Primary Day 2014: Bums Bounced, Dems Given Openings to Exploit

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Smith, a pragmatist and a centrist, was the best the Republicans had to offer. But in a six-way race in which he was outgunned financially and Secretary of State Ken Bennett, a moderate, siphoning votes that otherwise would have gone to him, Smith's loss probably was inevitable.

His ballyhooed support among Independents didn't get him past 22 percent, at last count. Moreover, Smith didn't have the cash for as much TV time as needed, and the so-called "dark money" was behind Ducey.

Yet, Ducey did not triumph by manna alone.

Look to Christine Jones, onetime lawyer to Internet behemoth GoDaddy.com, who lent her campaign $5 million of her own loot.

See also: -Scott Smith Is the Only Sane Choice for Governor in the GOP Primary

All that money couldn't buy Jones a likable persona, much less a competent one. The more people saw of Jones in those incessant, annoying TV ads of hers, the less they liked her.

Her many blunders -- from saying she'd "send Obama the bill" for her border plan to her telling a TV journo that she enjoyed target shooting with her eyes closed -- were those of a political neophyte and could not be undone with an Amazon River full of GoDaddy-derived lucre.

Ducey scored his 36 percent plurality by selling himself as "the conservative ice cream guy," and by lining up backing from antediluvian right-wingers like the Center for Arizona Policy's Cathi Herrod, law and order hardliners like Sheriff Joe and center-right (for Arizona) politicians like ex-U.S. Senator Jon Kyl and Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery.

Indeed, when Ducey declared in his victory speech Tuesday night that it was a "good day for ice cream," he effectively summarized the simplicity of his appeal as the purveyor of pseudo-wholesome capitalism in the form of Cold Stone Creamery.

Inane? Intellectually, yes. Especially when you consider that Ducey's business achievements as Cold Stone's CEO ain't what Ducey's cracked 'em up to be.

Regard as evidence the company's notoriously high attrition rate for franchisees or that Cold Stone reportedly was overvalued when Ducey sold it to food conglomerate Kahala.

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Stephen is a former staff writer and columnist at Phoenix New Times.
Contact: Stephen Lemons