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Predictable primary: Few shakeups in party races

Barber, McSally, Grijalva coast to wins; Flake gets GOP Senate nod

Most Southern Arizona races shaped up as expected in Tuesday's primary election.

Ron Barber will face Martha McSally in the general election, and Raul Grijavla will defend his seat against Gabriela Saucedo Mercer.

"The last election was about the past. This election is about the future," McSally told supporters at an East Side Radisson hotel.

In CD2, Republican McSally bested political newcomer Mark Koskiniemi 82-18 percent, while U.S. Rep. Ron Barber led challenger Matt Heinz, a state legislator, by a similar 65 points.

In CD 3, U.S. Rep. Raul Grijalva also coasted to victory, with 66 percent of the vote over challengers Amanda Aguirre (25 percent) and Manny Arreguin (9 percent).

"This victory was terribly sweet," said Grijalva of his win in the first primary in which he's ever faced opponents since being elected.

Republican Jeff Flake will face Democratic candidate Richard Carmona in the U.S. Senate race.

Flake, a sitting congressman, beat out Prescott businessman Wil Cardon in the Republican Senate primary, 69-21 percent. Carmona, a former U.S. surgeon general, was unchallenged in his primary.

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In wide-ranging CD1, Jonathan Paton easily bested three GOP opponents, taking 61 percent of the vote in a political comeback. Paton lost a GOP primary to Jesse Kelly in CD8 two years ago.

The Democratic side of CD1 saw a comeback as well; Ann Kirkpatrick got the nod from 64 percent of CD1 voters, over 36 percent for Wenona Benally Baldenegro. Kirkpatrick lost her congressional seat two years ago.

The race between Kirkpatrick and Paton is poised to attract national attention—and dollars.

Military metaphors

Both sides of the aisle saw candidates tout their military experience.

Carmona, who served in Vietnam before becoming a doctor and U.S. surgeon general, called on voters to "return me to active duty."

The Democratic Senate candidate lamented what he called "corrosive" politics, and said, "We've lost too many centrist statesmen and -women."

McSally told her supporters that after 26 years of serving in the U.S. Air Force it was now time for her to stand up again and serve her nation as a representative of Southern Arizona.

McSally was a late entrant in the special election earlier this year to fill the seat vacated by Gabrielle Giffords. Although she didn't win her party's support in that election, she carried momentum into this election for the newly created CD2 district—a campaign that was boosted when twice-defeated Kelly declined to run again.

"The last election was about the past. This election is about the future," McSally said, joking that her previous race lasted a total of only 68 days, less time than exists between now and the November election.

Barber wasted little time in moving ahead with his general election campaign, echoing the themes that brought him a win over Kelly in the special election earlier this year.

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"I respect Martha McSally’s service to our country. But the policies she supports will not help rebuild the middle class or protect essential programs for seniors," Barber said.

"She has said she would vote for the Paul Ryan budget plan that would make massive cuts in Medicare... She’s pledged to keep tax breaks for corporations that ship American jobs overseas. Her plans will just make life harder for the middle class," he said.

Mercer charges 'race baiting'

Gabriela Saucedo Mercer easily defeated Jaime Vasquez in the Republican primary in CD3, with 64 percent of the vote.

Mercer denied media reports that she said Middle Eastern immigrants— illegal or legal—want to harm the United States, calling them "race baiting."

She claimed she never said that, and challenged critics to "watch the 14-minute video and decide for yourself who is the racist here. They spliced a bunch of interviews together" to come up with those comments, she said.

"Desperate people do desperate things. It makes me very upset," she said.

In a video posted by the right-wing WesternFreePress.com, Mercer told an interviewer:

"Middle Easterners, a lot of them, they look Mexican, or they look like a lot of people in South America, with dark skin, dark hair, brown eyes - and they mix. They mix in. And those people, their only goal in life is to cause harm to the United States. So why do we want them here, either legally or illegally?"

Mercer, who immigrated from Mexico in the mid-1980s, said she can't beat Grijalva's name recognition, but can do more to solve the immigration issue. And she echoed her blasts at the congressman's 2010 call for a boycott of Arizona over SB 1070.

Mercer said that action cost 27,000 jobs after dozens of conventions and conferences planned in Arizona were canceled.

"It was his people, in the district, who (were among those who) lost jobs," she said.

Her key issues going forward to the general election are "jobs, the economy and the immigration issue." She said her candidacy represents change for the district. "The voters want change, real change," she said at a GOP gathering at Midtown restaurant El Parador.

For his part, Grijalva gave a wry smile when asked Tuesday night about Mercer's comments regarding Middle Eastern immigrants.

"I think she just ended her campaign right there," he said.

"I'm just going to let her define herself," he said of Mercer's repeated charges that Grijalva is a socialist and communist.

Mercer's policy proposals are "horribly extreme," said Grijalva. "It's unbelievable that Arizonans would vote for her."

Napier targets Dupnik

Mark Napier beat out four other GOP candidates in the primary race for Pima County sheriff, pulling 43 percent of the vote in the crowded race.

Napier said his win is due to his team's work on the ground. "A candidate is only as good as his team," he said.

Napier said "our message is simple. It's time for a new sheriff, a visible, dynamic engaged, sheriff."

Not only does he say he wants to re-establish the office of sheriff with a visible leader, Napier said that if he beats Democrat incumbent Clarence Dupnik in November, he will be "much more cooperative and communicative" with other law enforcement agencies "in the valley" and "increase the dialogue with border sheriffs as well."

But Napier faces an uphill battle against Dupnik; the sheriff was first elected in 1980.

Voter turnout

About 23 percent of Arizona voters cast a primary ballot. In Pima County, voter turnout was nearly 31 percent.

Turnout was light during the day, but nearly 50 percent of the early ballots mailed out were returned by Monday, according the Pima County Recorder's Office. Over 117,000 of the 222,000 early ballots requested by voters had been returned.

Given the number of early ballots cast, the night's winners were known quickly. While a number of mail-in ballots were dropped off at the polls on Election Day—Pima County Democratic Party Chairman Jeff Rogers said one-third of Tuesday's ballots were dropped off—no races were close enough to still be in question.

Foregone conclusions

Many of the top-of-ballot races were considered forgone conclusions, with Republican McSally and incumbent Democrat Barber heavily favored to win in the CD2 primary—as was long-time U.S. Rep. Grijalva in CD3.

The final outcome of several local races was determined Tuesday, as they feature contested primaries in one party, but no candidate from the other parties.

The offices that were all-but-officially filled in the primary are:

  • Pima County supervisor from District 4, in a race which saw Republican incumbent Ray Carroll fend off challenger Sean Collins, 57-42 percent.
  • State senator from LD3, where Olivia Cajero Bedford won over Democratic challenger Maria Garcia, 67-33 percent.
  • State representative from LD4, where voters picked two House members in Charlene Fernandez and Lisa Otondo in the Democratic primary, leaving behind Juan Carlos Escamilla,
  • Pima County school superintendent, where Linda Arzoumanian faced down GOP challenger Mace Bravin, 54-45 percent.

Carroll said the Republican primary campaign was "an attack-filled, dirty campaign." He condemned Collins' campaign rhetoric, saying he issued "distortions of my record and outright lies. But baseless lies do not make a campaign."

Carroll, who doesn't face a Democratic challenger, said he will work on some other GOP campaigns over the next few months, supporting candidates he'd like to see win in November, including Jeff Flake, Beth Ford and Jonathan Paton.

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Arzoumanian, a 13-year incumbent Pima County School superintendent, said early in the evening she did not know what the outcome of the Republican primary would be.

"You never can tell. People want to get rid of incumbents. The Tea Party had some candidates. I'll tell you what, I'm very happy," she said, as the votes were tallied and she emerged as the winner.

Of her opponent, Mace Bravin, she said. "This gentleman had some issues."

Arzoumanian said some people don't understand that she "has a lot of responsibilities" and none of them involve changing laws.

"We don't make laws. We are constituent services," she said. "We don't determine curriculum."

Other candidates, such as Democratic state Sen. Linda Lopez, faced neither primary nor general election challengers.

Election results

Election results will be released beginning at 8 p.m.

U.S. Senator (Rep.)

CARDON, WIL 88,746 21.17%
FLAKE, JEFF 289,743 69.11%
HACKBARTH, BRYAN 15,839 3.78%
VAN STEENWYK, CLAIR 23,660 5.64%
Write-in 1,269 0.30%
Total 419,257

U.S. Senator (Dem.)

CARMONA, RICHARD 242,825 99.01%
Write-in 2,418 0.99%
Total 245,243

U.S. Rep. - District 1 (Rep.)

GATTI, PATRICK 2,367 5.86%
MARTIN, GAITHER 7,504 18.57%
PATON, JONATHAN 24,576 60.83%
WADE, DOUGLAS 5,780 14.31%
Write-in 175 0.43%
Total 40,402

U.S. Rep. - District 1 (Dem.)

KIRKPATRICK, ANN 29,952 63.91%
Write-in 131 0.28%
Total 46,869

U.S. Rep. - District 2 (Rep.)

KOSKINIEMI, MARK 10,496 18.15%
MCSALLY, MARTHA 47,171 81.57%
Write-in 164 0.28%
Total 57,831

U.S. Rep. - District 2 (Dem.)

BARBER, RON 47,010 82.18%
HEINZ, MATT 10,034 17.54%
Write-in 161 0.28%
Total 57,205

U.S. Rep. - District 3 (Rep.)

VASQUEZ, JAIME 5,558 35.08%
Write-in 150 0.95%
Total 15,842

U.S. Rep. - District 3 (Dem.)

AGUIRRE, AMANDA 7,711 25.21%
ARREGUIN, MANNY 2,640 8.63%
GRIJALVA, RAÚL M. 20,145 65.85%
Write-in 95 0.31%
Total 30,591

Corporation Commissioner (Rep.)

BITTER SMITH, SUSAN 264,540 32.88%
BURNS, ROBERT 'BOB' 255,357 31.74%
STUMP, BOB 280,829 34.90%
Write-in 3,887 0.48%
Total 804,613

Corporation Commissioner (Dem.)

BUSCHING, MARCIA 162,220 30.32%
KENNEDY, SANDRA 194,550 36.36%
NEWMAN, PAUL 175,475 32.79%
Write-in 2,833 0.53%
Total 535,078

Contested S. Az primaries

State Senator - District 3 (Dem.)

GARCIA, MARIA 4,255 32.85%
Write-in 35 0.27%
Total 12,954

State Rep. - District 4 (Dem. / Vote for 2)

ESCAMILLA, JUAN CARLOS ''J.C.'' 2,950 31.14%
OTONDO, LISA 3,405 35.94%
Write-in 28 0.30%
Total 9,474

State Rep. - District 8 (Dem. / Vote for 2)

ARREDONDO, GEORGE 2,916 23.09%
VERDUGO, EMILY 4,629 36.66%
Write-in 51 0.40%
Total 12,627

State Rep. - District 9 (Dem. / Vote for 2)

COX, DUSTIN 8,724 29.07%
SIDHWA, MOHUR SARAH 10,510 35.02%
STEELE, VICTORIA 10,697 35.64%
Write-in 84 0.28%
Total 30,015

State Rep. - District 10 (Dem. / Vote for 2)

MACH, STEFANIE 10,602 36.53%
PATRICK, BRANDON 7,067 24.35%
WHEELER, BRUCE 11,253 38.77%
Write-in 100 0.34%
Total 29,022

Other statewide primaries of interest

State Sen. - District 24 (Dem.)

CHEUVRONT, KEN 3,608 39.56%
HOBBS, KATIE 5,479 60.08%
Write-in 33 0.36%
Total 9,120

State Rep. - District 24 (Dem. / Vote for 2)

ALSTON, LELA 5,869 38.20%
CAMPBELL, CHAD 5,543 36.08%
NERINI, TOM 1,437 9.35%
Write-in 43 0.28%
Total 15,363

State Sen. - District 25 (Rep.)

PEARCE, RUSSELL 10,086 44.02%
WORSLEY, BOB 12,789 55.82%
Write-in 38 0.17%
Total 22,913

Pima County primaries

Board of Supervisors - District 1 (Rep.)

HELLON, MIKE 6,896 31.76%
MCDANIEL, STUART W. 1,905 8.77%
MILLER, ALLY 8,207 37.80%
WILLIAMS, VIC 4,670 21.51%
Write-in 36 0.17%
Total 21,714

Board of Supervisors - District 4 (Rep.)

CARROLL, RAY 12,483 57.47%
COLLINS, SEAN E. 9,201 42.36%
Write-in 36 0.17%
Total 21,720

Sheriff (Rep.)

FREDERICK, TERRY A. 9,368 15.82%
HOLCK, VINSON 8,651 14.61%
MANNING, CHESTER C. 8,902 15.04%
NAPIER, MARK D. 25,615 43.27%
SETZER, WALTER M. 6,370 10.76%
Write-in 293 0.49%
Total 59,199

County Sup't of Schools (Rep.)

ARZOUMANIAN, LINDA L 30,111 54.32%
BRAVIN, MACE B. 25,162 45.40%
Write-in 155 0.28%
Total 55,428

Maria Coxon Smith contributed to this report.

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have your say   

Latest comments on this storyRead all 11 »

Aug 31, 2012, 12:20 am
-0 +1


(continued from last post)

“Truth to power”? Really, quoting his campaign sign? The same campaign sign that has a nose on it, and then the condidate’s name in huge snot-colored letters right below the nose? Yeah, not very well thought out there. But, while I admit to having never witnessed snot in Grijalva’s slovenly, unkempt mustache, I would believe it. After all, I did see him show up to a debate with no coat or tie, and food down the front of his shirt.

So, what’s my problem with Grijalva, other than what I already outlined? Well, it’s what he represents. He represents all that is broken and wrong with our election processes. His district is blatantly rigged for him to win. But, more than that…to be fair, I’m sure there are people who actually know who and what Grijalva is and what he’s about and that agree with his views (not having to do with skin color), and vote their conscience when they for for Grijalva. However, I honestly believe with every fiber of my being that those people are in the vast minority.

I have no doubt at all that a large percentage of Grijalva’s votes come from people voting for skin color. I have no doubt at all that a large percentage of Grijalva’s votes come from people voting for for “D”. I have no doubt at all that a large percentage of Grijalva’s votes come from people voting for the Hispanic-sounding last name. I have no doubt at all that a large percentage of Grijalva’s votes come from people who don’t have the first damn clue who Grijalva really is and what he’s about. I’ll concede that the voters in Grijalva’s district don’t have a monopoly on that disgusting practice, but that’s where it seems the most prevalant, and that’s where it does the most damage at both a national and a local level. There are 435 Congressional districts in our country. Does anyone actually believe that Grijalva would stand any chance at all getting elected in any one of the other 434? To me, that represents a HUGE problem. The majority of voters in Grijalva’s district take for granted…hell, they outright disrespect, one of our most precious and sacred rights that is the envy of people in many other countries…the right to vote. Are the voters in Grijalva’s district grateful for that precious right? Of course not. They just throw it away on shallow, superficial bullshit that should not come in to play in any election anywhere in our country, and as an American it makes me sick, and less-than-hopeful about our future. If voting against someone because they are a certain skin color is wrong, then isn’t voting FOR someone because they are a certain skin color equally wrong? I sure as hell think it is.

Why is there not more outrage about this?

Aug 31, 2012, 12:15 am
-0 +1


Would you be so forgiving of a white politican who was a former member of the KKK, even if it was just a “college phase” or a “right of passage”? Yeah, didn’t think so…

Grijalva has spent the last dacade showing us he is very much still in the mecha mindset. Anytime there is any sort of legislation introduced to help protect our border or our soverignty, or protect our children from being brainwashed into the mecha mindset using our tax dollars, he’s right there to give an idiotic sound byte containing one of the old tired buzz-words like “mean-spirited” or “racist”. When he has a chance to do the right thing for our country, like stand-up against something like Fast-and-Furious, he throws a crybaby tantrum and walks out of the room.

And a Latino perspective, huh? That’s part of the problem, right there. No politician at any layer of government should be thinking in terms of color. And, if they are, they should be fired. I want elected officials to provide an AMERICAN perspective. After all, aren’t we supposed to be a melting pot here?

Grijalva passionate about protecting his homeland? I would hope you’re referring to the United States, because you point out he is native to here, so this is supposed to be his homeland, right? As far as I can tell, he’s done all he can to weaken it, not protect it. Watch this brief video that shows how important protecting his homeland is to him…


(more to come)

Aug 30, 2012, 6:46 pm
-0 +1

A historical note:

Robert Salvatierra, Jr., served on the TUSD Governing Board from 1953-1955. Grijalva was elected to that body in 1974, and served through 1986.


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Kevin Asher/TucsonSentinel.com

U.S. Rep.Ron Barber thanked supporters at the Democratic Party gathering at the El Casino Ballroom.

Pearce loses comeback bid

Former state Sen. President Russell Pearce, ousted in a recall election last year, failed in his bid to return to the state Legislature.

Republican Bob Worsley beat Pearce by 12 points, 56-44 percent, in the primary in Mesa's LD 25.

Pearce, the prime mover behind Arizona's controversial SB 1070 anti-illegal immigration law and an ardent Tea Partier, lost a November 2011 recall to fellow Republican Jerry Lewis, a political novice.

The second electoral loss in a year in the heavily GOP district may well mark the end of the political career of the man who was once considered more powerful than the state's governor.

Worsley, the founder of SkyMall, gained the backing of the entire Mesa City Council and many moderate Republicans, who recruited him to block Pearce's comeback attempt.