Every vote will count in the Ciscomani-Engel race in Az’s CD 6

Blake Morlock


Former Democratic state senator Kirsten Engel and former senior aide to Governor Doug Ducey Juan Ciscomani are set for a midday showdown to decide who serves Arizona’s 6th congressional district in the state House of Representatives -United.

We just have to understand that “strong noon” means the closing of the polls on November 8.

All midterm elections are turnout dependent.

Democrats tend to vary in their turnout in non-presidential elections. Democratic demoralization will therefore play a large role. Then again, if the U.S. Supreme Court pissed them off by overturning Roe v. Wade, that could dampen any Republican push.

Engel and Ciscomani easily won their respective primaries on Tuesday.

Engel is an accomplished woman. The University of Arizona law professor defeated a refined and formidable young opponent, State Rep. Daniel Hernandez. I don’t know if it will inspire a huge turnout. She owes a big thank you to the Supreme Court. If former President Donald Trump announces his 2024 candidacy soon, that could further energize Democrats.

Ciscomani needs to keep his base loaded but his base is quite restless as the Democrats are in power. He is free to fight inflation until election day. It’s just. Democrats would if the situation were reversed.

Southeast Arizona and the East Side of Tucson have already seen stunning and dragging races for Congress. Gabrielle Giffords narrowly shouldered her way to a seat in the United States Capitol. Ron Barber took an even bolder path – then lost a recount of a recount he wanted to tell on his next outing.

Midtown Tucson has less of an effect in the new CD 6 and the days of Democrats outperforming in places like Cochise County are likely over – Douglas was moved to Raul Grijalva’s district, thanks to the GOP’s handling of the process of redistricting. (Not that Grijalva complains much, mind you.)

Then there’s the big X-factor missed by national experts. Former President Donald Trump’s antics accelerated Arizona’s leftward drift. The state has become twirling in reaction against Trump and Trumpism.

Then again, Ciscomani’s biggest and best weapon is President Joe Biden’s disastrous approval rating.

So Foothills and East Side voters who made a big difference for Biden after backing Mitt Romney just eight years earlier might change again at the first sight of orange. Will they just decide they’re Democrats now or will they go back to form, finding Biden old and ineffectual?

At the end of Election Day, however, the 6th digits are so much narrow. And the national mood seems to be breaking among Republicans.

None of the parties benefit from a cushion. It’s bone-on-bone grinding.

The 2020 vote in what was then CD 2 went to Biden by less than 100 votes. The redesigned district is slightly more GOP than it was, but includes a long list of voters who are not registered with either party.

If a bat twirls to the right in the Chinese night, the atmospheric ripples will be enough to turn the neighborhood from blue to red.

A dolphin doing a backflip off the Azores could result in a loss for Ciscomani in 2024.

But all voters have free will. Anyone who thinks their vote won’t count, stop thinking that. In this district, every vote will count. It wouldn’t shock me if this race ended with less than 200 votes.

So grab this “I Voted” sticker, Southern Arizona. Tell the world you voted on November 8.

Reich Day (no, not this Reich)

Unfortunately, all politics are now national. So the question is which way the winds will blow towards the end of 2022.

What could be more 2020s-compliant than Sunday, November 13 shows with signs asking “How did the Republicans mess this up?”

The GOP is expected to win 50 seats in the House, five in the Senate, and that wave is expected to sweep Democrats from office across Arizona. That’s exactly what happened in 1994 and 2010. There’s no reason it can’t happen again. The Oilers led 35-3 at the start of the third quarter. Going into the fourth quarter, the Bills had the lead. Replacement quarterback Frank Reich led Buffalo to a 38-35 win.

The Republicans started the summer with a 35-3 record.

No president in my life has had a worse year than the one Joe Biden suffered between the fall of Kabul and the summer. This includes Richard Nixon’s Watergate year and he had to resign from his position.

The United States fled Afghanistan in chaos. Transient inflation has taken up permanent residence. Gas prices have skyrocketed. Much of his congressional agenda has collapsed. The right to vote is dead. Crime increases alongside reform prosecutors who indulge in certain types of crime. The country could be heading into a recession. Through it all, the president responded with shrug after shrug declaring there was not much he could do about it.

Voters understand a nation facing difficult times. They won’t support the president in full duck and blanket.

And yet, Roe v. Wade was canceled. Abortion is no longer a right and it is ripe for state banning. West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin has resurrected the climate and healthcare provisions from Biden’s platform and it just might pass (according to Sen. Kyrsten Sinema who will speak in the Senate). The January 6 hearings allow former Trump staffers to tell a horror story of presidential misdeeds and, possibly, criminal behavior.

And yet Biden just beat al-Qaeda’s top terrorist Ayman al-Zawahri in a drone strike in Kabul over the weekend. Gas prices are falling, and fast. Unemployment is low, low low.

All of a sudden the Democrats can’t stop scoring and the Republicans can’t keep the ball.

The abortion issue is a perfect summary of what the GOP is doing to detonate the impossible midterm. They could have said, “Relax everyone. We’ll pass common sense rules on abortion. We’re not going to ban it in cases of rape, incest or life of the mother.”

Instead, state legislatures have passed outright abortion bans that force sisters to give birth to brothers, victims to deliver the rapist’s babies, and women to die in the ER because…that really worth a mother’s life?

Oh, so what? Republicans like Masters pledge to pursue the right to contraception.

The backlash began the night of the Kansas primaries. It could happen at an election near you.

Likewise, Republicans have become hostile to democracy. So voters can’t just make a typical midterm correction without wondering if they’re forever losing a say in how they govern.

No one has done this in the country except the Republicans.

The score is 35-24 and the Republicans have just been forced to punt.

The rest of the state

The rest of Arizona looks like a mixed bag.

In the Republican primary for the U.S. Senate, Blake Masters appears to have driven the former Trump’s endorsement to victory in a crowded field.

Democracy might have gained an edge in the GOP governor’s primary, where election denier and Trump-o-phile Kari Lake appears to have been beaten by Karrin Taylor Robson.

But the path to victory has become more difficult for Democratic gubernatorial candidate and Secretary of State Katie Hobbs. She now has to deal with what passes for a normal Republican in what should be a good Republican year, rather than drawing a stark contrast to Lake.

No matter what readers think of Robson, she’s far more likely to certify an election, even if her candidate loses.

The future has brightened for Sen. Mark Kelly, who faces one of those “Oh-my-God” candidates for the master’s degree. Masters looks like a straight-up super villain sent in by Cut-Rate Central Casting. He has an extinct IQ and a moral compass that we’ll generously call “new”, praising the genius of the Unabomber and the like.

I usually expect truckloads (or Chinese planes, for the tin foil set) of ballots from late Arizona to be counted over the next few days. So I’m not prepared to predict the fate of some kind of local boy Rodney Glassman, perennial multiparty contender who snatched the attorney general’s race in this outing, at the hands of Trump-stamped Abe Hamadeh.

Oro Valley’s Republican, insurgent and clean state Rep. Mark Finchem appears to be heading for a home-court victory in his charge to become secretary of state. He would then be able to decide that our votes only count if we elect the candidates he prefers. I’m sure he’ll explain it with a roundabout line from Patrick Henry and the anti-federalists from 1787.

He will have to go through former Maricopa County Recorder Adrian Fontes or State House Minority Leader Reginald Bolding, with Fontes in the running for the Democratic primary.

Finally, voter turnout has been low in this primary despite tightly contested statewide races all over the Republican ballot. Democrats didn’t have that kind of choice, but seem to have stayed pretty close to the GOP in total numbers.

Just looking at the gubernatorial primary candidates, Republican vote totals as of 11 p.m. Tuesday stood at 475,000. Democrats in a boring race that Hobbs was destined to win turned out to be 442,000.

Is it something? What does this mean for November?

The most honest answer is, “Who the hell knows?”

It’s up to you, the voter.

My advice to whoever wins Arizona 6th is simple: Praise. Don’t buy.

Blake Morlock is an award-winning columnist, who has worked in daily journalism for nearly 20 years and is the former director of communications for the Pima County Democratic Party.

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Jack L. Goldstein