Elections

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

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Thankfully, Thomas used his $754,000 in Clean Elections financing to solidify his image as a fanatical, right-wing goof, spouting intolerant nonsense about Mexico, illegal aliens, the "gay lobby," and "liberal bullies."

Which is why he came in second-to-last place, never making it out of single digits.

Thomas' poor showing was heartening, as was the defeat of two incumbent Republican scoundrels: Attorney General Tom Horne and Superintendent of Public Instruction John Huppenthal, both of whom fell victim to their own bad behavior.

Huppenthal's crash and burn was caused by his extracurricular hobby of leaving comments on political blogs under such sock puppets as "Falcon9" and "Thucydides."

In so doing, he made vulgar observations about people receiving public assistance, and likened supporters of ethnic studies to Ku Klux Klan members, among other doozies.

Huppenthal easily could have hidden his tracks, but he was sloppy, referring to details of his personal biography only he would know and not utilizing a proxy server, thereby leaving a trail of valid IP addresses to follow, including one for the Arizona Department of Education.

Former Democratic Congressional candidate Bob Lord deserves the lion's share of the credit for Huppenthal's downfall. Lord and his co-scribes at Blog for Arizona did the detective work that outed Huppenthal and led to his devastating 16-point defeat by political nobody Diane Douglas, whose sole issue is her fervent opposition to Common Core education standards.

Still, Huppenthal could have overcome Lord's exposure of his online personality splits if he had not cried in public during a press conference wherein he repudiated his own sock-puppetry.

Hupp's poor handling of the scandal, and his show of shame, real or not, elevated the story, making it front page news locally and fodder for national outlets. The superintendent never recovered.

David Garcia, the Democrat's nominee to replace Huppenthal, is a well-spoken Army vet with a Ph.D. in education. He will paint Douglas as a nutty, über-right conspiracy theorist, which actually is quite accurate. The race is his to lose.

As for Horne's Waterloo, that's been four years in the making.

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