Despite the national trend of a Republican sweep, the crowd at three-quarters full ballroom at the Democratic stronghold Wyndham Hotel in Phoenix seemed somewhat unaware that they were supposed to lose.
As Arizona Democratic Party Chariman Don Bivens explained to me how proud he was of the 2008 presidential-election level turnout in Pima and Navajo counties, a crowd behind us quickly morphed into a mob of TV cameras as Terry Goddard made his entrance into the room. “Terry!” “Terry!” “Terry!” erupted from around the room.
From the stage, Treasurer candidate Andrei Cherny elicited cheers from the crowd for the birth of his daughter the night before. “We welcomed a new baby girl last night – a new Democrat,” he said.
With the introduction of “our next governor” Goddard took the stage next and addressed the crowd with the usual thank-yous and congratulations to the other Democratic candidates. His speech seemed like a bit of a concession, which ended with “we have to stand together regardless of the turnout.”
Superintendent of Public Instruction candidate Penny Kotterman took the stage for her second speech of the evening directly after Goddard, and played cheerleader to the crowd. “Do we want Tom Horne?” she shouted from the podium. The crowd answered “No!” “We can elect Ken Bennett or we can elect war hero Christopher Deschene,” she shouted back.
Her pandering continued through the entire Democratic ticket to the point of where I was expecting her to do a cartwheel off the stage.
As I got back to chatting with Bivens, I found my first indication that maybe he knew Dems faced an uphill battle in the midterms.
“You gotta strap on your helmet for the mid-terms when you win the presidency,” Bivens said. He quickly steered back to touting the Democrats efforts in getting voters to the polls.
“We watched Pima and Navajo because those are our people,” he said.
Felecia Rotellini was nowhere to be found, but expected to arrive “any minute” according to Democratic spokeswoman Jennifer Johnson.