Even I was surprised by the results of our online poll. I expected Dean Martin to rank highly, as well as Jan Brewer. But I had no idea Vernon Parker would top the results.
On Sept. 9 we asked readers to vote for the person they would most want to see as the Republican nominee for governor in 2010. During the past 12 days, we were overwhelmed with responses. Though the methodology was not scientific, I do believe the results are interesting, if not significant - especially considering most of our readers vote in every election and the fact that we had 824 responses.
Parker, the mayor of Paradise Valley, pretty much stomped on the other 10 people who were listed as possible gubernatorial candidates. He tallied 298 votes (36 percent), topping all other candidates by a wide margin. Next was state Treasurer Dean Martin with 230 votes (28 percent). The rest trailed far behind.
The list didn’t include most of the political neophytes who have filed committees so far, but it did include most of the people who’s names have been circulated in recent months. We started the poll days before Fife Symington told the Yellow Sheet that he was considering a run, so he wasn’t included.
But perhaps even more interesting was that Brewer, the incumbent, came in third, in a tie with Len Munsil, who ran an unsuccessful campaign for governor in 2006 against Janet Napolitano. Both Brewer and Munsil garnered 70 votes (8 percent).
U.S. Rep. Jeff Flake, who hasn’t indicated any intention to run for governor, pulled down 50 votes (6 percent). U.S. Rep. John Shadegg, who also hasn’t said anything about running for governor, received 35 votes (4 percent). Secretary of State Ken Bennett received 27 votes; former U.S. Transportation Secretary Mary Peters got 20 votes; former Arizona Republican Party Chairman John Munger got 10 votes; former Graham County Sheriff Richard Mack got 9 votes; and businessman Robert Graham got 5 votes.
Our poll allows only one vote per person, although there was nothing stopping any of the candidates to solicit votes from friends, relatives and staff members. Perhaps Parker (or Jason Rose) wanted to generate some buzz and talked up our poll to those in his camp. Perhaps Brewer ignored our poll – after all, she was sort of busy.
But in any case, the poll was the first that I’ve seen that put these GOP candidates in a head-to-head matchup. And the results have at least made me give a little more weight to a Parker candidacy, which, by the way, he is expected to kick off this week.