Ann Kirkpatrick and AZ-01 She Leaves Open

Ann KirkpatrickI am always harping on Frank ignoring the House and Senate races and he challenged me to write up something on the House races the national media is ignoring due to the massive oxygen suck that is the Presidential race. You would think that the national media and pundits would just say, “Clinton is going to win the Presidency and now for something interest,” but you would be wrong. So for the next six months we are going to get one billion stories about how Clinton is not going to win, well maybe, but really, Trump is going to somehow pull it off because the national media is filled with overpaid addlepated… Okay, okay, I will stop.

First up on the list is my hometown Arizona 1. This is a seat currently held by Representative Ann Kirkpatrick. What is interesting about her is that she was one of the people to lose in the 2010 electoral bloodbath after she voted for the Affordable Care Act and had to endure the gauntlet of hate that most Democratic politicians had to deal with during the fight to get healthcare. She later fought her way back into Congress in 2012, one of the few to do so. She won re-election even though the district is rated as R-leaning. Now she has set her sights on McCain and because of the unique situation this year for Republicans, she is polling incredibly well against him.

I have no idea how that race will play out.

Ann Kirkpatrick Tries to Move Up Leaving Arizona 1 Open

So with Ann Kirkpatrick looking to move on up to the Senate, the House seat is open. That being the case, the usual cast of characters on the Republican side has shown up to run for the seat: Paul Babeu, Ken Bennett, David Gowan, Gary Kiehne, Wendy Rogers, Carlyle Begay, and Thomas Vearl Whipple.

All Those Republicans

Paul Babeu is a current Sheriff in Pinal County who was outed as gay during the 2012 congressional race by an ex-lover who happened to be here as an undocumented immigrant. I have met his brother but I haven’t met him since there has been little reason I would.

Ken Bennett is the former Secretary of State of Arizona (person in charge of elections and some of the paperwork for businesses among other things) and he ran for governor losing to Doug Doucey in the Republican primary. He is receiving some support from the NRCC Young Guns Program. Ironic since neither him nor Gary Kiehne are under 50.

Wendy Rogers is actually interesting from a personal aspect-she lived in my district and ran against my former State senator David Schipira. She then ran for Congress in 2012 and 2014, losing to Kyrsten Sinema the second time in what is billed by the political punditry/polling companies as a toss up seat but is really Democratic.

Carlyle Begay is the only other one of note in my opinion since he was appointed to office as a Democrat, won re-election then switched to being a Republican. Now he is running for Congress when people really don’t like party hoppers.

Gary Kiehne is getting national level support but he doesn’t have the history that Ken Bennett has.

I suspect it will be Ken Bennett who pulls off the win of the Republican primary. He doesn’t have as much money as some of the others (Gary Kiehne has the most) but he does have higher name ID for the district.

On the Democratic side there are three: James Maloney, Tom O’Halleran and Miguel Olivas.

Of the three, only Maloney has not run for office in any capacity.

On the Democratic Side

Ann Kirkpatrick leaves the door open for Tom O’Halleran. He is very interesting because he was a Republican, then independent, and finally he has become a Democrat. He also has served in office before as a Republican so he knows how to campaign and he almost beat one of the Republicans that show up in the news periodically to make the rest of us living here in AZ cringe: Sylvia Allen. I also view O’Hallaran as serious since I am getting his fundraising email messages so he has bought some list I am on and he has the highest amount of the three. He also has a lot of support from the dreaded establishment including outgoing Kirkpatrick and the national Democratic Party.

I think he will probably win the primary.

The General Election

On to the General: it is unclear who will win if it is a Bennett v O’Hallaran match up. Both are experienced campaigners with long histories in most of the district. Which means what is going on at the top of the ticket might have an impact on it staying in the Democratic column.

On one hand, this isn’t as interesting since it won’t flip the House but on the other, with the mess at the top of the ticket, it is one of those races that it is likely to stay Dem instead of being flipped.

This election looks better for the Democrats in Arizona than I would have thought, with Ann Kirkpatrick having a real change in the Senate.

Next time we will look at AZ-02. That one is a pick up possibility.

AMBER Alert on My Phone Now

AMBER AlertI just got an AMBER Alert — on my phone. I’m a late adopter, so maybe all of you are very used to these things. But I was worried. With the high pitched screeching, it reminded me of those tests we got on television to prepare us all for nuclear war. But now, it was just a missing child in Solano County — roughly an hour away from me by car.

Generally, an AMBER Alert is just about some child custody case. I don’t mean to suggest that they aren’t serious. I’m constantly amazed at the way that couples use their children to get at each other. It’s disgusting. It’s cruel. And most of all, it’s childish. Leave the biologically children out of it!

This particular AMBER Alert is about an actual kidnapping, it seems. Allegedly, Pearl Pinson (15) was dragged by Fernando Castro (19) into his gold 1997 Saturn Wednesday morning. But this is hardly the kind of kidnapping that one normally thinks about. It is almost certainly the case that Pinson and Castro knew each other. I assume that they used to be lovers and have broken up. Castro is acting the way a lot of young men do who are scorned.

I don’t want to live in a society in which everyone is deputized.

This doesn’t make the act harmless. Castro may have a gun. This is a perfect set-up for a murder-suicide. So I don’t want to downplay the seriousness of this in the least. I hope that everything works out with no further harm coming to anyone.

But an AMBER Alert just last week sounds exactly the same: a 15-year-old girl was dragged into the car of her 22-year-old boyfriend. The girl was found three hours later, having been dropped off at the assailant’s parent’s house. As far as I can tell, the police still haven’t found the boyfriend.

But I have real problems with the AMBER Alert. The most obvious one is why we make a big deal out of this particular crime committed against this particular population (people under the age of 17). I suppose the idea is that the crime is still in progress. But the crime is still in progress when someone kills everyone in a 7-11 and rushes away with a gun. And why do we care only up to the age of 16?

The other issue I have is that I don’t want to live in a society in which everyone is deputized. I hated it when shows like America’s Most Wanted showed up. And that was a very telling example, because it started off going after murderers. But before long there were drug dealers on it. There’s a delicate balance that young children are taught: there are things we need to worry about and there are things that we shouldn’t worry about. We don’t want to live in an authoritarian nightmare.

So I’m concerned about Pearl Pinson and Fernando Castro. And if I could do something to help, I would. (Creating a standoff with the police is probably the most dangerous thing that could happen.) But getting an alert on my phone about something that happened yesterday, an hour away from me, when I’m not in a car? It sounds like a waste of resources to me. And I wonder what the police have been doing in the day and a half since Pinson was kidnapped.

Is this another case where the police are not held accountable for any wrong they do and are always proclaimed heroes — even while they can’t find two known people in a known car? Is the AMBER Alert just a subtle reminder that our policing departments are filled with incompetents?