I’m going to take one moment to brag. In 2000 I ran for councilmember of the Yucca district as a write-in candidate and beat my opponent, the incumbent Martin Samaniego. No other candidate in the State of Arizona has done that. Sixteen years later, I ran for councilmember of the Yucca district and beat my opponent, the incumbent Sammy Chavira. No other candidate in the State of Arizona has defeated two incumbents for the same position.
The results are now final and both Mayor Weiers and I have won our contests. They were close elections. I garnered 1591 votes and Sammy had 1545, a margin of 46 votes. Mayor Weiers received 13,172 votes and Burdick had 12,767, a margin of 405 votes. Again, every vote counts.
Why were both races so close? I am not a political analyst but I think it comes down to 3 factors.
The first factor is money. Chavira raised $79,435.74 and spent to date $57,905.98. I raised $13,081.80 and spent $8050.53 to date. Chavira’s campaign outspent me 7 times to date. Burdick raised $108,376.00 and spent to date $98,779.15. Weiers raised $130,226.95 and spent $85,423.66 to date. I suspect the final figures will be greater once we see the Post Primary Campaign Finance Reports due to the City Clerk by September 29, 2016.
The amount of money spent on these two Glendale races is incredible…$250,159.32…a quarter of a million dollars just by the candidates’ campaign committees. Now add in the Independent Expenditures by Political Action Committees (PACs). The Truth and Leadership PAC appears to have spent $45,000 in opposition to Mayor Weiers and myself. The Fire Fighters Interested in Registration and Education spent $13,000 in opposition to Weiers and me. I have not been able to find the figures on what the Revitalize Arizona and Residents for Accountability PACs spent but I would estimate at least $50,000. Now the figure combining candidate expenditures and independent expenditures balloons to an estimated $350,000. That is stunning for local races.
With that kind of money both Chavira and Burdick send out scads of campaign mailers touting their credentials with fire…one as a Phoenix fire fighter and one as a retired fire chief. For many voters who don’t really pay attention to elections and just show up at the polls, what’s not to like? Fire fighters are heroes who save us. Both Chavira and Burdick banked that this alone would cause the uninformed voter to vote for them.
The second factor is involvement. Sammy is a strong case in point. Although I did not raise the kind of money that he did, I possessed something far more powerful…the interest, support and commitment of so many Yucca district residents that invested themselves in my campaign. Sammy, just as he had performed his job as a councilmember, was AWOL. He paid a company to get his petition signatures. He paid the same company to distribute his campaign material within the district and…are you ready for this? He paid each poll worker (and there were many) $120 plus lunch and dinner, to work each voting location. I had volunteers, citizens who did all of these things willingly and fervently.
The third factor is indefensible records and lies. Burdick and Chavira had records of previous service that they simply could not defend. Burdick never stood up to the fire union as chief and ceded his authority to it. Burdick admitted publicly that he lied about Weiers’ record upon advisement of his campaign consultants. Chavira used the same rhetoric against me that he used in his last campaign. They were lies then and they were lies this time. It’s like the boy who cried wolf. He couldn’t sell his lies a second time around. Sammy’s lack of service as a councilmember angered many Yucca district voters. Burdick’s and Chavira’s lies and exaggerations were deliberately used as smoke screens, to divert the voters’ attention away from their own poor records.
I will have two more blogs on this campaign’s analysis upcoming. One will be on the politics of the actors/supporters of this election and the other will be on the performance of the County Recorder’s Office. Once they have been posted we can all return to the issues facing Glendale. My blog will continue for those who have expressed concern that once I was elected, I would cease to write. I appreciate your continued readership during this campaign season. I bet you are glad Glendale’s races are over. I know that I am.
© Joyce Clark, 2016
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