This is part 2 of looking back at our fundraising and GOTV efforts in 2022. Next up?
Arizona and Nevada!
We bet on Nevada and Arizona, and we beat the odds! For these two states, you’ll see that we placed a lot of bets, just as we did in Michigan!
A bit of background.
Nevada and Arizona share many similarities. They are both mostly deserts. They are both growing rapidly thanks to retirees, snow-weary Midwesterners, immigrants and priced-out Californians. Both states went for Biden in 2020, but barely (especially Arizona). Both these states matter immensely; we need both of them in 2024!
But the most important similarity is that state-wide offices in both AZ and NV were aggressively targeted by Trump and his merry band of election deniers.
Specifically, Trump sponsored extremist candidates for Governor, Secretary of State and Attorney General in the Republican primaries in both states. The Republican SoS candidates were a threat to election integrity and the AG candidates were a threat to election and reproductive rights. The Gubernatorial candidates were a threat to – basically – everything.
We’ll talk about Nevada in the next post!
In Arizona, what we needed most of all was to keep the crazy election deniers out of office. ARIZONA
So what did we do for Arizona?
We funded Four Directions to turn out the Native vote, and we funded other GOTV efforts. We put our strategic focus on turnout and election access into overdrive, in support of state-wide candidates who could protect election access and the right to control our own bodies.
Four Directions, an organization that needs no introductions with the BJ crowd!
$25,570 + $50,000 match = $75,570
Worker Power, a project associated with Unite Here Labor Union, which has been active in registration and get out the vote efforts in multiple states. Our money was used to compensate 27 people to hit the pavement once early voted started.
Maricopa County Democratic Party, which we supported in May of 2021, hoping to give them a bit of an early boost for organizing Dems.
Candidate: Adrian Fontes for Secretary of State, who explicitly ran on a platform of defending Arizona’s voting system – particularly its universal early mail-in voting laws – and who is next in line if the Governor is indicted or resigns (Arizona currently has no Lt. Governor position).
Candidate: Kristine Mayes for Attorney General, who would be key in supporting voting rights and reproductive freedom in Arizona.
Candidate: Katie Hobbs for Governor, who was running against the awful Kari Lake. We are all aware of the ways that Kari Lake as governor would have meant disaster for Arizona, and for freedom itself.
House Candidate: Jevin Hodge, who lost, but we’ll have our eye on Congressional candidate Jevin Hodge in 2024, a young, talented African American man who nearly defeated a Republican incumbent who only beat him by around 3,000 votes.
Statehouse: 3 candidates in the AZ House and 3 candidates in the AZ Senate, in our down-ballot races on super-swing districts. More on the results here in a future post.
What do we have to show for our effort in Arizona?
Great turnout in November, a good deal of which was the result of efforts by Four Directions and Worker Action.
Democratic in the top offices: Governor, Secretary of State and Attorney General. Victories for democracy, voting rights, and reproductive freedom!
Kristine Mayes won by just 280 votes! This had to have been one of the most impactful $5,000 we’ve ever raised. It’s hard to imagine that our contribution to this campaign wasn’t extraordinarily significant for voting rights and reproductive freedom in Arizona. Not to mention that with a 280 vote win, the money to the boots on the ground organizations was likely determinative, too. This was the closest statewide election in any state in 2022.
Katie Hobbs. This race was way closer than it should have been, given how awful Kari Lake was. Katie Hobbs only won by 17,000 votes, after running what a lot of us thought was a lackluster campaign by an excellent candidate. We put money into the campaign when it was foundering, and our efforts had to have helped.
In many ways, I think we did everything right, priority-wise, in Arizona. We kept our strategic focus on turnout and election access, with protection of voter rights and abortion rights, and we were smart in our candidate efforts.
Great job, everyone!
Awesome! It’s amazing how close these races were, given the quality of the Democratic candidates vs the total crackpots the GOP barfed up for the ballot. I have to think the GOTV efforts were critical in making a difference – and in 2024 will help Arizona join the roster of sane states.
Seconded, thirded, fourthed, and fifths all around. This is truly an amazing piece of organizing by WG.
Bravo, everyone! I feel proud to have been a part of this amazing effort.
As reported in the local paper, Hobbs’ campaign deliberately let Lake self-destruct. Hobbs avoided confronting Lake on her territory knowning Lake was a well trained media person. That is why Hobbs refused to debate Lake.
I always thought Lake was just cynical in her election denying and her full embrace of Trumpism and she would moderate her rhetoric in the general. I was wrong. It is clear Lake actually believes her own rhetoric. She apparently refused the advise of experienced Republican operatives and kept up her extremist rhetoric which turned off a lot of indepent voters. She is, of course, still at it and still claims she won the election.
Voter registration and GOTV were instrumental in 2022, and will be a very high priority again in 2024.
The wildcard issue to watch may be: water supply. I know, I know, I keep talking about water issues in the Southwest, but they are hitting AZ hard right now.
In Maricopa County, the County Board recently voted against creating a new water district for the Rio Verde foothills. This was the right vote: Rio Verde is an unincorporated area whose residents are have consistently voted against establishing a water board of their own because they’re anti-government – and also because the usage of the water they were getting has been outrageous. Needless to say, they’ve been ignoring the fact that their water sources are drying up for years. Also needless to say, they still refuse to accept the fact of dwindling water supply and are saying it’s being unfairly withheld from them.
Water access and water rights are going to be a major issue in Arizona, and the Democrats need to get in front of it by forcefully advocating for sustainable-use policies. If the Dems don’t define and frame the issue, the GOP will.
Thank you for these fabulous posts – well-written, full of information, and a tribute to everyone who participated: both here, and in the field. Collectively, we made a tangible and vital difference!
Yay WaterGirl! Yay jackals!!
Meanwhile, the fight is never over. Wonkette:
Politics isn’t easy, and the monsters will never keep fighting for what they want. We have to be smart and strategic and persistent in our efforts to defeat them – as we were in 2022.
@azlib: I’m sure that was the right strategy (he says confidently after the fact, since it worked).
But I was frustrated by her stumbling interviews when asked perfectly predictable questions about her refusal to debate. I knew from her television appearances during the Cyber Ninja debacle that she was extraordinarily articulate and could think on her feet. Oh well. She’ll be a better candidate next time for the experience.
Kari Lake still haunts my nightmares – she was Chuckie-level scary.
@Almost Retired: There is no Stepford, AZ but had Lake been elected, they’d have had to create it.
It’s starting to get some attention, but probably not enough…
FTFNYT via YahooNews:
I’ve been reading warnings about this for 50 years. Eventually, reality wins.
@Almost Retired: Yes, unfortunately, this will be how it is for a lot of swing state elections for awhile longer. That’s why it is so important for Dems to recognize this and keep working at the state/local level. It was awesome to see how hard everyone worked last election to ensure we won.
@Another Scott: I assume the “Verde” part of the name was coined by “Irony Marketing, LLC.”
@Another Scott: Yeah, I lived in Tucson for several years as a kid and even then they had certain water restrictions and most people had xeriscaping not lawns. I am actually surprised that something like this hasn’t occurred much sooner.
In an amazing development, “Biden files” have disappeared from BBC News front page. They were above the fold and now–poof.
Thanks, arrested Sicilian “Mafia Boss.”
The “Rio” part of the name doesn’t seem all that connected to reality, either.
Water Girl, I can’t express how blown away Ive been this past election with your cultivating relationships with these various GOTV orgs and coordinating with the commentariat
@gene108: Wow, that is so nice of you to say! Thank you.
Donating previously felt like throwing money into a wishing well, and with just as much ROI.
Having goals and seeing measurable results is so incredibly satisfying. Thank you, WG .
@Another Scott: Welcome to country living in 1950’s Kentucky, citizens…anyone outside city limits then had rainwater cisterns for a supply, and trucked in water from city water company “water drops” when the rains didn’t come. Your family was VERY careful with water in those days…down to turning off the water faucet when you were brushing your teeth…kids raised that way were automatically water conservation conscious lol. I guess it’s a lesson people in the West are going to have to relearn…
Cheryl from Maryland
The residents of Rio Verde, per one article, have been receiving warnings regarding Scottsdale water since 2015. So they have done nothing for 8 years except reject incorporation or forming a water board, etc. for their freedoms. And it’s not just water — my in-laws weren’t on the sewer system for close to 30 years — the city forgot their suburban cul-de-sac. I remember them babying the septic tank system for over 5 years while waiting for sewer hook-up. How long do septic systems last in the desert?
I’d say too bad except I think water supply will be a knee-jerk issue for which Dems need good messaging.
Folks here helped elect a bunch of good Arizona Democrats by supporting state organizing entities. One is Adrian Fontes, the new Secretary of State. He beat feral Republican Mark Finchem by 120,000 votes out of ~2.5 million votes cast.
Mr. Fontes is 53 years old, and served in the Marine Corp 1992-1996, and was a marksmanship instructor. Then he earned a Bachelor’s Degree at Arizona State University and a J.D. from the University of Colorado. Fontes was Maricopa County Recorder from 2017 to 2021.
Adrian Fontes grew up in Nogales, Arizona. While many of Arizona’s citizens have arrived relatively recently, Fontes’ family has lived in southern Arizona since the first half of the 18th century
Arizona is important to me and I’m so thrilled that WaterGirl’s tireless efforts and Jackal Power helped put it (mostly) into the correct corner.
I also want to echo the posts about water
becomingbeing an important issue there. It seems to me that they are somewhat behind California in recognizing drought conditions, all the more surprising because Arizona is a desert.
And as to crazy Arizona naming conventions- I remember driving in the Tucson areas years ago and seeing the impressive entry gates to what looked like an upscale gated community, called “Rancho Sin Vacas”. Literally, ranch without cows.
@Another Scott: I know we’re not fundraising yet, but Gallego sounds like he would be a good target for some early fundraising to help him build name recognition — unless he’s already getting major support from the national party, etc., which he might not be because of Sinema. Who I hope is smart enough to look at those poll numbers and flounce off to be a Fox commentator or whatever garbage is next.
…at least it was Truth in Advertising.
Unlike “Rio Verdes,” which has no river and is not green!
I became aware of Adrian Fontes though following Rachel Bitecofer on Twitter. She talked up lots of Democratic candidates the last cycle. Mr. Fontes’ campaign was assisted by the Arizona consulting firm Bitecofer worked for so she knew Fontes.
A lot of people have opinions about Rachel Bitecofer, a political scientist turned campaign practitioner. Here is one from Adrian Fontes:
@Leslie: Ruben Gallego is getting a lot of national attention from the many Democrats fed up with Kysten Sinema. Gallego is not yet well known statewide, but he seems like he’ll be a strong candidate.
At 38, Gallego is relative young, and like Adrian Fontes he is a Marine Corps veteran.
Gallego is also a very outspoken and blunt man. A debate between him and Kari Lake would be worth watching!
@HinTN: Yes, WaterGirl leveraged a lot of work for a lot of money that was itself leveraged for more money that turns out to have been well-spent.
There is actually a RIo Verde here in AZ. It is perhaps misnamed, but it is a real river north and east of Scottsdale and it does flow.
As to the water situation in the Rio Verde Hills subdivision it is complicated. Seemingly the residents are split between forming a taxing water district or lobbying Scottsdale to continue providing water. Scottsdale is not much interested. Keep in mind 70% of Scottsdale’s water comes from the Central Arizona Project which gets its water from Lake Mead which is right now in pretty dire straights along with Lake Powell. There is going to have to be a serious conservation effort here in AZ to maintain minimal water levels in Lake Mead. I honestly believe Lake Powell will reach dead pool levels in the next few years.
Another big water issue here in AZ is ground water management. Only the urban counties of Maricopa and Pima regulate ground water. The rest the state is a free for all where for example a Saudi company is using ground water to grow hay for its horses in Saudi Arabia where growing hay is illegal.