A Conservative Statement in Arizona


Most view Arizona as monolithically conservative, but it’s anything but. In reality, the Grand Canyon State was monolithically Democratic until Barry Goldwater rebranded the GOP from its Rockefeller roots.

Just 10 out of Arizona’s 26 governors have been Republican, and for the past 35 years the office has seen a 50/50 split. Gov. Janet Napolitano was re-elected by a 2-to-1 margin just 8 years ago.

The partisan landscape changed with the passage of SB 1070, a modest anti-illegal immigration measure signed by Jan Brewer. Out-of-state Democrats and the national media not only demonized the bill, but personalized their attacks against all voters. When several Arizona Democrats called for boycotts of their own state, their party was tossed into the political wilderness where they remain.

This year, Arizona selects Brewer’s replacement and the GOP primary winner is almost assured the governor’s office. In a field of six major candidates, it came down to Doug Ducey and Scott Smith.

Ducey is the current state treasurer, but is more famous for leading Cold Stone Creamery from a scoop shop in the suburbs to an international chain of 1,440. Like a southwestern Scott Walker, Ducey ran on governmental reform, a pro-growth economic policy, school choice and healthy dose of federalism.

Smith stepped down from a highly successful stint as the Mayor of Mesa, a half-million-strong suburb of Phoenix. Unlike Ducey, he stressed political moderation, praising Gov. Brewer’s unpopular Medicaid expansion and federal Common Core standards. Arizona being an open primary state, Smith hoped for enough crossover votes in a crowded field to get him across the finish line.

It wasn’t even close. Ducey’s reform conservatism and broad coalition won with a 14-point margin of victory. At his raucous victory celebration in downtown Phoenix, it was easy to see why.

Every Republican politician in the state was there to cheer him on, from John McCain to Joe Arpaio. The massive ballroom was packed with more party faithful than many general election events. Even Jan Brewer, the only major Republican to endorse Smith, introduced Ducey and made sure she was in every photo taken that night.

As Ducey looks to dispose of his Democratic rival in November, Arizona voters handed their nominee a conservative dream-team as his supporting cast. Mark Brnovich, former attorney with the free-market Goldwater Institute, removed a scandal-ridden incumbent Attorney General. Jeff Dewit came out of nowhere to defeat two big names for State Treasurer. Reform-minded Diane Douglas ousted a Common Core-supporting gaffe machine currently running the state Education office.

If all goes as expected in November, Arizona can look forward to top-to-bottom governance by free-market federalists. Look out, Texas.

There are 12 comments.

  1. Brad B. Inactive

    Doug Ducey…think that was the name of a Speed Racer cartoon villain. Either way, sounds promising.

    • #1
    • August 27, 2014, at 5:41 PM PDT
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  2. Western Chauvinist Member

    Good news.

    • #2
    • August 27, 2014, at 5:45 PM PDT
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  3. billy Inactive

    Taking back America, one state at a time.

    • #3
    • August 27, 2014, at 5:51 PM PDT
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  4. Hartmann von Aue Member

    Thanks a ton for this news. The usually apolitical Vrouwe says “always vote for ice cream!”

    • #4
    • August 27, 2014, at 6:51 PM PDT
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  5. Lash LaRoche Inactive

    The Copper State turned in a solid gold performance.

    • #5
    • August 27, 2014, at 7:13 PM PDT
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  6. Concretevol Thatcher

    This is why we need to preach Federalism! Washington DC is lost, states rule!

    • #6
    • August 27, 2014, at 7:16 PM PDT
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  7. Eeyore Member

    Jon Gabriel, Ed.: Most view Arizona as monolithically conservative, but it’s anything but.

    Having lived in Tucson for seven years,I certainly know that to be true. I was there when Raul Grijalva was just gaining political momentum in his early days as a Pima County Supervisor. Even though I was still a bit liberal back then, what he and the very prominent La Raza were saying seemed truly crackerdog.

    Continuing to notice what goes on in AZ, I remember a few years ago hearing a Tucson woman saying how proud she was that progressives had taken over Southern Arizona. She then went on an impassioned rant, very much like a Palestinian “From The River To The Sea” diatribe, promising that progressives were going to take over the entire state and drive racist, sexist, homophobic conservatives out of any semblance of power forever, and preferably physically out of the state.

    So yes, Jon, “monolithically conservative” is not how I have viewed AZ for some time.

    • #7
    • August 27, 2014, at 10:15 PM PDT
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  8. David Williamson Inactive

    Yeah, I live in a Democrat-controlled district of AZ – it was Gabby Gifford’s, now changed to the huge district 1 to the North of Tucson, including the Native American Reservations, with Ann Kirkpatrick as my representative. I saw her once at a debate – she seems better than most D’s, but the chance of my ever having a R representative are quite slim, I think.

    Tucson, generally, with the University Elites, is fairly strongly D. So I feel in the minority, at least in my part of AZ. And don’t even mention district 3, or our Senior US Senator!

    I was never that impressed by Gov Brewer, especially her baffling Obamacare decision, so I am sure any change will be for the better – glad to hear it will most likely be a non-Rino-squish R :-)

    • #8
    • August 28, 2014, at 1:55 AM PDT
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  9. Merina Smith Inactive

    Wonderful! Yes, yes, yes to federalism. That’s a wining issue for our side.

    • #9
    • August 28, 2014, at 4:40 AM PDT
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  10. jmelvin Member

    Good to hear John. I lived in Arizona during the Governor Napalitano days and was quite disappointed with her and wasn’t particularly pleased to see all that went on under Governor Brewer. Hopefully Mr. Ducey will be a boon to freedom and constitutional governance in Arizona.

    • #10
    • August 28, 2014, at 8:03 AM PDT
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  11. Jon Gabriel, Ed. Chief
    Jon Gabriel, Ed. Post author

    Eeyore: So yes, Jon, “monolithically conservative” is not how I have viewed AZ for some time.

     When I talk to people back east, they are shocked that every Arizonan isn’t a gun-toting, horse-riding border-obsessed conservative. Also, that Arizona isn’t all desert.

    • #11
    • August 28, 2014, at 4:37 PM PDT
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  12. MLH Inactive

    Jon Gabriel, Ed.: When I talk to people back east, they are shocked that every Arizonan isn’t a gun-toting, horse-riding border-obsessed conservative. Also, that Arizona isn’t all de

    Please don’t disabuse them of this.

    • #12
    • August 28, 2014, at 5:03 PM PDT
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