There is a great deal of media speculation surrounding the upcoming election in Arizona’s 8th Congressional District on the unpopularity of the President and the effect that may have in this special election and the upcoming General Election cycle.
During a discussion earlier this week with the New York Times, I was asked about the effect the Stormy Daniels story is likely to have in this cycle. It appears that national media outlets from Fox News to our country’s newspaper of record are carrying a narrative that the President, himself, even though he is not on the ballot, is enough to potentially swing historically safe Republican districts into Democratic hands.
That narrative may sell papers and social media clicks, but it is certainly not enough to change the outcome of Districts like CD8 in Arizona. A quick look at the numbers tells you that nearly twice as many Republicans voted in the February Special Primary Election than Democrats. In fact, 76,451 Republicans voted in February, whereas only 38,463 Democrats participated in a contested Democratic primary. Voter registration in 8 is heavily tilted in the Republicans’ favor with the GOP making up 41% of voter registration, Democrats making up 24%, while Independents and others making up the remaining 35%.
This is not to say that the Democratic nominee, Dr. Hiral Tipirneni, is not an articulate and qualified candidate – she is. But to win such a race, a Democrat must persuade Republican voters that their nominee is fatally flawed and the narrative of the Democratic campaign must appeal to swing Republican and Independent voters – which Dr. Tipirneni’s campaign is not doing.
In fact, one of the first efforts of the Democrats in the district was to let voters know that Ms. Lesko, her Republican opponent, supported Governor Brewer’s effort to place a temporary one cent sales tax proposal on the 2010 ballot. The proposal intended to spare the State from deeper cuts to education and public safety – which had already been adopted. This criticism also ignores the fact that the proposal, also known as Proposition 100, won the majority support of Republican voters and overwhelming support from Democrats, and Independents. Criticizing her Republican opponent for voting to allow the voters to raise their own taxes is hardly the way to build a bipartisan coalition.
It’s just plain stupid. Quite frankly, it seems like the kind of strategy only a beltway campaign consultant could love. Which seems to be par for the course for the Democratic establishment who fails to foster its own winning electoral narrative and rather relies on the #NeverTrump movement to someday deliver an electoral victory for them.
As long as the President is not on the ballot, these elections, like the one in Pennsylvania, will be won by candidates who better reflect the demography and values of the District they represent. Former Congressman Trent Franks held this seat for eight consecutive terms despite his own flaws.
Barring a blockbuster sensational news story, State Senator Debbie Lesko will surely win this election on April 24th by a safe electoral margin of 5 points or more.
Former Governor Jan Brewer, who lives in the District and represented that area for much of her political career remains widely popular, and she never (ever) lost an election. A Lesko win in Congressional District 8 is nearly as safe a bet as anyone can make – despite the efforts of some would suggest otherwise. The math does just not add up.