Arizona Democratic leaders had talked up the possibility of taking back the state House in '08, why, maybe even the state Senate. Instead, the local donkey-kongs, true to form, lost seats in the Legislature.

Though the congressional delegation boasted a majority of Ds, and the Dems picked up a couple of Arizona Corporation Commission seats, Governor Janet Napolitano already had her Samsonite packed for D.C., leaving Arizona with the reptilian Jan Brewer in her place and the Republinuts firmly in control.

Ticked, the Democratic base revolted at the state party meeting in January 2009.

All's forgiven, Terry, if you'll just get Arpaio indicted before you exit office.
Stephen Lemons
All's forgiven, Terry, if you'll just get Arpaio indicted before you exit office.
PLEA President Mark Spencer: Will he call Bill Montgomery’s shots on the Chrisman case?
Stephen Lemons
PLEA President Mark Spencer: Will he call Bill Montgomery’s shots on the Chrisman case?

Chairman Don Bivens, though acknowledged by all as a fine fundraiser, was replaced by Tucson politico Paul Eckerstrom after Eckerstrom threw his name in at the last minute and gave a barn-burning speech promising a unified message and a contest in every legislative district. Dems rewarded him with the party's crown.

Two weeks later, to the disappointment of all but cynical insiders (and Republicans), Eckerstrom resigned his post, citing family issues. I've always believed the rumors that party muckamucks forced him out, though Eckerstrom denied such rumors at the time.

Bivens was voted back in, but his executive director, Maria Weeg, was cut loose as a sop to the Dems with pitchforks. Former Grijalva staffer Luis Heredia eventually eased into Weeg's seat.

This backstory was uppermost in my skull when I spotted Bivens in the ballroom of the Wyndham on Election Night. I told him that 2010 was like déjà vu all over again.

He wondered what I meant. Two years ago was oh-so-different, he insisted, what with a gain in the congressional delegation — specifically Ann Kirkpatrick's 2008 win, now returned as a loss in '10.

What about the Legislature, I wondered, with the GOP picking up seats, again, and Russell Pearce hovering, buzzard-like?

"Oh, Steve, nothing's changed there in 40 years," he pooh-poohed. "When's the last time Democrats won the Legislature? Under this districting plan, as it exists right now, it is not possible, whether it was year one or year 10, for the Democrats to have a majority in either the Senate or the House. Our hope is in the new redistricting plan."

Maybe, but what I'd just heard — amazingly — was the chairman of the state Democratic Party conceding the Legislature to the Republicans.

Having majorities in both houses would be difficult to achieve, but at least the Dems could shrink the gap, making it harder for GOP crazies like Pearce and his ilk to pass insane laws like 1070 — a law that became a litmus test for the entire freaking election and every candidate in it.

Bivens also gave me some blather about reaching his hand out to the tuskers. Thing is, Don, with a Republican supermajority in place, the Dems are now as insignificant as the team that always plays the Harlem Globetrotters and loses. Um, or the Suns.

Days later, executive director Heredia sent an e-mail to the party's precinct committeepersons providing talking points that largely mirrored what Bivens had told me: We couldn't help it, it was a Republican year; the Dems haven't taken the Legislature in 40 years; the only statewide seat the GOP picked up was the AG's Office; and on and on.

(History lesson: Democrat Pete Rios was state Senate president from 1991-92, when Dems controlled the upper house. In 2000, the Senate was split 15-15, and moderate GOPer Randall Gnant was Senate president.)

Bivens had to concede to me that the Dems had no unified position on immigration. So, what if we're back here two years from now, having the same lame conversation, with the same tired explanations?

"We won't be," Bivens assured me, Pollyanna-ishly. "On the immigration issue, there's going to be a big push to get the federal government off the dime and do something."

Unfortunately, that push will be coming from the nativist right, not from the pro-immigration faction. Message to Latinos: Prepare to be backstabbed yet again.

Granted, under Bivens' leadership, the party raised around $4.2 million this year for state races, according to Dem spokeswoman Jennifer Johnson. That's expected to outpace the state GOP, as Dems have done in the past.

Yet the Dems are not attracting new voters at the rate necessary. The Republicans, who already have an edge on registration, picked up another 12,000 registrants since the end of July, according to the Arizona Secretary of State's Office. The Dems picked up only 1,700. Independents outpaced both at 29,000. But when indies are breaking right, that's hardly a neutral factor. Hell, by 2012, independents may surpass Democratic totals for registration.

Johnson claimed it was a unique situation, attributable to 2010's not being a Democratic year. Okay, but what the heck happened to all the Latino voters whom various groups were claiming to have registered?

If you ask me, Bivens and some other leadership-level Dems are a little too comfortable with their losses. Bivens is a big-shot lawyer with a Paradise Valley address. And he's a partner in the same law firm that's making bank off 1070 — Snell & Wilmer, the mega-firm hired by Brewer to defend Pearce's bigoted legislation in federal court.

Should Bivens take the fall for the Dems' debacle? Only if someone of substance is willing to take his place and stick to it. No flakes this time. (Two names I hear being floated as Bivens' possible replacement, Jon Hulburd and state Senator-elect Kyrsten Sinema would be colossal mistakes, but that's a future column.) And if he or she can't pull in the cash like Bivens, well, as far as I can see, all that Democratic loot didn't prevent the Republicans from being victorious, or Pearce from becoming state Senate president.

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22 comments
AntiFascist18
AntiFascist18

For Flashcalc,The statement "Arizona Democrat" has become a big joke, considering the opposition of EVERY Democratic state and Congressional official to SB1070.

Your Party NO longer represents the majority of Arizona citizens who are tired of increased crime, of kidnappings, of cartels, and the band-aid responses of the Giffords and Goddards to do anything about it. Or the childish whining of a Sinema.

Heck, you even have one of your very own demanding a boycott of the state he represents so shamefully.

The Arizona Democrats put Obama, Holder, the Lawsuit, the ILLEGAL and the Cartel over the majority of law-abiding, decent Arizona citizens. That is your problem - and even though Giffords and Grijalva squeaked through, they're toast insofar the new Congress is concerned, and toast in two years with aroused voters tired of Democratic lies. You choose Obama, Holder, Calderon and Soros over the rest of us, and you will most assuredly pay.

AntiFascist18
AntiFascist18

It would be nice if the new Attorney General would throw his last two predecessors, plus this clown Lemons, in Jail for treason and sheer stupidity. Throw in Giffords, Grijalva and Sinema too. Oh, do make sure Lemons and Sinema share the same cell.

Chuck481
Chuck481

It is not accurate to state that "Horne crept past Rotellini with around 60,000" votes. He won a landslide victory by a 3.77% margin. Just because Gov. Brewer won an earthquake size victory over Goddard does not diminish the significance of Horne's landslide victory. Compare Horne's 3.77% victory to the landslide victory which Pres. Reagan is credited with winning over his opponents (Carter & Anderson) in the 1980 Presidential race, by 50.7% to 47.6%. If Reagan's 3.1% victory was a landslide, certainly Horne's 3.77% victory was too.

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Billymadi
Billymadi

Sadly, even if you don't like the Repubs or Dems, there is no other option. The other three 'third parties' have bad policies and no one with any skill and appeal.

http://www.moderntimesmagazine...

Flashcalc
Flashcalc

I am an AZ Dem state committeeman. I was there for Eckerstrom's bar-burner of a speech. Unfortunately, I've seen this before - great words, lots of energy, "let's do this" , yadda-yadda-yadda-nothing. He did not think he'd win that election, just wanted a soapbox, and quit ASAP (I was not surprised). We need more than fiery words, we need to follow up. Unfortunately, we are not unified on message, and actually can be pretty dam wimpy.

Rog51
Rog51

You are obviously poorly informed. The State Democratic Party has never in it's entire history fuctioned better than over the past two years. The staff and the leadership did a phenomenal job. Unfortuately, this was a horrible "nationalized" election which was exacerbated by the SB 1070 mess. No one could have anticipated the effects of SB 1070 which took Jan Brewer from someone who would have lost her own primary to being unbeatable and Terry Goddard from a double digit lead to a double digit loss. Nothing could have changed the trends of this election just like 1972 and 1980. Sometimes, shit happens. Time to move on and ignore the need of some idiots to hold someone "responsible." The voters and the medial share a lot of blame here and we Democrats did everything we could to save the voters from themselves.

Leonardclark385
Leonardclark385

Excellent, excellent, excellent article that shows not all journalists have been bought or killed off by the corporate elite who now run our government and our mainstream press !Leonard Clarkformer endorsed Green party candidate for Arizona Congressional district #311-13-10

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Guest
Guest

Creating Jobs for PHOENIX - elect Mayor Terry Goddard You've said it before, you can say it again, Mayor Terry Goddard

Captain Obvious
Captain Obvious

"Sure, Goddard was doomed. But it wasn't Arizona Senate Bill 1070 that doomed him, or Governor Jan Brewer's signing of that vicious breathing-while-brown statute."

Yes, indeed, you are right Lemons. He was doomed. Doomed from the beginning. I support Brewer's "breathing-while-brown" statue. Being a brown [or darker] individual, I think it's the best thing to ever happen. In fact, the majority of "brownies" are with me [and disagree with you] that reform is needed and needed NOW. (ref: http://www.hispanicfederation....

"So when Goddard gave his concession at the Wyndham Phoenix on Election Night, I was startled to hear him utter the following: "

I wasn't surprised, instead I felt justified. This is why people didn't vote for him. He, himself, would have brought hate, distrust, etc., to the public. That's the Dem way. (ref: http://www.powerlineblog.com/a...

"Rotellini, too, adopted a near-beer attitude toward 1070 in the general election, as her rival Tom Horne painted himself as Mr. 1070, Mr. Ethnic Studies Ban, and Mr. Anti-Amnesty. "

Thank gawd for Horne, he was the only one for the job (ref: see voting results).

Lemons, can you ever write an article without mentioning Joe? I mean, it's almost at homoerotic levels.

Steve
Steve

hey Captain Obvious, might that last thought on your post actually be projecting?

Guest
Guest

One definition of Insanity is repeating the same thing over and over and expecting different results. This sums up Lemon's writings of the Sheriff in a nutshell. None of his hate towards the Sheriff has resulted in anything different; the Sheriff was here long before Lemons, he'll be here long after Lemons. I think the homoerotic connection may hold the key with Lemons vis-a-vis the Sheriff. This article didn't need to mention the Sheriff. In fact, I'm beginning to wonder if it was an affectation for the purpose of "shouting out" to his gay interest, the Sheriff? That's an obsessive behavior that, in my professional opinion, is tantamount to a clinical diagnosis.

Steve
Steve

Yeah, well, two prominent DINOs that need to go are both Hulburd and Glassman, but not necessarily in that order.

But Stephen, declaring that the Dems need a unifying position on immigration is much easier said than actually finding, defining or figuring out such a position and overcoming the hateful din of the nativists.

What are YOUR ideas?

Frankly, I'm not sure there was a way, this year, for Dems to successfully address that issue.

I can't see Kyrsten Sinema as chair of the AZ Democratic Party, but she provides a strong and necessary voice and I hope she's able to continue speaking up and out.

PresidentJackson
PresidentJackson

here's one idea, on the website of az employers for immigration reform:

http://www.azeir.org/index2.as...

not perfect but a start

republinazis define the debate define their enemies attack and win

the donks need to go and do likewise

Steve
Steve

I agree that's a nice start... but it's going to take much more than just having a sound, rational set of ideas to address immigration. It's going to have to be something that can be heard above the nativist cacophony to begin galvanizing public opinion. And given the nature of hatemongering as political strategy, that's pretty difficult.

Guest
Guest

The Nazi's were a right wing party in Germany, which equate [geo-politically] to the LEFT WING party of the United States; the Democrats. So, trying to be "clever", like Lemons, only shows your ignorance.

If you need a list of prominent Democratic Nazi party members in the US, as well as Democratic members of the KKK, let me know, I'll be happy to "hook you up." It's all public knowledge. Ah, the wonders of "Google" these days, huh?

 

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