Kyrsten Sinema, Vernon Parker and Why Top-Two Was and Is a Dumb Idea
Is Kyrsten heading for congress? If she can get past Vernon Parker, she is...
See also: Can Kyrsten Sinema Win in Congressional District 9?
See also: Kyrsten Sinema's Hilary Rosen Moment, and Her Persistent Verbal Flubbery
See also: George H.W. Bush Approves of Vernon Parker; One-Time President Seems to Think Parker Has the Vision Thing
See also: Vernon Parker Leads Republicans in CD9, According to Vernon Parker's Poll
What's interesting about the result of the primary races in the newly drawn Ninth Congressional District is not that Republican Vernon Parker and Democrat Kyrsten Sinema won their respective primaries. Rather it's that taken together, those primaries offer a textbook example of why the so-called Top Two initiative is a dumb idea.
Both Sinema and Parker were expected to win, Parker on the basis of name recognition in a crowded GOP field, Sinema as it was anticipated that her competitors would split the vote against her, leaving her the victor.
Each candidate comes with baggage. Sinema will have to contend with her past as a radical lefty, and Parker will face questions over his near-foreclosure and issues surrounding his consulting venture VBP Group, which is barred from obtaining certain Small Business Administration contracts.
Sinema is a tough campaigner and has demonstrated that she knows how to take a punch, and then some, while Parker can boast some cross-party appeal as long as he doesn't stand too close to Sheriff Joe Arpaio.
An African-American Republican versus an openly LGBT Democrat and one-time Ralph Nader-enthusiast will make for an entertaining race to follow. However, it would have not have been so interesting if former Phoenix Mayor Paul Johnson's Open Elections/Open Government initiative had been in play.
Essentially, the proposed amendment to the Arizona Constitution would create an open primary, from which the top two vote-getters, regardless of party affiliation or lack thereof, would advance to the general election.
Election officials say the proposal doesn't have the signatures necessary, while its supporters are going to court, betting that a judge will reverse the decision to keep it off the November ballot.
Proponents hope that the measure removes partisanship and extremism from the battlefield, and increases voter participation, noble goals to be sure.
Thing is, in CD 9, if the top two proposal had been law, and the same candidates were vying for those two slots, voters would have been given two liberal Democrats to chose from in the general: Sinema and her former colleague in the state Senate, David Schapira.