Primary Day 2014: Bums Bounced, Dems Given Openings to Exploit
Primary day 2014 was a beautiful day for moderation in Arizona politics.
A perfect day? Hardly, but disappointments in the Republican field offer opportunities for Arizona Democrats in the general election.
Former Mesa Mayor Scott Smith's second-place finish to state Treasurer Doug Ducey was anticipated, though the severity of the trouncing -- a 14-point spread for Ducey -- was not, even for Ducey, who called it a "pleasant surprise" during one post-primary interview.
GOP gubernatorial nominee Doug Ducey, purveyor of the huckster's version of the American Dream
Smith, a pragmatist and a centrist, was the best the Republicans had to offer. But in a six-way race in which he was outgunned financially and Secretary of State Ken Bennett, a moderate, siphoning votes that otherwise would have gone to him, Smith's loss probably was inevitable.
His ballyhooed support among Independents didn't get him past 22 percent, at last count. Moreover, Smith didn't have the cash for as much TV time as needed, and the so-called "dark money" was behind Ducey.
Yet, Ducey did not triumph by manna alone.
Look to Christine Jones, onetime lawyer to Internet behemoth GoDaddy.com, who lent her campaign $5 million of her own loot.
All that money couldn't buy Jones a likable persona, much less a competent one. The more people saw of Jones in those incessant, annoying TV ads of hers, the less they liked her.
Her many blunders -- from saying she'd "send Obama the bill" for her border plan to her telling a TV journo that she enjoyed target shooting with her eyes closed -- were those of a political neophyte and could not be undone with an Amazon River full of GoDaddy-derived lucre.
Ducey scored his 36 percent plurality by selling himself as "the conservative ice cream guy," and by lining up backing from antediluvian right-wingers like the Center for Arizona Policy's Cathi Herrod, law and order hardliners like Sheriff Joe and center-right (for Arizona) politicians like ex-U.S. Senator Jon Kyl and Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery.
Indeed, when Ducey declared in his victory speech Tuesday night that it was a "good day for ice cream," he effectively summarized the simplicity of his appeal as the purveyor of pseudo-wholesome capitalism in the form of Cold Stone Creamery.
Inane? Intellectually, yes. Especially when you consider that Ducey's business achievements as Cold Stone's CEO ain't what Ducey's cracked 'em up to be.
Regard as evidence the company's notoriously high attrition rate for franchisees or that Cold Stone reportedly was overvalued when Ducey sold it to food conglomerate Kahala.