Wednesday, November 14, 2018

2018 election update for Nov 14 with commentary on AZ's new purpleness, McSally's loss, and Sinema's win

Updated voting numbers

My reporting started with 0630, Saturday, Nov 10. Here are new results as of 5:30 AM, Wednesday, Nov 14.

Numbers flagged with “+” favor Democrats. Numbers flagged with “-” favor Republicans.

I’m carrying forward previous results so you can track trends. For example, yesterday Sinema was beating McSally by 38,197 votes. This morning the lead appears to have stabilized at 38,075 votes.

Observations
The voting seen yesterday continues to favor Dems this morning. However, the Democratic advantage has retreated slightly suggesting that the numbers I report here may be close to the final results. Of note: As of last night (this morning), Katie Hobbs kept her lead for SoS with a 4,957 vote advantage! The SoS numbers are still too close to call because the counting continues throughout today. If current trends hold, Hobbs will be the second winner of a state-wide race, Hoffman being the other.

The good news
US Senate, Sinema vs. McSally: +20,102 +29,832 +32,169 + 38,197 +38,075
US House, Kirkpatrick vs. Marquez-Peterson, +19,584 +22,563 +22,563 +24,768 +24,718
AZ SoS, Hobbs vs. Gaynor, –10,696 –2,008 –424 +5,667 +4,957
AZ Corp Com, Sandra Kennedy vs. Glassman, +1,602 +8,517 +9,747 +14,782 +14,461
AZ Corp Com, Sandra Kennedy vs. vs. Olson n/a +4,642 +5,575 +10,473 +10,126
AZ Sup/Public Instruction, Hoffman +31,809 +43,563 + 46,721 +54,057 +53,780
AZ LD2 Senate, Dalessandro +9,494 +10,349 +10,349 +10,913 +10,913
AZ LD2 House, Gabaldon beats Ackerley +6,930 +7,532 +7,532 +7,879 +7,879
AZ LD2 Hernandez beats Sizer +7,114 +7,813 +7,813 +8,255 +8,255

Note: Gabaldon and Hernandez have about the same number of votes. The pairing with Republican opponents was arbitrary; the difference in what I report above results from Ackerley getting more votes than Sizer.

Some of the not-so-good news
CD8, voucher queen Lesko leads Tipirneni, –29,455 –30,219 –37,518 –30,887 –31,374
LD28 Senate, Kate Brophy McGee leads but not by much –616 –617 –643 –549 –536
LD11, Holly Lyon is still way behind, trailing each of the R candidates by about 10K.

Reactions to AZ’s new purpledom Pamela Powers-Hanley speaks to why the balance in the AZ House shifted toward Dems and what to expect from the new House: Blue Wave Washed over #AZLeg: Seven GOP Incumbents Lose Seats. The AZ Blue Meanie declares AZ to now be purple: Arizona became a purple state in 2018.

Despite all the gloom and doom post-election day reporting here in Arizona about Democrats having squandered their voter enthusiasm and record turnout, as we approach all the votes finally being counted it appears that Democrats had a very good night after all in turning Arizona purple.

Arizona Democrats should feel more encouraged, enthusiastic and energized than ever going into the next election cycle in 2020. The Arizona legislature is within Democrats’ reach for the first time since 1966 (you read that right). Onward and upward!

Why McSally lost: Tim Steller explains why McSally lost in his Daily Star column, Arizona voters rejected Martha McSally’s negative campaign.

[The start of McSally’s loss] began, back in late 2017, with McSally shifting from being a Trump skeptic to a Trump supporter. This may have been necessary to win the GOP primary election campaign, but it was abrupt, transparent and probably a turnoff to independent voters. It also lasted way too long, through a literal embrace of Trump at a rally in Mesa on Oct. 19.

Before she had even won the primary, McSally shifted to targeting Sinema for her past as a radical protester. The infamous “pink tutu” ad, showing Sinema wearing the scandalous garment at a 2003 protest of the Iraq war, came out even before McSally took 52 percent of the Republican vote in the primary.

And then it just went on from there. Ad after ad — let’s not forget how ridiculously pervasive they were — McSally’s campaign and outside groups attacked Sinema as not just wrong on the issues but a dangerous candidate, someone who would let Phoenix be blown up by a nuclear bomb, as one mailer put it.

In their one debate, McSally brought up an incident from a 2003 interview of Sinema by Libertarian radio host Ernest Hancock, who in a series of hypotheticals, asked what her opinion would be of him going to fight for the Taliban. Sinema answered him, “Fine. I don’t care if you want to do that, go ahead.”

In context, it was obvious Sinema was just trying to brush off the host, not encouraging him. But this became, in McSally’s interpretation, either treason itself, or at the minimum promoting treason.

McSally told Sean Hannity in an interview: “I mean, this is unbelievable that she thinks it’s OK for Americans to commit treason. In any other moment, this should be disqualifying and she would withdraw, but the Arizona media mostly is ignoring it or making excuses for her again.”

By that time, though, most Arizona voters had tuned out the alarming critiques by McSally and her supporters. She could have accused Sinema of genocide and nobody would have noticed.

We can hope that the fact the voters ignored this — or even took it as a reason to vote against McSally — will discourage candidates from this sort of campaign in the future.

Why Sinema won: New Yorker’s John Cassidy weighs in on the import of Sinema’s U. S. Senate win in Kyrsten Sinema’s Victory in Arizona May Be the Democrats’ Biggest Win of the Trump Era.

… Sinema is the first Democrat to be elected to the Senate from Arizona since 1988, and the first Democrat to win an open Senate seat in the state since Dennis DeConcini was elected, in 1976. The firsts don’t stop there. Sinema, a forty-two-year-old congresswoman for Arizona’s Ninth District, will also be the first female senator from Arizona, and the first openly bisexual senator from anywhere.

Her margin of victory was a narrow one—about thirty-eight thousand votes, or 1.7 percentage points—but she won fair and square. Last week, Trump cried “corruption” as Sinema caught up to and surpassed the vote tally of her G.O.P. opponent, Martha McSally, a fifty-two-year-old congresswoman, who represents Arizona’s Second District. McSally made no such claim. On the day of the election, hundreds of thousands of early votes were dropped off at polling places, and each of them had to be checked individually to make sure the signature matched the one on file. Most of these turned out to be Democratic votes. On Monday night, McSally posted a video in which she congratulated Sinema and said, “I wish her all success as she represents Arizona in the Senate.”

What follows will upset most progressives. But the campaign details and substance carry a message for the Democratic electioneering going forward.

Like Nevada, Arizona is often cited as a state in which long-term demographic change, particularly the growing number of Latino residents, is favoring Team Blue. Right now, though, Arizona contains a lot more registered Republicans than Democrats, and Sinema’s electoral strategy reflected this fact. The demographic transition “is happening, but it’s not why Sinema won,” Andy Barr, a political consultant who has represented numerous Arizona Democrats, told me on Tuesday morning. “She won by running an extremely disciplined campaign focussing on what we call the swing demographic—college-educated women in the suburbs.”

As the Republicans sought to portray her as a tutu-wearing radical—back in 2000, she worked on Ralph Nader’s Presidential campaign—Sinema came out against two policies popular with progressives: Medicare for all and abolishing the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency. In September, she supported a G.O.P. proposal in the House to extend the personal tax cuts that were introduced in last year’s tax-reform bill, which she opposed at the time. But she also talked a lot about traditional Democratic issues, such as health care and Social Security, and also emphasized her role in serving constituents in the Ninth District. “She portrayed herself as someone who gets things done and doesn’t get caught up in the partisan B.S.,” Barr said.

By campaigning as a moderate willing to cross party lines, Sinema attracted support from suburbanites and self-identified independents. She also exposed the fault line in the Arizona G.O.P., which is divided between the old-line Party establishment, which Flake and John McCain embodied, and a seething base of Trump supporters. Initially, McSally tried to straddle this divide, but she ended up embracing the President and his inflammatory policies. Appearing alongside him at a rally last month, she said, “America is back—and Arizona is back—thanks to the leadership of President Trump.” But McSally was defeated despite gaining Trump’s endorsement.

Looking forward to 2020, this outcome won’t be lost on strategists from both parties. In 2012, Mitt Romney carried Arizona by a healthy margin of nine percentage points. In 2016, Hillary Clinton lost to Trump by just 3.5 points, despite the fact that her campaign didn’t make Arizona a high priority until late in the campaign. “Any Democrat running for President in 2020 would be dumb not to invest early in Arizona,” Barr said.

Sinema’s triumph also sets the stage for a debate inside the Democratic Party about how to win red states in the Trump era. In neighboring Texas, Beto O’Rourke ran a barnstorming progressive campaign and came up just short. Despite alienating some progressive activists, Sinema hedged her way to the U.S. Senate. “There was some whining about that, but we were so hungry for a win that the Democratic coalition wasn’t complaining much,” Barr said. In politics, as in sports, winning covers up a lot of sins.

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