Fearing an acrimonious showdown this Saturday when Dems are scheduled to meet at the Wyndham Hotel downtown to pick a new Democratic Party chair, former Arizona Attorney General Terry Goddard and Congressman Raul Grijalva are calling for a compromise. One that would leave Don Bivens as chair for at least one more month.
Goddard supports ex-state treasurer candidate Andrei Cherny for the position. Grijalva supports Rodney Glassman, who lost miserably to U.S. Senator John McCain this past November in an ill-fated bid to replace the dinosaur GOP hack.
In a letter to party members, Goddard and Grijalva wrote the following,
"We propose that Democrats come together on Saturday and re-elect the current slate of State Party officers with the understanding that they will all step down in one month, at which point we will elect new officers. So that neither candidate's supporters can change the make-up of the state committee membership, we propose that the newly elected interim chair will not appoint new state committee members prior to the approximate one-month delayed vote."
Grijalva and Goddard cited the recent tragedy in Tucson as the reason for the compromise. They state that they have consulted with members of wounded Congresswoman Gabby Giffords' team, who have given their blessing, according to Goddard and Grijalva.
"Under normal circumstances," Goddard and Grijalva write, "we Democrats would gather this weekend to elect new State Party officers. We write you to offer our opinion: now is not the time for Democrats to wage a public fight over the State Chairmanship.
"It doesn't matter which candidate you prefer; the two of us do not support the same candidate. What does matter is the tenor and tone of our politics. Now is not the time for the passionate and well-fought race that we expect and deserve from those running for State Party Chair."
If state committee members agree, it could mean another month of campaigning for the seat.
And if both Glassman and Cherny accept the compromise, it would halt, for the moment, what was expected to be a vote in favor of Cherny.
Although Glassman is considered by many to be a disastrous prospect for the seat, members of Arizona's chapter of the Progressive Democrats of America have labeled Cherny an "establishment " candidate.
Which is hilarious considering that Glassman is a trust-fund baby, and heir to an agricultural fortune. As such, Glassman doesn't have to work for a living. Cherny does, and the "progressives" are making the argument that because Cherny will have to support himself, he's not the right man for the job.
Some Dems have been annoyed by the fact Cherny was not an "elected" precinct committeeman. A legal opinion sought by the party to clarify the matter did not placate these sticklers.
So Saturday was expected to be a donnybrook. And it may still be, unless Dems can come together in the wake of the Tucson massacre and suppress their natural inclination to fight each other instead of Republicans.
Already, I'm hearing that Glassman, true to form, originally agreed to the proposal, but now is trying to characterize it as a backroom deal to his supporters.
Seems Glassman sent out an e-mail to one supporter referring to the Goddard-Grijalva letter, with the header, "FYI- Look at what Bivens and Cherney [sic] are planning next." I have a copy of the e-mail.
I've called Glassman for a comment, but he has yet to return my call.
Interestingly, though Glassman has a photo of himself and Giffords on his Facebook page, Giffords actually endorsed Cherny before she was shot.
Indeed, Cherny has racked up an impressive list of endorsements, everyone from state Senator Kyrsten Sinema and Congressman Ed Pastor to Pima County Chair Jeff Rogers and a slew of other Dems. (See the entire list below.)
When will the Democratic Party learn its lesson about Glassman? First, he assures the party that he will throw millions into his campaign against McCain, but those millions never appear. Instead, he loans himself $500K, more than one-third of the contributions he received in toto.
Glassman reportedly made homophobic statements about an openly gay, fellow Tucson city councilperson, a charge he denied, though the councilwoman involved, Karen Uhlich, confirmed it. Later, Glassman feigned support for GLBT rights.
Not to mention that during the campaign, much of his staff bailed en masse. Largely because he's an out-of-control egomaniac, according to them.
But Glassman has been telling so-called progressives what they want to hear, fanning the flames of discord like some latter-day Richard the Third.
No doubt state Senate President Russell Pearce and his fellow Republinuts are ROTFLTAO over the Dems' penchant for self-immolation, and their willingness to pick a bad seed such as Glassman to lead them.
To borrow a line from Elvis Costello, I used to be disgusted, now I try to be amused. But the wacktivist faction of the Democratic party is really testing my patience, and my humor, at this point.
Cherny's endorsements, they speak for themselves:
Bob Bland, Cochise County Chair
Susan Breen, Greenlee County Chair
Patrick Gonzales, Mohave County Chair
Jay Rasco, Graham County Chair
Jeff Rogers, Pima County Chair
Chris Tilley, Gila County Chair
Arif Kazmi, Maricopa County Vice Chair
Lauren Kuby, Maricopa County First Vice Chair
Jeff Winkler, LD 11 Chair
Randy Keating, LD 17 Chair
CJ Briggle, LD 20 Chair
Harriett Young, ADP Vice Chair
Gerald Richard, Affirmative Action Chair
Lois Pfau, Former Secretary
Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords
Congressman Ed Pastor
Former Congresswoman Ann Kirkpatrick
Former Congressman Harry Mitchell
Former Attorney General Terry Goddard
Corporation Commissioner Paul Newman
Jim Pederson, former State Chair and U.S. Senate candidate
Claire Sargent, former U.S. Senate candidate
Sen. David Schapira, Minority Leader
Sen. Olivia Cajero-Bedford
Sen. Steve Gallardo
Sen. Robert Meza
Sen. Kyrsten Sinema
Former Sen. Rebecca Rios
Rep. Chad Campbell, Minority Leader
Rep. Ed Ableser
Rep. Lela Alston
Rep. Katie Hobbs
Rep. Ruben Gallego
Rep. Debbie McCune Davis
Rep. Eric Meyer
Former Rep. Ken Clark
Former Rep. David Lujan
Former Rep. Phil Lopes
Former Rep. John Loredo
Former Rep. Tom Prezelski
Former Rep. Theresa Ulmer
Former Rep. Nancy Young-Wright
Coconino County Supervisor Lena Fowler
Coconino County Superintendent of Schools Robert Kelty
Coconino County Treasurer Bonny Lynn
Tempe City Councilman Corey Woods
Flagstaff City Councilwoman Karla Brewster
FormerTucson City Councilman Steve Leal
Former Tucson City Councilwoman Nina Trasoff
TucsonCityCouncilwoman Karin Uhlich