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Arizona GOP Wins 2014 Battle,

Preps For 2016 War

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Doug Ducey. Photograph by Verci.
Republicans Continued Their National Win Streak In Arizona To Nab The State’s Executive Seats, But Democrats Still Manage To Celebrate Thanks To Wins By Gallego, Sinema and Kirkpatrick

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By Clipper Arnold
Special for Modern Times Magazine

Nov. 5, 2014 — The mood was equally effervescent in both the republican and democratic camps when election night festivities began, but in the end, republicans literally and figuratively partied louder and longer into the night.

As is standard procedure for general election nights in the Phoenix metro, there were two election ‘parties’ for the two big political ‘parties’ transpiring nearly across the street from each other.

The GOP resided at The Hyatt, while democrats corralled their ilk to The Renaissance. The democrats’ event emanated a young, modern vibe (complete with a jazz quartet in the hotel lobby) whereas the republicans’ event appeared slightly better attended and included more neckties. Initially, only cameras and press populated the hotel’s banquet halls.

However, 15 minutes before the speakers began, campaign volunteers, benevolent donors, and political bigwigs streamed through the double-doors with the hopes of witnessing bravado-filled victory speeches. Nationally, republicans claimed several crucial elections. They now hold large majorities in both houses of the U.S. Congress. Tonight, Arizona was hardly an exception to the trend.

Early in the evening, Ruben Gallego was announced as the landslide victor — as if was ever really in doubt — of Ed Pastor’s vacant 7th Congressional district chair. Cheers erupted from the crowd as the live results and news feeds broadcasted his victory. Equally audible ‘boos’ came a moment later when results showed republican gubernatorial candidate Doug Ducey leading democrat Fred DuVal by a significant margin.

Phoenix Councilman Daniel Valenzuela spoke, saying that the democrats were currently “laying the foundation” for eventually turning Arizona blue. He said things wouldn’t change after a single election, rather the continuing fight is necessary to make “the best Arizona for our children.”

Later, Jim Holway, candidate for Corporation Commission announced he was conceding defeat. He emphatically decried republicans’ use of dark money in all the elections. He said “we face opponents who run a stealth campaign.”

Holway attributed his loss to APS’ covert contributions to his republican competitors.

Kate Gallego, Ruben Gallego’s wife, spoke as well. She congratulated Ruben on his win and articulated the importance of winning certain ballot measures. She also said Phoenix is in the running to be the site of the democratic national convention in 2016.

Joseph Yuhas (Ruben Gallego’s campaign manager) and Kate Gallego. Photograph by Verci

Kate Gallego said there were more positives in the results than merely her husband’s victory.

“There’s been some good news in Phoenix. We’re very excited to see the results for prop 487 — the pension elimination ballot initiative. It looks so far like the people are defeating dark money on that one,” she said.

She said the pension elimination plan wasn’t amicable as proposed.

“We have a lot of investment we need to do in Phoenix and having the money go to lawsuits in that system would have been bad. We were seeing a lot of city employees announcing they would retire if it passed and it would have made it much more difficult to continue on with investments in downtown, upgrading infrastructure, etc. So, it’s good news for Phoenix if the current results continue,” Kate Gallego said.

She continued to explain how the proposition would have resulted in excessive litigation and uncertainty.

She also explained how much of her and Ruben’s efforts after winning the primary were devoted to discussing other democratic candidates and ballot measures with voters. She said she’s excited to see her husband advocate for better infrastructure and upgrades downtown.

“He’s a good strategic thinker, so he’ll also try to work on some of the more difficult issues facing Congress, such as having a more common sense approach to immigration,” Kate Gallego said.

Overall, Kate says it’s a good sign that Phoenicians have elected a young person who’s spent most of his adult life living in downtown Phoenix. She said, “that says something good about the transition our city is making toward being a powerful urban core.”

Young republicans. Photograph by Verci

The republican side included speakers such as senator Jeff Flake and Jan Brewer. The thicketed throngs of GOP members weaved through the banquet hall in giddy anticipation of the results. A middle-aged man with long blonde hair and an Iron Maiden shirt brushed shoulders with Sheriff Joe Arpaio on his way to pass out his metal band’s demo CD to anyone who would take it. The crowd continuously cheered in rapid-fire succession as national republican wins rolled in one after another.

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