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

Page 3 of 6

Ducey, like a good ShamWow salesman, knows there's a sucker born every minute. He's peddling the huckster's version of the American Dream, a product folks desperately want to believe in.

The appeal of that fool's gold is an obstacle the Democrat's gubernatorial nominee Fred DuVal will face in the general.

Though, Ducey's baggage as a candidate affords more opportunity for DuVal than if Smith had scored the Republican nod.

A recent survey from Public Policy Polling, a Democratic-leaning firm in North Carolina, claims Ducey and DuVal are tied at 35 percent each.

PPP insists Ducey "is entering the general election badly damaged by the divisive primary campaign."

My reply to that? In Arizona, more than some other places, politics is a bloodsport, not some genteel debate club moderated by the ghost of William F. Buckley.

Though bloodied, Ducey is a practiced pugilist.

DuVal will need to shed his bland, happy-go-lucky image and make like a UFC champ on steroids if he wants to survive the Republican pummeling that's already begun.

Ducey and his proxies, like Arizona Republican Party Chairman Robert Graham are painting DuVal as a liberal tax-and-spend lobbyist with a weak résumé.

To this end, the Republican Governor's Association has begun airing TV ads dissing DuVal.

DuVal must respond in kind, exploiting Ducey's shortcomings, both personal and political. Go on the offensive and stay on the offensive.

The former Arizona Board of Regents member is running traditional (as is Ducey, natch) and has about $1 million in the bank, but he's been spending it fast, and it will go quickly.

Ducey also has the assistance of "dark money" prince Sean Noble, while DuVal has been offering to eschew assistance from dark money groups, which sounds like an attempt to make a virtue out of necessity.

Still, there were far worse potential results than Ducey's Tuesday night win.

If Jones had not been so disastrous a candidate, she might have had a shot at the Ninth Floor, where she no doubt would have appointed her pal Pinal County Sheriff Paul Babeu to be the next director of the Arizona Department of Public Safety.

And that thought is almost as creepy as the idea of "Governor Andrew Thomas."


KEEP PHOENIX NEW TIMES FREE... Since we started Phoenix New Times, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Phoenix, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Stephen is a former staff writer and columnist at Phoenix New Times.
Contact: Stephen Lemons