No, Rick Romley Can't Run as a Write-In, Duh, and More Bad News Re: Bill Montgomery

donkeyskong.jpg
Danny Hellman
I first used this illo back in 2008. Sadly, little has changed...

Almost immediately after interim Maricopa County Attorney Rick Romley's devastating loss in the GOP primary to Sheriff Joe Arpaio's pick for the position, Bill Montgomery, Democrats and disaffected Republicans alike began to whisper about Romley running as a write-in in the general election.

The theory, albeit farfetched, went like this: Sure, Montgomery scored 50 percent, with the assistance of hundreds of thousands of dollars in TV ads from Arpaio sliming Romley. But add Romley's nearly 38 percent to Chandler Mayor Boyd Dunn's almost 12 percent, and you've got a dead heat. And that's just among tuskers.

This is assuming everyone who voted for Dunn would vote for Romley. (Dunn dropped out and endorsed Romley, but his name remained on the primary ballot.) In any case, a general election draws more people, not just the crazies who vote in GOP primaries. Independents and Dems would support Romley, and Montgomery would be denied.

If anyone still has that pipe dream going, let me disabuse you of it. State law prohibits failed primary candidates from entering the general election for the same office. So even if Romley happened to be willing, it can't happen.

And here's some more bad news: Montgomery takes over as County Attorney as soon as the final canvass of the votes is done in the general election. (No, we don't have till January.)

Yvonne Reed, spokeswoman for county elections, says the canvass should be finished about one week following the November 2 vote.

Which makes the Dems' inability to field a candidate for what is, arguably, the most powerful post in the county, ever more glaring.

Why didn't the county Dems put up a contender, or at least a place-holder, to prevent the scenario of Montgomery benefiting from a free ride to the CA's office?

Democratic County Chair Ann Wallack told me that she did approach potential candidates, but there were no takers.

"The people we talked to were very interested," she told me. "But after thinking about it, [they] would say, `You know, I just don't want to get involved in that mess.'"

She blamed the "toxic" atmosphere in the county for turning people off to running. Also, ex-County Attorney Andrew Thomas waited late to announce for AG, she said, leaving a potential Democratic competitor little time to get his or her act together.

Once Romley was appointed to fill Thomas' seat, some Dems saw him as too formidable a candidate to oppose, she added.

Still, wasn't this a huge failure on the local Dems' part?

"Ultimately, yes," she replied. "And ultimately it's my fault for not being persuasive enough."

She also seemed miffed that some folks won't dust off their backsides and run.

"I do feel bad about this," she offered. "This is not new thinking to me, I've been concerned about this for months. I really think there are a lot of people -- moderate Republicans and true-blue Democrats -- that need to get off the sidelines and start to take part in local government. So things like this don't happen."

She said there were no plans to run a Dem as a write-in candidate against Montgomery.

I like Ann, but the thing is, this situation highlights the reason why Democrats are such losers in this state. If the donkey-kongs want to be taken seriously as a party here in Sand Land, they need to always put up a candidate. Particularly for offices as important as County Attorney.

Scott Phelps, former director of communications for Mayor Phil Gordon, has worked for both Dems and Republicans. He volunteered as a campaign advisor to the Romley campaign, and he agrees that not offering an option to voters is freaking stupid.

"It's always a mistake not to field a candidate," he told me. "I've seen unopposed candidates die, get indicted, drop out for family considerations -- you just never know. And there you are, without a candidate on the ballot."

Hell, even the Libertarians were able to field a candidate: Michael Kielsky, who has a snowball's chance in Yuma of taking Montgomery, but at least the Ayn Rand-worshippers bothered. Ya know?

A real Democratic party, even if it is in a red state like Arizona, needs to put up a fight in every district, every local election, every contest, even if they know the effort is a longshot.

Make the Republicans spend money, force them to justify themselves, throw rocks at 'em and make 'em dodge.

Because otherwise, all you're doing is consigning your party to the status of a non-entity. Sort of like the stooge team that always played the Harlem Globetrotters. 

Not that Montgomery is any Meadowlark Lemon. Some Dem could've given him a run, painting him as beholden to Arpaio, which he is.That alone would've offered Dems in this county a reason to head to the polls.

As it is, because the Dems are not on their game, we're stewed, stuck with Montgomery, and forced to sit around and wait for the next round of indictments. And I promise you, they will be coming.


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27 comments
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Michael Kielsky
Michael Kielsky

Don't write me off just yet ... I offer a clear contrast to Mr. Montgomery:

As Maricopa County Attorney, I will devote the resources of the office to the prosecution of those who have committed crimes involving force or fraud against a victim -- and pursue victim restitution. Until such time as these efforts no longer consume all resources of the office, no efforts will be expended on prosecution of victimless crimes (such as simple possession).

After all, Arizona's Constitution makes clear that the purpose of government is the protection of individual rights -- government should not become the an agent of violating the rights of individuals, including the right just to be left alone.

The choices are clear: I pledge "Freedom for us, jail for real criminals!" vs. Montgomery's focus on victimless crimes, and at the expense of pursuing the serious criminals who threaten our lives, liberty, and property.

So, I offer a clear choice, but I'll need the help of many, many volunteers. Connect with me at http://kielsky.com

CPL Garcia
CPL Garcia

So a 2 party country and living in a 1 party state sucks, and the chair has crappy lame excuses for giving people an excuse not to vote, Thank You Wallack, you are as effective as Mr. Steel (NRC Chair) fortunately (for them) those people believe in a cause, while we can't even believe in our leaders..... I think I will go Libertarian they got balls.

Karen
Karen

Congratulations Bill. Glad to see Romely gone. A Republican endorsed by Democrats. Good riddance.

Ms Info
Ms Info

I wonder how many candidates Wallack approached. I'll bet it was half a dozen of the usual suspects within the party hierarchy. I seriously doubt the Dems do any work to recruit good candidates. They just recycle the same losers.

Thane_Eichenauer
Thane_Eichenauer

You can wonder how many people were approached but does it really matter how many people said no? The fact is that nobody (save Michael Kielsky) took the affirmative step to file signatures and forms to become a candidate. I wonder how many Democratic party voters will call Ann Wallack and encourage her to support Michael Kielsky.

Coz
Coz

Romley was no great gift, but he would have been better than Montgomery, the butt buddy of Bozo Joe, that's for sure

AndyRan
AndyRan

State law allows the Libertarian Party to nominate Romley if their candidate withdraws. It would be a good way for the Libertarians to show they place principles above party.

Thane_Eichenauer
Thane_Eichenauer

How about the Democrats in Arizona show that they place principles above party and support Michael Kielsky for county attorney?

Ivant94
Ivant94

The Dems were real, real stupid for not putting a candidate to run. Not only that, but Romley was the most stupid of all. Bill Montgomery is the best! Go Bill.

former republican
former republican

Ivant94, From all indications, Montgomery sold out to the "arpiao machine", never heard of him before. Montgomery made it very clear he was going to "partner" with the others. Where's the separation of powers between a the prosecutors and the sheriff's department?

wherewasi
wherewasi

My heart is broken. So much for my write-in Rick campaign. Damn!

Thane_Eichenauer
Thane_Eichenauer

The fact is that there is an alternative to Bill Montgomery and his name is Michael Kielsky.

Dan Peitzmeyer
Dan Peitzmeyer

Steven, I wish you weren't so disparaging about Michael Kielsky. I remember meeting him in 2008 when he was up against Thomas and Nelson. I thought he presented himself well. I would encourage all D's, independents and moderate R's to vote for Kielsky.

former republican
former republican

Dan, I'm glad you weighed. I listened to the debates and he did come across well. We will vote for Kielsky and get others to do the same.

Roro
Roro

With Arpaio's toady getting ready to take over as District Attorney and all of the "criminal investigations" and indictments poised to be reinstated , probably the best thing that the board of supervisors could do would be to change the county's logo to "Maricopa County, Arizona, owned and operated by Joe Arpaio and then resign en masse along with the judges and everyone else who has won Joe's disfavor. He won, now let him deal with it. Thyen we can let the ethnic cleansing begin.

former republican
former republican

The Arpaio voters should pay for the damages the sheriff has cost the state, along with it's reputation. People I know have had it and are preparing to pack up and move out of the police state / war zone.

Tommy Collins
Tommy Collins

Nicely written, Mr. Lemons.

So, what we saw the county and state Dem party do in 2008 in their refusal to support Dan Saban, we see now in 2010. Limp, and able to roll over without so much as a single flicker of brawn or emotion - The Dem Party Arizona - 2010. Not much more than a whiff of a powder puff.

But, they could actually do something meaningful in the next election year in 2012.

Or, they could just roll over and take in the south end.... from the likes of the MCSO shurf. How proud they would be, huh, getting pummeled once again by an 80 year old Flaccid Fool.

At some point I would expect some of the members of the Dem party to waken and say, "this crap has to stop" and then actually do something about it.

Thane_Eichenauer
Thane_Eichenauer

The Maricopa county Democratic party is only a reflection of the voters that support it. Saban lost because he was bested by Joe Arpaio. Blaming his loss on the county party is just another case of sour grapes. I certainly hope that a worthy candidate appears for the 2012 election for sheriff.

former republican
former republican

The state lacks vision for the future. It hasn't brought young people along to fill the ranks of the aging politicians who should have retired a long time ago. With their hatred, bigotry and vitriol, the "team arpaio" has shot the state of Arizona in the foot.

GENO
GENO

Romley would've made a great contender against that arpaio lap dawg--Montgomery. Even if the "Liberal" weaklings didn't have a candidate. The major disappointment was, that the Dems did not vote for Romley, which is why he lost big time. Sure Romley's a Republican, but he's a moderate. So naturally, he can work with all parties in bipartisan teamwork to restore integrity back into Maricopa County.

Raoul Duke
Raoul Duke

I registered independent and voted in the GOP primary specifically to vote for Romley and against Thomas, so careful with that broad brush

omolina
omolina

i am also and independent who voted for romley and against thomas

Coz
Coz

So Bozo Joe gets his bend over guy as CA and the corruption just merrily continues on in KKKounty, Arizona.

Thane_Eichenauer
Thane_Eichenauer

Talk about asleep at the wheel here but Michael Kielsky is a living breathing attorney and a candidate for Maricopa county attorney. If people like Stephen Lemmons would wake up from their self induced stupor to realize that on all the issues that tick him off that Kielsky is a match for any Democrat then we could have an Maricopa county where newspaper executives wouldn't wonder if that guy who got out of the unmarked car with Mexican license plates is a character from a dream instead of a guy who is rousting him from his slumber to take him to jail.

Rob
Rob

Registered as No Party Affiliation...Was really wanting to vote for Dougherty...Realizing the importance of this went with a Republican ballot just to vote for Romley...

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