Jeff Flake-Richard Carmona Match-Up Closer Than Flake Versus Don Bivens, Poll Says

Carmona_surg_gen.jpg
Can Carmona beat Jeff Flake? Seems a better bet than Don Bivens, at least...

According to a new survey by North Carolina-based Public Policy Polling, Arizona Democrats might actually have a shot at beating Republican golden-boy Congressman Jeff Flake in the 2012 race to replace U.S. Senator Jon Kyl. 

If they nominate former U.S. Surgeon General Richard Carmona instead of ex-Arizona Democratic Party Chair Don Bivens, that is.

Though the poll shows Flake with massive name recognition and considerable appeal among Dems, it also reveals that Carmona, who served as Surgeon General under President George W. Bush, comes within four percentage points of tying Flake in a hypothetical match-up, 40-36. 

Whereas Bivens trails Flake by 10 points, 42-32. The poll's margin of error is plus or minus 4.4 percent.

Carmona, 62, is a former Special Forces medic, a Vietnam Veteran, and the recipient of the Purple Heart and the Bronze Star. Originally from New York City and of Puerto Rican heritage, he also served as a deputy sheriff in Pima County, and moved back to Tucson after leaving the Bush administration.

The poll shows Carmona to have crossover appeal with Rs, despite being openly critical of the Bush administration after his Surgeon General gig. Carmona complained of being censored by the Bush White House, which, he said, stifled statements he wished to make about stem cell research and second-hand smoke.

A self-described "radical centrist," Carmona's name has been floated in the past as a possible GOP candidate for various political offices. He was recruited by Dems to seek the party's 2012 Senate nod.

By comparison, Bivens is perceived by many Ds as a weak candidate, alienated from the grass roots of the party due to an aloof leadership style during his tenure as state party chair.

On the Republican side, Flake is being challenged by dark horse Wil Cardon, a baby-faced neophyte with stacks of cash. 

Cardon differentiates himself from the Congressman by asserting that he's a true-blue Mexican-basher, unlike Flake, who not too long ago carried the banner of Comprehensive Immigration Reform.

In any case, Cardon looks like a Buzz Mills in the making. Democrat-wise, Bivens is a mat-kisser only other deep-pocket lawyers could get giddy over.

Flake-Carmona? Well, at least according to PPP's Director Tom Jensen, that head-to-head might offer us some drama. 

In a statement accompanying the poll results, Jensen writes:

"With the Senate landscape in 2012 offering Democrats few opportunities for offense these numbers suggest Arizona may provide the party's 3rd best chance of picking up a GOP held seat next year, behind only Massachusetts and Nevada."

Stranger things have happened, particularly in Sand Land of late.

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20 comments
SternFaceSam
SternFaceSam

Can't stand Flake. Might as well elect a liberal. He sucks. I will vote for anyone running against Flake.

Joe Mosely
Joe Mosely

Don Bivens has zero chance of winning in November. Absolutely none.

What I find insulting is that some people think that that's ok. It's not ok for Democrats to run a weak candidate who hasn't done the things it takes to be a good politician. Carmona has a resume to run on.  You can't just take a pile of cash, no charisma, and a life as a political hack and run for Senate from the sixteenth largest state in the country.

At least Jim Pederson was a businessman, who could run on creating jobs and building communities. What jobs has Don Bivens created? Has Bivens ever served his country? Has he done anything to make himself appealing to voters at all???????

Mistalee
Mistalee

The Arizona Democratic Party has only one demonstrated skill, which is wresting defeat from the jaws of victory. Fear not, they will find a way to fuck this up, whether it is by backing Bivens or otherwise demonstrating complete ineptitute.

Bnbk
Bnbk

Damm Right !

Azplitics61
Azplitics61

Yo Lemons, you're a complete joke. Why don't you get over yourself and realize that people are relying on you to actually cover this race instead of taking every opportunity to take potshots at Bivens. I don't know what you have against this guy, but work it out on your own damn time. 

StephenLemons
StephenLemons

Sorry, Azplitics61. Bivens did not do a good job as chair of the AZ Dems. He had his head in the sand as the party kept getting its ass kicked. And he's the first choice of a coterie of Ds down at the Legislature who are very comfortable being in the minority. 

Against Flake, Bivens will fail. Now, I'm as liberal as the day is long, but I don't see the point of having some guy like Bivens pass all of your liberal litmus tests and still lose. I mean, maybe that makes you feel good. But at day's end, you're left with an R triumphant.

Finally, this is my blog, and I'll write what I please here. But thanks for the wrong suggestion, because it will embolden me to continue to point out how disastrous a candidate Bivens really is. 

Fed Up In LD18
Fed Up In LD18

Let's see, so how many statewide seats did AZ Dems pick up while Bivens was state chair?

Zero

How many times did the Dems fight hard against bad immigration laws while Bivens was state chair?

Zero

How many legislative seats did Dems lose while Bivens was chair (2006-2010)? 

Eleven (4 in the Senate, 7 in the House)

Is Bivens a nice guy? Probably. 

Does he and the Dems know how to win? No.

Guest
Guest

THANK YOU, STEPHEN!!!  As poll suggests, Carmona would give the Flake a race!

AnaRuiz
AnaRuiz

Not liking what I hear about Carmona so far... pretty soft on D issues and not exactly coming out of the blocks running. Definitely not an Elizabeth Warren.

Phoenix Justice
Phoenix Justice

It would be rather nice if the Democrats would ask a true blue liberal to run, instead of these "centrist" morons.  Give me a liberal.  A true liberal and I will fight for them and you know what, they might actually win.

ArizonaEagletarian
ArizonaEagletarian

Had two of them run last year... but Glassman got the nomination instead.

Laurenkuby
Laurenkuby

Carmona is no progressive (he's not even a Democrat, though I expect he will change his registration). He didn't vote in 2010; which means he didn't bother to vote for Gabby Giffords. He has made conflicting statements about his stance on a woman's right to choose, whereas Don's view has been life-long and heart-felt (Planned Parenthood Board Member). 

Lastly, Don is unequivocally pro gay marriage. Thar's not true of Carmona. When Don was chair he was representing the interests of Napolitano and Goddard. Now is unfettered and free to run as the progressive Democrat that he is.  

ArizonaEagletarian
ArizonaEagletarian

Bivens is a good guy, so I wouldn't criticize him but we'll have to see how things look in August.

TheGooch
TheGooch

Bivens is lame and works for the same firm that defends 1070 for the Brewster. Thankfully he's no longer party chair. Not sure about this Carmona guy, but Bivens doesn't stand a chance against Flake. No way. No how.

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