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The Daily Agenda: Quite the October surprise
Obligatory joke about this happening in Surprise ... The debate that wasn't finally happened, kind of ... And Richer deserves a vacation.
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Within hours of our tweets announcing that Randy Kaufman, the Republican Party-endorsed candidate for Maricopa County Community College District Governing Board, had been arrested for masturbating in his truck on a community college campus near a pre-school, he dropped out of the race, citing a “personal legal matter.”
It all happened pretty quick. But it should have happened a lot sooner.
We won’t get into all the sordid details of what exactly Kaufman was doing in that parking lot because we’re classy. If you want to read the police report in all its disgusting glory, there’s your link. You’ve been warned.
Kaufman now faces possible felony charges because of his proximity to a pre-school. In the fallout frenzy, Democrats dunked on anyone who ever took a photo with Kaufman and found all sorts of irony in his answers to the Republic’s candidate questionnaire. And the Republican Party announced it supported his decision to drop out of the race.
But Kaufman was arrested two weeks ago, before early ballots went out and people started voting for him. During the arrest, he announced to police that he was a candidate for the governing board, and he name-dropped a friend on the force. That should have sent up big red flags for the college police department, Rio Salado and Maricopa County Community College District leadership team.
The fact that he had been endorsed by the Maricopa County Colleges Police Officer Association and name-dropped its president, Jim Hill, during his arrest raises even more questions. The group immediately withdrew its endorsement yesterday after news broke, but it’s hard to believe nobody had caught wind of his arrest until after we did.
To the district’s credit, when we started asking yesterday, officials were quick to turn over the documents. And when we asked Chuck Coolidge, the executive vice president of marketing and communications at the community college district, why the district didn’t alert voters about Kaufman’s arrest, he said the district is wary of any appearance that it’s trying to influence the outcome of an election. So they treated it like they would any random person or student getting arrested on campus, which is to say they didn’t do anything special about it.
But what if reporters hadn’t caught wind of this scandal and asked about it?
“You’d hope at some point the defendant would have taken it upon himself to remove himself from the campaign,” Coolidge said.
That hope is not realistic. And we know better than to rely on a politician’s honesty when it comes to disclosing their misdeeds.
The end of debategate: Democratic gubernatorial candidate Katie Hobbs sat down for her one-on-one interview with Arizona PBS’ Ted Simons last night, which was largely uneventful and focused on the debate itself, the Talonya Adams verdict and Hobbs’ plans for education, the border, the economy and more. The debate, or lack thereof, and the debate over the debate, culminated in Hobbs and GOP contender Kari Lake both getting one-on-one time. Lake’s interview, set up by Clean Elections, will run on the less-watched AZTV Channel 7 on Sunday. In an email to the station’s staff, Cronkite School Dean Battinto Batts said he made the call directing AZPBS to invite both candidates for separate interviews, which he acknowledged “will not be agreeable to everyone,” but said will “serve the public interest.” Batts instructed station staff who didn’t need to be at work in person to work remotely, and he separately told students and instructors to arrange for remote classes in preparation for the interview. Although Lake didn’t show up to make a scene, school officials have been wary since last week’s press conference, and school staff have faced harassment and threats from Lake’s supporters.
Nail-biter: A new poll from the Republic and Suffolk University shows Lake ahead by one percentage point, which is within the margin of error. It found that 20% of independent voters, a critical group for each candidate to win over, were still undecided. The poll aligns with others in recent weeks that have confirmed the race should be a close one.
Despite all evidence: Lake tells 12News’ Joe Dana that she still finds “2000 Mules” to be credible, despite the recent letter to the FBI and IRS about True the Vote’s lack of evidence sent to the Arizona Attorney General’s Office. Other lawmakers and candidates who embraced the movie — including some who held a hearing about it at the Capitol — haven’t said much since the AG’s letter.
Trump in a dress: Washington Post columnist Greg Sargent writes that Lake imitates Trump, but in a way that’s more “cunning” and “venomous” than Trumpism’s first iteration. By trying to soften and polish Trumpian positions like election denialism and harsh immigration rhetoric, Sargent posits that Lake makes it more palatable and thus more dangerous.
Bust out a magnifying glass: The text on your ballot in Maricopa County is super small, as little as 7.5 point font, which falls below recommended sizes from voter advocacy groups, Votebeat’s Jen Fifield reports.
With friends like these: Jewish News runs downs the Arizona candidates, all Republicans, who have ties with anti-Semites or have made anti-Semitic comments, particularly noting endorsements or appearances with people like Gab founder Andrew Torba and Nick Fuentes.
Call them that to their faces: Democratic U.S. Rep. Ruben Gallego, a Marine, writes an op-ed for Fox News defending the military and panning U.S. Senate candidate Blake Masters’ comments on the military. Masters has called the military “totally incompetent” and “bozos.”
Let’s do an Agenda podcast, Gov: Journalist Reid Wilson of Pluribus News will host an interview with Gov. Doug Ducey on the midterm elections on Friday at 12:30 p.m. Eastern time (that’s 9:30 a.m. locally). To sign up to watch, use this link.
Money for something: The Gila River Indian Community could take some fed money to keep some of its Colorado River allotment in Lake Mead, but the amount offered by the feds to Yuma farmers to keep water in Lake Mead was nowhere near enough for them to bite, water stakeholders said at a meeting of Sen. Kyrsten Sinema’s water advisory council, according to the Republic’s Brandon Loomis.
More protection needed: The University of Arizona twice sought criminal charges against the man who was recently charged for shooting and killing professor Tom Meixner on campus, but the Pima County prosecutor has so far not filed charges in the two instances, one of which was just a month before the killing, the Arizona Daily Star’s Kathryn Palmer reports.
Hank opposes: The City of Tempe is considering a ban on flavored vape products, saying the flavors make vaping more attractive to younger people, KJZZ reports. The city is seeking feedback from the community on the proposed ordinance.
Airbnb crackdown: Mesa joins a handful of other Arizona cities putting some restrictions on short-term rentals, now that the Legislature untied cities’ hands (somewhat) on regulations. The ordinance is intended to crack down on party houses and nuisances to neighbors, 12News reports.
Small problem: In Cochise County, 550 voters got the wrong ballots, with some missing a ballot question about water active management areas and others seeing the question who shouldn’t have it on their ballot, Arizona Public Media’s Andrew Oxford reports. Impacted voters will receive corrected ballots. Meanwhile, the Secretary of State’s Office announced that because of an error in a database, “less than a quarter of one percent of voters” were incorrectly registered as “federal-only” voters. Those who wrongly received federal-only ballot in the mail will get a new, correct ballot, the office said.
Topical law: Leaving carved pumpkins in your yard might be considered illegally feeding wildlife, but an officer probably wouldn’t enforce it unless you were using those jack-o-lanterns to intentionally draw in javelinas to feed, 12News reports.
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