A Hot GOP Primary Season in Arizona

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Both ambient temperatures and political temperatures are hot in Arizona.


Republicans in Arizona seem to be having a lively primary season, Democrats not so much. Many of the races are hotly contested with relatively narrow differences in viewpoint to be considered by voters.


Given the philosophical roots of The Prickly Pear, our interests are in Republican candidates because it is rare today to see a sensible Democrat. The party has turned so socialist and woke, we don’t see anyone on the horizon we are comfortable with.

Some Republicans are hitting primary opponents pretty hard, and one winces, hoping this does not cause excessive damage for the general election. But overall, the competition is good. If you can’t take the heat in the primary, you are unlikely to be able to take the heat in the general.

For the voter though, having a roster of good candidates makes for some difficult choices. It is not that one candidate is glaringly better than the other, rather it is the choices are narrow and nuanced. It is a choice among good candidates where marginal differences tilt the scale.


When the difference in philosophy is narrow, candidates tend to strike out at personality issues rather than differences in substance, and that is, unfortunately, both distracting and not helpful.

Here are some things to think about as you ponder your ballot choices.

The goal should be to choose the most conservative candidate we can get, with the best chance of winning.


If you don’t win, then you have no chance to fight for your agenda. On the other hand, we don’t want a RINO who can win but then governs like a Democrat. That often is worse than electing a Democrat because it is difficult to get Republicans united to oppose them.

So, we all need to be aware of “stealth” candidates. Those are folks with little history of being a conservative or supporting the party. Often, they come from out of state with big money and don’t have much Arizona history. They live here just long enough to qualify.

Once the candidate’s bona fides have been established, faced with two decent conservatives, choose the one most likely to be able to win. That means it may not be the most outspoken candidate. To win, you often need the support of the party and PACs, which can raise the kind of money necessary to win a big state contest. You also need to appeal to the independents, who often are the swing voter in closely contested general elections.

It would be nice to think that the most philosophically solid person will win. But that often is not the case. It takes a certain personality to do inter-party political work, and that sometimes means sanding off some of the sharp corners. Raising money and building coalitions is just necessary to win with political races commonly costing millions of dollars.

They are also skills necessary to actually govern.

There have been many leaders in the conservative movement who were leftists who later saw the light. Ronald Reagan comes to mind. He fought the communists in Hollywood, and then toured the country for GE making speeches for most of the 1950s. He wrote columns and had a radio broadcast in the 1960s. He spoke effectively for Barry Goldwater’s campaign in 1964. By the time he ran for Governor of California, he had been working in the conservative vineyards for over 15 years.

We would not discount anyone’s conversion. However, some consistent history as a conservative may help screen out those who have adopted a conservative persona just for a particular race.

Support the candidate who has been most consistent on election integrity. Even if you support a good candidate, who is both strong philosophically and has political skills, you can’t win if the other side cheats.

Many of us did not realize how important the mechanism of elections really is until it became clear the Democrats are masters of gaming the system. Republicans are playing a game of catch-up. Beware of candidates that don’t see election integrity as a critical issue.

No, there is no way to really fix the past abuses, and dwelling on what happened is not as important as fixing the problems for the future.  

We have mixed feelings about Trump endorsements. Clearly, the former President has a loyal following. We would hazard a guess that maybe half of Republicans would vote simply the way he told them to. He is held in that kind of regard. He was, and is, a fighter who is remaking the party along his image. He brought a lot of new people into the party that are with us because of him.

However, endorsements risk short-circuiting the process. In other words, a portion of Republican voters simply stops doing their homework because the endorsement from Trump carries that kind of weight.

Many of us like Trump, and don’t want him embarrassed and attacked by the press. This instinct to protect our tribe from outside attack is understandable. And while the ex-President has made some good choices, he also had significant staff turnover in his Administration. Remember Anthony Scaramucci for White House Communications? I think the guy held his job for three days and has been a big mouth critic of Trump since.

Trump may have to decide if he is going to be King or Kingmaker. He may be putting reliable allies in the party because he is going to run again. That is understandable. But he may not be the nominee. Many would like to see a younger conservative, like Ron DeSantis, who does not carry Trump’s peculiar political baggage.

If DeSantis turns out to be the candidate, then how important was the Trump endorsement?

In short, these candidates need to stand on their own, and you need to think for yourself. Endorsements can be part of the mental process for you, but they should not alone substitute for your own critical thinking.

Finally, avoid voting for someone if it looks like they are running for office simply as a stepping stone to higher office. We don’t begrudge ambition and there is often a series of offices an official may hold before they get the particular office they seek. But we want people who will be dedicated to the office they are seeking and not constantly looking over the horizon.

We are old enough to remember Bob Corbin. He was Attorney General for 12 years. The man called them as he saw them, even indicting fellow Republicans like Evan Mecham and Sam Steiger when he thought it was called for. He performed his duties first and foremost.

We are electing people for important offices. Their reasons for seeking that office should be first to do the best they can in that office. If they achieve that, new opportunities will open up because they earned a reputation worthy of an even higher office.



Are you fed up? Are you worried that America in rapidly sliding into a neo-Marxist state by the radical left in control of Washington with historically narrow majorities in the U.S. House and Senate and an Executive controlled by unnamed far leftists in place of a clinically incompetent President Biden? They are desperate to keep power and complete their radical progressive agenda that will change America and our liberty forever.

Americans just witnessed the passage of the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022 without one Republican vote in the U.S. Senate and House (just as Obamacare was passed in 2010). The IRS  will be hiring 87,000 new agents, many armed, to terrorize American taxpayers.

Americans witnessed the FBI raid at the Trump Mar-A-Lago home and property of President Trump, truly a first in all of American history. We know what that is about. 

It is undeniable that the Democrat Party and the administrative state (the executive branches of the DOJ, FBI, IRS, et al) are clear and present dangers to our Republic and our liberty as they increasingly veer further away from the rule of law and the Constitution. What is the solution? At this critical juncture, there is only one action we can all take.

The only viable and timely solution at this critical point is to vote – yes, vote correctly and smartly to retake the U.S. House and Senate on November 8th and to prepare the way to retake the White House in two years. Vote and help everyone you know to vote. Please click the TAKE ACTION link below – we must vote correctly and in great numbers to be sure our votes are counted to diminish the potential for the left to rig and steal the midterms and the 2024 elections as they are clearly intending to do after their success in 2020.



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