Generally speaking, endorsements are overrated. Including mine.
We live in the information age. The amount of information about candidates readily available to every voter is enormous. (Go to azvoterguide.com for a non-partisan survey of important issues.)
If possible, voters should take the time to meet candidates, listen to them, gauge their integrity, determine their position on issues and then make their own decisions about who to support.
Four years ago I won a statewide Republican primary for Governor, and since then I’ve been asked for endorsements by many candidates. At the same time, a bunch of voters have been asking me who I support for various offices. I have made a few public endorsements that I wanted to let you know about.
If you don’t care, feel free to stop reading and have a nice day. If you’ve already voted, that’s great. But I am not a fan of early voting, in part because so many things can happen in the last month of the campaign that might cause you to change your mind.
If you do care but don’t like my choices, that’s fine. I forgive you.
But one cautionary note — particularly during the primary season, it is possible (even likely) that committed conservatives will disagree about the best person for a job.
That’s OK. What we shouldn’t do is begin questioning each other’s motives, character, commitment to “the cause”, or parentage. That’s destructive and unhelpful because we need to come back together to defeat more liberal opponents in the general.
Make the case for your candidate, and then trust the integrity of other conservatives who may have reached a different conclusion.
This cycle I have been particularly distressed by the tone of several Republican primaries. Many races have deteriorated well beyond fair comparisons of voting records and credentials. It seems like many millions of dollars more have been spent destroying reputations than providing vision and leadership. That’s a shame, and hurtful to our ability to make conservative gains in November.
All of the endorsements I will list are for candidates who specifically asked me for support, and who I have publicly endorsed.
GOVERNOR — JAN BREWER
When we flew around Arizona the night before the 2006 election with Sen. Kyl and other statewide candidates, then Secretary of State Brewer told me she expected that to be her last campaign.
Instead, Gov. Napolitano’s resignation took Gov. Brewer to the 9th floor. After a bit of a rocky start, she has absolutely earned the right to serve her own four-year term.
I disagreed with her push for a sales tax increase and believe that contributed to her early and largely unnecessary conflicts with conservative legislators. But now the voters have spoken and that issue has been resolved.
Overall, Gov. Brewer has been a spectacular conservative success. She has eliminated much wasteful spending, though more cuts are needed. She has signed pro-life, pro-gun, pro-marriage, pro-school choice and pro-religious freedom bills, among other things.
And she secured her nomination by not only signing SB 1070, but vigorously defending the sovereign right of the people of our state to protect themselves against the threats posed by illegal immigration and the federal government’s failure to secure our border.
I therefore enthusiastically support Gov. Brewer’s election to a new, four-year term.
U.S. SENATE – J.D. HAYWORTH
This race has been disappointing on so many levels.
I have never been a McCain hater. I was thankful for his endorsement in 2006 and wish he had defeated Barack Obama in 2008. I admire not only his heroism during war, but also his many decades of public service.
But he has never been a consistent conservative. In fact, he seemed at times to relish poking conservatives in the eye. And in a year when the nation is clamoring for conservative change, I concluded that we are not likely to get it by sending back someone who has been in Washington for three decades.
I made the decision early to support a more conservative alternative. J.D. Hayworth made some mistakes in Congress, but still had a 98 percent lifetime rating from the American Conservative Union, compared to 82 percent for McCain.
But Hayworth has weaknesses, and Sen. McCain spent nearly $20 million magnifying those weaknesses into major character flaws. That has not allowed Hayworth to run a campaign based on the issues, where he is more aligned with most Republicans. J.D. deserves credit for having the courage to get into the race knowing what would happen to his reputation, and for holding Sen. McCain’s feet to the fire on conservative issues.
It appears Sen. McCain conceded the point of a conservative alternative campaign – that his accommodation and even sponsorship of big-government programs favored by liberal politicians and the media made his record indefensible in a Republican primary. Thus his campaign has been about two things:
1) “JD Hayworth is worse.”
2) “I’m not really an independent-minded maverick. Actually, I’m more conservative than J.D. Hayworth, and there is no conservative position I won’t take to prove it.”
This approach is pretty cynical for a campaign with the tagline: “character matters.” While it appears to be working, it has not been Sen. McCain’s finest hour, as the national media is beginning to notice. If Sen. McCain does prevail, here’s hoping we will see more opposition to Obamacare and illegal immigration, and no more votes for bailouts and other big government programs.
SECRETARY OF STATE – KEN BENNETT
Sec. Bennett is a solid conservative who is unopposed in the Republican primary. But he needs strong conservative support in the general election against a potentially tough Democratic opponent. As we learned again in 2008, it is important to keep the next-in-line to the Governor’s job in conservative hands.
SUPERINTENDENT OF PUBLIC INSTRUCTION – JOHN HUPPENTHAL
John Huppenthal is a long-time leader on educational reform that empowers parents, and is a solid, consistent conservative.
ARIZONA CORPORATION COMMISSION –
BRENDA BURNS AND GARY PIERCE
I have known Brenda Burns and Gary Pierce for decades, and throughout their very impressive political careers I have watched them consistently operate with high standards of integrity, ethics and commitment to conservative principle.
MARICOPA COUNTY ATTORNEY – BILL MONTGOMERY
I was honored to develop a close friendship with Bill Montgomery when I was running for Governor and he was running for Attorney General. No matter who has endorsed him, he will be his own man in office. And there is no question that he is a solid conservative, committed to a tough approach to illegal immigration and sensitive to the rights of crime victims. I believe Bill has the ability to rise above the disputes that have embroiled Maricopa County and focus on keeping us safe and putting lawbreakers in jail. That’s what we should want from a county attorney.
Generally speaking, endorsements are overrated. Including mine.
I sent in an early ballot just a couple of days ago, and I’m glad to say that I cast my vote for all of those that you mentioned here. Now the question is, when are you going to run for office again?
I voted early by mail because my wife was very ill. However we both sent our ballots in and we appreciated the fact that you agreed with us for all the people you endorsed. Smile.
Give our good wishes for you and Tracy and your great looking family.
We still have all your pictures on our bulletin board. Praise God in Jesus !
Rev & Mrs Everett (Grace) Willis
Thanks, Len, for the helpful endorsements! Who would you vote for between Jeff Flake and Jeff Smith?
Thanks for the info and words of wisdom.
I’m glad you endorsed J.D. God bless you and your family.
Thanks Len, for your thoughtful approach to your research and ultimately helping voters seeking true conservatism.
Care to weigh in on the Attorney General position between Horne and Thomas? Also the State Treasurer position between Ducey, Leff, Verschoor and Carpenter?
Best Regards, Sharon Brown
Len, I am disappointed that you did not endorse Margaret Dugan. She’s conservative, & knowledgeable ab/ education. Huppenthal may know State legislative education issues, but that’s a very small part of the job.
My only comments are:
• thank you for putting this out, and
• I wish it was a week earlier. : )
I will never vote for John McCain – not even in the general election. He is no friend of conservatives. Wake up Arizona!
Len, Great endorsements! Thanks for all that you do.
Len – I agree with all your endorsements but one – I could never cast a vote for Hayworth or McCain – I support Jim Deakin – he presents an opportunity to vote “for” rather than a compromise.
I would like to read your opinions on early voting. I feel that in an age of increasingly negative campaigns which at least tend to unearth stuff in the primary that could later be used in the general, early voting is a bad thing because it means that a party does not always put its best candidate forward. Also, instead of a big last minute push prior to election night, we now have a three-week drag where people are going at high intensity, which seems to be dramatically driving the price of campaigns up. I was wondering if you had given any thought to this.
Glad I read this, Len, but it was too late for me, as I did vote early. Though it is very convenient for this handicapped person, I wonder how many early votes were cast for some who later withdrew their candidacy, like Dean Martin and Buzz Mills? I think that’s a considerable drawback to early elections. However, I voted for Jan Brewer and was very happy to see her rather overwhelming victory last evening! And, as another commenter inquired, do you plan to run again in AZ?