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Political Buzz


The political world is buzzing with the possible reemergence of Gabrielle Giffords on the political scene. According to The Hill newspaper and the Huffington Post, Giffords is getting ready to launch Gabby PAC in the coming months. That announcement came at a Washington, DC fundraiser featuring Giffords.

The former member of Congress reportedly may also have a spot on the program at the Democratic National Convention in August. Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman-Schultz, the Democratic national chair, is one of Giffords closest friends. The convention will nominate President Obama for a second term. The President visited Giffords in the hospital last year after she was shot.

Before all of those events, Giffords will make an appearance at a get out the vote rally at the Rialto Theater in Tucson.


Republican Jesse Kelly’s statements in the 2010 congressional campaign have come back as a major attack point for Democrats in the race to fill the vacancy in CD8.

Kelly often said, in 2010, that he supported privatizing, phasing out, and eliminating Social Security and Medicare, but that he wanted to protect those receiving benefits already.

Democrat Ron Barber, his supporters from the party, and Political Action Committees have run and rerun those Kelly quotes this year, but a new one popped up today.

The House Majority PAC, a Democratic super PAC, is attacking Kelly in a new ad, using this quote from a 2010 campaign event:

“…And now she stands there with that smile and pretends to be some kind of hometown hero. She’s a hero of nothing,” Kelly says in the ad.

The narrator says the quote is from 2010, and the year is on the screen with a transcription of the quote as the viewer listens to Kelly say it.

John Ellinwood, Kelly’s campaign spokesman in 2010 and again this year, would only respond in a written statement.

“This race is about Ron Barber's support for ObamaCare and Obama's Cap-and-Trade energy tax and we will remain focused on the issues important to the families of Southern Arizona,” Ellinwood wrote.

What do you think of the ad? Watch it here:

Jesse Kelly CD8 Ron Barber,


I’ve been a political reporter for 20 years so election season is one of my favorite times on the calendar. But the Special Election for Congressional District 8 is different. Because not only do I get a front seat to the campaigns, but I also live in the district and the race appears to be a close one.

I am on the early voter list that means my ballot arrived weeks ago. I am not affiliated with either party so that means the postal worker who comes to my house six days a week has a hefty job. Nearly every delivery has at least one political mailer and often two or three. Some of those mailers tell me the foibles of Republican Jesse Kelly while other pieces tell me the problems with Democrat Ron Barber. Some of the mail is sent to my wife, another political independent, targeting what the campaigns determine to be womens’ issues. The mailers come from the campaigns, the state political parties, and even outside groups.

As a political reporter I think getting these mailers delivered right to my house are a great service. I don’t have to go any further than the curb to see the latest campaign messages. The staff at Arizona Public Media also brings mailers to our political team so we get to see them all.

The registration in CD 8 is split nearly in thirds between Republicans, Democrats, and third party/no party voters. Republicans enjoy a slight lead in registration but most political observers say it is the independents who will carry the day in CD 8. This weekend backed that up.

On Friday night, a nice man knocked on my door. He identified himself as from the Democratic Party and just wanted to remind me to vote. He had my name and address on a list and was working his way through the neighborhood. On Saturday, a nice woman with a Jesse Kelly sticker on her blouse pulled up to my house, with the same style list as the man the night before, also to make sure I voted. After a brief conversation, she got back in her car and drove away. She stopped a few houses down and knocked on the door. No doubt to make sure another one of my neighbors had voted.

I’ve lived in my neighborhood for four years but this is the first time I’ve received visits from a campaign worker, let alone drop ins from both parties, reminding me to vote. It looks like the campaigns are expecting a close race so don’t forget to vote.

CD 8 Jesse Kelly Ron Barber election,


Republican Wil Cardon is airing a television ad calling out his main opponent, U.S. Rep. Jeff Flake, for supporting a bill that Cardon says would increase carbon taxes.

Cardon's airing a TV ad, a radio ad, and sending emails to reporters about the legislation Flake sponsored in 2009.

Now Flake is responding, saying the bill he sponsored did not do what Cardon says it does, and was intended to counter a Democratic Party effort to raise carbon emission taxes in a Cap and Trade bill.

"Flake's plan to tax energy will cost an Arizona family of four more than $1,000 a year in increased taxes on electricity, oil and gasoline. The Flake energy tax will also mean higher energy costs for every Arizona business -- and increase costs for the coal and fuel industries," a news release from the Cardon campaign says.

Watch Cardon's ad here:

In a letter to supporters, Flake responds, "You may have seen an ad running on television from my opponent claiming that I want a massive energy tax and suggesting that I support cap and trade. This, of course, is untrue."

He goes on to say the bill he sponsored was a "a revenue-neutral tax swap" meant to replace the Democrats' efforts in a Cap and Trade bill.

"The legislation stipulated that any carbon tax revenue raised by the government would go directly into the Social Security Trust Fund, and at the same time the payroll tax would be lowered by the same amount. This way, there was no incentive for politicians to raise the tax, since they wouldn't get their hands on the money to spend. It was used as a way to call the Democrats' bluff. I should note that in the end, we succeeded -- cap and trade failed," Flake writes in the letter to supporters.

He says prominent conservatives supported the effort, and that he never supported raising taxes or spending.

Jeff Flake Republican Wil Cardon US Senate,


The ad called “Worry” uses Jesse Kelly’s statements in the last election cycle about Medicare and Social Security. Kelly’s proposal two years ago to privatize Social Security has become a major topic in this special election for CD 8.

In recent days both Barber and Kelly have held dueling news conferences to tout their support from senior citizens.

Watch the ad:

Your Vote 2012: The AZPM Election Center


Will Cardon is a political newcomer but he is wasting no time introducing himself to voters.

Cardon has released his fourth TV ad, and like the others it pushes the idea that he is a conservative outsider who knows how to create jobs.

Cardon faces Congressman Jeff Flake in a GOP primary for the US Senate seat held by Sen. Jon Kyl who is retiring. The winner of that primary will face Democrat Richard Carmona in November.

Watch the ad:

Your Vote 2012: The AZPM Election Center

About Political Buzz

News, commentary, analysis from the AZPM political team: Christopher Conover, Andrea Kelly, Michael Chihak.