In the we-really-aren't-making-this-up department, our ex-colleague John Dougherty tells us that he's filed documents today with the Federal Elections Commission as a first step to run in the upcoming Democratic primary for a U.S. Senate seat.
Dougherty, who now lives in Yavapai County, has been working for a think-tank in Las Vegas, as well as doing freelance work for the New York Times and other publications since he left Phoenix New Times in August 2006.
"This will be a great exercise in the regular folks standing up and saying, 'Enough of this bullshit,'" Dougherty says.
"We're going to try to make the debate more than just about rounding up people and tossing them back across the border and thinking that will solve everything, including our economic crisis."
For more than two decades, Dougherty exposed the misdeeds of those in power -- including the infamous Keating 5 (of which Senator John McCain was a `member'), J. Fife Symington III (then the governor of Arizona), Sheriff Joe Arpaio, and polygamist leader Warren Jeffs.
While a full-time journalist, Dougherty won the Arizona Press Club's Journalist of the Year honors on three occasions, twice with New Times and once with the East Valley Tribune.
He also operated his own weekly paper in Flagstaff, the Southwest Sage, for 16 months before coming to New Times in 1993.
To be sure, Dougherty faces an uphill struggle, first to win the Democratic nomination against two challengers (if he collects enough signatures to get on the ballot), and then to best the winner of the nationally watched Republican primary battle between incumbent John McCain and J.D. Hayworth.
"It's totally grassroots, totally seat-of-the-pants," Dougherty says of his quest, which he likens to the New Rebel Alliance of Star Wars fame taking on Darth Vader and company. "I want people to have fun with this and to have a serious opportunity to listen to what we have to say."
Dougherty says he has enough money committed to him from unnamed benefactors to "get through this first hurdle," which is to qualify for the ballot for the late-August primary election.
He says he plans on traveling the state in his 1978 "campaign bus," a 1978 Bluebird Wanderlodge dubbed the Strayhound.
Part of us would love to see Dougherty and Hayworth go at it in the general election, just for the sheer entertainment value:
Dougherty is passionate about almost everything and is well-versed on myriad topics.
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Hayworth is full of blowhardian "talking points," and actually is perfectly suited to the local radio talk-show gig he gave up a few months ago to run against McCain.
Their debates would be priceless.
By the way, Dougherty claims that wife Liz, his two adult sons, and ex-wife Barbara are behind him 100 percent.
John Dougherty's Web site, home.johndougherty2010.com, is scheduled to go online later today or this weekend.