AZ: Tucson Greens Prepare for Historic Primary

Green party candidates are running in a number of noteworthy contests this year.  Among them is the Tucson mayoral election.  From last week's column at AZIVN:
In June, Democratic party activists successfully purged all Republican party and Independent hopefuls from the ballot in this year’s mayoral election in Tucson, ensuring a two-party race between the Democrats and Greens, as reported here at AZIVN late last month.  Following the Green Party’s first ever primary election for Tucson mayor in August, Democrat Jonathan Rothschild will square off against either Mary DeCamp or David Croteau in the election for the city’s highest office this coming November.  The city’s current mayor, Republican Robert Walkup, is not seeking re-election. 
Last Friday, the two Greens sat down for the first in a series of candidate interviews with Christopher Conover and Andrea Kelly from Arizona Public Media.  The cordial discussion began with a consideration of what this primary means for the Green party.  Mary DeCamp, a teacher and lifelong activist originally from Nebraska, stressed its historic character. 
“This is historical. This is the first city-wide [primary] election that the Green party has run,” said DeCamp. “We have only been in Pima County for 20 years. So we’re as young as some of our youngest voters . . . to offer a new way of approaching politics is very exciting,” she continued.  DeCamp stressed that she and her primary opponent David Croteau are good friends.  “We’re bringing the message to the public that politics can be civil, respectful, engaging and fun,” she concluded. 
David Croteau, a self-employed craftsman and also a longtime activist, stressed that voters are clearly looking for real alternatives to the Democrats and Republicans.  “I believe that the two-party system is broken,” he said.  “The largest voting increase seems to be in Independents, and that suggests to me that the two major parties aren’t giving choices that people are willing to stick with,” he continued.
Read the rest.  Independent voters now outnumber Democrats in Arizona.  The Green party's primary in the Tucson mayoral election has the potential to significantly raise the party's profile throughout the state.  If Greens and progressives nationally are looking for a local campaign to bolster in an off-year election, this one should be on the top of their list.


Samuel Wilson said...

We learned from the mass shooting that Tucson is a liberal town, but can there really be no "conservative" candidate in the mayoral race? Granted, the Green nominee will probably want to pin that label on the Democrat, but who'll believe it? While there certainly will be drama in the general campaign, a lot of residents are bound to feel that they have no real choice this November unless someone starts a write-in campaign. But why shouldn't someone else feel that way for once?

TiradeFaction said...

Any assessment of the organizing strength of the Greens in Tucson, do they have a chance at making any splashes in these races?

d.eris said...

heh. Good point Sam. From the reports that I've read, the Republicans may decide to back a candidate for a write-in campaign at their convention, but I'm not exactly sure who that would or could be. One problem they'll probably face, if I understand correctly, is that a number of their top candidates are technically disqualified from running as write-in candidates. The law states that candidates who tried to petition their way onto the ballot, but failed to achieve ballot access for whatever reason (in this case because of signature challenges from the Democrats), are barred from running write-in campaigns. (Isn't that the so-called "sore loser law"?) I think there were at least two or three such GOP hopefuls in this race.

Tucson is a liberal town, in great part due to the local university. Dems have a major registration advantage, around 60%. But if the Greens do start to pick up some momentum, conservatives could very well get behind the Dem in a lesser evil strategy.

d.eris said...

I would argue, TF, that the Greens have an excellent chance of making a big splash in this race, just on the basis of the fact that it is a two-party race and they're in it. They're already receiving a fair amount of local media coverage, which is raising the party's profile in the county and state as well. As I understand it, the Greens are relatively young in Pima County, but both of these candidates have run for office before. One of them, Croteau, ran for Tucson mayor in 2007 and received 26% of the vote (I'm not sure what the particular dynamics of that race were, but that's a pretty good showing.)

On the other hand, the Pima County Green party's website is outdated on a number of pages. It still references Bush on their about page in a manner which seems to imply that Bush is still president, for example. But their news feed is current.

If they got some support and/or help from Greens around the country, they might very well be able to give the Dem a run for his money.