Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Thoughts on Election Night

POTUS: First, congratulations to the president on his re-election.
Barack Obama is an extremely talented politician and he should be commended for pulling of a hard fought victory in the face of a lagging economy. There's no time to celebrate, though, as we inch ever closer to the fiscal cliff.

Flake earned this one: While his opponent coasted through an uncontested primary, Sen.-elect Jeff Flake had to duke it out with a self-funded primary challenger mounting a vanity campaign that left Flake a little battered and bruised going into the general. Then Flake had to contend with SuperPACs that threw the kitchen sink at him. But our next U.S. senator's boundless optimism and clear record of accomplishment in the House got him across the finish line with a strong victory, while his fellow GOP Senate candidates across the country badly under-performed. He's the absolute right pick to carry on the legacy of Jon Kyl in the U.S. Senate.

Psst, here's a stock pick for you: If you're into political futures markets, buy Doug Ducey stock. The state treasurer expertly guided the opposition to Proposition 204. He made a clear, convincing case to turn back a measure that would have saddled the state with high sales taxes and little accountability in how the money would be spent. For a guy only a few years removed from the executive suite, he's shown he can win statewide. He's definitely one to watch.

There's no I in team: The No on 204 camp assembled an outstanding team of political talent to stand shoulder to shoulder with Treasurer Ducey. From rising Arizona stars to veteran hands out of D.C., I can't recall a campaign that so quickly and efficiently took down its opposition.

No time for a victory lap: We might have successfully defeated 204, but there's no gloating here. I can speak with confidence that you'll see Arizona's job creators work to advance a positive education agenda in 2013 that couples proven reforms with fiscal accountability. As Bush 43 said when he was governor of Texas, education is to a state what national defense is to the federal government: it's job 1. We've made progress in bringing the Common Core online, Move on When Reading and strengthened teacher and principal assessment measures, but there's still more that can be done. And we're not afraid to acknowledge that some of these things will take money.

Speaker Tobin's new teammates: There is a great stable of young talent on Speaker Andy Tobin's team, and after this election, it's only gotten stronger. Paul Boyer, Ethan Orr and TJ Shope are joining a team that already includes great representatives like Justin Pierce, Justin Olson, JD Mesnard and Tom Forese.

You want Andy Tobin in your corner: Perhaps no one defends his fellow caucus members more vigorously than Andy Tobin. With a party fundraising structure that is basically defunct, the speaker wasn't going to let his legislators twist in the wind.  The speaker's a fighter, and he raised the resources that helped his teammates win some tough scrapes.

Thanks, Dad!:I was excited to see TJ pull out (what looks like) a nail-biter in the rural LD 8. You can credit his victory to over-performing in Democrat precincts and to his father, Coolidge Mayor Tom Shope, who let his son take lots of time off from the family grocery store to work incredibly hard on the campaign trail. TJ will be a commonsense voice for his rural district.

Steve Pierce's hard work pays off: He's unfairly been the target of barbs from local party "leaders", but Senate President Steve Pierce's work paid off. With a state GOP that is largely irrelevant, President Pierce and his team stepped into the breach to raise the funds necessary to defend tough challenges to Chester Crandell and John McComish. If it weren't for President Pierce, the Senate would look dramatically different. We should take the time to thank the president for all he's done this cycle.

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