Sunday, January 17, 2010

Jonathan Paton Enters CD-8 Race

All paying attention now know that Arizona Senator Jonathan Paton has thrown his hat into the ring for the GOP nomination to face Democrat incumbent Gabrielle Giffords for AZ CD-8 this fall. A peculiar meltdown in 2006 gave Giffords a walk in the park over the marginalized Randy Graf during her first run for the seat, and anti-GOP sentiments enhanced her margin of victory over Senate President Tim Bee in 2008. Facing Jonathan Paton in the 2010 political environment, irrational as it is, probably presents Gabrielle Giffords with the most challenging and sophisticated campaign in the history of her career.

Only local Palinites and Limbots entertain the notion of Paton failing to win the primary. Jesse Kelly has in fact raised a respectable sum and may wish to start exploring options that don't involve spending money against Paton, but unlike NY 23, nothing suggests Scozzafavacation screams from the right any time soon. It won't happen, not with memories of 2006 still lingering in the Southern AZ GOP psyche. Giffords will face her worst fears regarding the opposition in 2010, strongly unified and funded support for a formidable candidate in what is shaping up to be a foul election environment, although frankly, the jury really is still out regarding what that environment will actually be in eight months.

AZ CD-8 is one of the more interesting congressional races in the country given its demographics and location. Gabrielle Giffords faces the same challenge all incumbent Democrats face this year, the difficult task of framing the current mess and the justified outrage against it in the context of who truly made the mess and who is holding the mop trying to do something about it. This race may also provide an “As above, so below” regarding the tea-baggers and their ability to translate a bunch of idiots howling about birth certificates into real November votes.

Clearly, Paton will come at Giffords with the well established rhetoric against spending without addressing what the spending is meant to address. We don't need no stinking health care, and stimulus? What a waste! Never mind those jobs and signs of recovery. Global warming? We need less government. Regarding Paton's record, I don't follow the plethora of Phoenix fiascos, but no doubt Giffords will find items worth noting. Neither candidate will commit a game changing blunder.

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10 Comments:

Blogger Liza said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

1/17/2010 7:00 PM  
Blogger Liza said...

X4mr,
It isn't clear to me why you think that Jonathan Paton is such a formidable candidate. State legislators are just not that well known, even in their own legislative districts. Tim Bee surely had more name recognition than Paton does and the election is just ten months away. I think that Paton would win the GOP primary, but he will be at a major disadvantage against a congressional incumbent unless he can figure out how to get people to take notice of him. The one thing he has done that people noticed was when he volunteered to go to Iraq. That was courageous, but I do not think it will get him elected to Congress, especially in a non-presidential election year. However, it could be interesting, I just don't think he can win.

1/17/2010 7:02 PM  
Blogger Sirocco said...

I remember asking Giffords' campaign manager once early in her race against Bee what, based on the manager's experience in the 1st campaign against Graf, Bee would find most surprising/difficult in his race.

Her response was the lack of name recognition, and how much work, energy and funding it took to address that.

Having said that, I do think this could be a tougher race than 2006 if a good portion of the independents solidify into "anyone but a Democrat" mode. The job Giffords has to to prevent that from happening.exess

1/18/2010 7:53 AM  
Blogger Liza said...

I think that some of these people who are in the state legislatures actually start to think they have more name recognition than they really do. It is that "can't see the forest for the trees" syndrome. These guys need to pick a few streets at random, pound on some doors, and get a taste of reality. No one knows them.

I believe that Paton's name recognition problem will be significantly worse than Bee's. TV ads are probably still the best way to speed up the process, but it is also the most expensive.

1/18/2010 10:00 AM  
Anonymous Observer said...

Sirocco and Liza are right regarding name recognition. Adding to what Sirocco said, and x4mr knows this but didn't say it, is that Giffords knows how to campaign, REALLY KNOWS. Bee would have lost anyway in 2008. The mood just increased the margin.

X4mr seems fairly confident that Paton's fund raising will be successful in coming close to Giffords. I lack such expectations. Obviously Paton can probably reach $500K by April. Let's see where he is in June.

I am also not clear that he will not have to spend some money to dispense with Kelly in the primary.

1/18/2010 10:29 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Go ahead and dismiss Jesse Kelly if you want, but Kelly has real money in the bank, motivated supporters, several high profile endorsements, and a fully functional web site where people can contribute, get contact information, and sign up to get involved.

1/18/2010 11:33 AM  
Blogger Liza said...

Certainly one way to gain some name recognition for both Paton and Kelly would be a high profile primary. That could generate media interest. But to do that they would actually have to show their differences and take positions. In the absence of differences, they have to show which candidate is more deserving of representing the district. Paton will go for "experienced politician" just as Giffords did in 2006.

1/18/2010 1:41 PM  
Blogger x4mr said...

Kralmajales is comparing Paton's entry over Kelly to Giffords entry over Latas in 2006. Similarities exist with one major exception, Kelly's fund raising, and an exception of impact TBD, the tea baggers. Perhaps my initial remarks about Paton's certain nomination were premature.

1/18/2010 1:52 PM  
Anonymous Mariana said...

Paton does have name recognition among LD 30 midterm election voters. In Tucson proper he is very famous/infamous due to his bill regarding City elections. Again, among those in the known aka midterm voters.
Lack of name recognition is the least of his concerns.

1/19/2010 3:04 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Kelly already has well over $300,000 in the bank and he overwhelmingly beat Paton in last weeks debate. I would not count him out. He is very charismatic if a bit raw - but it seems to work. Paton comes across as boring. Andy Goss is very funny but can't seem to raise any money and Brian Miller comes off as professorial and mean spirited.
It will come down to Kelly and Paton and based on what I've seen - Kelly comes out on top.

2/18/2010 9:53 PM  

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