Author Archives: Tom Milton

Tom Milton

About Tom Milton

Tom Milton served on the Phoenix City Council from 1998 until 2002, representing North Phoenix. He is the former managing partner of Kaasa, Milton, & Reithmann, a firm that specialized in state and municipal candidate and issue campaigns in Arizona. He is currently a partner in the consulting and lobbying firm of Bilsten & Associates.

2012 New Hampshire Primary

The Importance Of The 2012 New Hampshire Primary

Although the New Hampshire Primary is scheduled to be held on the second Tuesday in March, it hasn’t been held in March since back in the ’70s. New Hampshire is proud to hold the first Presidential Primary Election every four years. By state law, the New Hampshire Secretary of State has the authority to schedule the primary as early as is needed to ensure it will be the “first in the nation.”

Occurring one week after the Iowa Caucuses, the New Hampshire primary is considered to be another important litmus test that can make or break a candidate. Like Iowa, winning isn’t everything, and outperforming expectations are a better gauge of success. In the modern era, it is almost as common for the New Hampshire second place finisher to go on to be their party’s nominee as it is for the winner.

At times, this process can seem silly. In New Hampshire this year, Mitt Romney won the Primary and declared victory. Ron Paul took second place, and then declared victory. Jon Huntsman got third and also declared victory. The only people not declaring victory were claiming either, “I didn’t campaign in New Hampshire so it doesn’t matter,” or “This result won’t make me drop out of the race.”

So the Republican Primary after New Hampshire has the same plotline; Governor Mitt Romney is the front-runner, and the rest of the candidates are competing to see if anyone of them can rise up out of the pack to be the sole contender against him. Their problem is that they are already running out of time.

Rick Santorum barely missed winning in Iowa by eight votes and seemed poised to be that main contender. One week later in New Hampshire, he finished in fifth place. The talk-show pundits barely mentioned him in the post-primary analysis. It is a good example of how these early primaries can build you up and then break your heart.

Romney’s win is impressive because he is the first non-incumbent Republican to win both Iowa and New Hampshire.

Next up in the process is the South Carolina Primary on January 21 and then the Florida Primary on January 31. If Romney wins South Carolina, he will pretty much be unstoppable. The race for second place is meaningless, and then there is even more good news for Romney. If he does well in South Carolina and Florida, the series of primaries that follow in February are Maine, Nevada, Colorado, Minnesota, Arizona and Michigan. Of those six, Romney won five of them in 2008, only losing to John McCain in Arizona, McCain’s home state.

The real story to keep watching is the “nasty” factor. Newt Gingrich has been very vocal about the attacks that have come at him from Romney and his supporters. There are some very hard feelings between these two, and Gingrich is vowing to fight. He is reported to have 3.5 million dollars to invest in the South Carolina Primary and is expected to spend a good chunk of it going after Romney. The Republican attacks on each other could be extremely harmful for the eventual nominee. The mud they sling at each other doesn’t go away and is being seen by the president and his campaign team. It has happened before. In 1988, republican nominee George Bush Sr. defeated democrat nominee Michael Dukakis. A work furlough program that Dukakis supported as Governor was the most incriminating attack against him and inspired the infamous Willie Horton television ads. This issue was originally raised by then candidate Al Gore in the Democratic Primaries. The Republicans remembered the issue and used it to their advantage.

The Republican contest hasn’t changed much in the last twelve months, but the hopes are fading for an anti-Romney candidate to rise up and unify the far-right.

2012 New Hampshire Primary Results:

Mitt Romney 97,043 39.3%
Ron Paul 56,403 22.8%
Jon Huntsman 41,669 16.9%
Newt Gingrich 23,271 9.4%
Rick Santorum 23,118 9.4%
Rick Perry 1,752 0.7%
Michele Bachmann 349 0.1%
Other 3,238 1.3%

For more information about the New Hampshire Primary, visit 2012newhampshireprimary.com.

Mitt Romney, Iowa Caucus

Mitt Romney Wins Iowa Caucus, Rick Santorum Close Behind

Last year was a busy year for the Republican candidates for president; it seemed as if they had a thousand debates. There was all the talk about who was running and who wasn’t. Polls began showing Governor Mitt Romney as the front runner, and then a series of other candidates rose up to Romney’s level only to eventually fall back ― with the last of those surging candidates has been Senator Rick Santorum. Despite all of this, the start of the presidential race didn’t officially occur until the January 3rd Iowa Causus.

The Iowa caucas started in 1972 when the Iowa Democratic Party moved its caucus to be the first in the nation. That year, George McGovern performed better than expected. Although he finished second in those caucases behind Edmund Muskie, the momentum slung him forward, and he went on to gain his party’s nomination. Four years later, in 1976, the Republican Party moved its caucus to the same date as the Democrats to join in the prominence that Iowa had gained. Candidates and media alike now view Iowa as the first real test of the presidential campaign.

This year’s caucus was extremely close with Romney barely winning. He finished eight votes ahead of Santorum with 122,255 voters having turned out. Unlike most elections where the winner is the person with the most votes, Iowa is more about expectations. Finishing first is less important than what people will read into it. Both Romney and Santorum finished strong and met or exceeded expectations.

Santorum worked hard and earned it. He personally visited all 99 counties in Iowa, and it paid off. This close second place finish has the media talking as much about him as the winner.  Romney put less effort into Iowa this year, but still carried a lot support from four years ago when he ran for president and finished second in Iowa. Both candidates will receive massive media attention going into New Hampshire where Romney is expected to win easy. Having been the governor of Massachusetts and owning a home in New Hampshire, Romney has “home court advantage.”

Newt Gingrich finished fourth but faced heavy negative attacks along the way. After New Hampshire’s primary, the next primaries shift into the South where Gingrich is expected to be his strongest. He didn’t show well but can explain it away. Fourth place is where John McCain finished in these caucases four years ago before he went on to win the nomination. Expect Gingrich to stay in this race for awhile and also expect the negative campaigning to continue to attack him. He will throw a few elbows of his own.

Congressman Ron Paul showed very well finishing in third place but is still being questioned as a candidate that a majority of Republicans nationwide will support. Governor Rick Perry is rethinking his campaign after finishing in fifth place, and it is hard to see anything but disappointment with his showing. Congresswoman Michele Bachmann, who is a native of Iowa, finished in last place of the candidates who campaigned in Iowa. Governor John Huntsman did not put any effort into Iowa opting to go straight to New Hampshire.

So the final outcome of this year’s Iowa caucus is that we are back to where we were before they happened. Mitt Romney is at the front of the pack running neck and neck with Rick Santorum, who is the conservative alternative to Romney. If anything became clear, Iowa has probably knocked a candidate or two off of the bottom of the list, but it is still wide open for the top three or four candidates.

January 10th is the New Hampshire primary. Expect it to be an eventful week.

Iowa Caucus Results:

Mitt Romney 30,015 24.6%
Rick Santorum 30,007 24.5%
Ron Paul 26,219 21.4%
Newt Gingrich 16,251 13.3%
Rick Perry 12,604 10.3%
Michele Bachmann 6,073 5%
Jon Huntsman 745 0.6%
Herman Cain 58 0%
Buddy Roemer 31 0%
No Preference 135 0.1%
Other 117 117 0.1%

 

Zombies Vs. Vampires: Which Side Are You On?

Zombies Vs. Vampires: Which Side Are You On?

I like zombies. Something about the walking dead has appealed to me since I was a kid. They are the working class of the monster realm.

I have found that a gender gap exists when it comes to zombies. Guys tend to like them, and girls prefer vampires.

Zombies and vampires are both undead and they both consume people (either flesh or blood), but vampires are complicated. You never know for sure if they are trying to seduce you or kill you. I admit vampires are sexy. Let’s see someone try to write a series of novels about a high school girl falling in love with a zombie. It won’t happen.

Vampires have a lot of rules. Don’t go out in the light; be afraid of garlic; don’t get staked in the heart, and NEVER kill another vampire. The vampire rule list goes on and on. Zombies are easy; they eat people. Vampires have to bite you three times. What’s that about? Zombies only have to scratch you, and you’re toast.

No, zombies are a guy’s kind of monster. They walk around and eat. They like red meat, and they don’t engage in conversation. They just growl and grunt. What you see is what you get (even in a mirror).

I will also admit that I am a zombie purist. I hate it when the people that make movies or television shows portray zombies wrong. Zombies don’t sprint. They can limp fast on their broken legs and twisted ankles, but they do not run fast. Getting away from one is easy. Getting through a crowd of 300 of them is the problem.

Zombies don’t talk — at all! Not even to say things like “brains, braaains.” And come on, zombies do not crave brains! They like any flesh at all. If they only get one bite at you, they’re probably going for an arm or a leg. In fact, if they pin you to the ground, they aren’t going to gnaw on your cranium. They are going for your torso stuffed full of organs and intestines. They will usually pull them out so that their buddy zombies can have some, too. I think the whole “zombies eat brains” thing started with some vegan sci-fi writer that wanted to help the walking dead eat healthier.

When it’s not a serious zombie movie, it’s okay for some zombie liberties to be taken. Of course, real zombies don’t play video games like in “Shaun of the Dead,” and they don’t dance like in Michael Jackson videos. That’s just for fun. But if you’re making a serious zombie movie like “I Am Legend” or “28 Days Later” follow the rules!

No, vampires are confusing, complicated and relational. Zombies are simple.

Calling All Zombies: Third Annual Zombie Walk

For those who wish they were a zombie, well, you’re in luck. Join the zombie horde at the Third Annual Zombie Walk this Saturday, October 29th. The fest starts at 2 p.m. with live music; the Zombie Walk begins at 6 p.m., and the event ends with a performance by The Relics.

The event is free with a canned food donation for St. Mary’s Food Bank.

Zombie Walk 2011

 

Zombie Walk 2010

For more information about the Annual Zombie Walk, visit www.downtownphoenix.com/zombie.

Labor Unions, City of Phoenix

Political Demonization of Phoenix Labor Unions

It’s Wrong To Demonize Labor Unions As The Sole Source Of Pain To Taxpayers

September 11, 2011 was the 10th anniversary of 9/11. Almost 3,000 innocent people lost their lives during those terrorist attacks. 411 of those killed were emergency workers.

Stop and think about that for a minute.

411 people died because after the planes hit, they were called and asked to rush into the danger that these terrorists had created.

343 were FDNY firefighters and paramedics.

23 were officers with the NYPD.

37 were police officers with Port Authority.

Eight were EMTs or paramedics from private emergency medical companies.

411 of these people weren’t in danger from these attacks until they went to the scene to protect other people, and while there, they lost their lives.

I think every life lost was tragic. Most of the victims went to work that day or boarded planes and became casualties of al-Qaeda because they were the targets of these murderous terrorists. 411 of these victims died because at some point in their lives, they chose a vocation to help people. They agreed to answer the 911 calls that would send them into chaos. They decided to share in other people’s dangers with the hope of helping protect those people, and they knew there would be risks. They are often called heroes. They were mostly government employees.

Right now in the City of Phoenix, there is a public-relations war being waged against the public labor unions. As Phoenix has faced major budget shortfalls in the last few years, there are critics that think the source of all of our woes are these “greedy unions” that are costing us too much money.

Problem is, these union employees make less now than they use to.

Phoenix negotiates its union contracts every two years. They negotiated their last contracts in 2010 while Phoenix faced a $277 million revenue shortfall. Normally during labor negotiations, the issue isn’t will labor get a pay and/or benefit increase, but how much. In 2010, Phoenix labor groups conceded (or gave back) 3.2% of their wages, amounting to $100 million a year that they agreed Phoenix didn’t have to pay them. The labor unions did negotiate $31 million in longevity and merit pay increases for 2012. This is what they normally have. All of the politicians in Phoenix supported this. These contracts were approved by the mayor and Phoenix City Council on an 8-0 vote.

Now, in a campaign year, many candidates and some members of the Phoenix City Council have joined in with this mantra that Phoenix labor unions are the problem. The claim is that the labor unions are running City Hall. They talk about the $31 million merit and longevity increases given this year without mentioning the $100 million pay cuts in both 2010 and 2011. And this rhetoric is spreading. I talked to a citizen who called the campaign office I was working at a month ago who told me Phoenix firefighters are being overpaid. I asked him how much they made. His response was, “I don’t know, but it’s too much.”

So are these two issues related? How do we connect the heroes who sacrificed their lives in 9/11 with the current political demonization of Phoenix labor unions? What is the cost of asking men and women to train and equip themselves to respond to the emergencies that we face that might put their life in peril?

Statistics show that people in high stress jobs (such as emergency first responders) have higher rates of divorce, alcoholism, depression, and suicide. They have higher rates of cancer and live shorter lives on average. And every now and then, someone else has to go to their homes to tell their families that they won’t be coming home anymore.

If they didn’t organize into labor unions, would we appreciate them more? Without public labor unions, would we better recognize their sacrifices? Would things be better if we could just pay them less? Why is it that we seem to mostly appreciate the ones who die and not the ones who are ready to respond and don’t die?

Many of the very people who like to wrap themselves in American flags with the very thought of 9/11 are also the same people claiming that Phoenix labor groups that represent Phoenix employees (of which Phoenix police and firefighters make up a big portion) are bankrupting our city (which isn’t going bankrupt, by the way). These men and women who have made the same vow as the 9/11 heroes are being demonized as the sole source of pain to Phoenix taxpayers.

I think there is a major disconnect.

In case you’ve never seen it, there is an employee memorial outside of Phoenix City Hall that honors the fallen employees who died in the service of our city. A lot of the names on that memorial are for city employees that belonged to labor unions. Last time I checked, there were no names of politicians on that wall.

 

Mattox's response to attack on Wes Gullett

Auto-Dialer Attack On Wes Gullett And Family, Mattox’s Response

Claude Mattox’s statement regarding the attack on Wes Gullett:

In the strongest possible terms, I condemn the actions of the individual or organization responsible for the deplorable attack on Wes Gullett and his family this afternoon.

 

To say there is no room in politics for this type of behavior is a given. This is not only dirty politics, this is a matter of simple human decency.

Mattox's response to attack on Wes Gullett

Similar nasty tactics were a part of last year’s governor’s race that inflicted wounds on innocent family members, and now, it is infiltrating our city.

It is actions such as this that discourage good and decent people from seeking public office. And the result is the government we have that is increasingly polarized, dysfunctional, and in the grips not of the people, but political operatives.

I placed a call to Wes this afternoon to express my outrage and offered to stand with him and his family in any way I can, just as I know he would do the same in regards to me and my family. I assured him that our campaign had no part in this sad episode.

Political junkets

Politicians Need To Travel, But They Also Have To Be Aware Of The Pitfalls

In light of the Fiesta Bowl scandal, we can expect a higher level of scrutiny when it comes to our elected officials and their travel. People will be very fixated on our politicians’ trips abroad and the reasons for them. This isn’t a new issue, but it is an issue that sometimes goes unnoticed and then other times receives a lot of attention (especially after controversy).

I had a friend ask me why it seems so hard for elected officials to just say no to travel, especially when it may be so obviously a junket. Having been in elected office, I can only tell you that this issue isn’t always so black and white. I traveled a few times in the four years I served and never felt like I took a single junket, but others might disagree.

When staff or some other outside interest first approached me about traveling, there were often selling points introduced up front. It starts with why the trip needed to be taken. Next was the explanation of who would be paying for the trip (taxpayers, a nonprofit, business, etc.). Occasionally, and this could be the biggest indicator of whether it would be a junket or not, they might give you validation statements: “This won’t even be noticed.”  “Everybody does it.”  “Nobody will care.” Sadly, sometimes those points are accurate. Now I am not excusing what happened with the Fiesta Bowl “junketeers” as they are being called, but this temptation can cloud your perspective.

The saddest part about blatant abuses is that it taints everybody. There are trips that we should have our elected officials take. Without a doubt the public receives benefit from some of these trips. The most obvious example I have is of Sen. Lamar Alexander when he was governor of Tennessee. The state’s economy was in bad shape, so he spent time traveling in the Far East, where he was able to convince a Japanese car company to build a plant in Tennessee. Without a doubt this benefited his state and probably could not have been done without direct “on-the-ground” contact.

With economic development you also run into the issue that you can’t expect an obvious result attached to each trip. Sometimes you need to cultivate relationships. A trip may not bring an exact result, but eventually it might pay off with a win such as Tennessee received.

Then you run into the question of how important is diplomacy? Does the public receive a benefit from elected officials having meetings with other elected officials from both the U.S. and abroad? The city of Phoenix has benefited greatly by elected officials traveling to Washington, D.C. to pursue grant dollars and other assistance.

Sometimes the public has the view that any travel is a “perk” and unjustified. When I was on council, I was involved in a program called River Rampage. This program took inner-city kids and youth with physical disabilities on a river trip. Each kid had to perform 40 hours of community service. In order to accomplish this, they used volunteers who had to go through an orientation, help three or four kids get their service in (which meant serving with them), and then make sure they had the appropriate gear for the trip. After months of working with these kids, it ended with a one-week trip on the river. I volunteered with River Rampage. My office staff worried that this trip would be viewed as a “free” river trip junket as opposed to me volunteering in a youth program. Fortunately, that accusation was never made, but it was a concern.

Without a doubt there are abuses that occur in elected officials’ travel. These abuses are harmful to the public because they create a sense that elected officials are in it for their own pleasure. But beyond that, these abuses also create fear within the elected ranks that might prevent officials from taking trips that are important and would serve the public.

Politicians at Work

Loving To Hate Politicians Is An Old Sport

We love to hate our elected officials.  It seems like the American system of representative-democracy is based off of a cycle where we elect leaders and then become disillusioned with them. There is a logical reason why this happens.

A local television station in the Phoenix area has a commercial promoting what their news team is doing for you, and they run through a series of short sound bites. One of their claims is that they are “exposing corrupt politicians.” I know that not every elected official has always been honorable and upright, but it bothers me that we frequently present elected officials as being bad. While I was on the Phoenix City Council, my 16-year-old nephew told me that a high school teacher announced to his entire class that every elected official is a liar.

I have had the privilege of getting to serve in public office and the insights of having worked on numerous campaigns in different capacities over the years. Almost every candidate and elected official I’ve encountered has had good intentions and seemed to want to serve the people they sought to represent. While they have had different worldviews, different perspectives and different parties, I can’t remember a single one of them seeking office in order to fleece the public, and yet, that is a fairly common claim nowadays. I still have friends in office. In the face of controversy, they agonize over tough decisions. They lose sleep at night trying to do the right thing.

The truth is that often we determine whether an elected official is good or bad based on whether they do the things we personally want them to do. For instance, if I’m opposed to a rezoning case and an elected official voted in favor of it, he or she is doing a lousy job of representing me! But what happens when the public disagrees? What happens when neighbors, businesses and property owners are diametrically opposed to one another? Someone is leaving that scenario unhappy with their elected representative.

In our American system, politicians aren’t supposed to just do what the majority wants. We elect people to office, and they are not required to vote in a way that represents a majority of their constituents. There are times in our nation’s history when the masses didn’t stand on the correct side of an issue. John Kennedy wrote a book called “Profiles in Courage” in which he detailed numerous stories of elected officials who stood for principle in the face of public opposition. Today, we call that an unresponsive government. If a politician doesn’t vote the way the people demanded, he must be corrupt and self serving.

None of this is new.

In the Bible, King Solomon was asked by God what he wanted. He responded by saying he sought wisdom. When he had a chance to ask for anything, he asked or something that seemed to benefit himself. This wasn’t a selfish request. His intent was to be wise for the benefit of the people over which he ruled.

U.S. Representative Gabrielle Giffords was shot at a grocery store during a constituent event in Tucson.

A Great American Tragedy: Gabrielle Giffords the target

We live in a great country.  We have a stable government.  We have incredible wealth when compared to so many other parts of the world.  I don’t know about you, but I often take these things for granted.  When I go to bed at night, I don’t worry about enemy rebels overrunning my home.

I hear about other countries that are unstable, parliaments that have physical confrontations on the same floor where they establish laws, political systems where assassination is a political tool, and I assume that those things are third-world problems that we have gotten past.  Sure, the United States has a history of bloodshed that has built us into who we are as a nation, but the Civil War is over.  Federal politicians no longer have duels with pistols.  Although there have been unsuccessful attempts, we haven’t had a president assassinated in nearly 50 years.

U.S. Representative Gabrielle Giffords was shot at a grocery store during a constituent event in Tucson.  It is a stark reminder that there is evil in the world and that we are still susceptible to the worst when it comes to political dissension.

There are two things about our modern American society that scare me when it comes to politics.

The first is that we now live in a “for-profit” 24-hour news cycle.  Gone are the days of news only at 6 and 10 p.m.  Multiple networks and websites focus on reporting news, and they compete for ratings.  Ratings mean sponsors, and sponsors mean money.  People turn on the news in the morning and listen to it all day.  Our web-browsers usually always have some type of news displayed and updated.  What does it take to get them tuned in to our network or hitting our website?  This leads back to the old news principle “if it bleeds, it leads.”  It is logical to understand the desire for hard-hitting news — not just fluffy, lighthearted pieces.  Politics — basically how we choose our leaders and govern our country — are brought to us mainly through these mediums.  It is not hard to become obsessed with politics living in the information era.

And that leads to the second thing that scares me.  We now see politics as entertainment. It isn’t just about having a great debate.  It is now about satire and anger.  Don’t think I am going to point a finger at republicans or democrats.  I am going to suggest it cuts both ways.  For example, the conservatives have brought us Rush Limbaugh, who for years has made fun of the left.  I have always struggled with the way he mispronounces names just to make fun of people like a schoolyard bully.  On the other hand, the liberals have brought us Al Franken –a current U.S. Senator — who wrote a book titled “Rush Limbaugh Is a Big Fat Idiot.”  The great debate is no longer about exchanging ideas; it is about being right at the expense of opposing ideologies and trying to embarrass and humiliate the other guy.

Adding to the fact that American politics are overexposed and confrontational is that the general public as a whole places elected officials at the same place as used car salesmen on the integrity scale.  (No offense intended to used car salesmen.  I used to be an elected official so I am only relating a popular stigma.)

So is this what led to the shooting in Tucson of Rep. Giffords?  I don’t believe it is.  But I do believe it could have been the spark that touched off a mentally imbalanced man to do the unthinkable.  Gone are the days of statesmen who present arguments and value debate.  As a nation, we should fear extremism and angry rhetoric.  We should also understand that people are listening to what we say and some of them may not be able to understand right from wrong.

My heart goes out to Rep. Giffords, Judge Roll, the five others killed, those wounded, their families and all of those who were traumatized by this massacre.

We should always engage in political debate thinking about if the next Jared Lee Loughner (the shooter) is listening and wondering how our words are helping to influence him.

Arizona Flag

Arizona Politics 2010: The Year That Was SB 1070

It’s the start of 2011. This is usually when everyone writes top 10 lists for the year just past. I was going to write a “top 10 political stories of 2010 column,” when it occurred to me that was the year of one main significant political story.

Oh, there were plenty of important political happenings. President Obama and the Democrats were crushed nationally in the midterm elections. Arizona said goodbye to Congressman John Shadegg, Congressman Harry Mitchell, and Congresswoman Ann Kirkpatrick, and hello to newly elected Congressmen Paul Gosar, Ben Quayle and David Schweikert.

Our state struggled to balance the budget, and almost every city in Arizona made major cuts in order to balance theirs. Gov. Jan. Brewer’s re-election faced an early challenge from within her own party. During the general election campaign she froze in a televised debate and didn’t seem to offer any tangible evidence of headless bodies in the desert. Then of course she sailed to an easy victory at the polls.

Voters even decided that marijuana should be legal in Arizona (as medicine that is).

None of these other stories came anywhere close to being as significant as the firestorm created by the Support Our Law Enforcement and Safe Neighborhoods Act, more commonly known by its Senate bill number, SB 1070. At one point in the 2010 legislative session, SB 1070 seemed to lack support and was close to being dead. Then tragically, on March 27, southeastern Arizona rancher Robert Krentz was found shot to death alongside of his dog. His ranch sits 12 miles away from the U.S.-Mexico border. SB 1070 found new life and was signed into law on April 23.  Suddenly the nation was abuzz about Arizona. It even became a headline internationally.

Those first few weeks were a little surreal. Almost daily, you could find our local elected officials on national talk shows speaking out in favor or against it. Supporters justified that action was needed to deal with illegal immigration, an issue the federal government was ignoring. Opponents claimed SB 1070 would violate civil rights and lead to racial profiling.

SB 1070 was a little vague, so on April 30, HB 2162 was passed to amend and clarify it.

A boycott was called against Arizona and numerous lawsuits were filed, including one by the U. S. Department of Justice. The day before SB 1070 was to go into effect, a federal judge issued an injunction against a portion of the law that effectively killed it.

You might think that this is where the SB 1070 story ends, but it doesn’t — and that is what makes it such a huge event. Although nationally, numerous jurisdictions and high-profile people were passionate in their opposition, polling showed that it was more popular with the masses. A number of states are discussing similar legislation for 2011.

In the New Year, Russell Pearce, the Arizona Senate president and major sponsor of SB 1070, is continuing to focus on the same issue. With the start of the next Arizona Legislative session, he intends to take on the U.S. Constitution’s 14th amendment dealing with citizenship being granted to anyone born in the U.S. He is trying to prevent illegal immigrants from getting citizenship for their children by fleeing to America and having a baby on U.S. soil.

Although SB 1070 didn’t get enacted, it did serve part of the purpose it supporters intended. Illegal immigrants now recognize Arizona as the least friendly state to homestead in.

I still believe that SB 1070 would not have really fixed the problems it was intended to fix. However, it was successful in driving a complicated issue into the mainstream of discussion on the national level.

Arizona Gains Seat House of Representatives

Arizona Gains One House Of Representatives Seat From The 2010 Census

It all starts with the census! The American Constitution mandates that every ten years our federal government must run a census. Once the census is complete, there is a massive political trickle-down effect.

The first and most obvious result of a new census is changes to congressional representation. There are 435 seats in the U.S. House of Representatives, and they apportioned out to states based on percent of overall population. States that have populations which have grown in the last decade will have seats added. States that have shrunk in population will lose seats.

Arizona has been on the growth side of this equation for a number of decades. At statehood, Arizona got its first seat in the U.S. House. It added a second seat in 1940, and then gained one seat each census from 1960 through 1990, putting us at six seats. In 2000, Arizona gained two seats, and now in 2010 another one will be added to put Arizona at nine. This means Arizona will have more of a voice in the U.S. House as well as more importance in the Electoral College for Presidential races. Arizona’s nine seats tie us with Indiana, Massachusetts and Tennessee and put us behind only thirteen states that have a larger number (although we are right next door to the biggest; California has 53).

So, what do we do with this extra seat? After a census we redistrict. Arizona will now have to redraw the maps that determine where our congressional districts are. The eight current districts will need to be turned into nine. This can be one of the ugliest processes in the entire American political system. And that also leads to a wonderful term called gerrymandering. Redistricting is political. It is logical that parties want to gain more support and will try to use this process to give themselves an advantage.

It is hard to explain, but easy to illustrate. Take a scenario of a state where the two major parties are almost equally divided, and they are redistricting for nine seats. (This is not Arizona’s scenario as Republicans have a significant registration edge.) You might think that drawing a new map would be easy and fair.

We might have a number of competitive districts and maybe an outcome of five Republicans and four Democrats. Now let’s say one party could control that process. If I were a Republican in control in this scenario, I would try to force as many Democrats as possible into two or three districts. This is a giveaway.  Now you know that no Republican can win in these new “Democrat-safe” districts, but you have also created six or seven districts that will have a majority of Republicans with fewer Democrats. This is gerrymandering at its finest.

In order to stop this type of scenario, numerous laws have been passed, and the courts have even helped to try and moderate (or control, depending on your view) the process. In Arizona, with the passage of Proposition 106 in 2000, we have the Arizona Independent Redistricting Commission. This is a commission of five people who will draw the lines. There will be two Republicans, two Democrats and an Independent. This commission will draw lines for both Arizona’s nine congressional seats as well as the 30 new state legislative districts.

So, does this mean that everything is fixed? Hardly! In any political process where you try to legislate “fair” you run into the problem of what is “fair”? In the first few weeks of 2011 we will be hearing a lot about the selection process for the redistricting commission and the work they have to do.

Downtown Phoenix Skyline

Is the City of Phoenix Being Mismanaged?

These are tough times! Given the rotten economy it isn’t hard to be a pessimist about everything, and government seems to top the list. The November elections saw Congress shift to the Republicans, and yet America as a whole still seems to lack confidence that they are going to make things much better. A recent Rasmussen poll shows that only 28 percent of Americans believe we are headed in the right direction and almost half think our nation’s best days are behind us.

This frustration extends to every level of government.

The city of Phoenix recently has been accused of mismanagement by City Councilman Sal DiCiccio. He continues to promote that Phoenix needs to be completely restructured.

I served with DiCiccio for a couple of years on the Phoenix City Council and consider him a friend, but I was caught off-guard by his attacks. Phoenix has a heritage of being recognized for its quality management.  Consider this:

  • In 1993, Phoenix won the prestigious Carl Bertelsmann Prize for being one of the two best-run city governments in the world.
  • In 1995, Financial World magazine ranked Phoenix the best-managed city out of the nation’s 30 largest.
  • In 2000, the Government Performance Project conducted by the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs at Syracuse University, along with Governing magazine, named Phoenix as the Best Run City in the United States and gave it the only “A” grade of the 35 cities it studied.
  • In 2009, the National Civic League named Phoenix an All-American City for the fifth time. It had previously won in 1950, 1958, 1980 and 1989.
  • Each of these awards evaluated different areas, such as financial management, performance management, infrastructure management, human resources, capital management, managing for results, use of information technology, and collaborative projects addressing critical issues.

    Okay, that’s Phoenix’ heritage, but what about now?

    Phoenix has hit the same rocky times as just about everyone else. We could rationalize that in a bad economy in which people are spending less and property values have crashed, it makes sense that municipal revenues, which are based off of these factors, have also dropped. Last budget cycle, Phoenix was faced with a $270 million shortfall. How did they deal with it?  They extended a food tax that almost all other municipalities in the Metro Phoenix area already had, asked their employees to take pay cuts (3.2 percent for employees and 6.9 percent for management), and cut services for the remainder. Those service cuts came after a series of budget hearings held throughout Phoenix in which more than 5,000 citizens provided input. It was a balanced approach that didn’t rely on placing the entire burden in any one area.

    If the city of Phoenix is guilty of anything, maybe it should have planned better for a rainy day. But if you believe that is true, answer these two questions: First, was this economic recession really a “rainy day” or more like a torrential downpour? That leads to the second question: who did plan for this? We hear all about the nightmares from Wall Street to Main Street.  Companies have vanished, banks have failed, and multitudes of homeowners have lost everything. These stories are unfortunately all too common. Almost all governments are having these same problems. Here in Arizona, our state government has been struggling with massive revenue shortfalls. What our Legislature is faced with in the next session makes counties and cities financial problems seem pretty small by comparison.

    None of this points to a sudden reversal of Phoenix’s good management practices. In fact, Phoenix now has a General Fund budget that is $79.2 million lower than it was five years ago, even though it has had an increase of 6 percent in the population.  Phoenix has cut budgets six of the last seven years in order to live within its means. In the last two years, Phoenix has downsized its employee base from more than 16,000 in 2008 to 14,500 today. Phoenix is at a 40-year low in terms of employees per capita. All of this has happened while staying focused on public safety and maintaining many other vital city services. The crime rate in Phoenix is at a 20-year low. Even Phoenix’ bond ratings are amongst the best in the nation. Phoenix received a AAA from Standard & Poor’s and an Aa1 from Moody’s.

    So back to the pessimism that people are feeling. In a bad economy, isn’t it easy to believe that government should be able to rise above it? As we face personal and business crises in a recession, do we really expect that government won’t face the same problems? Many people think that all government is wasteful and inefficient, so isn’t the message that Phoenix is being mismanaged one that is easy to accept?

    The city of Phoenix isn’t perfect, and there is always room for improvement. The truth is it is trying to provide the same level of services to more citizens with fewer employees and less money. It reminds me of a saying I once heard: We’ve been doing so much with so little for so long, that we are now qualified to do everything, with nothing, forever.

Polling Station

AZ 2010 Midterm Election Analysis

The best day to be the President of the United States has got to be Inauguration Day. You take the oath of office. You give a speech that the whole world stops to listen to and it is guaranteed to be recorded in history the moment you give it. It is all processionals, parties, and smiles. The next day you start working on your agenda, and two years later you face midterm elections.

Midterms are probably the worst day for a president!

It looks like the Democrats will end up losing more than 60 seats in the U.S. House and at least 6 in the Senate. Republicans now take control of the House, and while not gaining a majority in the Senate, they have a more workable margin.

While the economy seems to be the leading reason for voter discontent, it is more than a coincidence that 1994 and 2010 were both Democratic midterm disasters preceded by new Democratic Presidents (Clinton and Obama) that tried to radically reform health care with a national model. (The equivalent for Republican’s would have to be reforming Social Security. Regan tried that and had a 1982 midterm that saw the Senate handed back to the Democrats.)

While slow economic progress is blamed for the large losses to Democrats on the national level, it is a different story in Arizona. Republicans have been in control here for quite awhile. Besides Janet Napolitano’s time as Governor, Republican’s have controlled just about everything else. Arizona is facing a horrible economy with a massive budget deficit, and yet, voters rewarded the Republicans with gains in both legislative bodies, which they had already controlled. The Arizona Senate went from an 18-12 Republican majority to 21-9. In the Arizona House, the Republicans held 35 out of the 60 seats before this election. They have added at least 2 seats to their majority with 3 other seats leaning in their favor. They could get to 40 seats. That is a 2/3 majority, like the Senate now has.

It also appears that Republican’s will win all of the major Arizona statewide offices. Governor Brewer was reelected just months after she looked vulnerable in her own primary. She also had a terrible debate. (Told you the debate wouldn’t matter!)

As for Arizona’s initiatives, again a conservative voter attitude seemed to prevail. Voters said yes to a proposition that prohibits reforms in the President’s healthcare plan (106), yes to eliminating affirmative action programs (107), and yes to secret ballots being mandatory for union organizing (113).

Everything else voters said no to. This included changing rules regarding wildlife management and hunting (109), medical marijuana (203), and major changes in the state’s political process. This includes no to state land reform(110), no to a Lieutenant Governor (111), no to changing the amount of time to verify initiative petition signatures (112), and no to using funds voters already designated to a specific purpose in past elections (301 & 302). Remember Nancy Regan’s slogan; “just say no.”

Some of these proposition results aren’t final. For election results visit AZNow.Biz’s results post.

What to watch for in the coming two years:

President Obama will need to move more to the center to meet Republicans who now have a large say in policy. If he becomes a better diplomat between the parties watch his agenda move better. If not, look for a stalemate.

In Arizona, Republicans should be able to do anything they want. This may not happen. Arizona still has huge financial woes. If Republicans can’t get on the same page, inner-party conflict will become ugly. The big question is how well our Republican Governor, Speaker of the House, and Senate President get along. If they can’t work together and coordinate their agendas, they won’t be able to blame Democrats for being the problem.

The biggest part of this disaster for the Democrats may be the impact it has on redistricting. After the 2010 Census is complete, they will draw new district lines. Controlling this process gives a huge advantage to the party in power.

Voting Booth

Update: A Proposition Primer For Election Day – Tom’s Picks

Editor’s Note: With less than a week to go before Election Day, AZNow.Biz’s political columnist, Tom Milton, has revealed his recommendations on the 10 propositions on the ballot. As he says, “You’ll notice, I don’t like many of them.”

Election Day is almost here. If you are like me, you are probably already tired of the commercials, the phone calls and the mail.  Along with a sea of candidates on this ballot, we will also be asked to vote on a number of issues. There are 10 propositions on this November’s ballot. Understanding a proposition in itself can sometimes be tricky, but that is only half of the battle. The tougher part can be understanding what a “Yes” vote means as opposed to a “No” vote.  Here is a very short recap of the main points behind the 10 propositions.

I want to give special thanks to Stuart Goodman of Goodman Schwartz Public Affairs, who for the last few election cycles summarized this information so that it is easier to understand. I used his summary as my guide and added just a touch more information as well.

The first seven propositions are all items that the Legislature referred to the ballot.

Prop. 106 – Healthcare Freedom Act

Passing means that the state’s constitution would be amended to prohibit any law from forcing a person or business into having to participate in a specific health care system. It will allow a person to buy their health care from any provider without being fined or penalized.

Proponents (YES VOTE) say it will guarantee that health care consumers can make their own choices without being penalized.

Opponents (NO VOTE) argue it is just an effort to derail federal health care reform and will negatively impact the uninsured.

Tom’s Pick:

NO on Prop. 106
Behind every ballot initiative is usually a special interest or cause. This prop is meant to scuttle Obamacare. It is suppose to prevent people from being forced into a medical system that will penalize them if they don’t participate. It will actually not prevent Obamacare, but rather create conflict between the federal government and Arizona. I don’t feel this is the best way to deal with health care reform.


Prop. 107 – Arizona Civil Rights Initiative

Passing would amend Arizona’s constitution to ban affirmative action programs that give preferential treatment to any person or group on the basis of race, sex, color, ethnicity or national origin. This would mostly apply to government and political subdivisions such as school districts.

Proponents (YES VOTE) say this provides equal protection for all citizens by not providing preferential treatment to anyone.

Opponents (NO VOTE) argue this will turn back the clock on the civil rights movement, as these programs have helped level the playing field for disadvantaged groups.

Tom’s Pick:

NO on Prop. 107
I struggle with ballot initiatives that I feel are deceptively named. This ballot prop eliminates any affirmative-action style program. So why not call it that? Most civil rights advocates attribute affirmative action as a useful tool that has significantly helped in the civil rights movement. So this initiative wants to eliminate affirmative action and calls itself a “Civil Rights Initiative.” I know that not everyone likes these programs, but there are numerous U.S. Supreme Court decisions that prevent these programs from being run as quotas or set-asides. Any program implemented today has to be preceded by a disparity study showing that a statistical disparity exists. Then a program can be put in place for a limited time to correct that specific disparity. It is a tool. This initiative bans use of this tool and is deceptive in its name.


Prop. 109 – Right to Hunt and Fish Amendment

Passing means the Arizona constitution would be amended to declare that wildlife would be held in trust for Arizonans who have a right to lawfully hunt or fish. It would mean that only the Legislature could pass laws regulating hunting or fishing, and prohibits any law that unreasonably restricts hunting and fishing. It also provides that hunting and fishing are to be the preferred means of managing wildlife populations.

Proponents (YES VOTE) say this will protect hunting and fishing from future excessive regulation.

Opponents (NO VOTE) argue this will negatively impact the ability to use any other established wildlife management practices.

Tom’s Pick:

NO on Prop. 109
One of the things this initiative does is provide for hunting and fishing to be the preferred means of managing wildlife populations. Why would we chose to limit wildlife management to only hunting, when there are other scientific means that can also be useful? Big out-of-state money is being spent on both sides of this initiative. In favor of it is the National Rifle Association and opposed to it is the Humane Society.


Prop. 110 – State Trust Land Exchanges

Passing would amend the Arizona constitution to allow State Trust Land to be sold or leased without an auction if it is to protect a military installation or operation. It will also allow voters to approve land exchanges for military protection or land planning purposes.

Proponents (YES VOTE) say this will protect military facilities and helps better manage Trust Lands.

Opponents (NO VOTE), well, there aren’t any, or at least they haven’t said anything yet. I’ll keep listening.

Tom’s Pick:

YES on Prop. 110
When Arizona became a state, all of the land that the state owned was put into a trust to benefit education. Our forefathers were insightful to take the state’s largest resource and tie it to our greatest future need — education. It is protected in our constitution and has no flexibility. Unfortunately, there was no way that at statehood they could understand the idea of making small future exceptions that might serve a greater good. Protecting Luke Air Force Base is worth making an exception and adjusting the stringent constitutional land laws.


Prop. 111 – Lieutenant Governor

Passage would amend the Arizona constitution to change the title of the secretary of state to lieutenant governor. They would have the same job responsibilities, be elected independent of the governor, and be the first in the line of succession should the governor leave office.

Proponents (YES VOTE) say that given the regularity by which Arizona has had the secretary of state become governor, this would help voters understand the importance of the role when voting for them.

Opponents (NO VOTE) argue that after the primary election, same party candidates for governor and lieutenant governor would be forced to run as a slate. They also point out that this initiative calls for governor and lieutenant governor candidates to be from a major party, thus eliminating the ability of an Independent (which is not itself considered a party) to aspire to them.

Tom’s Pick:vote November 2, 2010

YES on Prop. 111
This initiative changes the title of the secretary of state to lieutenant governor. The person in office would still retain all of the same duties. Because Arizona has had a consistent history of governors not finishing their terms in office and the secretary of state taking over, this would help voters understand the significance of their vote: They are voting for the second-highest ranking official in the state.

Midterm elections

Midterm Elections Are Never Fun For A President

Every four years, the United States of America has a presidential election. More Americans turn out and participate in the presidential elections than the lesser recognized midterm elections. The midterm elections occur in the two-year gaps between the presidential elections. In many ways, these midterms are just as important.

While presidents get four-year terms, all 435 members of the U.S. House of Representatives serve only two-year terms. The 100 U.S. Senators serve six-year terms and are staggered, with 33 or 34 being up for election every two years. This means that every midterm election the entire House and a third of the Senate are up for election.

Midterm elections are quite often referendums on the incumbent president, and they are seldom kind. In the last 16 midterm elections since Harry Truman, the incumbent party of the president has lost an average of 24 seats in the House and four in the Senate. In the modern era, Bill Clinton and George W. Bush, both two-term presidents, had a good and bad midterm.  Clinton’s disastrous first midterm in 1994, following his attempt at universal health care, is sometimes referred to as the “Republican Revolution.” Democrats lost 54 House seats and eight Senate seats. Clinton bounced back in 1998, gaining five House seats and not losing any in the Senate. Bush did it the opposite way. He had a great first midterm in 2002, on the heels of 9/11, the War on Terror, and the Iraqi War, picking up eight in the House and two in the Senate. In 2006, Democrats regained the House, picking up 30 seats and gaining six in the Senate.

So what does this history mean to us? On Nov. 2, 2010 we have a midterm election that will be a referendum on President Barack Obama. How will he fare? Current expectations are that Obama’s party will lose seats in both bodies of Congress. Some analysts are predicting that the Democrats may lose as many as 30 to 40 seats in the House. This is significant, because they hold a 75-seat advantage. Losing 38 seats means losing the majority. In the Senate, Democrats look to be losing at least four seats, with another five as toss-ups. If they all got to Republicans, the Senate would be at a 50-50 deadlock. Don’t expect all of those seats to go to Republicans.

Our Founding Fathers structured a system of government that contains checks and balances. While they may not have necessarily designed this two-party system, it does appear to provide accountability. When a president wins an election, he has two years to set his agenda and begin to show progress. He faces the consequences of his actions — and the nation’s mood — at the midterm elections. If the country is happy, he might maintain the same congressional support, with voters keeping his party in power. If the country isn’t happy, they might keep fewer of the president’s party in office, thus moderating what he is trying to accomplish.

Even if Republicans don’t take back either body, slimmer Democratic majorities would seem to mean more difficulty for President Obama. Or will they? My belief is that when a president has a large majority he has little incentive to be diplomatic with the opposite party. When he has fewer of his own party in Congress to work with, he then has to reach across the aisle more often and be more of a statesman.

Midterms can be a humbling experience for a president, but they can also be how Americans moderate our federal government.

Immigration

We Need Immigration Reform, Not Immigration Hype

SB 1070. It has been a few months since it passed, making Arizona the focus of so much national attention. As I have listened to Arizona, the entire country, and even some international Latina singers debate the issue, I have found ironies on both sides.

First, on the pro-SB 1070 side: Republicans (especially Arizona Republicans in state government) hate federal mandates being imposed on states. It’s a fundamental belief in conservative circles that we should have fewer unfunded mandates and more local control. Republican-sponsored SB 1070 flies in the face of these principles. Here’s one way to look at it. The Arizona Legislature was so frustrated that the federal government wasn’t stepping up and dealing with illegal immigration that it passed a law MANDATING that local jurisdictions had to do it. The state didn’t offer cities and counties any money to accomplish this, nor did the state step forward and offer its own resources, such as the National Guard. Local governing bodies were not just told that they could enforce immigration laws but also that they had to, or they could be sued. By any definition, this is an unfunded mandate that supersedes local control. Chalk it up to the ends justifying the means.

On the anti-SB 1070 side, I was surprised at how out of touch opponents were with the average Arizonan’s view on the issue. Polls started reporting that 70 percent of Arizonans supported the new law even in the face of national criticism and boycotts. Most opponents to SB 1070 chalked this up to bad polling and inaccurate data. Everybody must have gotten it wrong though, because those numbers have pretty much held up for the last few months. In fact, a number of other states report similar support, and we can expect more states passing this type of legislation. People are frustrated.

I have to admit, I wasn’t too fond of SB 1070 when it passed. But one morning while watching CNN, President Obama helped me to become frustrated. In light of his opposition to Arizona’s new law and the understanding that the federal government was negligent in dealing with the issue, he claimed that U.S. immigration policy was not a pressing current national priority. This was just after SB 1070 passed! What I heard him saying was, “Ask not what your country can do for you. And don’t ask what you can do for your country either!”

Then there is the question of why the federal government has never protested when other local jurisdictions in America have declared themselves “safe-harbor” areas for illegal immigrants. It seems they are establishing national immigration policy in the opposite direction, and yet, the federal government has failed to protest these policies or voice any public opposition.

I don’t believe that SB 1070 is really worth the national hype it has received. The courts have struck down the portion that local jurisdictions opposed most. If the courts hadn’t, would this really have been the solution to the illegal immigration problem in our country? It seems we need to establish a stronger, more practical border policy before much of any immigration policy reform is going to help.

Gov. Jan Brewer showed poorly in debate

Don’t Expect A Second Gubernatorial Debate

The candidates for governor will have one debate this year and it was last night. Who won? Well, any answer to that is subjective. Most news agencies (and friends on Facebook) are reporting that Gov. Jan Brewer showed poorly. She seemed uncomfortable right from the start, and I even discussed with one friend whether she was properly prepared or not.

So, if it is so obvious that she did badly, what does that mean for the race? I believe it means nothing.

In the past few months, Brewer has been elevated to the national level. Her support for SB 1070 has made her a regular subject on most cable news channels and their websites. She has become a national figure on the immigration issue and in direct conversation with President Obama.

So back to last night’s debate. Wait! First let’s talk debate strategies. Campaign 101 says that when you have a strong candidate who is well ahead in the polls (Rasmussen Polling has Brewer up 19%) don’t debate your opponent. You give them attention and credibility that they may struggle to get on their own. Because Brewer is a Clean Elections Candidate (publicly financed), she is required to attend at least one debate.

OK, now let’s go back to last night. She didn’t look good. With 60+ days to go before Election Day and a large lead, I would say this was like taking the medicine quickly and getting it over. Within 30 days this debate will be mostly forgotten as early balloting begins. I believe that Brewer and her staff are probably pretty happy that the debate was early and that it’s done. Now her campaign will become about her dialoguing when she wants and how she wants while the Democratic candidate, Terry Goddard, will continue to chase her around and demand more debates. He will most likely never get them.

If you are an outraged Democrat who finds this to be unfair, remember, this was the same strategy former Gov. Janet Napolitano used against Len Munsil in the last Arizona’s governor’s race (She actually gave him a second debate in Tucson that wasn’t broadcast statewide).

Brewer may have lost the debate last night, but the war is still pretty much in her control.

You can see the debate in its entirety at www.azpbs.org.

87753346

Money Reigns Supreme In The Arizona Primaries

The primaries are over and we are on to the general election. Because primary elections only decide who will represent political parties going into the general election, they are sometimes seen as less-important races. Many times, the primaries are the toughest battles. In a district that is considered Republican or Democrat “safe,” the primary is the real contest and the general election is the afterthought.

In Arizona’s 3rd Congressional District we can see how this works. It is considered Republican safe. Congressman John Shadegg decided not to seek re-election to this seat. While only one Democrat and one Libertarian candidate sought the office, 10 Republicans entered the race and spent roughly $3.5 million combined in a spirited contest. Ben Quayle won the Republican nomination and will go on to face Jon Hulburd, the Democrat’s nominee, and Michael Schoen, the Libertarian’s. These primaries had 79,011 Republicans cast ballots compared to 27,755 Democrats and 422 Libertarians. It would be hard for a Republican nominee to lose this seat with nearly a three-to-one margin of turnout advantage.

Two of the most significant factors in winning an election like this are incumbency and money.

Look at Arizona’s congressional seats. This year, seven of Arizona’s eight congressional incumbents were seeking re-election (with Shadegg deciding to step down). Of those seven, three were unchallenged within their primaries and the four that were challenged all won. Congressional incumbents went seven for seven in their primaries.

Of the 11 contested Republican or Democrat primaries, eight of them were won by the candidate who raised the most money. The three races that weren’t won by the top money raisers were won by the second-highest money raisers. These primary winners raised an average of $750,000 each.

Usually, people are discouraged by this. I’ve been asked, “Shouldn’t the candidate’s message and platform be the most important factors to decide a race?”  I agree that they should, but here is the reality: If you are the greatest candidate the world has ever known, you are not going to get elected if people don’t hear your message! Incumbency is valuable because people become familiar with your name and it gives a candidate a tremendous boost raising campaign contributions.

Why does money have to be so important? Campaigns are about communicating a message to an electorate. Hiring a professional consultant to guide your campaign, using resources such as signs to build name ID, and having the ability to send out mail, make phone calls, or air television ads are all examples of how to communicate a message. All of these things require money. Without money, a candidate is just unknown.

As much as we would like to root for the little guy to win or the underdog to pull off the upset, the truth is that a candidate we have never heard of who doesn’t have campaign resources rarely gets our vote. They don’t have credibility because we don’t know them. It is unfortunate because sometimes they may be the better candidates.