The Daily Agenda: Welcome to the campaign trail
And anyone who infringes on recess goes to jail ... We'll buy stock in Salmon at 2 cents ... And those, uh, costumes aren't cool.
Three of the top GOP gubernatorial candidates appeared on stage together last week in an event that quickly devolved into a heated debate for third grade class president.
“The only idiot that rivals Joe Biden in Washington D.C. is that idiot (Anthony) Fauci. And anybody that would support that idiot has got to have poop for brains,” Matt Salmon declared in response to a question about federal overreach.
Salmon and Kari Lake battled for the title of most unhinged gubernatorial candidate with statements like “poop for brains” and Lake’s promise to “find out who defrauded the voters of Arizona,” and throw them in jail.
Steve Gaynor, who is also running, was somehow the sane voice in the room.
He didn’t outright claim the election was stolen (though he did again hint it was stolen, saying the Associated Press called the 2018 secretary of state race for him) and declared, in contrast to the others, that Arizona can’t simply build a wall along the southern border.
Salmon kicked off the event by declaring that he would have never allowed schools to close down during the pandemic that has killed more than 20,000 Arizonans, and would have fired all teachers who didn’t show up to class.
Not to be out-fringed, Lake declared that “you don’t need to be a science wizard” to know that masks do not stop the spread of the virus, announced that she’s unvaccinated and encouraged police to walk off the job if their cities implement vaccine mandates.
So Salmon took it up a notch by declaring that if the federal government is going to investigate the growing number of threats to school boards — or as he put it, send FBI agents to find terrorists in classrooms — he’ll send the National Guard into classrooms to stop them, a line he’s been using a lot lately.
God willing, the pandemic will be over by the time a new governor takes office in 2023, making their anti-science positions less critical. Perhaps even threats to school boards will subside with the virus.
But with a little luck, we’ll still be having elections at that point. That’s why their pandering or uninformed statements about the kinds of election changes they’d support are so sobering.
All three GOP gubernatorial candidates endorsed the idea of eliminating voting by mail, which 80 percent of Arizonans use, in favor of “one election day” which would also be the only day to count votes.
Salmon went a step further, declaring that Arizona must hand-count ballots to ensure they’re accurate, in one day, without machines.
Of course, that’s not even possible, let alone wise. But promoting such silly ideas is what it takes to compete in the Republican gubernatorial primary.
There’s a lot going on here: Protesters really are following U.S. Sen. Kyrsten Sinema everywhere, including to a wedding she officiated in Bisbee this past weekend, which weirdly included people who dressed in Native American costumes, the Arizona Daily Star’s Danyelle Khmara reports. At a dinner with the wedding party, Sinema reportedly wore a jacket with the words “Go sit on a cactus” on it. The protesters, who posted a video on YouTube, called her “sellout Sinema.” One held a sign that said, “Let them eat wedding cake.” The bride, who walked by the camera at one point, told the protesters, “thanks for ruining my wedding,” and the bride’s mother tearfully asked the protesters to let the ceremony proceed. They also sang the “Star-Spangled Banner” at the ceremony.
Some suggested follow-up stories for our fellow journalists:
Meet the Couple Who Thought Sinema Ordaining Their Wedding was a Good Idea
Help! Protesters Crashed My Daughter’s Wedding
What Life Choices Lead You to Wear a Racist Costume to a Wedding?
Saturday Plans in Bisbee for Weekends When Sinema Isn’t in Town
Where Will Protesters Find Sinema Next?
This isn’t very much money: Gov. Doug Ducey announced he’s spending $3.5 million to help with financial issues for some Arizonans and provide funds and other services for small businesses coming out of the pandemic.
We thought about applying for one of Ducey’s small business grants, but we don’t seem to qualify. Please subscribe for just $7 per month to keep us in business.
It’s hard work, but the pay is also shitty: Superintendent of Public Instruction Kathy Hoffman launched the Arizona Teacher Residency on Monday, a program to allow non-education majors to enter a graduate program at Northern Arizona University to earn teaching credentials and a “highly subsidized” master’s degree. The program, which uses $5 million in federal emergency relief funds, hopes to address Arizona’s teacher shortage and retention problems. Students accepted into the program must commit to teaching in Arizona for three years after completion.
Reading is fundamental: We asked about your favorite government and politics books last week, and your responses were great. We added them to our reading lists. We didn’t, however, add Meghan McCain’s new audiobook “Bad Republican” to our lists. But we didn’t need to because Republic columnist Bill Goodykoontz listened to it, reviewed it and spoke to McCain.
“Every single nasty horrible thing that people say about me I have probably seen and read a thousand times, if not more,” she said. “I know people think I’m a fat Veruca Salt child of privilege. I get that. I’ve seen all the parodies. I’ve seen 'SNL,' I just saw 'The Daily Show.’ I feel like I’m in on the joke,” McCain told the Republic.
Transparency would be helpful here: The Phoenix VA — which you may remember from the massive VA wait-time scandal — isn’t doing most surgeries at its Phoenix hospital right now, instead sending veterans to other hospitals, the Republic’s Stephanie Innes reports. It’s not clear how long this has been going on. But it apparently stemmed from “some surgical instrument packs that did not meet VA standards.”
Rising rent prices aren’t helping either: It’s difficult to definitively say how the end of the eviction moratorium is affecting people so far. But social service organizations in the Phoenix area say they’re seeing more demand for their services, KJZZ’s Katherine Davis-Young reports.
He’ll face tough competition: Arizona Rep. Quang Nguyen, a Republican, wants to be the most pro-gun lawmaker, reports the Republic’s Ray Stern. This goal stems from his childhood in Vietnam, which informs his belief that people need guns to protect themselves from “being overrun by a tyrannical government.” The feature includes Nguyen’s statement that “more people are killed by hammers than AR-15s in a year,” which Stern said “may or may not be true.” (It’s almost certainly not.)
That’s where that COVID-19 money is going: The state will spend $40 million ($30 million of which came from the feds for COVID-19 relief) to try to keep more water in Lake Mead, though it’s not clear exactly how yet. It’s not going to solve the lake’s problems, Republic columnist Joanna Allhands writes, but it’s still worthwhile.
Ready your cash registers: Nogales businesses are ready to receive Mexican travelers and their money after a rough financial year for the border town. Starting on Nov. 8, vaccinated travelers can come across the U.S. borders for nonessential business. Don’t miss this lede from Khmara’s story about the coming boom: “If you come to Nogales and you don’t go to La Cinderella, it’s like you didn’t come to Nogales at all.”
Chills, a Substack by journalist Lauren Wolfe, has a great explainer about journalism terms like “off the record,” “on background,” “deep background” and “not for attribution.” The general public often misuses or misunderstands the terms, and even people who frequently work with the media don't always get it right (no, your email to us is not “off the record” unless we previously agree that’s the case, random consultants). In general, if you’re talking with a journalist, it’s best to start with a discussion about how you think your conversation could be used, like whether you’re comfortable being quoted by name, anonymously or not at all. No need for fancy terms, though it does help to know them.
We love the idea of explaining the often too-opaque profession of newsgathering. If you have a question about how journalism works, reply to this email and we’ll do our best to answer it.
Vail resident Sheldon Clark wrote a letter to the editor at the Daily Star with a novel idea: Since sports betting is legal, why don’t we start betting on the Arizona Legislature? “Bet an over/under on the number of laws overturned by state or federal courts,” Clark proposed. “Or, a parlay wager on the Legislature defunding public school education, repealing Arizona’s public records laws, and voting to appoint their slate of state electors in lieu of election outcomes. Maybe a straight bet on the state Senate retaining Cyber Ninjas to audit the 2022 elections. The possibilities are endless. The entertainment value — priceless.”
While Clark was perhaps joking, he’s onto something.
Despite prohibitions on election gambling, PredictIt, a politics betting site, allows betting on major political events (but don’t call it gambling — it’s legal, they swear). Unfortunately, it doesn’t get as granular as we’d like on local issues and candidates.
The site operates something like a stock market — you can buy and sell stock in the likelihood that an event happens. Unlikely events are cheap, likely events are more expensive.
Right now, you can buy stock in Lake winning the GOP nomination for governor for 69 cents. If she wins, it pays out a dollar (or you can sell her stock before the election for whatever price it’s selling for that day). Kimberly Yee winning the nomination is trading at 31 cents, while shares of Salmon are trading at 2 cents, tied with Gaynor and Kirk Adams (who is not running for governor).
Republicans winning the governorship is trading at 59 cents, while Democrat Mark Kelly holding onto his U.S. Senate seat is trading slightly higher, at 61 cents right now.
The Arizona Independent Redistricting Commission meets today at 8 a.m. as they come closer to setting final draft maps. You can find online streaming information here.
The Ahwatukee Republican Women will hear from Arizona Attorney General candidate Andrew Gould tonight at 6:30 p.m. at the Ahwatukee Country Club at 12432 S 48th St. in Phoenix.