If this is any omen of the future, the GOP in Arizona may be looking at massive statewide losses in November. (Let’s hope so.) The Republican-run state has piled up crippling deficits for years and tried to privatize all public services to the point where they sold public buildings to pay off the debt that the state then leased back at a higher rate (!). (That’s right, the citizens of Arizona no longer own their state capitol building.) Plus they are plagued by certifiable boneheads like Gov. Jan Brewer and Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio. As well as being dogged by charges of corruption, Brewer has frittered away her time in office by blaming immigrants for the state’s ills caused by her party, and inventing lurid comic-book hallucinations of headless bodies in the desert, instead of addressing problems like an adult; Arpaio is a racist thug who thinks it’s funny to clothe his male prisoners in pink underwear and wastes taxpayer money searching for Obama’s ‘real’ place of birth. Have even Republicans in the Grand Canyon State finally had enough of the Teabagger madness? This easy victory by Barber in what was expected to be a very tight race, and the toppling of SB 1070-drafter Russell Pearce last year, would seem to suggest that’s true. After all, everything has just gotten worse since Brewer took office.
Former Giffords aide Ron Barber beat his Tea Party opponent in an election that was far less close than predicted. Democrats said the victory is a good omen for Obama, but Republicans attributed it to sympathy for the wounded former congresswoman.
by Terry Greene Sterling
The Daily Beast
Jun 13, 2012
In a special Arizona election that garnered widespread national interest for its symbolic significance and potential impact on the presidential race, a 66-year-old Democrat recovering from gunshot wounds defeated a 30-year-old Tea Party Republican and former Marine who had served in Iraq.
Clenching the hand of his grinning former boss, Gabby Giffords, at a Tucson Marriott Hotel victory party, Ron Barber celebrated his defeat of Jesse Kelly in a special election for Giffords’s congressional seat. “This was never Gabby’s seat. It’s not my seat. It’s your seat. This seat belongs to the people of southern Arizona,” Barber said in his victory speech in Tucson.
Giffords vacated her House seat in January after struggling for a year to recover from a gunshot wound to the head, sustained in a massacre in front of a Tucson-area Safeway store in January 2011. Six people died in the shooting spree, allegedly perpetrated by a mentally disturbed Tucson man. Ron Barber, who now walks with a cane, was among the 13 people who were injured but survived the rampage. (Giffords cited her ongoing recovery as her reason for resigning her seat.)
Barber’s easy victory was a surprise in Arizona, where politicos expected a tight race. Arizona’s eighth congressional district has 414, 494 registered voters and leans slightly Republican. It spreads from pockets of metropolitan Tucson east to the New Mexico border and south to the Mexican line. It is composed mostly of Anglos, with a disproportionately small number of Latinos.
Read the rest here.