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Red alert: Tucson voters will have a big say in how 2022 election plays out across U.S.

What the Devil won't tell you

Red alert: Tucson voters will have a big say in how 2022 election plays out across U.S.

  • Ballots will be mailed just like 2020 in this all-important election. The rules haven't changed much.
    Jim Small/Arizona MirrorBallots will be mailed just like 2020 in this all-important election. The rules haven't changed much.

The country awaits a U.S. Supreme Court decision on whether women have the right to abortion and that can engender a false sense of helplessness.

A better idea would be for Tucsonans to learn the lessons that Republicans have taught us. Voting does matter. Persistence pays. Frustration is no excuse. And the stakes in 2022 couldn't be higher. 

A leaked opinion in the Dobbs v. Texas case tells us the court is going to undo a woman's right to an abortion and load more rights up for elimination. Turns out, dear readers, that the only rights safe are the rights enumerated in the Constitution (the right to read, not being one of them). 

In Arizona, if Roe is struck down abortion will be illegal after 15 weeks of pregnancy, even in cases of rape or incest.

Privacy, the right to an education and even the right to live in a democracy are no longer sacrosanct. 

Know who didn't feel helpless during the long, hard slog to their moment of victory? The folks on the far Right. They voted in election after election and didn't check out when Ronald Reagan failed to criminalize abortion in 1981. They just kept showing up.

That's not cheating. That's persistence. That's how you win.

Two sides can play at that game. If Progressives, moderates and democracy-loving Republicans keep voting in the numbers they did in 2018 and 2020, they can have their way — even if clawing back rights lost in the meantime take a while.

Across much of the country, Republicans figured out that they're outnumbered. So they've gone full-cocked to make sure the opposition is legally outgunned. Dictatorship waits down the road because the majority will be ruled by the minority.

This isn't a normal midterm. Voters can have democracy or vote Republican. They can't do both. 

That's an absolute shame. Democracy requires at least two viable parties to thrive. Until the GOP lays off the fascist gas, every election is the most important election in our lifetimes.

They have time to convince us otherwise and I'd love to see proof to the contrary. We can't give them the benefit of the doubt so long as they trumpet "replacement theory," which describes immigrants as here to replace "legacy Americans," and shriek about supposed "fraud" when they lose elections.

Losing the right to have an abortion is bad. Losing the right to do anything about it through the democratic process is much much worse.

Good news, Southern Arizona voters: Early voting starts July 6 and none of y'all are victims yet.

Tucson will get to decide a critical Senate race, one of the few important House of Representatives races and whether the governor is a friend or foe of majority rule.

They can't take democracy from those of us who treasure it unless we give it to them with apathy. Make sure it's not — in the words of a Supreme Court decision this week — "improvidently granted."

No photo required 

Anyone on the Permanent Early Voting List is now on the new Active Early Voting List. Everything works the same ... almost. County recorders will mail a ballot just they always have.

As of now, voters are free to vote just like they always have and there's no photo ID yet required.

If a voter misses casting a ballot in consecutive election statewide election cycles, the state will send a warning in the mail that they're about to be removed from the early voting list. Fail to respond to that, and that's when the purging starts.

Registering to vote is a bit different. Anyone with a driver's license or ID issued before Oct. 1, 1996 will need to provide a passport, birth certificate or marriage license, tribal or military ID.

State IDs issued in the past 25 years are sufficient to prove citizenship.

I know. People have heard a lot of talk and outrage about voter suppression. Many of those bills have been beaten back. Chalk it up to a single-vote split in the state House and Senate. If that spread widens don't count on the Republicans staying squeamish amid  public outcries over disenfranchising perhaps 100s of thousands of voters.

The legislative session isn't over yet and lawmakers have a storied history of slamming through dead-of-night bills in the waning days of the Legislative session to avoid public debate. So stay tuned.


In Tucson and Southeastern Arizona, the race to replace Ann Kirkatrick will help determine the party that controls the U.S. House of Representatives.

Just four seats separate Republicans from control of the House and Tucson's East Side congressional district is one of the most competitive in the country. It's one of the 40 or so races that will determine the outcome of the election.

Election 2022 seem destined to be a good year for the GOP, so odds say Republican Juan Ciscomani is probably the favorite to go to Congress in 2022. 

The former aide to Gov. Doug Ducey has raised $1.3 million in his primary race and that makes him a prohibitive favorite in a year when Republicans are favored in general. Brandon Martin won that primary in 2020 and is running again with just a $94,000 war chest.

Martin deploys a simple sentence structure. It goes "MAGA," verb "we're under invasion" and then trails off with a breathless nihilistic rant.

My experience with Ciscomani tells me he has been reasonable. Our collective experience with his party says he won't stay that way.

He will become servile to Fox News, talk radio, Alex Jones and whatever master emerges in the 2024 presidential campaign because that's what they've all done. How nice would it be if they didn't treat independent thought like a cancer that must be removed. 

Obey the collective (see McSally, Martha) or get run out (see Flake, Jeff).

Then again, this district has a way of treating past evidence of sanity as disqualifying.

Three Democrats are vying for the party's nomination: former state Sen. Kirsten Engel, state Rep. Daniel Hernandez and political newcomer Avery Anderson.

Engel is associate dean and director of the University of Arizona Environmental Law Program. She's an accomplished attorney, a former state senator and the one parent running for the job. She's the voice of experience.

Hernandez is a 32-year-old up-and-comer, who seems like he's been preparing for this run for years. He rose to national attention as the intern who helped save the life of U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords after she was shot in front of a Safeway on a Saturday morning in 2011 and has been in the Arizona House of Representatives for eight years. He's a real talent, who is leaning on his LGBTQ cred to distinguish himself in the primary. 

Anderson seems to be running for Congress because he didn't listen to anyone who told him not to. Good for him. He's raw and has a future as a voice on climate change and public policy.

So there's the voice of experience, youthful dynamism and the outsider. It's a pretty standard choice.

I'm bad, I'm statewide

Democratic Sen. Mark Kelly remains in a pretty strong position in the limited number of polls done so far in the race. He's up in the mid-to-high single digits over the three prominent Republicans trying to oust him.

Maybe that's because the Republican field is eating each other alive.

Attorney General Mark Brnovich and energy executive Jim Lamon should be duking it out over which is the sane alternative to Trump-endorsed crackpot Blake Masters, a Silicon Valley executive and protege of tech billionaire Peter Thiel.

Masters does things like rough up the elderly and blame gun violence primarily on black people. Political violence and racism: no wonder he makes Tucker Carlson so dreamy.

All three are arguing they are the most loyal to Trumpism, which is becoming more and more nativist and white supremacist by the month.

Here's the thing, though. I would take Ciscomani, Lamon and Brnovich in a hummingbird heartbeat over the cavalcade of yahoos running for other key statewide offices.

Arizona could wake up the morning after election day and find the new governor is Kari Lake, the attorney general is Rodney Glassman and the secretary of state is Mark Finchem. 

Oh, mother of Jefferson! That three-headed hydra wouldn't just move the Overton window of acceptable behavior, it would shatter it entirely.

Lake is a crackpot running on voter fraud and is an extreme threat to overturn future Democratic victories in the state. Glassman is Trump without the people skills. Finchem is ... where does one start? He's an Oathkeeper, a group whose leader is under indictment for sedition. Finchem doesn't only have problems with Roe v. Wade, he doesn't believe in Marbury v. Madison. That's the case that gives the court the power to strike down laws and it was settled in 1803.

None of these folks have won their GOP primaries yet but they easily could. If they do, all regular people must flood the polls or watch that triumvirate stand guard over Arizona the way the tri-faced pooch Cerberus stalked the banks of the River Styx.

They will face — in all likelihood — face Democrats who are not immediate threats to themselves or others. Katie Hobbs is the favorite to get the party's gubernatorial nod. Former Republican Corporation Commissioner turned Democrat Kris Mayes is running unopposed for the AG's seat. Former Maricopa County Recorder Adrian Fontes and House Minority Leader Reginald Bolding are both strong candidates for secretary of state.

Democrats are running their strongest slate of statewide candidates since 2002, when Janet Napolitano and Terry Goddard won the governorship and attorney general's office in a big Republican year.

Preserving future 'next times'

Voters have any number of reasons to show President Joe Biden and the Democrats their frustration or anger.

Eight years ago, Bronovich, Lamon, Ciscomani would all be — IMHO — wrong but in no way existential threats to the Republic. Better luck like next time, Democrats. 

Unfortunately the 2022 election will may determine if there is a next time. Republicans have been, in plain view, putting the pieces in place for 2024 regardless of the vote.

Meanwhile, just about everyone who voted in the 2020 election can vote the same way in 2022. 

Abortion, privacy and a host of other rights are on the ballot. Climate is on the ballot. Racism and homophobia are on the ballot. 

Just realize the power to do anything about any of that in the future is also on the ballot.

The country awaits your decision, Tucson.

Blake Morlock is an award-winning columnist who worked in daily journalism for nearly 20 years and is the former communications director for the Pima County Democratic Party. Now he’s telling you things that the Devil won’t.

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