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Photo of Fred Duval (D) talking to some people
Likely Democratic nominee Fred DuVal
It looks like a whole lot of Arizona voters are really determined not to make up their minds yet for this fall's open seat race for governor. What little polling we've seen so far has all shown high numbers of undecideds, including a Monday internal from likely Democratic nominee Fred DuVal. Public Policy Polling doesn't typically follow this pattern, but their new survey is a little different from the rest of the pack. DuVal is little known, with a favorability rating of just 13-14, but the same is true of the entire GOP field. Here's how DuVal fares against his Republican opponents, with their favorables in parentheses:
• 33-39 vs. Mesa Mayor Scott Smith (15-13)

• 33-37 vs. Secretary of State Ken Bennett (12-24)

• 36-35 vs. state Treasurer Doug Ducey (11-20)

• 35-32 vs. physician John Molina (7-12)

• 36-32 vs. former California U.S. Rep. Frank Riggs (5-13)

• 37-33 vs. former GoDaddy executive Christine Jones (9-15)

• 37-32 vs. state Sen. Al Melvin (4-22)

• 40-35 vs. former Maricopa County Attorney Andrew Thomas (13-29)

While the whole race trades in a narrow band, as Wall Street types might say, the matchups on the edges make sense. DuVal's toughest opponent is Smith, who has a reputation as something of a moderate for his stances on immigration and guns. His weakest, meanwhile, is Thomas, who was disbarred in 2012 for some pretty extreme ethics violations.

But what makes for a more electable candidate in a general election usually has the opposite effect in a GOP primary, and vice versa. Luckily for someone like Smith, the field is incredibly jam-packed, and the race for the Republican nomination, as you'd expect, has barely taken shape:

Bennett: 20
Jones: 16
Smith: 12
Thomas: 9
Ducey: 6
Melvin: 1
Molina: 1
Riggs: 1
Undecided: 34
It's very possible that the ultimate winner could prevail with a relatively small plurality. But regardless of who emerges as the GOP nominee, the general election numbers show that there's a real chance for this contest to become very competitive. Thanks to Arizona's reddish demographics and expected mid-term falloff for Democrats, Daily Kos Elections currently rates this race as Lean Republican. But it's received little national attention so far and could wind up as a serious sleeper.

Originally posted to Daily Kos Elections on Tue Mar 04, 2014 at 10:04 AM PST.

Also republished by Baja Arizona Kossacks and Daily Kos.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Hmm. Seems unlikely but...Arizona and Texas gov. (0+ / 0-)

    races go Democratic. The southwest is blue. As would be Republicans for the foreseeable future in presidential contests.

  •  I wouldn't be surprised if Arizona elects (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    antooo, falconer520, Azazello, madmojo

    a Democratic governor. We had a popular one just 6 years ago. The real mystery to me is why it's so hard for us to elect a Democratic senator.

    To believe that markets determine value is to believe that milk comes from plastic bottles. Bromley (1985)

    by sneakers563 on Tue Mar 04, 2014 at 11:12:32 AM PST

    •  Could a Democratic US Senator from Arizona be all (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      sneakers563

      Could a Democratic US Senator from Arizona be all that much different from John McCain?  

      •  Oh yes. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        blugrlnrdst

        McCain hasn't been all that helpful lately.  Every now and then he throws us a bone.  Even a Blue Dog would be MUCH more useful, and we could well elect a 'western liberal' in the right circumstances.

        I say this as someone who has some fond feelings for the man, who helped my father's tiny apolitical sole proprietorship appreciably in a righteous dispute with DOL when I was a teenager.

        Off-topic anecdote follows:

        DOL was literally attempting to require two years of retroactive compliance with locally and newly created instructions which directly contradicted the federal instructions for the same documentation.  This was being done (because they couldn't find any non-compliance by my folks) as part of collective punishment for anyone associated with a particular federal project due to a DOL dispute with which my father had no involvement other than a small subcontract with the players.  

        After multiple good faith efforts to resolve this with DOL, Dad wrote a letter, we met very briefly with the Senator (the overall project was something he cared about), and that line item in the demand letter from the DOL disappeared the next week.  The other contractors (multi-bucks, connected folks) were all amazed, but at least that one time, simply being in the right was enough to get an intervention.

        Note that my father had not, has not, and will not donate to or vote for him, and McCain knew that.

        Iron sharpens Iron. Normal is a dryer setting. STOP illegal immigration NOW! -- Make it LEGAL. If Corporations are People--Let's draft them.

        by benamery21 on Tue Mar 04, 2014 at 08:51:08 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  Sure - Napolitano was elected statewide (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        CS in AZ, falconer520, blugrlnrdst

        and was quite popular. I wasn't crazy about everything she did; she ran with the whole "insecure border" nonsense, for instance, but she was miles better than McCain.

        To believe that markets determine value is to believe that milk comes from plastic bottles. Bromley (1985)

        by sneakers563 on Wed Mar 05, 2014 at 04:49:02 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  And you elected a Dem A-G in Goddard. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      sneakers563, CS in AZ

      “The universe is big. It’s vast and complicated and ridiculous. And sometimes, very rarely, impossible things just happen and we call them miracles.” -The Doctor

      by KingofSpades on Tue Mar 04, 2014 at 11:25:50 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Why is Jimmy Fallon (0+ / 0-)

    wearing a purple shirt?

  •  Why AZ-Gov race is likely to be more competitive (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    KingofSpades

    than usual:

    It's an open seat race, without a GOP heir apparent.  

    There are potentially tough races in all 3 Dem-held swing House districts, (AZ-01, AZ-02, AZ-09), meaning that the incumbents are raising serious funds and will be running strong campaigns (these are the 3rd, 4th, and 5th most Democratic of the 9 districts).

    Ed Pastor retired from the most heavily Safe Democratic seat, which ordinarily has abysmal turnout, and there is likely to be an energetic multi-way Dem primary, which should dramatically increase participation this cycle.  

    There are no incumbent, native son, or Mormon GOP Senate or Presidential efforts ongoing, and none of the 4 GOP House members faces serious opposition in the heavily GOP districts, therefore turnout in those districts will not likely set records.

    The downside: We're running Fred DuVal.

    Iron sharpens Iron. Normal is a dryer setting. STOP illegal immigration NOW! -- Make it LEGAL. If Corporations are People--Let's draft them.

    by benamery21 on Tue Mar 04, 2014 at 08:15:59 PM PST

    •  Is it a trend for open seats (0+ / 0-)

      in poor turnout areas to get higher than normal turnout?

      Also, what's wrong with Fred Duval?  He's not top tier, but certainly not that low on the totem pole.

      “The universe is big. It’s vast and complicated and ridiculous. And sometimes, very rarely, impossible things just happen and we call them miracles.” -The Doctor

      by KingofSpades on Tue Mar 04, 2014 at 11:25:13 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  If they were previously safe seats held (0+ / 0-)

        by long time incumbents who ran unopposed and barely ran, and the field for the open seat isn't cleared, I would have to think so.  That's the windy version of, "I don't have data," but I'm pretty sure it will work that way in this case.  See discussion here  the day Pastor announced his retirement, and Gallego announced his candidacy.

        I think you probably saw this Thursday:

        http://www.dailykos.com/...

        Nothing wrong with Fred Duval, if I remember correctly one of my first posts on DKE was touting Fred DuVal and the AZ Gov race.  Nothing great about him either, in my opinion.  You need either a good national climate, a bad opponent, or a great candidate to win in AZ, even with the minor advantages I noted.

        http://www.dailykos.com/...

        Iron sharpens Iron. Normal is a dryer setting. STOP illegal immigration NOW! -- Make it LEGAL. If Corporations are People--Let's draft them.

        by benamery21 on Wed Mar 05, 2014 at 01:29:21 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  Arizona (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    blugrlnrdst

    is going to be a battleground Democrats HAVE to invest heavily in.

    The House seats aren't entrenched. There's an open seat... a couple are still first term Dems. Many races there are in dire need of wide support from all Democrats across America.

    Turning Arizona very Blue now and for the future will pay tremendous dividends going forward as we seek a House majority and spreading blue ink across the Southwest.

    Suddenly, it dawns on me, Earnest T. Bass is the intellectual and philosophical inspiration of the TeaParty.

    by Nebraska68847Dem on Wed Mar 05, 2014 at 06:42:02 PM PST

  •  I'm not impressed (0+ / 0-)

    with Ron Barber's performance thus far nor am I impressed with the prospect of Mr. Clean energy cough fracking cough Duval.

    Permission for two exploratory wells just opened up the possibility for fracking in our agriculture belt. I can't vote for anyone who thinks natural gas is good for our future.

    If you want to turn AZ blue then for Pete's Sake run someone who is BLUE! I can't vote for these people.

  •  We need to work on the state houses... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    blugrlnrdst

    Tea Party super majorities in both houses is destroying this state...

    A mind like a book, has to be open to function properly.

    by falconer520 on Wed Mar 05, 2014 at 07:23:46 PM PST

  •  According to the HuffPost article, Thomas is (0+ / 0-)

    associated with Arpaio, so the far right will claim his disbarment was all a liberal plot.

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