Last week, East Valley investor Wil Cardon announced he’d challenge Congressman Jeff Flake for the Republican nomination to the U.S. Senate in what could be described as the Political Consultant Employment Act of 2011. In these times, a complete lack of experience is somehow touted as a benefit when it comes to running for political office. With that in mind, Cardon seems to be the man for the job. His political experience appears largely limited to making political contributions … to Flake.
My colleague, Jeremy Duda reported that since 1999, Cardon has shelled out at least $8,700 to Flake’s campaigns, and even as recently as March served on the host committee for a Flake fundraiser. That wouldn’t seem to qualify him as the pure “outsider” he has labeled himself on his website. Still, Cardon’s candidacy — and reputed personal bank account — has come to the attention of public relations/political consultant Jason Rose, who hit Flake from the immigration flank for daring to support comprehensive immigration reform in a previous political life.
Yet Rose, whose political campaign style typically consists of bomb-throwing, will have to go easy given Cardon’s relationship with Flake. In the meantime, Cardon’s other self-applied campaign moniker of “Job Creator” will soon ring true, as he’s going to need to hire dozens of consultants to help him break through the name ID advantage already enjoyed by Flake.
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And speaking of Cardons. Arizona Commerce Authority CEO Don Cardon (no relation to Wil) offered freshman Congressman Ben Quayle some gems of advice this week. As reported by my colleague, Caitlin Coakley, Quayle held a roundtable with business owners who expressed deep dissatisfaction with partisan rancor.
Cardon advised that politicians need to drop some of their hard line approaches against all things government. One example offered by Cardon, who is Gov. Jan Brewer’s go-to man when it comes to job creation, would be the objection by many to having the government “picking winners and losers” when it comes to determining which businesses and industries should or shouldn’t get tax breaks or other nifty incentives.
That said, it’s hard to believe that Cardon, who is leading the state agency that was given a $25 million “deal-closing” fund, wishes the ACA could buy a reprieve from the state Constitution’s gift clause — or at least get the Goldwater Institute to look the other way. Cardon also encouraged Quayle to double-down and adopt sure-fire stances certain to make a fiscal-conservative voter base cringe.
“The market already picks winners and losers,” Cardon told the congressman, adding that government is well suited to decide which industries could use government investment to help spring back to life. “That’s where you say, maybe I cast a vote that will end my political career in two to three years,” he said.
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For the amount of time and effort Arizona Republicans have spent trying to ensure that union “card-check” legislation from the federal government can’t get a foothold in Arizona, one would think the Senate Republican caucus would be willing to die to defend decisions made by secret ballot. Not so.
Senate President Russell Pearce, arguably the most prominent state legislator in the nation, is facing a recall, so what better way to back the boss than to add names to a support list one-by-one? Unions would surely like to be able to ask potential members one at a time to support organizing efforts at businesses, but management and Republicans seem to think that unfairly invites arm-twisting if not good old-fashioned intimidation.
The boss and the GOP must be on to something, as state Sen. Frank Antenori this week told my colleague Luige del Puerto that he was keeping tabs on who would and wouldn’t sign the Pearce loyalty oath. Those who don’t, said Antenori, a former Army Ranger, would “suffer the consequences” for not playing the team game when it comes to backing a colleague. That seems simple enough, but what if you are, for example, Sen. Adam Driggs or Sen. Rich Crandall, who both faced primary opponents publicly endorsed by Pearce? Playing free agent every once in a while could seem tempting.
— Christian Palmer is the associate editor of the Yellow Sheet Report.