t been negative toward teachers or education but to policymakers who aren’t giving education enough money and they will continue to hold them accountable.

Arpaio vs GOP

Former Sheriff Joe Arpaio is still in the race for the Senate seat along with Republicans Kelli Ward and Martha McSally and Democrat Kyrsten Sinema.

Duda thinks the Ward campaign would love to see Arpaio step down from the race, and McSally would be the one to benefit if the ex-sheriff stayed in. There is a lot of overlap between Ward and Arpaio’s audience so they will be pulling votes from each other, Duda says. McSally attracts a different kind of Republican audience.

Leingang says many people believe Arpaio is in the race for fundraising means, but there are strict rules in place that limit what that money can be used for. All three journalists agree that they don’t see Arpaio dropping out of the race.

Arizona Republic columnist Lauri Roberts and Jaime Molera of Molera Alvarez were on Arizona Horizon after Arpaio announced his run to predict what effects he may have on the race.

Race to Replace Trent Franks

Rep. Trent Franks served in Arizona’s 8th District from 2003 to 2017, and the seat for the district is currently vacant. The 8th District covers much of west Phoenix, “suburbs about as red of a district in a red state that you can get,” says Christie.

The problem with the current race for that district, Christie says, is the five candidates can’t be differentiated. They all support the president and have “nearly identical talking points,” Christie says. Right now it’s name game or it’s in favor of the one who gets an endorsement.

Duda says he has never heard of a Democrat trying for this district.

Bill: Lawmakers Choose U.S. Senate

Rep. Travis Grantham, who represents Arizona’s District 12, wants to take away the vote for Senate because, Leingang says, he thinks that the people who are in the U.S. Senate have lost touch with the state and are not representing the state’s interests anymore in D.C. He wants them to b accountable to the legislature, she says.

Duda points out this would involve overturning the 17th Amendment which states two senators from each state will be elected by the people for a six year term.

Bill: Triples Lawmakers’ Salary

Being a lawmaker in Arizona is considered to be a part-time job. One of the arguments for a salary increase is that the county supervisor receives a larger paycheck, but as Christie says, the role of county supervisor is a full-time job.

Leingang and Christie agree that the real question is will the state get better quality lawmakers if they are paid more, and the answer is probably yes. Christie says that he doesn’t see the bill going very far though.

TED SIMONS: COMING UP NEXT ON "ARIZONA HORIZON'S JOURNALISTS' ROUNDTABLE," BIPARTISANSHIP MAKES A RARE APPEARANCE AT THE CAPITOL AS STATE LAWMAKERS APPROVE A BILL TO FIGHT THE OPIOID EPIDEMIC. AND NARY A DISCOURAGING WORD IN A NEW AD CAMPAIGN THAT HIGHLIGHTS POSITIVE NEWS REGARDING ARIZONA SCHOOLS. THOSE STORIES AND MORE, NEXT, ON THE JOURNALISTS' ROUNDTABLE.

SCREEN UNDERWRITER: "ARIZONA HORIZON" IS MADE POSSIBLE BY CONTRIBUTIONS OF THE FRIENDS OF ARIZONA PBS, MEMBERS OF YOUR PBS STATION. THANK YOU.

TED SIMONS: GOOD EVENING AND WELCOME TO ARIZONA HORIZON'S JOURNALISTS' ROUNDTABLE. I'M TED SIMONS. JOINING US TONIGHT: RACHEL LEINGANG OF ARIZONA CAPITOL TIMES, BOB CHRISTIE OF THE ASSOCIATED PRESS AND JEREMY DUDA: OF ARIZONA CAPITAL TIMES. GOVERNOR DUCEY TODAY SIGNED A BILL AIMED AT FIGHTING THE STATE'S OPIOID EPIDEMIC. RACHEL, THIS WAS UNANIMOUS. WE DON'T SEE THIS OFTEN DOWN THERE. THIS BASICALLY TRIES TO PUT A LID ON SOMETHING THAT -- THERE DOESN'T SEEM TO BE A SOLUTION TO THIS.

RACHEL LEINGANG: RIGHT. IT TAKES A PRETTY AGGRESSIVE APPROACH ACROSS SEVERAL DIFFERENT SPHERES OF THE OPIOD ADDICTION EPIDEMIC SO THERE'S MORE MONEY FOR TREATMENT. THAT’S BEEN A BIG DEAL FOR THE DEMOCRATS. THEY WANTED THAT TO GET ONBOARD. THERE IS A LOT OF RULES FOR PRESCRIBERS OR THE MEDICAL COMMUNITY. THERE ARE RULES FOR SOBER HOMES MAKING THEM MORE ACCESSIBLE TO PEOPLE WHO ARE ON MEDICATION ASSISTANCE TREATMENT. IT SEEKS TO MAKE E-PRESCRIBING THE NORM SO THAT YOU CAN'T ALTER PAPER PRESCRIPTIONS. THERE’S RED CAPS THAT ARE SUPPOSED TO BE ON ALL OPIODS NOW. IT'S EXTENSIVE, THE APPROACH.

TED SIMONS: WAS THERE FUSSING AND FIGHTING OVER ALL THESE IDEAS OR WAS EVERYONE ON THE SAME TRAIN?

BOB CHRISTIE: THE GOVERNOR – OBVIOUSLY IT'S 90-0, SO EVERYONE IS PRETTY MUCH ON THE SAME PAGE. THERE WAS SOME PUSHBACK FROM REPUBLICANS YESTERDAY DURING THE CAUCUS MEETING, WHICH IS WHERE THE REPUBLICANS JUST GET TOGETHER BOTH ON THE SENATE AND HOUSE SIDE. THEY WERE UPSET THAT IT WAS GETTING RAMMED THROUGH. THEY WERE CONCERNED ABOUT THE EFFECTS ON PATIENTS. THERE WAS CONCERNED ABOUT COSTS TO DOCTORS. EVERY DOCTORS OFFICE IS GOING TO HAVE TO BUY SPECIALIZED SOFTWARE TO BE ABLE TO PRESCRIBE. THAT COULD BE COSTLY. THE ONE NUMBER I SAW WAS $20,000 PER DOCTOR'S OFFICE. THAT’S A LOT OF MONEY. I DON'T KNOW IF THAT'S ACCURATE NUMBER OR NOT. HOPEFULLY, IT WOULD COME DOWN. AND THERE’S ALSO THE TIMEFRAME FOR WHEN THAT’S IMPLEMENTED. AND THERE IS BIG CONCERN ABOUT PAIN PATIENTS, CHRONIC PAIN PATIENTS WHETHER THEY CAN STAY ON THE HIGH DOSES. WHAT HAPPENS IF THEIR DOCTOR CHANGES? IF THEIR DOCTOR CHANGES, THEY HAVE TO START ALL OVER AGAIN WITH A FIVE DAY SUPPLY. THERE IS CONCERN THAT SOME DOCTORS ARE GOING TO GET SCARED TO WRITE ANY PRESCRIPTIONS.

TED SIMONS: A RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN DOCTOR AND PATIENT HAS ALWAYS BEEN A CONCERN IN THE PAST OVER THIS KIND OF THING. STILL A CONCERN?

JEREMY DUDA: STILL A CONCERN BUT ONE CERTAINLY NOT SHARED BY GOVERNMENT’S OFFICE AND A LOT OF HIS SUPPORTERS OF THIS BILL. WE HEARD IT A LOT THROUGHOUT THE WEEK, IT'S OVER REGULATION, GETTING BETWEEN PATIENTS AND THEIR DOCTOR. THE DOCTORS REALLY KNOW WHAT’S BEST. IT'S A SMALL NUMBER OF BAD ACTORS WHO ARE GIVING THE REST OF THEM A BAD NAME, OVERPRESCRIBING. PEOPLE THAT ADDICTS GO FOR DOCTOR SHOPPING. NONETHELESS, THIS IS SOMETHING IN THE BILL, A PILLAR OF THE BILL REALLY. WHO KNOWS IT MAY BE SOMETHING THAT WE COME BACK NEXT YEAR AND FUTURE YEARS TO FIX SOME OF THE STUFF.

TED SIMONS: WE MENTIONED THE FACT THAT THIS WAS UNANIMOUS AND WAS BIPARTISAN. WE HAD DEMOCRATIC LEADERSHIP HERE THIS WEEK FOR OUR WEEKLY LEGISLATIVE UPDATE AND THEY WERE JUST HAPPY TO BE INVOLVED IN A MAJOR LEGISLATIVE PROCESS. OKAY -- I BELIEVE WE'LL GET TO THAT IN A SECOND HERE. AGAIN, BI-PARTISANSHIP, DEMOCRATS BASICALLY SAYING, $10 MILLION FOR REHAB, GOOD SAMARITAN LAW, THOSE WERE OUR IDEAS.

RACHEL LEINGANG: RIGHT. THEY GOT A LOT IN THE BILL. THE $10 MILLION BEING A HUGE LIFT. ANYTHING THAT INCLUDES APPROPRIATION ALWAYS MAKE IT A DIFFICULT SALE FOR REPUBLICANS. THE GOOD SAMARITAN LAW IS PRETTY EXTENSIVE COMPARED TO OTHER ONES THAT INCLUDE BOTH PEOPLE WHO CALL AND THOSE HAVING AN OVERDOSE. SOME OF THE REPUBLICANS HAD A PROBLEM WITH THIS, BUT ULTIMATELY VOTED FOR THE BIL. THEY DEFINITELY HAD A SAY IN THIS. THEY WERE BROUGHT IN PRETTY EARLY AND IT WAS IMPORTANT FOR THE GOVERNOR TO HAVE EVERYONE ON BOARD FOR THIS BILL.

BOB CHRISTIE: RIGHT AT THE LAST MINUTES, THE DEMOCRATS SAID, WHEN WE WENT IN TO NEGOTIATE WITH THE GOVERNOR, WE WANTED THE $10 MILLION, WE FIGURED HE WOULD SHOVE US AWAY AND IT WOULDN’T HAPPEN. THE NEXT DAY WE GOT A PHONE CALL AND SURE ENOUGH IT’S IN THERE. YESTERDAY, AT THE VERY LAST MINUTE, THEY MADE IT EFFECTIVE IMMEDIATELY THAT $10 MILLION. IT WAS SUPPOSED TO BE FOR THE COMING FISCAL YEAR STARTING IN JULY. NO, IT'S THIS YEAR. IF YOU ARE UNDER INSURED OR UNINSURED OR NOT ON MEDICAID, AND YOU DON’T HAVE GOOD INSURANCE AT WORK, THE STATE’S GOING TO HELP YOU GET TREATMENT. IT'S A BIG DEAL.

TED SIMONS: THE GOOD SAMARITAN LAW, THE $10 MILLION, ALL THESE SORTS OF THINGS. DEMOCRATS ARE BASICALLY SAYING THESE ARE THE KIND OF THINGS THEY HAVE BEEN ASKING FOR, FOR A LONG TIME AND NOW SOMEONE IS PAYING ATTENTION. I THINK WE HAVE THE TAPE NOW.

STEVE FARLEY: THIS SPECIAL SESSION IS SPECIAL BECAUSE DEMOCRATS HAD A MAJOR SAY IN IMPROVING THE PACKAGE THAT WENT ON TO THE TABLE. I'M VERY PROUD THAT WHILE THE OPENING PACKAGE DID NOT INCLUDE ANY TREATMENT MONEY, WE AS DEMOCRATS EMPHASIZE YOU CAN'T JUST ATTACK THE OPIOID EPIDEMIC FROM A SUPPLY SIDE STANDPOINT. YOU GOT TO ATTACK THE DEMAND. THAT MEANS YOU REALLY GOT TO TREAT PEOPLE TO BE ABLE TO MAKE THIS REALLY WORK.

REBECCA RIOS: WE ARE QUITE PLEASED THAT A NUMBER OF DEMOCRATIC IDEAS WERE ACCEPTED. PART OF WHAT WE HAVE SAID TO THE GOVERNOR'S STAFF AND THE GOVERNOR IS, DIDN'T THIS WORK WELL? ISN'T THIS SOMETHING WE SHOULD DO WITH REGARD TO THE BUDGET AND WITH REGARD TO EDUCATION. THIS IS NOT A DEMOCRAT OR REPUBLICAN PROBLEM. PEOPLE WANT US TO SOLVE THESE THINGS TOGETHER. WE OBVIOUSLY HAVE SHOWN WE CAN DO IT.

TED SIMONS: ALRIGHT JEREMY, HOW FAR DOES THE PARTISAN KUM BA YA GO?

JEREMY DUDA: AROUND 11:00 THIS MORNING, I THINK. THE GOVERNOR LIKES TO SAY, I’M VERY BIPARTISAN, MY DOOR IS OPEN, MOST OF WHAT WE PASS IS BI-PARTISAN. MOST OF THE NOTABLE STUFF IS NOT BI-PARTISAN, WHEN YOU REALLY GET TO THE STUFF THAT’S SUBSTANTIVE, ESPECIALLY THE BUDGET AND MAJOR LEGISLATION, THAT BI-PARTISANSHIP WILL GO OUT THE WINDOW. WE'LL SEE A RETURN TO REGULAR ORDER NEXT WEEK.

BOB CHRISTIE: HISTORY PROVES IT AS LAST YEAR THE GOVERNOR HAD THE OPPORTUNITY BY SPENDING $5 OR $10 MILLION TO GET UNANIMOUS SUPPORT FROM THE DEMOCRATS FOR HIS BUDGET PROPOSAL. IN THE END, HE WENT AHEAD AND ESSENTIALLY BOUGHT OFF THE RECALCITRANT REPUBLICAN GROUP OF SEVEN OR EIGHT PEOPLE TO GET THEM SO HE CAN JUST GET IT THROUGH WITH REPUBLICANS. HE HAS A HISTORY OF SAYING BUT THEN NOT PERFORMING ON THE BI-PARTISANSHIP STUFF.

RACHEL LEINGANG: SOMETHING LIKE OPIOIDS IS TOUGH TO VOTE AGAINST. I DON'T THINK ANYONE WANTS ANYONE TO DIE. I THINK EVERYBODY KNOWS IT'S A BIG PROBLEM. OPTICALLY, IT'S DIFFICULT TO VOTE AGAINST BUT ALSO MORALLY REALLY DIFFICULT. IT MAKES SENSE THAT THIS WOULD BE SOMETHING THAT A LOT OF PEOPLE COME TOGETHER ON. BUT THE REASON THEY ARE IN DIFFERENT PARTIES IS BECAUSE THEY HOLD DEEP PHILOSOPHICAL DIFFERENCES AND THAT DOESN’T CHANGE FROM ONE BILL.

TED SIMONS: STILL A BIG WIN FOR THE GOVERNOR.


RACHEL LEINGANG: OH YEAH. IT WILL BE A HUGE WIN THIS ELECTION YEAR, HUGE NATIONAL PLAY, I’M GUESSING, FOR SOMETHING LIKE THIS. I’M SURE OTHER STATES WILL LOOK TO WHAT WE ARE DOING HERE AND SEE IF THEY REPLICATE IT.

TED SIMONS: JEREMY, THERE IS A P.R. CAMPAIGN, A T.V. AD I THINK MORE TO FOLLOW HERE, REGARDING HOW WONDERFUL ARIZONA SCHOOLS ARE. WHAT IS THIS ALL ABOUT?

JEREMY DUDA: IT DEPENDS ON WHO YOU ASK. IF YOU ASK THE PEOPLE WHO ARE FUNDING IT, THIS IS ALL ABOUT HOW GREAT ARIZONA’S EDUCATION SYSTEM AND HOW UNFAIRLY IT’S BEEN MALIGNED. THERE’S REALLY A LOT OF GOOD STUFF HAPPENING HERE THAT PEOPLE AREN’T TALKING ABOUT. OTHER FOLKS WHO ARE A BIT MORE SKEPTICAL SAY IT'S ABOUT GOVERNOR DUCEY, SOME OF THE PEOPLE FUNDING THIS IS A ROSTER OF BIGGEST DOLLAR SUPPORTERS, THE DUCEY CHEERLEADING SQUAD. THIS IS AN ISSUE WHERE DUCEY HAS COME UNDER FIRE, EDUCATION FUNDING. THIS HELPS BOLSTER THE NOTION THAT EDUCATION IS BETTER THAN DUCEY'S CRITICS SAY IT IS.

TED SIMONS: COUNTERACTING THE NEGATIVE NARRATIVE BY CRITICS OF ARIZONA EDUCATION.

BOB CHRISTIE: THE PHILOSOPHY OF THE GOVERNOR FROM THE MINUTE HE OPENED HIS MOUTH IN THE STATE OF STATE ADDRESS WAS ALL ABOUT $1.5 BILLION OVER THE LAST THREE YEARS FOR EDUCATION, WE ARE NUMBER ONE, FOUR TOP HIGH SCHOOLS IN THE COUNTRY. THIS AD CAMPAIGN TAKES THOSE TALKING POINTS, POINT BY POINT BY POINT. OF COURSE THERE IS NO COORDINATION. THE GOVERNOR DIDN'T CALL UP THE ARIZONA CHAMBER OF COMMERCE AND SAY DO A BIG AD FOR ME, BUT THEY SEE THE GOVERNOR'S TALKING POINTS AND KNOW THE GOVERNOR NEEDS SUPPORT AND SURE ENOUGH, THIS IS WHAT'S COMING OUT.

TED SIMONS: THE GROUP SAYS THEY ARE NOT TIED TO ANY POLITICAL CAMPAIGN AND THEY ARE SAYING THE OTHER SIDE REPRESENTS PEOPLE, GROUPS THAT ARE TALKING DOWN ARIZONA EDUCATION FOR POLITICAL GAIN.

RACHEL LEINGANG: I TALKED TO THE HEAD OF ARIZONA EDUCATION ASSOCIATION AND THEY ARE CRITICS OF DUCEY AND EDUCATION POLICY IN GENERAL. WE HAVE BEEN NEGATIVE NOT TOWARDS TEACHERS OR EDUCATION, BUT TOWARD POLICYMAKERS WHO AREN’T GIVING EDUCATION ENOUGH MONEY. WE'LL CONTINUE TO HOLD THEM ACCOUNTABLE, BUT CERTAINLY WE THINK THERE ARE A LOT OF EXCELLENT TEACHERS. THAT’S WHO WE ARE ADVOCATING FOR. NEGATIVE TOWARD THE PEOPLE HOLDING THE PURSESTRINGS, BUT NOT NEGATIVE TOWARD EDUCATION IN GENERAL.

TED SIMONS: THE CHAMBER OF COMMERCE IS INVOLVED HERE. THE CHAMBER OF COMMERCE IN THE PAST FEW YEARS HAS BEEN VERY STRONG ON WE NEED TO IMPROVE EDUCATION. APPARENTLY, WE HAVE IMPROVED EDUCATION.

BOB CHRISTIE: WELL THE CHAMBER OF COMMERCE WANTS A REPUBLICAN GOVERNOR. NO MATTER WHAT HAPPENS THEY WANT A REPUBLICAN GOVERNOR. IF THEY THINK THE GOVERNOR IS VULNERABLE, GLEN HAMMER AND THE ARIZONA CHAMBER, PINNACLE WEST, APS, OTHER BIG MONEY, BIG CORPORATIONS, THEY WANT A REPUBLICAN GOVERNOR. THEY FEEL IT'S BETTER FOR THE STATE TO HAVE A REPUBLICAN GOVERNOR. THE INTERESTING THING FOR THE SCHOOLS IS WHAT THE GOVERNOR DIDN'T SAY IN THE STATE OF THE STATE, YEAH I’VE GIVEN THEM $1.5 BILLION, BUT OUR TEACHERS ARE STILL EARNING 49TH OR 50TH IN THE NATION IN TOTAL SALARY. WE ARE AT THE VERY BOTTOM.

TED SIMONS: YOU ARE BEING A NEGATIVE NELLY. THEIR GOAL IS TO BRING OUT THE POSITIVE.

BOB CHRISTIE: CORRECT. THESE ARE ALTERNATIVE FACTS THEY WOULDN'T LIKE YOU TO LOOK AT.

TED SIMONS: WHY THESE ADS NOW?

JEREMY DUDA: WE ARE IN THE MIDDLE OF LEGISLATIVE FUNDING. EDUCATION FUNDING IS GOING TO BE ONE OF THE BIGGEST ISSUES. GOVERNOR DUCEY HAS HIGHLIGHTED AS HIS TOP ISSUE. LET’S PUMP IN SOME ADDITIONAL MONEY HERE. HIS OPPONENTS, THE DEMOCRATS, THE AEA, IT'S NOT ENOUGH. THERE IS SO MUCH MORE. THE TEACHER SALARY IS STILL SCRAPING THE BOTTOM OF THE BARREL DESPITE THE TINY PAY RAISE LAST YEAR. I DON'T KNOW IF IT'S SOMETHING THAT WILL CONTINUE ALL THE WAY THROUGH THE YEAR, BUT THROUGH THE LEGISLATIVE SESSION, THE GOVERNOR WILL NEED PUBLIC OPINION BACKING HIM UP AS HE TAKES AN ONSLAUGHT FROM THE OTHER SIDE.

RACHEL LEINGANG: I DID ASK THE GOVERNOR ABOUT IT THE OTHER DAY AND HE SAID IF THERE ARE OTHER GROUPS THAT WANT TO JOIN ME, I’VE BEEN SAYING THIS FOR A WHILE, WELCOME TO THE PARTY. HE HAS SAID REPEATEDLY THAT HE DOESN'T WANT TO TALK ABOUT ELECTIONS. REGARDLESS OF WHETHER HE TALKS ABOUT IT OR NOT, THE ELECTION CONTINUES. IT WILL LAST ALL YEAR AND THESE THINGS AFFECT IT.

TED SIMONS: WE'LL SEE WHAT THE FUTURE SHOWS AS WELL. INTERESTING DRAFT RESOLUTION REPORTED THIS WEEK. THE ARIZONA REPUBLIC FOUND A COPY OF THIS. STATE REPUBLICAN PARTY SINGING THE PRAISES OF JOE ARPAIO, THE ALPHA AND OMEGA AND ALL POINTS IN BETWEEN. BUT. BUT.

BOB CHRISTIE: BUT SHERIFF PLEASE STEP ASIDE SO YOU DON'T MESS UP THE U.S. SENATE RACE FOR US. I'M NOT SURE ABOUT THE LOGIC THERE. THEY ARE TRYING TO PUSH ARPAIO UP, PRAISE HIM FOR HIS WONDERFUL SERVICE TO ARIZONA, HIS NATIONAL STRETCH, BUT THEY WANT HIM OUT OF THE U.S. SENATE RACE. IT DEPENDS ON WHO YOU WANT TO GET ELECTED. THE SUPPOSED ARGUMENT IS IF WE GET ARPAIO OUT, THERE’S A BETTER CHANCE A REPUBLICAN WILL WIN. IF YOU GET ARPAIO OUT, IT DIRECTLY PUTS KELLI WARD AGAINST MARTHA MCSALLY AND SHE COULD WIN THAT AND THAT EVERY ESTABLISHMENT REPUBLICAN BELIEVES WARD CAN’T WIN A GENERAL SO IT’S ALMOST COUNTERPRODUCTIVE.

TED SIMONS: WHO WOULD BE BEHIND THIS? THE WARD CAMPAIGN? WOULD THE WARD FOLKS BE BEHIND SOMETHING LIKE THIS?

JEREMY DUDA: THEY SAY IT HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH THEM. I'M SURE THEY WOULD LOVE ARPAIO TO SAY, SECOND THOUGHT, I'M BETTER OFF NOT RUNNING. IT'S THE SAME BASE OF SUPPORTERS THESE TWO PEOPLE ARE GOING TO. I'M SURE MCSALLY WOULD LOVE SEEING THE TWO OF THEM FIGHT AGAINST EACH OTHER FOR THE SAME BASE. WHETHER OR NOT SHE'S BEHIND THIS, SHE’S DEFINITELY THE ONE THAT WOULD STAND TO BENEFIT IF THAT WERE TO HAPPEN.

RACHEL LEINGANG: THERE ARE STILL A LOT OF REPUBLICS NOT FANS OF ARPAIO ANYMORE. THAT'S HOW HE GOT DEFEATED IN 2016. IT'S NOT SURPRISING THAT THERE ARE PEOPLE WITHIN THE AZ GOP RANKS THAT THINK YOUR TIME IS DONE HERE. THANK YOU, BUT MOVE ALONG, AND LET OTHER PEOPLE GET INVOLVED.

TED SIMONS: I THOUGHT ARPAIO'S RESPONSE WAS SOMEWHAT PRICELESS. HE BASICALLY SAID THE DRAFT RESOLUTION MAKES ME LOOK GREAT. HOW COME THEY ARE NOT ASKING THE OTHER TWO TO DROP OUT?

BOB CHRISTIE: THE SHERIFF IS VERY GOOD AT OPTICS. IT'S GOING TO BE A VERY FUN PRIMARY RACE IF HE STICKS IT OUT.

TED SIMONS: DO YOU THINK HELS GOING TO STICK IT OUT?

BOB CHRISTIE: I'M NOT IN THE PREDICTION BUSINESS. FOR HIS EGO, HE WOULD HAVE A HARD TIME JUMPING OUT NOW. HE'S ALL IN, RIGHT? WHAT WOULD YOU DO? YOU WOULD COME OUT AND SAY, YOU KNOW, MY WIFE'S ILL. I SHOULDN'T RUN -- NO, I THINK HE WILL STAY.

TED SIMONS: WHAT DO YOU THINK? IS HE IN FOR THE LONG HAUL?

JEREMY DUDA: ALL OF THE PREDICTIONS I’VE MADE ABOUT WHAT JOE ARPAIO WOULD DO IN A SENATE RACE TURNED OUT DISASTROUSLY WRONG, AND I HAVE BEEN EATING CROW THE PAST FEW WEEKS ABOUT IT, BUT I DO HAVE A HARD TIME SEEING HIM DROP OUT. JOE LOVES THE SPOTLIGHT. HE LOVES GETTING HIS NAME IN THE PAPER. DROP OUT, AND THAT ALL GOES AWAY.YOU STAY IN AT LEAST THROUGH THE END OF AUGUST, THAT'S HAPPENING.

TED SIMONS: WHAT DO YOU THINK?

RACHEL LEINGANG: A LOT OF PEOPLE CYNICALLY SAY HE'S DOING IT TO RAISE MONEY FOR OTHER PURPOSES, BUT THERE ARE RULES ON WHAT YOU CAN USE THE MONEY FOR INCLUDING PAST LEGAL FEES. I WOULD GUESS HE STICKS IT OUT TOO, BUT IT'S UNPREDICTABLE. WE'LL SEE.

TED SIMONS: WE HAVE A CONGRESSIONAL RACE. SPECIAL ELECTION GOING ON HERE. WE HAD A DEBATE, I THINK THE REPUBLICANS SPONSORED THIS ONE AS WELL. FIVE HOPEFULS WERE ALL DEBATING 90 MINUTES. IT SOUNDS AND LOOKED LIKE A TRUMP RALLY.

BOB CHRISTIE: ABSOLUTELY. THIS DISTRICT, THE EIGHTH DISTRICT IS THE WEST PHOENIX SUBURBS, SUN CITY, PEORIA, WEST GLENDALE, NORTH PHOENIX. IT'S ABOUT AS RED A DISTRICT IN A RED STATE AS YOU CAN GET. IT DIDN'T PULL THE TRUMP NUMBERS OVER HILLARY, BUT I CAN GUESS 65-35 AT LEAST IN THE LAST ELECTION. THEY ARE ON BOARD. THE QUESTION IS, HOW DO THE VOTERS DIFFERENTIATE BETWEEN FIVE CANDIDATES WHO ALL SUPPORT THE PRESIDENT, WHO ARE PRO LIFE AND ANTI- ABORTION, ALL ARE CONSERVATIVE AND SMALL GOVERNMENT, ALL WITH NEARLY IDENTICAL TALKING POINTS. IT'S GOING TO COME DOWN TO NAME I.D. IT’S GOING TO COME DOWN… CLAIR VAN STEENWYK GOT 25-30 PERCENT OF THE VOTE AGAINST TRENT FRANKS TWO YEARS AGO. IF THOSE VOTERS GO TO THE VOTING BOOTH, OH THAT’S THE SAME GUY I VOTED FOR LAST TIME. BOOM. OR IF THEY SAY DEBBIE LESCO IS MY REPRESENTATIVE. IT'S A MESS OUT THERE.

TED SIMONS: IS THERE A TRENT FRANKS JUNIOR IN THIS RACE?

JEREMY DUDA: THERE’S STEVE MONTENEGRO WHO HAS BEEN ENDORSED BY TRENT FRANKS AND WORKED FOR CONGRESSMAN FRANKS FOR YEARS. DESPITE THE WAY TRENT FRANKS CAREER HAS ENDED, HE'S STILL PRETTY POPULAR IN THAT DISTRICT. MONTENEGRO IS NOT SHY ABOUT TOUTING THAT ENDORSEMENT AND A FEW OTHER BIG NAME ENDORSEMENTS.

BOB CHRISTIE: JOE ARPAIO.

JEREMY DUDA: JOE ARPAIO. TED CRUZ.

TED SIMONS: IS BEING TRENT FRANKS JUNIOR A GOOD THING IN THIS PARTICULAR RACE?

RACHEL LEINGANG: THAT’S A GOOD QUESTION. THE WAY HE LEFT OFFICE CERTAINLY WASN'T IDEAL. THE ALLEGATIONS THAT HE PROPOSITIONED WOMEN IN HIS OFFICE TO CARRY HIS CHILD. THAT CARRIES A LOT OF BAGGAGE WITH IT. HE WAS WELL LIKED IN THIS DISTRICT WHEN HE WAS IN OFFICE. I DON’T KNOW. IT JUST DEPENDS ON IF PEOPLE HAVE MOVED ON FROM HIM AND ARE MORE LOOKING FOR WHOEVER COULD CARRY THIS DISTRICT FOR THE NEXT DECADE OR SO.

TED SIMONS: DEMOCRATS HIRAL TIPIRNENI AND BRIANNA WESTBROOK HAD A DEBATE. DO THEY HAVE ANY CHANCE IN THIS RACE?

BOB CHRISTIE: WE JUST SAW A STATE HOUSE SEAT IN WISCONSIN THAT WENT FOR TRUMP 68%-38% FLIP TO A DEMOCRAT A COUPLE OF WEEKS AGO. THAT SCARES THE HECK OUT OF REPUBLICANS. THEY DON'T HAVE MUCH CHANCE, BUT IT'S POSSIBLE. NOT VERY LIKELY.

TED SIMONS: I WAS GOING TO SAY. YOU’RE TALKING SUN CITY, WEST VALLEY. JAN BREWER COUNTRY --

BOB CHRISTIE: DPENDS ON TURNOUT. IF WE HAVE A HUGE BUNCH OF TURNOUT FROM DEMOCRATS WHO ARE ENERGIZED, AND REPUBLICANS AREN'T, ANYTHING IS POSSIBLE.

JEREMY DUDA: SPECIAL ELECTIONS HAVE LOW TURNOUT. YOU’RE TALKING ABOUT A DISTRICT IT'S NOT QUITE A 2-1 ADVANTAGE FOR REPUBLICANS. IT'S NOT THAT FAR OFF EITHER. THESE ARE HIGH EFFICACY REPUBLICAN VOTERS. ON THE FLIP SIDE, DEMOCRATS ARE EXTREMELY ENERGIZED. I HAVE NOT HEARD DEMOCRATS MAKE A PLAY FOR THIS DISTRICT BEFORE. THEY’RE TALKING ABOUT IT NOW. I DON'T KNOW THAT THEY HAVE A CHANCE, BUT THE FACT THAT THEY ARE TALKING ABOUT IT TELLS YOU A LITTLE BIT ABOUT THE POLITICAL CLIMATE RIGHT NOW.

TED SIMONS: THE POLLING MAY BE SUGGESTING SOMETHING. YOU NEVER KNOW.

BOB CHRISTIE: EVEN IF THEY GET WITHIN FIVE POINTS, THAT'S A VICTORY. THAT SHOULD BE A 15 POINT LOSS FOR ANY DEMOCRAT.

TED SIMONS: RACHEL, WHO IS REPRESENTATIVE TRAVIS GRANTHAM AND WHY DOES HE WANT TO TAKE THE ABILITY TO VOTE FOR THE UNITED STATES SENATE AWAY FROM ALL OF US?

RACHEL LEINGANG: HE’S A FRESHMAN REPUBLICAN LAWMAKER AND HE THINKS PEOPLE IN THE U.S. SENATE HAVE LOST TOUCH WITH THE STATE AND ARE NOT REPRESENTING THE STATE'S INTEREST ANYMORE IN D.C. HE WANTS THEM TO BE ACCOUNTABLE TO THE LEGISLATURE. THERE WOULD ESSENTIALLY BE TWO PEOPLE FROM EACH MAJOR PARTY, THAT’S IMPORTANT, REPUBLICANS AND DEMOCRATS TO CHOOSE TWO CANDIDATES, AND THOSE ARE THE PEOPLE THAT COULD RUN, BUT IT WOULDN'T BE A POPULAR ELECTION.

TED SIMONS: SO LET’S GO THROUGH THIS STEP BY STEP. FIRST OF ALL, YOU CAN'T VOTE FOR THE UNITED STATES SENATE ANYMORE AS FAR AS PRIMARIES ARE CONCERNED?

BOB CHRISTIE: YOU CAN --

TED SIMONS: BUT THE THING IS, YOUR CHOICES WILL BE MADE FOR YOU. YOU CAN'T MAKE THE CHOICES OF WHO WILL RUN. YOUR CHOICES WILL BE MADE FOR YOU.

BOB CHRISTIE: CORRECT. THE PROPOSAL IS THAT REPUBLICANS IN THE ARIZONA LEGISLATURE WOULD CHOOSE TWO CHAMPIONS, TWO GOOD REPUBLICANS WHO ALIGN WITH THE MAJORITY OF REPUBLICANS IN THE LEGISLATURE AND PUT THEM UP FOR THE PRIMARY. DEMOCRATS HAVE TO DO THE SAME THING. THIS WILL NEVER HAPPEN BECAUSE THE VOTERS HAVE TO APPROVE THIS MEASURE AND YOU PUT A MEASURE IN FRONT OF THE PEOPLE, THE LEGISLATURE WANTS TO PICK YOUR U.S. CANDIDATES. YES OR NO?

RACHEL LEINGANG: YOU WOULD HAVE TO MAKE IT OUT OF LEGISLATURE TOO, AND I DOUBT IT HAS THE FULL SUPPORT.

TED SIMONS: AND NOT ONLY THAT BUT NO INDEPENDENCE, NO MINOR PARTY CANDIDATES, TWO DEMOCRATS, TWO REPUBLICANS. DOOR IS CLOSED.

JEREMY DUDA: I’M NOT SURE THE REPUBLICANS OR DEMOCRATS WOULD BE TOO OPPOSED TO THAT ESPECIALLY WITH THE REPUBLICANS, YOU HEAR A LOT OF COMPLAINTS FROM LIBERTARIAN CANDIDATES SIPHONING OFF SOME OF THE VOTES. I CAN'T IMAGINE THIS IS ANYTHING BUT DEAD ON ARRIVAL. IF IT WERE TO GET TO THE BALLOT, I CAN'T IMAGINE IT WILL BE APPEALING TO VOTERS TO SAY, I'LL TAKE MY VOTING RIGHTS AND GIVE THEM TO POLITICIANS INSTEAD. THIS IS KIND OF A HALFWAY MEASURE. THERE IS SUPPORT IN CONSERVATIVE QUARTERS ABOUT REPEALING THE 17TH AMENDMENT, RETURNING SENATE ELECTIONS COMPLETELY AND HOLY TO THE LEGISLATURE AS IT WAS FOR THE FIRST HUNDRED PLUS YEARS OF AMERICAN HISTORY. IT'S BEEN GONE FOR A LONG TIME. IT'S NEVER COMING BACK. PEOPLE KIND OF OVERLOOKED WHY THAT CHANGED IN THE FIRST PLACE. THEY LIKE HAVING THE VOTE.

TED SIMONS: IT ALSO REFLECTS REPUBLICAN DISCONTENT WITH MCCAIN, FLAKE, THE CURRENT TWO SENATORS, DOES IT NOT?

RACHEL LEINGANG: ABSOLUTELY. IF THEY HAD A VOTE ON, THESE ARE OUR GUYS. THESE ARE THE PEOPLE WE’RE GOING TO SEND. THOSE PEOPLE HAVE TO NOT WORK FOR THE VOTER, BUT THE LEGISLATIVE VOTES. HE MENTIONED TOO THAT THIS COULD AFFECT INCUMBANCY. IF THE INCUMBENT ISN’T WORKING FOR THE STATE’S INTEREST, THEY MAY NOT NOMINATE YOU AGAIN.

TED SIMONS: SUCH PALACE INTRIGUE IF THAT COULD GO THROUGH.

BOB CHRISTIE: IT'S AN INTERESTING POLITICAL PHILOSOPHICAL DISCUSSION IF YOU THINK ABOUT IT. RIHGT NOW OUR PRIMARIES, ESPECIALLY ON THE REPUBLICAN AND DEMOCRATIC SIDE, IF IT’S A REAL PRIMARY YOU HAVE TO RUN WAY TO THE RIGHT. THE PERSON WHO WINS THE PRIMARY IS VERY CONSERVATIVE OR IN MANY STATES, VERY LIBERAL. WOULD THIS FORCE THE REPUBLICANS IN THE LEGISLATURE TO GO, YOU KNOW IF WE DON’T WANT THIS SEAT TO GO DEMOCRAT, WE BETTER PICK A MODERATE WHICH IS WHY WE HAVE FLAKE, IT’S WHY WE HAVE MCCAIN. YOU DON’T GO FOR J.D. HAYWORTH. IT'S AN INTERESTING POLITICAL PHILOSOPHICAL THING.

TED SIMONS: IT'S PHILOSOPHICAL. WHEN THE VOTES HIT THE GROUND, IT'S NOT GOING TO HAPPEN.

JEREMY DUDA: NO. IT WOULD BE A LOT OF FUN FOR US POLITICAL JUNKIES.

TED SIMONS: SURE. I WANT TO CLOSE THE SHOW HERE ON A BILL REGARDING SALARY OF LAWMAKERS. FLAG STAFF REPRESENTATIVE BOB THORPE WANTS AN INCREASE IN SALARY FOR STATE LAWMAKERS. NO INCREASE THE PAST 20 YEARS RACHEL, IT'S 24,000 OR WHATEVER IT IS. TIME FOR AN INCREASE?

RACHEL LEINGANG: TIME FOR A TRIPLE INCREASE ACCORDING TO REPRESENTATIVE THORPE. AT THE BALLOT, VOTERS HAVE VOTED AGAINST THIS. EVEN FOR MARGINAL INCREASES, A FEW THOUSAND DOLLARS. THERE’S A SCHOOL OF THOUGHT THAT IF WE HAD BETTER PAY FOR LAWMAKERS, YOU WOULD GET A BETTER CALIBER OF LAWMAKER. $24,000, IT'S NOT ENOUGH TO LIVE ON. IT’S A PART-TIME JOB BUT THEY ARE STILL DOING A LOT OF WORK. HE'S ASKING FOR $76,000, WHICH WOULD BE TIED THE SALARY TO A BOARD OF SUPERVISOR'S PAY IN A LARGE COUNTY. THAT'S A HUGE INCREASE I'M SURE THE VOTERS ARE NOT KEEN ON IF THEY ARE NOT FINE WITH A $4,000 INCREASE.

TED SIMONS: IT’S A HUGE INCREASE. IF YOU’RE SAYING A STATE LAWMAKER SHOULD EARN THAT MUCH LESS THAN A COUNTY SUPERVISOR, SOUNDS LIKE A PRETTY GOOD ARGUMENT FOR A RAISE.

BOB CHRISTIE: WELL IT DOES, EXCEPT THE SUPERVISOR IS A FULL TIME JOB AND THE LEGISLATURE ISN'T.THERE IS AN ARGUMENT THERE. I DON’T THINK THERE’S ANY ONE WHO DISAGREES – THERE’S A COMISSION THAT LOOKS AT LEGISLATIVE SALARIES EVERY FEW YEARS, AND THE LAST TIME THEY CAME BACK, YEAH THEY NEED A BIG RAISE, BUT MAYBE WE CAN SQUEAK BY $3,000 OR $4,000, VOTERS WOULDN'T GO FOR IT. THE REAL ISSUE IS, WOULD WE GET BETTER QUALITY LAWMAKERS IF WE PAY THEM MORE -- PROBABLY.

JEREMY DUDA: I LOOKED THIS UP EARLIER. THIS WOULD GIVE US THE FOURTH HIGHEST LEGISLATIVE SALARIES IN THE COUNTRY BEHIND ONLY NEW YORK, PENNSYLVANIA AND CALIFORNIA. I BELIEVE THEY ARE ALL FULL TIME LEGISLATORS AND ARIZONA BEING PART TIME EVEN THOUGH IT MIGHT LAST SIX MONTHS OF THE YEAR OR AT LEAST FOUR MONTHS. THAT WOULD BE SUCH A TOUGH SELL. YOU CAN'T SELL $4,000, TRIPLING IT TO $76,000. THAT'S A NO GO.

RACHEL LEINGANG: HE ALSO HAS ANOTHER BILL THAT WOULD INCREASE THE PER DIEM AND TIE IT TO THE FEDERAL RATE. WE’VE HAD ISSUES FAIRLY RECENTLY OF OVERPAYMENTS IN PER DIEM. THERE’S BEEN A WHOLE STATE OF REFORM SINCE THAT HAPPENED. OPTICALLY, IT LOOKS BAD TO INCREASE YOUR OWN PAY TO THAT DEGREE. THE PER DIEM THING, THEY CAN DO THAT WITHOUT VOTER APPROVAL, BUT I BET THEY WON’T DUE TO PAST CONTROVERSIES.

TED SIMONS: $60 A DAY FOR SOMEONE IN KINGMAN OR SANTA CRUZ? IN PHOENIX, THORPE ARGUED YOU CAN'T EVEN GET A GOOD ROOM.

BOB CHRISTIE: CORRECT. FOR FOUR MONTHS, SOMEONE HAS TO DRIVE DOWN HERE FROM KINGMAN AND RENT AN APARTMENT. WHAT IS AN APARTMENT IN PHOENIX? IT'S BEEN A WHILE SINCE I BOUGHT A HOUSE A FEW YEARS AGO BUT IT’S $1,200 A MONTH FOR A ONE BEDROOM THAT'S DECENT, AND THAT'S SHORT-TERM, RIGHT? THEY ARE BARELY SQUEAKING BY, BUT THE LOBBYISTS FEED THEM EVERY NIGHT AND THEY GET FREE LUNCHES. THERE ARE SOME PERKS.

TED SIMONS: SO WE SHOULDN'T EXPECT TOO MUCH OUT OF THIS LEGISLATION?

BOB CHRISTIE: I DOUBT IT MAKES THAT FAR. AND LAST YEAR THEY INCREASED MILEAGE RATE. THEY GOT A FEW EXTRA BUCKS.

TED SIMONS: ALL RIGHT, THANK YOU VERY MUCH. MONDAY ON ARIZONA HORIZON, WE'LL TAKE A CLOSER LOOK AT THE PRESIDENT'S LATEST IDEAS REGARDING IMMIGRATION REFORM. AND WE'LL HEAR ABOUT THE INCREASING IMPORTANCE OF THE WINE INDUSTRY IN SOUTH-EASTERN ARIZONA. THAT'S MONDAY ON ARIZONA HORIZON. ON TUESDAY, OUR FAVORITE PHYSICIST LAWRENCE KRAUSS JOINS US FOR THE LATEST IN SCIENCE NEWS. ALSO TUESDAY, JOIN US LIVE AT 10PM FOR RECAP AND ANALYSIS OF PRESIDENT TRUMP'S STATE OF THE UNION ADDRESS. WEDNESDAY: WE'LL SEE IF BIPARTISANSHIP IS STILL ALIVE AT THE STATE CAPITOL WITH OUR LEGISLATIVE UPDATE. THURSDAY: A LOOK AT HOW THE PRESIDENT'S NEW TARIFFS ON SOLAR PANELS WILL IMPACT THE SOLAR INDUSTRY. AND FRIDAY, IT'S ANOTHER EDITION OF THE "JOURNALISTS' ROUNDTABLE." THAT IS IT FOR NOW. I'M TED SIMONS. THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR JOINING US. YOU HAVE A GRE

Rachel Leingang: reporter at the Governor's Office, Arizona Capitol Times
Bob Christie: Politics and State Government Reporter, Associated Press
Jeremy Duda: Capitol Reports Assistant Editor, Arizona Capitol Times

Illustration of columns of a capitol building with text reading: Arizona PBS AZ Votes 2024

Arizona PBS presents candidate debates

Graphic for the AZPBS kids LEARN! Writing Contest with a child sitting in a chair writing on a table and text reading: The Ultimate Field Trip
May 26

Submit your entry for the 2024 Writing Contest

Rachel Khong
May 29

Join us for PBS Books Readers Club!

Super Why characters

Join a Super Why Reading Camp to play, learn and grow

Subscribe to Arizona PBS Newsletters

STAY in touch
with azpbs.org!

Subscribe to Arizona PBS Newsletters: