Borrowing a page out of our favorite conservative columnist Bob Robb’s notebook, here are some quick takes following this Tuesday’s General Election.
The 2014 election will be remembered for its historically low turnout. It is on track to have a turnout percentage lower than any general election since at least 1974 (and likely longer). In fact, 1998 was the only other election in the past 30 years to have a turnout under 50%. It would be hard to call such abysmal turnout a mandate.
The fact is, younger voters stayed away from this election in droves. Some will point to the negative campaigning and record setting dark money as the culprit. Others will argue that there was very little for young voters to be “for” in this election. As Bob Robb pointed out, the irony is that DuVal had a chance to articulate ideas to set up a “competing future.” By taking all tax possibilities off the table, he did very little to set himself apart and failed to articulate any new, big ideas. Procurement reform wasn’t going to cut it.
McCain Rides Again
Speaking of big ideas, with the Republican takeover over the Senate moving Senator McCain into the chairmanship of the Armed Services Committee, it should be considered a lock that he will run for another term. He has always been a great campaigner over the years and we expect him to jump in with the energy he had when he first went after the seat in 1986. We’re excited at the prospect of him offering up some big ideas to make a bigger tent and offering up solutions to problems to attract the larger audience that show up in Presidential cycles.
Who will take the lead on next year’s budget? The Office of Strategic Planning and Budgeting have said that they are putting things together for the NEXT Governor. So, expect the next budget coming out of OSPB to be the start of a “Ducey” budget, not a “Brewer” budget. Don’t expect Governor Brewer to offer up a budget. The General Election also made the GOP majority in the Arizona State Senate even more lockstep in their budget approach — expect a strong push from the Senate for a budget filled with significant further spending reductions. According to JLBC, the FY2010 total operating expenditures were $9.8 billion and are $9.1 billion for FY2015 signed by Governor Brewer. Speaking of a budget, the Courts have already ordered the state to fund education at a higher level and Arizona’s State Land Trust remains a largely untapped resource for development to fund education.
With the failure of Proposition 487, it’s time to go back to the drawing board on pension reform. It’s a problem that faces more than just Phoenix, so here’s hoping they take a broader approach. It’s up to public safety, the unions, and others to get together and articulate a plan that can help solve this problem. We fully understand what they are against — this is their chance to share some big ideas of their own and talk about what they are “for.”
Elected or Appointed?
Is this the beginning of the end of Superintendent of Public instruction as an elected position? According to the National Association of State Boards of Education, Arizona is only one of 14 states to elect their Superintendent of Public Instruction. In fact, 18 are appointed by their respective Governor, 23 are appointed by their state board of education, and three use other methods. Any bets on when that measure makes it to the ballot?
Nice Guys Finish First
In a campaign cycle filled with negativity, Peoria Council candidate Bridget Binsbacher chose to run a positive campaign and was rewarded as the top vote getter. She was the subject of a half dozen hit pieces, but voters saw through the shenanigans and gave her the top spot — a full 10 points higher than her closest competitor. She now faces a run-off that has stretches all the way to March due to the well publicized ballot printing issues. We wish her luck and are excited to help her keep the positivity going.