By Amy Silverman
By Olivia LaVecchia
By Monica Alonzo and Stephen Lemons
By Chris Parker
By Michael Lacey
By Weston Phippen
The state GOP's newly appointed finance chairman, John Godzich (who is pastor Leo's older brother), eased into the party machinery with the help of the Lincoln Caucus. Godzich the elder is an old friend of Wead's from the Amway circuit, and has pumped more than $50,000 into the party on Wead's behalf. Prominent Republicans, like former chairman Burt Kruglick, the head of the state's Bush-Quayle campaign, say they didn't even meet Godzich until he already was installed as party finance chief.
According to campaign finance records, Wead already has spent nearly $250,000 so far this year, almost as much as all five other candidates combined.
And this district demands campaign funds. It stretches from Casa Grande to the Four Corners. It includes much of the East Valley, some of Scottsdale, all of Cave Creek and Carefree, half of Flagstaff, a host of mountain and mining towns like Payson, Globe and Springerville and seven Indian reservations.
Wead has chipped in more than $100,000 of his own money. A little more than that has come from individual contributors, much of it from Amway distributors nationwide. Some of them contributed as a result of hearing Wead's motivational lectures and sermons. (He does a reading from memory of the Sermon on the Mount that one contributor said "would bring tears to your eyes.)
Meyer has raised $80,000, much of it from out-of-state business people; MacDonnell has generated about $64,000, much of it from lawyers and some from people in the liquor industry. Combined, they had slightly more than $40,000 in cash on hand as of last week; Wead had more than $70,000. And that doesn't count $50,000 Wead shelled out August 10 to six television stations.
On the Democratic side, both Stephens and English have raised more than $90,000, much of Stephens' from lawyers and labor unions and much of English's either from herself or from national women's organizations.
The campaign reports indicate that Al Hale simply doesn't have any money and, in fact, has had vehicle problems on his arduous treks through his vast reservation. He's undaunted, though. Hale says he's "planting seeds" for the future. "You can't sit back," he adds, philosophically.
@body:This is a district that will stump any pundit. Each party's primary race will be aimed at a completely different type of audience than the parties will face in the general election.
Forget that the district is 47 percent Democratic and 43 percent Republican. More than half the district population is in rural areas. Many of the Democrats are conservative and, besides, they don't care that much about party lines.
Mesa is by far the biggest city in the district, but English estimates that more than 70 percent of the district's Democrats live outside Maricopa County. That should make the Democratic primary more of a rural race. And not surprisingly, all three Democrats have rural bases: English in Flagstaff, Stephens in Casa Grande and Hale on the Navajo Reservation. Will Hale be a factor? One of every five residents in the district is a Native American, most of them Navajo, the nation's largest tribe. But Navajos haven't turned out in big numbers for primary elections--except in tribal races.
The GOP candidates face the opposite situation. Most of the district's Republicans live in the East Valley, and their primary looks more like an urban contest. The East Valley is known to have a heavy number of Mormons, many of whom have "traditional family values" that match Doug Wead's, right? Not necessarily. Wead is working hard to cultivate Mormon support, but there's historic enmity between Mormons and evangelical Christians. In fact, Wead's books and tapes are sold at Christian bookstores and churches, including Phoenix First Assembly of God Church, that also prominently display anti-Mormon tracts. Some evangelical Christian sects denounce Mormonism as an evil cult.
The big three daily newspapers, the Arizona Republic, Mesa Tribune and Phoenix Gazette, all have endorsed MacDonnell for the GOP nomination. English got the endorsement of the Trib and Gazette on the Democratic side. The Republic, in a fit of partisan pique, endorsed Hale while haughtily noting that the Democrats are a party that "thinks of itself as inclusive" and "ought to be interested in sending an Indian to Congress."
And then there's that Mecham in the woodpile. The impeached former governor wants to run for the U.S. Senate against John McCain in the November 3 general election. But Evan Mecham's supporters, largely ultraconservatives in the East Valley, won't be able to sign his petition unless they forsake voting in the September 8 primary. That could cost Wead some votes.
On top of everything, all of the candidates are worried about a low turnout, because the election is the day after Labor Day, and many Arizonans still may be on holiday.
Regardless of what happens this fall, GOP stalwarts like Kit Mehrtens, who are put off by the party's religious right wing, vow to fight back. She notes that Dodie Londen, also a member of the party's old guard, already has announced she will run next year against party chairman Gerald Davis, an unabashed Wead supporter. Some party insiders call this "sour grapes" that will have nothing to do with how the voters actually perform on September 8.