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Not of Either Party, Who Are They?

The ranks of unaffiliated voters in Arizona have grown and grown. With 32.5 percent of the voting populace, they now outnumber Democrats in the state and are steadily gaining on Republicans.

They have become the great wild card. Imagine what could happen if the unaffiliateds – independents and others – were to band together into a potent and perhaps decisive force that presented threat or opportunity for both Republicans and Democrats.

At first blush, the unaffiliateds fit expectations. Thinking Arizona’s study of exit polls shows they are, in aggregate, less conservative than Republicans and less liberal than Democrats. In concept, their moderation could bridge the rancorous political dialogue.

But further analysis puts the movement to the middle in a somewhat smaller light. Read more

from Arizona's 'Other' Voters: The ?'s Keep Growing, August 18, 2011

Expenditures Aim at Competitive Few

Both political parties went after Arizona’s few competitive legislative districts in Fall 2010 with a vengeance – and a boatload of dollars.

It all worked out extremely well for the Republicans. Their investments paid off, almost universally. With anti-Democrat sentiment running so strong, they won even when they didn’t spend, creating what Thinking Arizona thinks is a first-time achievement in an otherwise down year for Clean Elections.

Democrats couldn’t win for losing. Candidates needed both money to burn and impeccable credentials, and even then had to scramble.

Thinking Arizona’s study of the campaign finance disclosure statements provides insight into objectives, methods, and who did what to whom. Plus, in the editor’s note found below, some more thoughts on civil discourse.

Read more

from Arizona Campaign Finance: Targeting the Hotspots, January 5, 2011

Four Swing Districts Bisect Phoenix

For all the campaigning, media attention and public hoopla, elections in most legislative districts are done before they start. The outcomes were all but pre-ordained eight years ago when boundaries were drawn in the once-a-decade rite of redistricting.

But shifting conditions, notably the rise of independents, have changed the complexion of certain corners of the state. Competitive races, in which the candidates at least start out with roughly equal numbers on their side, may still be few but they do exist. And despite its reputation as a Republican stronghold, almost half are found in the middle of Phoenix. Read more

from Legislative Districts: The Competitive Few, December 20, 2010

Redistricting List Narrowed to 25

The latest . . .

–Two Republican legislative leaders began the chess game over the makeup of Arizona’s new Independent Redistricting Commission by challenging the list of nominees given them. See latest update from editors.

– The process of selecting the commission moved to legislative leadership after the Commission on Appellate Court Appointments finished its task of narrowing the field on December 8. See Main Story.

–The selection process and the task the “lucky” five will undertake are being closely followed by the cognoscenti. The high expectations directed toward those who will be doing the redistricting may need to be tempered by the difficulties of the assignment. See Insight. Read more

from Legislative Districts: The Competitive Few, December 20, 2010

New Commission To Set Districts

Forty citizens will interview for the opportunity to draw Arizona’s congressional and legislative districts for the next decade. Five of them will actually get the chance to do so.

The process of selecting the “lucky” five to a new Independent Redistricting Commission began Tuesday, Nov. 16, and will be completed by mid-March.

What the five individuals will do is all-important. The work of redistricting Arizona will bear directly on the makeup of the Legislature and the state’s congressional delegation. In so doing, they will influence the degree of participation in the democratic process. But their task is also incredibly difficult.

Read more

from Legislative Districts: The Competitive Few, December 20, 2010

Competitive Districts Swing Republican

The strong wind at the back of Republicans, who regained control of the U.S. House of Representatives and consolidated their hold on statewide offices, swept through the state’s legislative races as well.

Republicans retained all their seats, as could be predicted, in 13 safe legislative districts. Democrats retained all their seats in their eight safe districts. All these districts remained rock-solid in support of their candidates, regardless of circumstance.

The action was in the nine competitive districts, which proved to be quite susceptible to the changing mood. The GOP picked up three seats in the Senate and likely five in the House to give itself probable supermajorities in both chambers.

Read more

from Legislative Districts: The Competitive Few, December 20, 2010

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