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Handicapping Arizona’s

Congressional Races

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Kyrsten Sinema and Vernon Parker will go head to head in District No. 9 while Jeff Flake and Richard Carmona will battle for the U.S. Senate seat. Photos by Gage Skidmore and used under a Creative Commons License.

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Amid The Skewed Races That Lean To One Party Or The Other Is Arizona’s District No. 9 That Will Undoubtedly Break New Ground

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By John Guzzon
Modern Times Magazine

Sept. 7, 2012 — It is a widely held opinion throughout the U.S. that Congress is not doing its job.

Many polls have Congress with an 80 percent disapproval rating.

But even though the voting public is not happy with the job Congress is doing — and at a time when low turnout means each and every vote means more — very few are actually voting. Turnout for the Arizona primary election in the last week of August saw a turnout of 28 percent — that means only about 871,836 out of 3,100,575 registered voters actually filled out their ballots.

Granted, turnout in the general election will likely rise, as more casual ‘complainers/voters’ come out every four years when the presidential election comes around — much like most casual Christians who only attend church on Christmas.

Unfortunately for those who missed the primary, though, the nature of partisan leaning Congressional district boundaries means many races are practically over. A little more than a week after the primary, only a few hotly contested races remain in the battle to determine Arizona’s Congressional delegation for the next two years.

Review Arizona’s Voter Registration Statistics

U.S. Senate
Democrat: Richard Carmona
Republican: Jeff Flake
Common wisdom might portend that Rep. Jeff Flake will easily waltz into the U.S. Senate. Arizona has not elected a democratic senator since Dennis DeConcini in 1988 and the voter rolls have only served to increase a republican advantage.

But with the retirement of Sen. Jon Kyl, democrats and Richard Carmona see an opening.

Carmona, who was U.S. Surgeon General under President George W. Bush, has also served as a former member of the U.S. special forces, medical director for the Pima County Sheriff’s office and a professor at the University of Arizona. He was born in New York and came to Arizona in 1986.

He was courted by republicans to run for Congressional district No. 8 in 2006 — shortly after his term as Surgeon General ended — but he declined.

In his senatorial campaign, he has made creating jobs, fixing a broken immigration system, balancing the federal budget, preserving social security and support for veterans as the tenets of his campaign.

Flake, a fifth-generation Arizonan, was raised on a ranch in Snowflake — a town named, in part, after his great-great-grandfather, Mormon pioneer William J. Flake. He was executive director of the Goldwater Institute before being elected to Congress in 2003.

Flake is pro-life, was one of 15 republican House members to vote in favor of repealing the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" ban on openly gay service members, yet voted to amend the U.S. Constitution to ban same-sex marriage with a Federal Marriage Amendment in 2004 and 2006.

Most recent polls reveal a basically even race and Carmona has really not even started his campaign yet. They both have about $1.75 million on hand, according to the Federal Election Commission pre-primary report.

Carmona’s campaign finance filing https://docs.google.com/open?id=0Bx5y6mqv3BiacGZpejZhdUxhaEk

Flake’s campaign finance filing https://docs.google.com/open?id=0Bx5y6mqv3BiadWpDYl9wUUh3Rm8

This race has been marked nationally as one of the races that will determine the majority in the U.S Senate over the next few years. As a consequence, Flake got PAC spending on television which indicates he would have access to some of that ‘help’ if he needs it against Carmona. But democrats do see a possibility that they could steal this seat from republicans so Carmona would probably get access to some democratic PACs if he can keep the race close in October.

Regardless, Carmona still has a hill to climb, especially considering the vote count from the primary election. Although he ran unopposed, he received a paltry 292,721 votes compared to 357,318 for Flake. Even worse for Carmona, 517,421 ballots were cast for the four republican candidates for U.S. Senate. Turnout will likely drive the victor of this race.

Expect a litany of commercials and Carmona just might pull it off if democrats and the more than 1 million independents begin to sway democratic over the next 60 days.

Advantage: Flake by a nose.

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