The Word From Arizona's Fifth District

Friday, April 27, 2007

I'm Back!

School is winding down. The next two weeks are going to be extremely stressful and busy. Finals to study for, essays to write, work to do, and news to catch up on. But, I'll be posting more often and officially come back when school's out.

I just wanted to write a little bit about what Harry Mitchell has been doing thus far in this session of Congress. Specifically, I want to focus on pieces of legislation that he has voted in favor of that have "potential" to do him in in 2008.

Randy Pullen's latest press release targeted Harry and Gabrielle Giffords for voting in favor of the supplemental funding bill with a withdrawal timeline attached. The bulk of it is ridiculous bluster, the same worn over talking points, "Congress is thumbing its nose at the President" (about fucking time), "the Democrats are trying to micromanage the war" (guess it was fine when Rumsfeld was doing it), and, of course, "cut and run" (uh, Randy, "cut and run" is so pre-November 2006 thinking).

Harry voted the right way. I know his staff wrestled with this issue for a good long while. Initially, Harry said he would vote against any funding bill with a withdrawal timeline. He never should have said that to begin with. As the debate over this bill began, Harry started off on the wrong side. I can understand being worried about the huge Republican voter registration advantage in CD-5. But opposition to this war is no longer a liberal or Democratic thing to do. It's liberal and conservative, Republican and Democrat. No one supports this war. Well, at least no one with half a brain cell (sadly, polling proves that around 25-30% of Americans have less than half a brain cell). Disapproval of Bush and the war is over 60% in Kentucky!

The voters of CD-5 will appreciate and support Harry's vote. He will, however, be portrayed as a flip-flopper for coming out against a timeline before the bill reached conference committee. Unless Harry's Republican opponent runs left of him on the war next year, I doubt there will be any long-term effects.

One vote in particular, though, may be difficult for Congressman Mitchell to explain. The bill I am referring to is HR 800, the Employee Free Choice Act. The law will do away the secret ballot workers can cast when decided whether or not to unionize, thus making it easier for workers to form unions. The bill has its merits and its problems, some have gone far enough to say the bill destroys Arizona's status as a right-to-work state. People in Arizona like that status and Arizona has never had an extremely strong union presence since the decline of mining, agriculture, and manufacturing.

The Arizona Chamber of Commerce is going to grill Harry for this vote. Granted, Harry's got plenty of friends in the business community, but I don't see the Scottsdale Chamber of Commerce turning a blind eye. It'll be up to Harry and his team to develop a working strategy that can explain this vote as necessary and good, and set up a good defense against the inevitable attacks.

Okay, some quick random thoughts jumbled together, but now I'm done. I'll be back after Tuesday next week to talk about potential GOP candidates and examine more of Harry's activities in the district and Washington.

Peace out!

Sunday, January 21, 2007

"Officially" taking a hiatus...

It's been very hard for me to find time in the past few weeks to blog. School is back and I have been looking for a job since my class schedule interferes with my old job hours. So, I've decided to take break from blogging and I figured it's about time to let everyone know. I'll still be around posting on other blogs and keeping up with all the news. If you need your necessary dose of local and national political news, I recommend checking out Random Musings and AZ Congress Watch regularly. Craig and Stacy do awesome work on their blogs and they cover all the news I normally would.

Thanks for reading and no worries.

Thursday, January 04, 2007

About the comments...

I have fixed a problem that hid all comments on the blog. I'm not sure if it has been like that for a long time or if it was a switch-over to the Google account that caused it. In any case, all comments have been published and I'll be looking through all of them. Sorry about any confusion.

Harry votes for Nancy

After swearing-in, the first order of business for the new 110th Democratically-controlled Congress was to elect the Speaker. The vote was completely party line, with the 233 Democrats voting for Nancy Pelosi and 202 Republicans voting for John Boehner.

It is truly a historic day with the first woman being elected Speaker. As with his 232 Democratic colleagues, Harry voted to elect Pelosi to the Speaker's chair. I'll be updating over the next few days the progress of the First 100 Hours Agenda and how Harry ties in with the ethics package and everything else.

Happy New Congress Day!

This is an open thread. How was your New Years?

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

So who's ready for the New Year?

I took the liberty of a vacation from blogging over the last month. It was desperately needed after a full semester of school, work, blogging, and the election. In fact, I became absolutely burnt out on politics during the Christmas season. Not having any Christmas spirit didn't help. However, the break was good, I had time to relax, and I'm ready to get back to business!

And so is Congress!

Tomorrow, the 110th Congress will be sworn-in, including Harry Mitchell. Harry has been named to the House Transportation Committee and he will be one of the freshman leaders in the ethics package Speaker Pelosi wants to push through. I'll be blogging over the next few days to check on Harry and what he's doing as Congress convenes. It is bound to be an exciting first 100 hours.

Also, the precinct numbers are up for the election. Craig at Random Musings has taken a look at them. I will also be going more in-depth, but for now I wanted to look at the numbers in the precincts I have lived in or in which I have close friends living.

My first apartment with my first roommate was in Scottsdale precinct Columbus (bordered by Hayden Rd., Thomas Rd., Granite Reef, and Osborn Rd.).

Mitchell- 377
Hayworth- 337
Severin- 36

So, my old precinct in south Scottsdale went to Harry by only 40 votes. The area has many older residents, most of whom have lived there over 30 years. However, it's clear that south Scottsdale will be leaning Democrat for years to come.

My old roommate moved up to north Scottsdale after our lease was up. His precinct was Sentry (bordered by Thunderbird, Frank Lloyd Wright, and 96th).

Mitchell- 436
Hayworth- 389
Severin- 28

The area has many new move-ins with a lot of nice-end condos and apartments going up, but I was absolutely shocked and surprised. Harry did amazing in other north Scottsdale districts and I think Republicans are kidding themselves if they think 2008 will be a cake-walk.

After his lease was up in north Scottsdale, my friend moved back down to south Scottsdale near Thomas and Scottsdale. This is right downtown with many apartment complexes and old neighborhoods.

Mitchell- 155
Hayworth- 84
Severin- 10

Absolutely atrocious turnout for such a high-density precinct, but it easily went to Harry.

My current residence in Tempe is in Precinct 29. The results were not surprising.

Mitchell- 325
Hayworth- 183
Severin- 13

Of course, taking random precincts and looking at the numbers is no tell-tale sign that Harry will have it easy in 2008. But, he isn't doomed and he's got two years to gain the trust of those who didn't vote for him. If anyone can gain trust, it's Harry Mitchell.

I'll return for more tomorrow as Congress is sworn-in and the First 100 Hours kicks off!

Monday, November 20, 2006

All the votes are in...

Every provisional and absentee ballot in Maricopa County has been counted. Definite props to the election workers. According to AZCentral, they were working 12 hour shifts.

So, with the end of vote tallying comes the end results.

Mitchell- 101,838 (50.4%)
Hayworth- 93,815 (46.4%)
Severin- 6,357 (3.1%)

Harry has won by over 8,000 votes. This is a larger spread than a lot of other key races around the country. Not only that, but this is supposed to be a solidly Republican district. Conservatives within the Arizona blogosphere have been adamant that Harry Mitchell is doomed to be a one-term Congressman. They like throwing Sam Coppersmith's name around when talking about this. It's not going to happen like that, though. Granted, Harry will have a race on his hands come 2008. It's bound to happen with the registration advantage the GOP has in this district.

But Harry is going to impress. There is a reason so many Republicans crossed over to vote for him. Independents in this district are the key and Harry won them overwhelmingly. They'll be here in 2008 and they'll vote for Harry again. Tempe is now a Democratic stronghold.

The next two years are going to be interesting on the GOP side of things. Will they nominate a moderate Scottsdale Republican? Or will they go with the Rosati/Huppenthal type crowd? Either way, Harry will be ready and waiting.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

J.D. Concedes

In a statement posted on his website today, J.D. concedes the race to Harry Mitchell.

"While there are still tens of thousands of votes left to count, it has become apparent that it is unlikely we'll get enough of these votes to win the election. We were confident we would close the gap as the early ballots were counted, and we have, but at this point it doesn't appear to be enough. Of course, if the result of the count changes, obviously I will abide by the will of the people.

Therefore let me congratulate Harry for his likely victory in what was a tough campaign and wish him the best of luck. I would also like to thank my supporters and the thousands of volunteers who devoted their time to my campaigns over the years. I would be remiss if I did not single out the incredible efforts of so many volunteers in this most recent campaign.

I also want to thank my hard-working staff both here in Washington and in the district those who served in an official capacity and those who worked on the campaign.

One group the group closest to me never got time off during my 12 years in public office my family. To my wife, Mary and our three children I say: Thanks for standing by me. Leaving the House isn't so bad, since I get to come home.

But most of all, I would like to thank the people of Arizona I represented for over a decade. Thank you for the honor of serving in the Congress of the United States."

Ladies and gentlemen of District Five...

Your New Congressman!

Friday, November 10, 2006

OK, J.D., Give It Up

The vote tallying still continues, but nothing has changed. Since yesterday, Harry's lead shrunk by 23 votes. There is no way J.D. can make up a nearly 6,000 vote difference with the limited amount of uncounted ballots, of which he would have to get ove 60%.

Seriously, J.D., stop. Yesterday, I didn't call him a crybaby or a sore-loser, but for the sake of your current constituents, concede now. Harry Mitchell is going to be our next Congressman. He has been gracious in not declaring victory, but I think it's about high time he should. Harry is gathering his transition team, which will be headed by former Congressman Sam Coppersmith, also of Liberal Desert. He has been invited by the Clerk of the House to the freshman orientation in Washington. The race has been called by every major news and political outlet. Even Rush Limbaugh is saying J.D. is done.

Please, J.D., I'll forget every stupid thing you ever did if you just end it all. Right now.