Arizona Autopsy: Local Dems Gather on Facebook to Ponder What Went Wrong in 08

This was supposed to be a Democratic Party year, even in Arizona. Barack Obama was energizing young voters. The state party was flush with cash -- eventually spending $1.4 million on state and county races. Meanwhile, the Republican Party couldn't seem to raise any dough.

But the GOP kicked ass anyway. Somehow, Republicans actually picked up seats in the Arizona Legislature.

Democrats, naturally, are questioning what went wrong. And never let it be said that politicos are out of touch: They're doing the questioning on Facebook.

Bob Grossfeld (pictured above), a veteran political consultant based in Scottsdale, started Arizona Autopsy -- a Facebook group devoted to examining the party's election-year corpse and figuring out who, or what, dunnit.

"It may not be pleasant, but Arizona Democrats and Progressives need to take a close look at how and why we were clobbered in 2008 (and '06, too)," Grossfeld writes in the group's description. "Several of we 'graybeards' have our own thoughts, but what's most important is getting everyone's thoughts while things are still fresh."

The group has attracted plenty of prominent participants -- including Janet Napolitano's spokeswoman, Jeanine L'Ecuyer; Maria Weeg, the party's executive director; Flagstaff Councilwoman Kara Kelty, who narrowly missed being one of the party's candidates for the corporation commission; and Mark Manoil, who is chairman of the Maricopa County Democratic Party.

There's been some discussion -- Sue Dolphin, a Legislative candidate who's previously vented to New Times about the party's lack of support, shares her thoughts. And several Dems suspect Clean Elections might be an issue. "It's not enough money for a challenger to wage an effective campaign against an incumbent," writes Donna Gratehouse, who ran for Senate in District 20 in 2006.

Surely, others have two cents to add. (No Dems on our phone list have been one bit happy about what transpired locally this November.) If you're on Facebook and have something to share, we suggest you sign up for this group ASAP while the power players are still open to suggestions. Or, of course, you can always just post your comment here. We'll make sure the "Graybeards" see it. -- Sarah Fenske

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