The Daily Agenda: The lost art of the concession
It's not a big deal, but it's yet another small deal ... That's not what the courts are for ... And we're into wholesome content now.
When candidates lost a primary election, there used to be a strict formula for what they were expected to do.
First, they called their opponent to concede and congratulate them. Then they put out a statement that congratulated the victor, pledged to support them in the general election and thanked their supporters for all their hard work. For as long as many can remember, that has been the standard operating procedure for losing candidates.
But this year, many statewide candidates didn’t bother.
While most losing candidates offered some sort of tacit acknowledgement of their defeat, few congratulated or even named their victorious opponent. And even fewer made that dreaded phone call, according to consultants who worked on a host of statewide campaigns this year.
Democratic gubernatorial candidate Marco Lopez, for example, posted a statement acknowledging his loss after a hard-fought campaign in which Katie Hobbs ultimately crushed him. But the statement didn’t congratulate Hobbs — in fact, it didn’t even name her. It didn’t pledge to help Hobbs beat Kari Lake, only to help Democrats in general win. And he never made that phone call congratulating her, Hobbs’ campaign confirmed.
And then he burned what little goodwill that statement earned him by posting tweets seemingly mocking Hobbs for not showing up on the campaign trail, which he later apologized for.
Losing GOP contender Karrin Taylor Robson earned online props for her “gracious” and “classy” concession statement, which congratulated her opponent by name. But it didn’t go unnoticed that she didn’t actually say the words “I endorse Kari Lake.” And she couldn’t muster the courage to make that phone call no candidate wants to make, at least not in the days immediately following the campaign, her former consultant confirmed.
Fringe GOP candidate Scott Neely handled his loss with equal grace — until he didn’t. In a statement on the Friday after the election, he congratulated Lake by name and pledged to support her. He even declared that Lake was “my opponent and not my enemy,” while giving kudos to Robson for her “professionalism and kindness.”
But two days later, he was back to launching braggadocious tweets about how he, who earned 3% of the vote, was actually the only one who could beat Hobbs and that he might run as a write-in candidate in the general election. (Arizona has a so-called “sore loser law” that prevents him from doing so.)
Then there’s Attorney General Mark Brnovich, who still hasn’t posted a concession in his U.S. Senate GOP primary on his campaign Twitter, but on Tuesday sent out an email to supporters that implied he lost. He made no mention of Blake Masters, the winner, nor did he pledge to support anyone going forward. Brnovich was the only person in the five-way race to not call and congratulate the winner, Masters told us.
“I know we’re all disappointed, but in my heart I believe we have good ideas, strong values and the right vision for the future,” Brnovich wrote.
Republican Michelle Ugenti-Rita had perhaps the most standard and gracious concession statement of the primary election: She not only congratulated the victor in her GOP primary for secretary of state, Mark Finchem, but also declared it had been an honor to campaign alongside her other opponents. She even picked up the phone to concede to him directly, her campaign manager confirmed.
“Even though we were running against one another, I always appreciate people who put themselves forward, get in the arena and fight for their vision,” she wrote.
The failure to congratulate and support your fellow party-mate and opponent may be a miniscule sign of the collapse of civil society, considering *gestures everywhere*. But it’s another erosion of the norms that used to dominate political life.
Actions may actually have consequences: The Maricopa County Board of Supervisors wants the federal courts to sanction GOP governor candidate Kari Lake, secretary of state nominee Mark Finchem and their attorneys (one of whom is Alan Dershowitz) over their lawsuit against voting machines, saying they’re using the courts improperly to try to undermine democracy, AZ Law points out. The politicians are using the court case to “further a disinformation campaign and false narrative” about Arizona elections based on falsehoods, which the county called “repugnant.”
Keep holding your breath, Jan: Lake tells the New York Times that she’s not boastful, it’s just that everyone really loves her because she was a TV news reporter. But it seems former Gov. Jan Brewer doesn’t exactly love her and said she wouldn’t support Lake unless she stops lying about the 2020 election.
“I want to hear her tell me she did all this because she wanted to win and that it got a little bit out of control,” Brewer said.
Political stunts ain’t cheap: Over the past three months, the buses of migrants Arizona sent to Washington D.C. have cost about $3 million, AZFamily’s Morgan Loew and Cody Lillich report. The state pays more than $80,000 per bus to AMI Expeditionary Healthcare LLC, with nearly 40 buses now taking the route to the nation’s capital, where the mayor is now upset about the migrants’ effects on local shelters and nonprofits.
Eighty-thousand dollars is slightly less than our annual budget (we’re cornering six-figures, finally), but we still can’t stay financially afloat without more subscribers. Support local journalism by clicking below.
That’s one theory: The Arizona Daily Star’s Tim Steller argues that Arizona’s statewide Trump First slate could be right that the FBI executing a search warrant on Trump is a sign that America is turning into a banana republic. But it’s equally plausible that the FBI actually has evidence of a crime, and the warrant shows that America is a place where even the most powerful are not above the law.
Let’s go to the tape: Jewish Insider’s Matthew Kassel brought up the audio from a Twitter Spaces where Gab founder Andrew Torba asked U.S. Sen. Blake Masters to joined Gab and they talked about platform discrimination. Masters’ senior adviser, Katie Miller, then told Rolling Stone that she’s the one who inserted language into a Masters statement that claimed he didn’t know who Torba was.
Your top cop: The Republic’s Tara Kavaler provides a primer on the race for attorney general, a consequential position as the state’s top prosecutor. She looks into the backgrounds and views of the Democratic nominee, Kris Mayes, and the GOP contender, Abraham Hamadeh, whose only commonalities seem to be that they’re both attorneys who live in Arizona.
Help needed: Suicide rates in Arizona have increased over the past decade, in part because of a shortage of mental health professionals and poor access to care, KJZZ’s Ashley Ryan reports. Men are much more likely to die by suicide. The data used in the story ends in 2019, so it’s not clear what impact the pandemic may have had on these rates.
All elections are important: Salon highlights the race between Democrat Julie Gunnigle and Republican Rachel Mitchell for Maricopa County Attorney, saying the office “is poised to have the most tangible impact on Arizonans, particularly when it comes to abortion rights in a state poised to ban most or all abortions.” Local prosecutors will decide whether and how to file charges for abortions in various states, with some, like Gunnigle, saying they won’t charge people getting or providing abortions, even if it’s illegal.
Checking in with the cities: One candidate who came up short for Eloy City Council has vowed to sue over his loss because of Pinal County’s multiple election problems, the Eloy Enterprise reports. Tax revenues from marijuana purchases that go to cities will help pay down pension debts, the Republic’s Taylor Seely reports. The City of Tucson has more money than it budgeted to spend this year, leaving about $150 million available for whatever the city wants to spend, KGUN reports. The idea of moving Glendale’s city hall to Westgate is either worth discussing or “hogwash,” depending on who you’re asking, the Republic’s Endia Fontanez reports. Sedona is giving thousands of dollars to people who opt to rent to long-term renters instead of using their properties as Airbnbs, according to 12News. And this dispatch from Gilbert by reporter Tom Blodgett wins for best paragraph of the day:
“Gilbert Town Council listened for two hours Tuesday as a series of residents railed about the town’s rail proposal. The only problem: the town does not have one,” Blodgett wrote.
If this is your idea of a good time …: The New York Times looks into who’s inspiring people to show up and watch ballot drop boxes in search of “mules,” finding that some Arizona politicians (like Lake and Kelly Townsend) are among those encouraging the behavior, which is not widespread. Seth Keshel, known as Captain K, also told his followers to “tailgate” at ballot boxes. One photo circulating online showed a tailgate, supposedly at a ballot drop site in Arizona, though it’s not clear where.
Not comforting: A new body found in Lake Mead as water levels recede might actually be parts of a previous found body.
One of us: Former Arizona Mirror reporter Dillon Rosenblatt launched a Substack focused on public records requests, where he intends to post records he receives from government agencies.
Legislative District 9 could be one of the most interesting races to watch in November since it’s the only competitive district that leans toward Democrats in voter registration.
The district is mostly in west Mesa, covering areas from the Loop 101 to Val Vista, with Dobson Ranch in its southernmost region to University in one northern section and Hohokam Stadium in another.
Republican Sen. Tyler Pace was the only incumbent running in this race that takes parts of former LD25 mixed with LD26 and LD18, but he lost his primary to the Donald Trump- and Kari Lake-supported Robert Scantlebury. Scantlebury is a retired Mesa police officer who was once named in an excessive force claim and now owns his own tractor service. He will face Democrat Eva Burch, a nurse.
In the House, Kathy Pearce and Mary Ann Mendoza are running for the Republicans. Pearce is the sister of Russell Pearce, Arizona’s only successfully recalled state lawmaker. She previously ran for LD25 in 2020, losing in the primary to Rusty Bowers and Michelle Udall. Mendoza, an Angel mom, made national headlines in 2020 when she was pulled from the RNC lineup for tweeting anti-semitic QAnon beliefs. They are running against Democrats Lorena Austin, a fifth-generation Arizonan and Mesa native, and Seth Blattman, a small business owner who ran unsuccessfully against Michelle Ugenti-Rita for the LD23 senate in 2020 before moving to Mesa.
For some wholesome content today, check out this Washington Post story about the Florida publisher who scooped the nation on the news of the Mar-a-Lago search warrant. Peter Schorsch, who runs FloridaPolitics.com, tweeted out the scoop, but admitted, candidly, that he wasn’t a “strong enough reporter” to provide more details.
“I don’t think I’m a journalist. I’ve been very adamant about that,” Schorsch told the Post. “You can swing a sword but that doesn’t make you a samurai.”