Before the first presidential debate, polls showed Obama "closing the gap" on Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney in Arizona, Coughlin wrote. Those polls shifted to Romney's favor after the debate, largely because of Obama's lackluster performance. An average of late September/early October polls conducted in this state by various organizations — including the Washington Times, Fox, and Gallup — put Romney ahead of Obama by 7.6 points. Obama received a bump from his vice president, Joe Biden, after his debate with Congressman Paul Ryan, Romney's running mate, on October 11. As of October 15, Real Clear Politics showed Romney's lead down to 5.3 points.

The initial tilt toward Obama in Arizona prompted the president's campaign, which never before had a major presence here, to start airing television ads in the Phoenix area. It was an infusion of money aimed at ginning up Democrats' enthusiasm, pushing the state toward Obama and giving Carmona a bigger bump.

If Carmona wins the election, he will be Arizona's first Latino U.S. senator. He also will be the first Democrat to hold the office since former Senator Dennis DeConcini left Congress in 1995.

Carmona greets supporters during a Women for Carmona fundraiser in September.
Monica Alonzo
Carmona greets supporters during a Women for Carmona fundraiser in September.
Lynda Carter, who played Wonder Woman on TV, speaks with young women at the same fundraiser, where she referred to Carmona as a "real hero."
Monica Alonzo
Lynda Carter, who played Wonder Woman on TV, speaks with young women at the same fundraiser, where she referred to Carmona as a "real hero."

Well, sort of.

Carmona was a lifelong registered Independent who switched political gears in 2011 to run for the Senate seat. Despite his last-minute conversion, he enjoys several of the same political advantages that first ushered lifelong Democrat DeConcini into the Senate in 1976.

Among those, according to Democratic political strategist Bill Scheel, Carmona will face an opponent tattered from a nasty primary campaign, in that businessman Will Cardon forced Flake to spew hardcore Tea Party rhetoric that won't resonate with enough voters in the general election. DeConcini enjoyed a similar advantage because his first general-election opponent also had emerged from a highly contentious primary race.

And, Scheel notes, both Carmona and DeConcini boast law-and-order credentials that have helped propel Arizona Democrats into statewide office: DeConcini was Pima County Attorney, and Carmona was a deputy with the Pima County Sheriff's Department and a former Army Green Beret.

Carmona doesn't share DeConcini's conservative Democratic philosophy — he espouses mostly progressive views — but he's nonetheless appealing to Arizona voters because he comes across as an independent leader, Scheel says.

Another advantage for Carmona is his long history of receiving Republican love. He was nominated as surgeon general by President George W. Bush, snapping up glowing endorsements from GOP lawmakers, after which he was confirmed unanimously in July 2002 by the Senate.

"With his military and law enforcement background, coupled with his demonstrated commitment to public health and community preparedness, Dr. Carmona is extraordinarily — perhaps uniquely — qualified to address the needs of our nation as surgeon general," Senator John McCain said in 2002. Arizona's Republican senior senator also called Carmona an "invaluable leader" after his appointment.

Former GOP Arizona Congressman Jim Kolbe called Carmona an "outspoken, principled, energetic, and charismatic leader."

High-ranking Republicans attempted to recruit Carmona to run for public office. Even Arizona Governor Jan Brewer, secretary of state at the time, asked him to run for governor under the Republican banner.

Democrats also courted Carmona, whose hardscrabble beginnings as a high school dropout, his military experience as a decorated combat medic in Vietnam, his nearly three decades in law enforcement, and his medical careers in hospital administration and as a vascular surgeon, make him an attractive candidate.

"I was honored when this man, a lifelong Independent, decided he would run on our party's ticket for United States Senate," Clinton told the crowd during the Tempe rally. "I can't think of a person in America, without regard to party, who is more needed at this moment in our history in the U.S. Senate, by virtue of his biography, by virtue of his record, by virtue of his philosophy."

When he heard that Carmona might run for Arizona's Senate seat, President Barack Obama phoned the former Bush surgeon general and urged him to go for it.

And it's been that phone call that has fueled Flake's primary TV attack ad against Carmona, the one in which Flake's campaign calls Carmona the president's "handpicked" candidate. The ad goes on to allege that the former Republican appointee supports the president's Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, and would dutifully serve as a "rubber stamp" for a Democratic White House.

It's a clear nod to Tea Party Republicans who control the GOP nowadays — the same party faction that has caused so many Republicans, notably Flake and McCain before him, to start spouting hard-right rhetoric.

Obama haters also note that Democratic Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada, a Tea Party scourge, courted Carmona to run.

Carmona says the brief exchange with Obama was just one of many calls he received as he explored seeking the Senate seat.

"By the time the president called, I already knew I was going to do it. But I wasn't sure how I was going to do it," Carmona tells New Times. "All the president said to me was, 'Rich, I hear that you're considering running for office. Think about it, because we need to get more people like you to help us in Washington.'"

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88 comments
GoJoe
GoJoe

LOL. So does anyone (who went to the rally) remember when like 2/3 of the people there left after Bill finished talking? I'm not entirely sure how I feel about Flake winning, but one way or another everybody wins because there are no more stupid campaign ads.

LostCause
LostCause

Carmona has served with courage and honor ...he deserves a Senate seat over career politico Flake.

katedemp
katedemp

I used to be a staunch Republican, but have recently changed. Don't get me wrong, I think Obama is a horrible Prez, but I think he's the lesser of two evils versus Mittens. I have no problem with the Dream Act, but with stipulations. If the son/daughter is a "Dreamer" and he/she serves four honorable years in the military, then he/she will be granted citizenship and in-state tuition. If he/she decides the college route instead, then he/she will PAY for EVERYTHING with no grants, tuition breaks, poor, etc-kinda like the majority of us did. They will also pay out of state tuition for the first two years. If the flunk out or get dishonorably discharged from the military, then back to Mexico (or where ever they are from). If you serve four years in the military and show that you are willing to shed blood for this country, then you should enjoy all the benefits like all other Americans. I know college work is tough, don't get me wrong, but it's not the same sacrifice that those in the military endure. 

 

Not as far as Republicans go, look at the leadership of this state: the Gov wishes Obama luck at Mittens/Republican rally? Are you kidding me? Look at the story of the DPS in this paper. You've got leaders (Robert Halliday) appointed by the Gov who chooses baseball tickets and his friendship to the owner of Swift Trucking, to make sure the state troopers turn a blind eye on Swift Trucking at the expense of AZ citizens. Or the Gov, former Senate Prez Russell Pierce going on expensive trips on the taxpayer dime and then "forget it was wrong." I'm not sure how a Notre Dame football game brought commerce into the state Russell? At least Russ is gone. Now it's time to put some strong democratic leaders up against these baffoons, and not a spineless Terry Goddard. 

maxonepercent
maxonepercent

Carmona is a philanderer and misogynist.  There are numerous recorded incidents of him threatening, intimidating and harassing women who were unfortunate enough to cross his path over the years.  Just look at his behavior during the debate with Flake, when he brazenly hit-on the moderator making her obviously very uncomfortable and making himself look like an absolute creep.  Politics aside, anyone who would behave like that on a national stage is bound to be much worse when the cameras are off him.

red.marcy.rand
red.marcy.rand

Santa, nothing but  ad hominems come out of your brain and mouth. Why should anyone consider seriously anything you write or speak ? You are a religious bigot to boot.

Clinton looks deathly ill in that picture.

santa.bobrpgrinnellj
santa.bobrpgrinnellj

You can take those buffalochips and put it where the sun doesn't shine.  Your a typical redneck republican that can't see the trees in the forest.  Your an absolute joke.  And your one of those fat cats that sits on his ass all day and does nothing.  or maybe your a mormon, which then would explain your stupid attitutde and brains

I just love the Carmona ads.  How come all the libs bad mouth Bush and blame him for everything that has gone wrong for the past 4 years but Carmona continues to show proud pictures of himself and GW, both on TV and in this ad.  Why doesn't he show himself with Obummer. I'll tell you exactly why: It would cost his votes.  He would be nothing but a puppet for the very worst president that the US has ever had.

hatelibs
hatelibs

flyer9753, Good for you...give the leaches your own moiney and keep your filthy liberal hands out of my pocket...Your repulsive voting and attitudes are becoming out of style...Thank God...

Flyer9753
Flyer9753 topcommenter

I cannot wait until Nov 6 when Romney gets defeated, easily

 

When Republicans lose even more seats in Congress because intelligent people are waking up to the fact that the republican party only cares about itself and money.

 

It's going to be fun watching all the wing nuts lose their minds, even more so than ones like JAF and Jackaholic already have.

 

One thing the republicans are always good for, a good laugh at their antics when they cry like little bitches as they lose.

 

Best entertainment around

robert_graham
robert_graham

Carmona will lose because he is just another nut job liberal.

JACHAHOLIC
JACHAHOLIC

THIS MESSAGE IS FOR ALL HISPANICS IN ARIZONA. GO BACK TO MEXICO WHERE YOU CAME FROM YOU ARE NOT WELCOME HERE.

JACHAHOLIC
JACHAHOLIC

THIS MESSAGE IS FOR JIMNBUBBA BELOW. HATING MEXICANS IS NOT CRIME. IF CARMONA HATES MEXICANS SO WHAT.

JACHAHOLIC
JACHAHOLIC

THIS MESSAGE IS FOR GHOSTME15 BELOW. YOU MUST BE CONFUSED CAUSE IT IS DEMOCRATS IS WHO IS CORRUPT CAUSE THEY STEAL VOTES NOT REPUBLICANS. PENZONE BEAT WIFE NOT SHERIFF ARPAIO.

JACHAHOLIC
JACHAHOLIC

WOULD SOMEBODY PLEASE SHOOT CARMONA. HE IS A DEMOCRAT.

jimnbubba
jimnbubba

This guy is a Puerto Rican, and they hate Mexicans

ghostme15
ghostme15

Republicans are very corrupt and will steal votes but Arizona needs a good houscleaning and get rid of deadbeats like jeff flake and sheriff joe who cost taxpayers for lawsuits while he sets in plush office and tells goons what to do and lives high lifestyle in fountain hills wonder if he beats his wife find out

ghostme15
ghostme15

Hope we get fairness in and corrupt Arizona politicans out

mercedesmann
mercedesmann

Obama is finished. He will lose by at least 5 points nationally and Mitt will get over 300 electoral votes. Carmona will not come close to winning this seat. You guys at the New Times have you head in the clouds....or somewhere else. If you follow the polls, and the mood and momentum, you will see a landslide coming.

Laura Schory Copple
Laura Schory Copple

Yes. I've been on the phones and doors for him for months. He has cross-over appeal and according to the Independents we've been speaking with, he'll win.

haseebahmed97
haseebahmed97

my roomate's mother-in-law earned $18569 last week. she been making cash on the computer and bought a $524200 house. All she did was get lucky and put in action the instructions explained on this web site Mac14.com

haseebahmed97
haseebahmed97

like Rita implied I'm shocked that a stay at home mom able to profit $4104 in 4 weeks on the computer. have you seen this site Mac14.com

mesa_lightning
mesa_lightning

I wouldn't vote for this guy if my life depended on it..... He is as shady as they come.

Jack D. Wilson
Jack D. Wilson

He is by far the best qualified candidate and he should win.

blindsmall
blindsmall

We need real change  www.VictorForSenate.com

Kevin Butler
Kevin Butler

how does a guy named flake run for office?

phxsuper
phxsuper

I love Flakes ad that states "Jeff has reformed Washington". I would like to know exactly what reforms Jeff Flake has championed. His voting record, when he decides to vote, is atrocious and always along party lines. Please Mr. Flake, explain to the voters of AZ exactly what you have done for your constituants in Washington that will sway my vote... 

Lucia Perry
Lucia Perry

Rebsamen, "rape-seed sower," Carmona has been here for decades, and my family for 105 years-- before statehood. So, I will put my Arizona roots against anyone's! Arizona was a Progressive state then, before those backwards, anti-science ya-hoos who only want government to give corporate welfare. Well, My family has been paying for your roads, but you won't pay for education. The only government y'all want is the kind that gets up in women's bodies. Government is people chipping in together to solve our problems, not for some Romney asshat to bleed for self aggrandizement. And Flake? What good did he ever do Arizona? But then, who would want to bring up a family in a state that has so little regard for rational thought!

Bob Rebsamen
Bob Rebsamen

If you're dumb enough to vote for an Obama Rubber Stamp who is not from Arizona, or know's Arizona issues, than you'll get what you want.

GoJoe
GoJoe

 @katedemp

 Republicans rock! I don't totally agree with them but they're better than democrats, so they get credit for that.

Geenius
Geenius

Don't worry LibRAT parasite, you will be carried in life by the GOP work ethic, as you always have been.

rahatphx
rahatphx

 @JACHAHOLIC this message is for all WHITE PEOPLE who came from Europe like 100 or 200 years ago, you are not welcome here. if you think you just born here and that makes you american than FUCK YOU. THIS IS A COUNTRY OF IMMIGRATION MOTHER FUCKERS 

Flyer9753
Flyer9753 topcommenter

 @JACHAHOLIC 

 

Gotta love stupid posters who type in all caps and aren't even smart enough to figure out the 'Reply' button on individual posts.

 

Yes, I am calling you stupid. Just wanted to clarify since you seem to be unable to grasp even the simple things, like reading

pooder
pooder

If he "hates" Mexicans why did he go to the border to leave them food and water!???

 

CapCom38
CapCom38

 @phxsuper

Jeff Flake ended the corrupt practice of earmarks in the the House of Representatives. He challenged earmarks from both parties for years and was not afraid to embarass Republicans who asked for earmarks. In fact, he was kicked off the Judiciary Committee in the mid-2000's because the Republican House leadership was mad that he embarrassed some of them. His efforts directly brought about the current moratorium on earmarks in the House.

pam120603
pam120603

 @Geenius

 Funny how the majority of GOP voters are poor, out of work, and live in the southern states and here in dipshit land. All the areas with the lowest education and worst schools think exactly you "geenius" -

Flyer9753
Flyer9753 topcommenter

 @Geenius 

 

HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA ROFLMFAO!!!!

 

You picked the wrong 'librat' to say anything like that too.

 

I don't take any public assistance. I own my own business since 1992 that is profitable and employs 22 full time employees, all with health care and profit sharing. It's a contributor to the country and economy in employment and tax revenue.

 

I own my own house, paid cash for it. Am not behind in any bills. I pay all my taxes, do not take maximum deductions and pay both state and county property taxes. I take and get nothing from you GOP idiots

 

Great assumption you made. Like a typical GOP REPUBLICANT you attack without knowing the facts.

maxonepercent
maxonepercent

 @rahatphx  @JACHAHOLIC Read some history you moron, the first white people arrived in Arizona in the 16th century, so it is more like 500 years ago.

abvincent1
abvincent1

 @CapCom38  @phxsuper That is great and all, but in the process what he did was starve Arizona residents of federal funds they needed and deserved.  You can stand up against all this ridiculous "pork" as much as you want, but it is not mutually exclusive of other important items as well.  Meaning, if giving veterans the GI bill also means you have to fund some bridge to nowhere in Alaska, do you then refuse the veterans there benefits just to send the message that you are tough on "pork"?  Do you not see how this harms those veterans?  A real leader rarely to never gets something black and white and must balance the good to the bad.  Sure the bridge would be bad, but what is worse is denying the veterans the GI Bill.  What this tells me is Jeff Flake lacks the most basic in leadership qualities.  As an independent AZ voter, I can't comprehend how this is a difficult decision.  Jeff Flake LIVES off the govt and has for years, yet when it comes to others asking him to provide them the benefits they have earned from the government, he says no...and what does he cite as the reasoning?  "PORK"

 

No thanks, I choose Carmona

Flyer9753
Flyer9753 topcommenter

 @mwinter1  @Geenius 

 

I do not assume all Republicans are wing-nuts, just the majority of them as proven by history.

 

The republican party now is not the republican party I grew up with. Am I hard on them? You betcha. It's their party and yet they do NOTHING to shut up the wing-nuts that have hijacked the GOP/Republican party.

 

This is the problem. The general hypocrisy that is the general republican party. The party as a whole makes it's stand on being responsible but then doesn't take responsibility themselves for the actions of the wing-nuts in their party who are ruining it.

 

Todd Akin? Oh yes, call for him to step down for a few days, then start throwing the GOP money behind him again.

 

Tommy Thompson who's son shot his mouth off at a Tommy Thompson fund raiser and only AFTER being called on the carpet about it does Tommy say it was wrong, all the while NOT saying his son should not have said it and as I state, only after an issue gets made out of it.

 

Richard Mourdock with his disgusting comments and attitudes towards women, attitudes that the GOP has clearly shown they back, otherwise they should not be throwing GOP money behind him.

 

Ryan and his abortion/entitlement bills. etc...etc...etc...

 

Am I hard on the GOP? You betcha because they need to start doing what they say. Take the responsibility and when these assholes and others (and I can give examples of MANY MANY others) say and promote this crap, call them on it, drop support for these clearly unamerican stances.

 

Stop using religion as a shield to hide behind all the while being some of the most UN-RELIGIOUS people I have EVER seen - stalin was more religious than most of the current GOP.

 

Is this all of the GOP? No, but all of the GOP is responsible since they do _nothing_ about it. It's kinda like the old uncle, no one wants him around because he is a loud mouth, but everyone keeps him around so they can use him and his loud mouth to make the points they really want to make but are too afraid to say themselves. It's passive endorsement for your own benefit and it's disgusting.

 

Do the Demo's do it too? To an extent and I rag on them just as much, but as someone who has researched this and compiled the stats over a 25 years period, the republicants have the democrats beat hands down in this arena - and that is not a good record to have. It wasn't the democrats who set a record of filibusters in their refusal to work with the current administration, which doesn't hurt them, it hurts all of America and that as well as a lot of other things are courtesy of one party only, the republicans.

 

Clean up your party or disown them since the GOP/Republican Party today is a RINO party.

abvincent1
abvincent1

 @CapCom38  @abvincent1  @phxsuper ACapCom38 I appreciate what you are saying, and I don't disagree with the details of pork spending.  However, the methods Flake has taken to tackle the issue to me are elementary.  One must understand there is compromise in almost all forms of business and even more so in politics.  Flake has elected to compromise such things as Veteran GI Bill (and many other veteran benefits) as a means to "solve" the pork debate.  What this has done is deny those veterans the very benefits they have earned.  He could propose bills to end Pork, he could take multiple different channels to ally this cause.  However, what is never acceptable is denying veterans benefits and doing so under the ruse that it somehow is beneficial to the country.  His tactics are completely off kilter, and I must say to the general veteran electorate they certainly don't like being held hostage over "Pork".  

 

If this "Pork" issue is enough to deny veterans their benefits and it is so pressing to our federal plan, then may I recommend Jeff Flake sacrifice his government benefits and salary until "Pork" is eliminated.  Because I will be frank, veterans and their benefits mean far more to me then Jeff Flake's agenda.   I look at those who serve and served with the absolute utmost respect---nothing deserves more respect then the fine men and women in uniform.  I appreciate Flake's "Pork" agenda, and I do respect what he is doing to try and change Washington spending, however, somethings should never be compromised to push any agenda.  One of those things is ANYTHING that hinders, harms, or debilitates the members of this nation's military.  Jeff Flake needs to recognize when to draw the line and when he should compromise. 

That is my view.  Again, I appreciate what you state, I just simply don't agree with it.

CapCom38
CapCom38

@abvincent1 @phxsuper That line of thinking results in reform never taking place. It results in living with corruption rather than doing anything about it. Did Jeff Flake's district get less transportation funding, one of the biggest components of earmarks, for a few years during his fight against earmarks? Probably. But in the end, with the moratorium on earmarks in place, Arizona is now getting significantly proportionately more transportation funding than it was before the moratorium. So the fight was worth it. Arizona gets more in the end and the country gets more because the gate to one avenue to corruption is closed. On the GI Bill, you present it as a false choice between all or nothing. It wasn't a choice of eat pork or go hungry. Jeff Flake supported a version of the GI Bill written by Arizona's own John McCain. He wasn't going to deny veterans the GI Bill. He was fighting to make sure that more of the money in the GI Bill actually went to veterans. One way or another, veterans were getting a GI Bill. And in fact, the GI Bill was amended two years later due to many of the same concerns that Sen. McCain and Congressman Flake had with the version that passed originally. It is true that a real leader rarely to never gets to make purely black and white choices. But it it also true, that to lead you have to be willing to change things and take personal political risks. Otherwise, you aren't a leader at all. A real leader works to move that balance betwen black and white in a better direction so we have to take less bad with the good. A real leader doesn't just accept the status quo as a permanent condition but works to create "a more perfect" set of conditions for posterity.

 
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