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Sandbox: Which primaries are worth paying attention to?

Democratic activist Ted Prezelski and Republican consultant Sam Stone rate the best and worst local primary campaigns in the initial installment of The Sandbox.... Read more»

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14 comments on this story

Aug 23, 2012, 6:06 pm
-0 +2

One you guys missed: There are about 47 Republicans who want to run against Pima County Sheriff Clarence Dupnik.

To split an infinitive and mix a metaphor, who’s gong to still be riding that merry-go-round come Tuesday night, and are they just tilting at windmills? After all, Dupnik’s been in office since Ronald Reagan was sworn in.

Aug 23, 2012, 6:48 pm
-0 +2

Dylan, I may be a prognosticator. But I don’t walk on water. No one on this world has the foggiest clue who’s going to come out of the Sheriff’s race. Hard to say it’s going to matter a whole lot, though. The problem is that pretty much no one but activists and party-line voters make it that far down the ballot. And a lot of the “regular” citizens who do are going to be voting purely on name-ID, which makes unseating Dupnik really tough. The anti-Dupnik fervor from a year and a half ago has dissipated to a significant degree, and the focus on all the major races this November is going to make it hard for anyone to drum up the interest in that contest that would be needed to Dump Dupnik.

On the other hand, I’d be willing to bet that Dupnik will be handing this seat off to one of his Deputies sometime during his next term….

Aug 23, 2012, 7:26 pm
-2 +2

I never thought Collins had a chance either but now that I heard the polling from Carroll’s camp, and you see why Ray is attacking him so much,  it looks like Sean Collins will actually win.  It would certainly be nice if he got Ray out of there and this was the beginning of many incumbents being voted out.  I guess we’ll see on August 28th….either way, it will definitely be close.

Aug 24, 2012, 8:50 am
-0 +1

My favorite thing about this entire piece is the photo that was chosen to be posted with it. Very cute. Takes me back to my own childhood.

That said…I hope this isn’t a permanent arrangement. I totally get the left vs. right thing, it’s an excellent idea…used before, but still a good idea.  As non-partisan and centrist as I am, and as much as I hate the two-party system, even I’m more right than Sam Stone.

Come on Dylan, you couldn’t find anyone more right-wing than Sam Stone?

Aug 24, 2012, 9:07 am
-1 +1

I’m going to give my take on a couple of these talking points…

About Grijalva, he’s vulnerable. The 2010 elections showed us that far too many of the CD7 voters are every bit as bigoted as Grijalva himself, and just plain old-fashioned stupid. And, yes, voting for someone because they ARE a certain race is every bit as racist, bigoted, and wrong as voting against someone because they aren’t a certain race. However, now the repubs are running someone of the “correct” skin color that will satisfy the bigots that seems to overrun that district, then the choice isn’t as simple as the right skin color anymore.

Saucedo-Mercer would seem to have the appeal the voters in that district are looking for. She was born in Mexico, she speaks Spanish, she’s a naturalized citizen, and she’s never called for a boycott of Arizona during a difficult economic time. 

That’s not to say that Grijalva will definitely lose. Now that illegals can vote (the courts have said that no where in the voting process does one have to prove their citizenship), and now that it’s been established that Grijalva can have his fluff boys go around and pull up opponents’ campaign signs without any consequences whatsoever…I say this one could go either way. Saucedo-Mercer SHOULD win, she DESERVES to win, and she is the RIGHT choice and the BETTER CANDIDATE…but unfortunately, especially in Southern Arizona, those cards don’t play in any of our elections. :( Sam Stone, do us all a favor and don’t send the Grijalva camp any intel about Saucedo-Mercer, please?

Now, on to Dupnik…I don’t know. Grijalva called for a boycott of his own state and got reelected, which I liken to Marion Barry getting busted smoking crack in a hotel room with a woman who wasn’t his wife and still being reelected mayor of Washington DC. So, as stupid as this electorate is, I could see them reelecting someone who called their home the “mecca of hate and bigotry”. I could also see them ignoring the fact that Dupnik engaged in the disgusting practice of using the January 8 tragedy as an opportunity to spew his idiotic political views to a nationwide audience. There’s an assfull of other reasons to get Dupnik out, but because of the, again, stupidity of the electorate that just seems to have a blind spot with this guy and just votes the “D”...Dupnik could be reelected. Again, he is not the best candidate, he doesn’t deserve it, but those things mean nothing to the voters around here :(

Aug 24, 2012, 10:12 am
-0 +0

Clarence Dupnik only has to point out that the reason that there are 47 Republicans on the ticket for Sheriff is that they want another wild-card like Joe Arpaio to rally sane and reasonable people from both sides behind him. The only question is, are there that many sane and reasonable people voting this time around?

Aug 24, 2012, 10:22 am
-1 +2

I have to agree with the assessment of the district 4 Board of Supervisors contest between supervisor Ray Carroll and opponent Sean Collins. Mr. Collins based his entire campaign on support of a unpopular proposed open pit mine in the national forest in the Santa Rita mountains. I have been investigating both and find that Mr. Collins does not have sufficient knowledge or experience to compete with Ray Carroll.

Before someone thinks they have discovered some underhanded scheme, I have to admit that I am writing a blog on the Tucson citizen called the other side of the coin. I started the blog to inform the public about Rosemont copper and the proposed open pit mine and my last several articles have been about Mr. Collins. I do not believe that Mr. Collins is qualified for the position, I was at that debate between supervisor Carroll and Mr. Collins and Mr. Collins was terribly unprepared.

Supervisor Carroll has been Board of Supervisors representative for the entire time he’s been in office. I consider him to be a man who can work with both parties and make decisions for the good of his constituents.

Mr. Collins, on the other hand, is pulling off the gloves and trying to attack and discredit. An example would be the “stolen campaign sign.” From Highway 83. He has accused the supervisor Ray Carroll organization, the save the scenic Santa Rita organization and others of stealing a sign. In truth and in fact the last signs that I saw posted on mile marker 47.5 (which happens to be the road to Rosemont copper headquarters) are now lying in the maintenance yard of the DOT in Nogales, Arizona.

There is more I could say but that one example should be enough. I trust Ray Carroll when it says something or when he promises something. I may not always agree with him but I know I can trust him.

Aug 24, 2012, 10:47 am
-1 +3

In your article you say

Collins is a nice guy. Good resume of military service and business acumen

Oh please - How much research did you even do on this guy?  Does this sound like someone that is a ‘business acumen’?  Collins can’t balance his own checkbook let alone Pima Co. budget.

1996 - Bankruptcy - “...my now, ex- wife.” [Collins website]

2012 - Take a look at the Cancellation of Notice of Trustee’s sale recorded in Pima County on 3/30/12, sequence #20120901021. The sale would have occurred around 3/29/12. The cancellation is signed on 3/26/12 with the cancellation recorded on 3/30/12. Apparently came up with all of the money at the last minute

Public records:



Original Principal Balance: $92,500.00. Purported Property Address: **** S QUEEN PALM DR, 85730. Tax Parcel No.: 136 37 09506.Auction Date & Time: 03/30/12at 11:30AM. Auction Location: 110 W CONGRESS, 85701. Trustee Sale No: N/A. Trustee: EXECUTIVE TRUSTEE SVCS. Sequence No. 2011 3630884.

Aug 25, 2012, 11:24 am
-2 +1

Tedski or Sam-

A little electoral envy again, eh?  What is it you like so much about Barber?  His complete inability to take a position?  His refusal to come out and campaign for his own party’s nomination after asking all potential challengers to step aside with the promise that he would not run in the General?  How about the lies his operatives spread that it was Matt who refused to debate, not Barber-  a patent falsehood.  Did you like those votes we brought him to task for or is it just that you are a bitter brown-noser?  As your political “futures” never occurred, you make for poor critics-  that applies to whichever of you cowards wrote the “Bronze” section. 

You are the reason why many bloggers are viewed as petulant neophytes (not all, of course).  Get over yourselves and take a running leap. 

Best regards-
Evan Hutchison
Heinz for Congress

Aug 25, 2012, 11:36 am
-0 +2


Thank you for so eloquently validating my assertions about your candidate’s campaign. When a campaign manager has the time to chastise “bloggers” in the manner you did, it’s clear you aren’t headed for a “W”. Frankly, I think Ron Barber is nothing more than a pure-bred opportunist. I can certainly sympathize with your views of him. And I hope like heck that Martha rolls over him in November. But it isn’t going to be your guy next week.

Good luck with your next job. Take it from me, this isn’t a good economy to be looking for work in.


Sam Stone, Bronze Medal Writer

Aug 25, 2012, 2:16 pm
-1 +0


I guess thousands of in-house produced cable spots, 10’s of thousands of calls and 35,000 mail pieces sent are a testament to my laziness in your eyes.  Apparently, tipping off the other party’s candidate to your GOP nominee’s apparent weaknesses is an effective use of time in your book.  I would argue an effective campaign manager doesn’t have much to do in the home stretch beyond keeping dialer data clean and tooling on bloggers ;).

Win or lose, we’ve run a great campaign in the face of overwhelming odds.  Barber may eek by this time, but he will be a 1.10 term Congressman. 

I take the time to respond to this outrageous bile because bloggers think they have a free ride to editorialize without repercussions.  I believe in accountability within the party and the blogosphere.

As an aside, I would argue McSally threw you under the bus and I was impressed with your performance despite your ill-advised business card blooper.  She would do well to bring you back on.


Aug 25, 2012, 3:56 pm
-0 +3

What I like about Ron B. was the great friend he was to my family when my DD brother was still alive.  Personal history aside, Ron knows S.Arizona and its needs as well as anybody.  Sympathy vote or otherwise,  nasty campaigning may “poll” to be a win/win…but I have a hard time believing I’m the only voter that is sick of it and will vote against it out of protest regardless of party…because it speaks to the character of the individual who “approves this message”....

Aug 25, 2012, 4:31 pm
-1 +2


I really don’t have an ax to grind w/ your guy. I got my information about burned bridges from multiple sources, I don’t just spout uninformed nonsense. This is was an opinion piece not a news article, so they’re not quoted. But a reporter who wanted to do that story could.

And thank you for your kind words about my work on Martha’s campaign. But I threw myself under the bus. She did what she had to and my biggest regret is that I did damage to her, not what happened to me. That said, if you recognize my skill, then you shouldn’t just dismiss my words.

If I was voting in your primary, I’d vote for Dr. Heinz. Even though I disagree with him on a vast range of issues, I believe he is sincere and thoughtful in his approach to politics. However, he does have a few fences to mend.


Aug 25, 2012, 9:33 pm
-2 +2

@Evan Hutchison

Good campaign? Evan, I hate to tell you this, but I live in the district and I barely know who Heinz is or what he’s about. I’ll tell you what I do know…he’s a doctor of some sort, he hates Jesse Kelly, and he shares a handful of idiotic, anti-American views that Grijalva does. That’s all I’ve been able to get out of his campaign. Just sayin’

Now, since a couple of folks have brought up Barber, let’s talk about him…he is a man of low very low character. His campaign made that abundantly clear. His campaign was the poster child for everything that is wrong with elections and campaigns all rolled up into one package. Someone brought up that he said he wasn’t going to run in the general election to get other Dems out of his way, they fell for it, and now he’s changing his mine. But, there’s other problems, too. Let’s examine the highlights of what was wrong, shall we?

-Far too many people just said “Gabby Giffords got shot. That somehow made her a great congresswoman and she told me to vote for Colonel Sanders so I went and I voted for Colonel Sanders yay!”

-Barber did not campaign on Ron Barber, he campaigned on Jesse Kelly. He distorted the truth in some places, outright lied in others. I legitimately believe Jesse Kelly should initiate litigation for libel and slander, because Ron Barber did both, and while I acknowledge I’m not a lawyer I can’t see how it would be difficult to make that case.

-Barber also used scare tactics. He went to Seniors, people who usually vote, and tried to make them believe that Jesse Kelly somehow single-handedly had the power to take away their Social Security benefits and that was what he was going to do the instant Kelly took office if he was elected. Too many seniors believed this bullshit. But, hey, it worked for Giffords in ‘10, so why mess with a winning strategy, right?

-In one of the very rare instances where Barber actually did talk about himself, he said he was going to “protect the middle class”. He never said who or what he was going to protect them from, or how he was going to protect them…his campaign was just based on generalities that told you nothing, and very few generalities at that.

As much as I’d like to be angry at Barber, I’m far angrier at the stupid, ignorant electorate in CD8 that allowed these unethical tactics to be successful. They’ve should have seen though all of this, and they should have known better. It is regrettable and shameful that CD8 didn’t do the right thing.

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How long can the love last between two political operatives divided by party? Find out next week in the next installment of The Sandbox.


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