An analysis of the primary election results with Mario E. Diaz, president of Mario E. Diaz & Associates, Jaime Molera, partner with Molera Alvarez, and ASU Political Science Assistant Professor Rudy Espino.
Jose Cardenas: Good evening, I'm Jose Cardenas. Thank you for joining us. Arizona voters make their choices in this year's primary election. We'll have all of the results. A look at the winners, non-winners and matchups in the November general election. Here to talk about some of the races are Mario Diaz, president of Mario E. Diaz and associates, Jaime Molera, partner with Molera Alvarez, and Rudy Espino, assistant professor with Arizona State University's school of politics and global studies. Gentlemen thanks for joining us on Horizonte. We're going to get to the specific of races and some of the numbers and the matchups as we said there. But what are the overarching messages, maybe something that people would be surprised to hear about that come out of this election, beginning with you Mario.
Mario E. Diaz: This idea that unions, labor organizations are dead in Arizona clearly is a myth. United food and commercial workers, plumbers and pipefitters, carpenters. They all came out in support of very specific candidates. We'll talk about that later in the show. Unions played an incredible role monetarily, physical, and efforts, sweat equity, into these races. Arizona labor organizations alive and well.
Jose Cardenas: And we're going to want to talk about that more specifically.
Jaime Molera: I think that hide coming matters in primaries. The old adage that liberals win democratic primaries, conservatives win Republican primaries is still the case. The notion we'll have some soft center, it just doesn't happen. Primaries you have to run to the base. The base gets out the vote.
Jose Cardenas: Rudy, we were talking off camera about something you owned in terms of -- observed in terms of same old same old.
Rudy Espino: That's what Jaime was talking about. They tend to be ideological. Arizona is focused on the Republican primary. It was competitive. We saw emerged most ideological candidate in Doug Ducey. The role of early ballots being cast every year, you see Doug Ducey was going after that early vote, very early. I think that made the difference. By the time Smith got the big Brewer endorsement it was too late. Perhaps that was the big gaping hole in his campaign strategy.
Jose Cardenas: You talk about the national media. There was an article in the "New York Times" that talked about with the exception possibly of Smith the GOP candidates were focused on immigration which seems at odds with the notion Arizona's Latino population is going to be increasingly influential here, and yet that's what they were hitting.
Rudy Espino: Yeah, and a question I often get from people outside Arizona is why is Arizona not swung to become like the next Colorado? The next Nevada, the next New Mexico where this Latino vote becomes influential? Part of our primary structure but there's other things perhaps we can talk about is the nature of the democratic -- the nature of the electoral process that pray into this factor.
Jose Cardenas: So Mario, let's begin by talking about the governor's race. Ducey won. Perhaps by a bigger margin than people would have expected.
Mario E. Dias: This is true. This race between treasurer Ducey and Fred Duval is for the going to be a cake walk for Ducey. I think Fred Duval is very well prepared for the next 43 days. Keep that in mind. The ballots come out in the next 43 days and Fred has been sitting on a significant amount of campaign contributions. There will be other entities outside whether people do not like dark money or Green money, whatever we call them, the money will be there. There's going to be significant push to get Fred elected.
Jose Cardenas: Jaime, did Fred sit too long?
Jaime Molera: I think he did. When the Republicans were just killing themselves going after each other, calling each other names and throwing out all this vitriol, in my opinion I think Fred Duval could have identified himself and right now starting today he started his own error campaign, TV campaigns. So did the Republican governors association who is going to pump in about $1.3 million, 300,000 just this weekend. All they are going to do is try to identify Fred. May not be fair, may not be accurate. All these people are upset they claim he's the one that personally led the increase in tuition whatever it was. But when you don't define yourself other people in a political vacuum will. That's what's going to happen now.
Jose Cardenas: Jose Cardenas: Rudy, you mentioned the governor's race in your opening comments.
Rudy Espino: Just to extend a little on what Jaime is talking about, Duval sitting and waiting reminds me of what Carmona did in the -- last Senator's race where Jeff flake appeared Carden were fighting it out. And Carmone was sitting on the sidelines and it didn't work out for him. It was too late by the time he got his name out there. The Republican party labeled him connected to Obama. They have already connected Duval to Obama. It's effective. It was effective in 2010 midterm cycle, it likely will be effective again in 2014.
Jose Cardenas: Now we also talked with you just a moment ago about the immigration Bashing. Yet some people say heard somebody on the radio driving over here today say the key for Ducey is to swing back to the middle.
Rudy Espino: Yeah he will have to. He's going to turn off certain moderate voters, even some conservative Latino voters if he continues to take the stance he had during the Republican primary battle.
Jose Cardenas: But presumably other forces outside forces whether dark or Green money, will be doing some of that dirty work for Ducey and for Duval.
Mario E. Diaz: It's not like Fred Duval has been laying out in Santa Monica and getting a tan here. This individual is completely politically astute. He has been planning, he has been laying out his economic development plan. At some point independence that come from Republicans or Democrat parties are going to say I'm tired of this bashing of border bashing and immigration issues. What are you going to do for my family? Fred is going to be ready. I think Doug Ducey will continue to play from the same Republican playbook and try to do the scare tactic and it's for the going to work.
Jose Cardenas: What about independents, Jaime? The numbers were impressive in terms of participation.
Jaime Molera: It was. It went from traditionally what's been a seven or 8% Independent voter turnout in the primaries to about 14%. Certainly what Scott Smith did was actually fairly impressive. There were a number of other organizations that put in money to try to get independents to understand they have a voice, but bottom line, the bulk of the voters are still going to be driven as we talked about by ideology. The general election it's my opinion that Democrats start out with a huge gap. 170,000 votes behind Republicans.
Jose Cardenas: In terms of registration.
Jaime Molera: Yes. This is a cycle. In an off year election when the president is so damaged politically that this becomes a moratorium on Barack Obama. Republicans are excited to vote and will get out there a and vote. National polling shows that. Democrats not so much. What they have to do, Fred Duvals of the world, Terry Goddards, they have to bring out their base, get them excited but at the same time get a significant amount of independents to say yes, it's worth voting and they have to capture maybe relationship can women, conservative Latinos. It's not that easy when you talk about a very short time frame. We're talking two months here. That's why it's so difficult for Democrats in this cycle to be effective.
Jose Cardenas: Now let's talk about something that's rare in its occurrence perhaps not surprising that it happened this time around. That's the loss by two incumbents beginning with Attorney General Horne. I understand he's conceded the race to Brnovich.
Jaime Molera: Right. I have some experience in this matter myself.
Jose Cardenas: I think you were the last one.
Jose Cardenas: That's right. I think Horne had just taken way too many Body blows. He just was constantly every other day there was a story about him being implicated in campaign finance violation, a personal scandal, and if you look at the polling data he took most of the blows in Maricopa County. In the rural counties he didn't do as bad. He was able to maintain the lead and do fairly well. But that's what really did him in. You just can't constantly sustain that. Same with John Huppenthal. He shot himself in the foot, head, chest and every other extremity he could find. When you do that you tend to lose.
Jose Cardenas: In the Huppenthal cases, Rudy, there were all the self-inflicted wounds but he also was beaten by somebody who was campaigning against common core. How much of a factor do you think that was?
Rudy Espino: It's huge. Common core is something that I think will be a bigger factor in the general election. Common core is one issue I think unites Democrats and rope cans, liberals and conservatives. Campaigning on it and framing Huppenthal as a supporter, very effective.
Jose Cardenas: Mario, your thoughts on these?
Mario E. Diaz: It was a disaster for the Republican party. The we have --
Jose Cardenas: She almost beat Horne.
Mario E. Diaz: She almost beat him last time. Mr. Brnovich is a rookie. I don't know if he can handle this pressure. Felicia is going to come out hard and strong. She's well-liked by both sides of the party. On the Huppenthal side not since governor Raul Castro has there been an elected Latino. Dr. David Garcia could become that. Jaime was appointed but elected David guard sis Yachats a solid chance against a November is, a person star struck while she was being interviewed by newscasters. This is a race for David to win or to lose if he doesn't do the right things during the campaign, continue to work hard.
Jose Cardenas: Now what about his primary, though? Some people were surprised it was as close as it was.
Mario E. Diaz: Look, as long as he has 50 plus one that's all that matters. It's a new day. It was close. But to me today the day after the primary is a new day. He is starting off strong already. I'm hearing from Republican friends that he's very well liked. They feel comfortable with him. Military back ground, Ph.D., a kid that came from low economic means. This is the American story. The Arizona story.
Jose Cardenas: So it looks like we may well have a democratic office holder and a statewide position. Jaime, do you think David will win?
Jaime Molera: It's going to be difficult. Regardless. I think Mario is right in that his challenger is going to be shown to be extremely extreme. She is about as extreme as they come in Republican circles. The thing that I think David but also a lot of Democrats tends to do, they talk amongst themselves very well. They go to the union rallies and to the worker group meetings, but they don't get out the east valley and west valley. They have to going back to my original point, mine Republican votes. You have to. In a state like Arizona you can't sit back and wait for people to come to you. You have to be much more aggressive. Aside from Rotellini, who has had -- Rotellini, business type candidate, I haven't seen that yet. That's where the Democrats have to be very aggressive. The other one we haven't talked about is Terry Goddard. It will be interesting, yes, very strong candidates on both side of the aisle will make this an interesting general election.
Jose Cardenas: And you're talking about the Secretary of State's race.
Jaime Molera: Correct.
Jose Cardenas: So Rudy, does the fact that David Garcia's last name is Garcia help or hurt?
Rudy Espino: Moving forward to the general - well, it depends where in Arizona we're talking about. Of course heavy Latino precincts that Garcia name will resonate. So he's going to have to work really hard not to try to bank on his last name but really work hard to court the white independent voters and talk about his credentials, his experience as an educator and why he would be the best candidate. Pick up on what Jaime said, even if Garcia on paper may be the best qualified candidate, the thing hurting him and other Democrats is Barack Obama. We saw this with Carmona in 2010. It was a referendum on Obama. In 014 it's still going to be a referendum on Obama and is going to hurt the Democrats over all.
Jose Cardenas: Mario, not a surprise as the campaign was moving along but at the outset people would have bet Mary Rose Wilcox would be the next Congress person from CD-7. What happened?
Mario E. Diaz: I think that seat was kept warmed too much for her. Here's what happened. There's a sense of complacency, not deliberately but she never had a competition in the last several elections. Her voters are older voters, constitutional voters in the community. They move on, they pass on. You have a young man in Rubin Gallego who is dynamic, military, gunning ho. He worked hard, very hard. I give him credit for that. I supported Mary Rose Wilcox because of so much she has done in the community but this is a changing of the guard. You have it Reuben gal legal go, Garza, along the line where the Latino community said it's time for a change. Talking about the broad appeal, this district is not completely Latino. You have a sizable African-American and Anglo and gay, LGBT community, and Gallego solidified that community early on. Mary Rose stayed on as supervisor too long in my opinion.
Jose Cardenas: So, Rudy, does Gallego's win have any coattails of any kind for the general election for the democrats or for the Latinos?
Rudy Espino: Frankly it's such a safe heat he doesn't have to campaign. He can sit on his laurels and coast, but he seems to be the type that wants to work for the party. I imagine that he had a very effective micro targeting campaign. Door to door ground campaign was just really impressive. I think it's he would probably try to help ensure that there are more voters that turn out to support fellow democratic candidates such as Duval.
Jaime Molera: So Jaime Your observations on CD7.
Jaime Molera: I think Mario did it. Reuben did a good job of reaching out to millennials, those 35 and below. That's over 50% of the Latino population. If you look at the registered voters between 18 and 35. Reuben understands that, similar to Barack Obama. I liken it to what Obama did against Hillary Clinton. Clinton was the establishment candidate, had the traditional backers. Reuben wept out and just grabbed those votes. Grabbed those young people and got them excited to vote. I think long term, though, for the good of the -- if he want to grow in the party and wants to be seen as somebody that can be a change agent, you look at the total vote in that district, it was 4,000 votes total. That was about half what Republicans come out to vote in those congressional districts. I think he needs to do a better job like all Latinos do much getting people to vote. He has an edge. He is starting with that young population to get him in the mind set, that's what I need to do.
Jose Cardenas: I assume it was because of the fact that he associated with young people that Wilcox campaign tried to paint him as an NRA type, gun supporter. Did it just have no impact or negative?
Jaime Molera: From what I understand I heard it did have an impact. Polling data shows that a lot of Latinos are against and want to see more regulations, especially in urban background she was shot as a public servant. She had a good story to tell, but at the end of the day it didn't resonate with voters. Because again, Ruben has a lot of credibility as Mario said. He's a veteran. He went to Harvard. I believe he has a good pedigree and he just worked. He's a very solid campaigner.
Mario E. Diaz: And look, the professor has an I-pad. I have a piece of paper. [laughter]. This is the campaign for district 7, which was the technology another sub plot. Technology versus the old school. They had it and she didn't I know she worked hard but when someone comes and knocks on your door six, seven, eight, nine times and mentions Ruben Gallego's name, it's hard to beat that. And right from the get go at eight o'clock when the numbers came out, he was up 3,000 votes and he won by 3,000 votes.
Jose Cardenas: So I don't think you're that old myself. [laughter]. We have touched on this several times, the replace to -- the race to replace Mary Rose Wilcox. Galar do won. Any surprises there westbound to with respect to Michael Johns?
Mario E. Diaz: I don't think so. As I said, the unions played an incredible role and specific elections with Jim McLaughlin, president of the united food and commercial workers, the quiet one. John Laredo doing the campaign strategy, Steve and Reuben were their candidates. Mike Johnson has done so much in the community, but when it comes down to leg work, knocking on doors, that typically will win a local election.
Jose Cardenas: and yet Rudy, Marie Lopez Rogers had some benefit I assume from being the incumbent at least for a short period of time and she comes in third.
Rudy Espino: Yes. A little surprising there. But it goes back to effective campaign strategy. Usually for incumbents name recognition matters but for an office like that you know a lot of voters are not paying attention. You ask the average voter do you know who is serving on County board, I don't know, unless there's a scandal. Most voters, name recognition usually matters for big state offices. In some was surprising but not all too given what office we're talking about.
Jose Cardenas: Jaime, something that attracted media discussion was whether the tea party, maybe the far right wing of the Republican party, was going to exact revenge for the votes in terms of the expansion of Medicaid. They seem to have failed miserably. We want to put the numbers up on the screen.
Jaime Molera: In some ways that is very true. Because a year ago at the height of the whole Medicaid restoration expansion debate that was engulfing Arizona, the extreme hard right was making predictions that anybody that sided with Brewer that took a vote with her, Republicans in the legislature were done politically. Their careers were over. They might as well just quit.
Jose Cardenas: District 25 was one of the big targets.
Jaime Molera: Exactly and Worsley along with everybody else that voted with the governor as a Republican won. Even -- ran as justice of the peace was targeted by the tea party, he wins mightily. But there was other races where I know the business community, the governor wanted to try to challenge other Republicans that were against Medicaid, didn't fare so well. Tea party and hard right politics did play in a lot of races. In a lost ways it was a draw. The governor was able to keep those folks in place but wasn't able to also increase their advantage in the legislature.
Jose Cardenas: Rudy, what do you think about that in terms of the tea party's influence in the selection and what it means in the general?
Rudy Espino: I don't think that the tea party is going away any time soon in Arizona or the national level. I thought they were when they first came on the scene, but it's this organic grass roots movement. They are still around. The fact that this debate over Medicaid -- which was in-fighting within the Republican party, the fact you see Republican candidates all win their elections in some ways says that that battle is over. Now the Republicans have put that behind them. Moving on. Brewer is stepping down. So we don't have that name to associate, you're connected to Brewer.
Jose Cardenas: Mario, we made reference to the so-called dark money and the races where that seemed to be the biggest issue were corporation commission and also Secretary of State on the Republican side appeared the money that was supposedly supporting Justin pierce. Your analysis there.
Mario E. Diaz: I have no doubt that the third party dollars played a significant role in this election, particularly in the corporation commission. But until the Supreme Court, until the nine members get another case and reverse the case that allowed this to happen, we're going to see this. And this is America. It's freedom of speech. It's a right to advocate for candidates. And this is the law. What can one say?
Jose Cardenas: And you've already indicated that some of this money wasn't so dark. It was pretty open. The unions' involvement.
Mario E. Diaz: Unions, you have Mr. Parsons that popped $5 million for Ms. Jones. Has his names on T. that was Green money. Until the laws are changed, nothing is going to change. You just have to deal with it and try to educate people about it but at the same time it's a right.
Jose Cardenas: And very quickly, we popped this number up a moment ago, maybe we'll get it back, Senate district 27. Also 28. Some interesting races there. Miranda wining in 27 and I think 28 may still be a tie between Casada and his opponent. 29, rather.
Mario E. Diaz: 27, Marquez, young fellow, military background, came in like Pancho Villa wanting to change the world in one election. We have to understand that sometimes you have to pay your dues. So Senator elect Miranda won that. It's a tight race between Casada and Hernandez. We'll see what happens there.
Jaime Molera: Catherine Miranda, her former husband, the late Ben Miranda, still casts a shadow in that community. Strong advocate for Latinos. Catherine is a good campaigner. She works hard.
Jose Cardenas: Educator.
Mario E. Diaz: Between those two things that helped her out considerably. There was a lot to talk about.
Jose Cardenas: I think we have covered some of the big bases here. I'm afraid we're out of time. I'm sure we'll have you all back to talk about the results after November. Thanks for joining us. Starting next week Thursday, September 4, Horizonte will move to new time slots Thursday nights at 11:00 and Sunday afternoons at 1:00. Please join me starting in September on 8H.D. That is our show for tonight. From all of us here, I'm Jose Cardenas, have a good night.
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In this segment:
Mario E. Diaz:President, Mario E. Diaz and Associates; Jaime Molera:Partner, Molera Alvarez; Rudy Espino:Political Science Assistant Professor, Arizona State University;