Political pundits have been bloviating about Rep. Sam Crump and Sen. Pamela Gorman going head to head to succeed U.S. Rep. John Shadegg (whenever that opportunity arises) and pointing to votes on the budget that the other might use in a campaign hit piece. No issue is more central to their candidacies than taxes.
If somehow Crump could engineer it so he could vote against the sales tax referral while Gorman voted for it, the common wisdom was that Crump would be in tall cotton. On the other hand, some said Gorman could make an equally compelling argument by voting for the tax package, which had included the repeal of the state equalization tax and reductions in income taxes as well as the sales tax hike. She could then have claimed that Crump had opposed the tax reductions.
Said one strategist: “In a race, you want to keep your opponent in a defensive posture. Many people vote on how they feel about the candidates, and arguing from a defensive position is never as appealing to voters as someone who can just keep claiming he or she is the candidate of reform, or the candidate for traditional values or the candidate for the future. If people feel good about you, you will likely get their vote even if they disagree with some of your decisions. You can do that through positive projection of your candidacy and, of course, through hyping your opponent’s negatives. If you can get people to fear your opponent, you’ve got it made.”
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