Election Night Action!

We’ll be bringing you election results tonight as soon as we get ’em here at ScrambleWatch and at the TW blog. Jim Nintzel, Mari Herreras, Kelly Rashka and the Weekly’s fab interns will be fanning out all over Tucson to bring you the latest and Adam Kurtz and Jimmy Boegle will be manning Weekly World Central to put it all together.

If you’re staying in tonight, you can tune into KUAT Channel 6 for a special one-hour election edition of Arizona Illustrated at 10 p.m. Skinny scribe Jim Nintzel will be joining Arizona Illustrated anchor Bill Buckmaster, political pollster Margaret Kenski and UA political scientists William Dixon and John Garcia to chew on the results.

If you’re eager to get out to celebrate our nation’s historic election night, here’s where you can find some fun:

You’ll find the Democrats hanging out at the Marriott University Park, 880 E. Second St.

The Republicans will be hanging out at the Manning House, 450 W. Paseo Redondo.

The parties start around 7 p.m., and we’re expecting the first local election results–from early ballots–sometime around 8 p.m.

Meanwhile, all the cool kids will be down at Hotel Congress, 311 E. Congress St., where they’ll really be putting the party back into politics with updates on the results across the country, live bands and even a balloon drop. We know where we’ll be for last call.

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Madonna and Candidate

Just because it was our favorite entry in Stephen Colbert’s Make McCain Exciting Green Screen Challenge, we thought we’d leave this one up on Election Eve.

AZ Battleground Districts

As we’ve mentioned in earlier posts, the Arizona Democratic Party spending a bundle in hopes of landing a majority in the Arizona House of Representatives. To do it, they need to hold onto all their 2006 gains and pick up four new seats.

We’ve done some research and come up with the following Battleground Districts to watch across the state as election results come in.

Legislative District 26

Democrats
Nancy Young Wright
Don Jorgensen

Republicans
Vic Williams
Marilyn Zerull
Continue reading

More Than 200K Have Already Voted in Pima County

Early ballot update: Somewhere around 183,000 of the 231,004 early ballots that were sent out have been returned as of this afternoon.

In addition, 17,862 people have voted at walk-in sites, meaning that more than 200,000 people have voted early for the first time in Pima County history.

If you haven’t yet sent in your early ballot, it’s too late to safely mail it in. You’re best off dropping it at a polling place on Election Day if you want your vote counted.

County officials anticipate that about 25,000 ballots will be dropped off tomorrow. Those ballots will have to pass a signature check before being counted, a process that will delay the final tally of close races for several days.

We expect between 80 and 85 percent of Pima County’s half-million voters will cast a ballot in the election.

FWIW: In 2004 general election, Pima County voters returned 156,293 early ballots, which equaled 91 percent of the 172,193 ballots mailed out. Total turnout was slightly above 82 percent.

Brewer Vs. Huckelberry: Round 337

Arizona Secretary of State Jan Brewer remained cranky last week that Pima County wasn’t going to be transmitting vote counts from precincts to the county’s central tabulator.

Brewer wrote a very stern letter to Pima County Administrator Chuck Huckelberry, accusing him of “abdicating your responsibility to run orderly and efficient elections” because the county has worked with officials from local political parties to develop security procedures.

Huckelberry, in his response to Brewer, counters that “consultation and cooperation is not abdication.”

We tend to think that the security risk of transmitting the data over the phones is extremely low, but whatever. We appreciate that Pima County is attempting to show that it does care about security procedures. If that means waiting a few extra hours, we can live with that.

How hysterical is Brewer over the idea that votes cast on Election Day might not be available for the 10 o’clock news? She goes so far as to accuse Huckelberry of trying to disenfranchise the disabled because he wants to prioritize counting ballots cast on paper ballots and count the votes cast on electronic touch-screen machines after the standard ballots have been processed.

“I’m certain that leaders of the disability community would have very serious concerns about this procedures for reasons too obvious to state in this letter,” Brewer wrote.

This is an absurd assertion. Very few people use the touchscreen machines; of the 114,000 votes cast in the September primary, only 97 of them were on the touchscreen machines that Brewer insisted the county buy. Frankly, disabled Americans should be more concerned that Brewer has no problem with them using unreliable machinery with, at best, a flimsy paper trail.

Huckelberry is making the right call to concentrate on the paper ballots.

By the way, given we keep hearing about problems with touchscreen machines losing votes elsewhere in the country, we’d prefer that nobody use them. If we had our druthers, we’d melt them all down into a big wad of plastic and drop it on Brewer’s head.

Following The Money: Democrats Spend Big in Southern Arizona Legislative Races

A Democratic mailer targeting Republican Frank Antenori sponsored by Victory 2008; Antenori charges that Democrats "made complete fabrications."

We’ve mentioned recently in The Skinny (here and here) how the Arizona Democratic Party is making a big push to flip the Arizona House of Representatives. To do it, they need to flip four seats into the Democratic column while hanging onto the gains they made in 2008.

That’s no easy task, but the Democrats are never likely to find themselves in a more advantageous political environment. And they certainly have the financial resources to make it happen, although we’ll have to wait until Election Day to see if they ended up spending all their money in an effective manner.

The Democratic Party has invested a half-million dollars into Victory 2008, a political committee pushing for Democrats in GOP districts across the state. They’re being backed up by Arizonans for a Healthy Economy, a political committee that, according to the most recent campaign finance reports, had been funded by the NEA Fund for Children and Public Education ($50K), the Arizona Fire Fighters ($50K), the SEIU labor guys ($50K), and Arizona’s List, a political committee dedicated to electing pro-choice Democratic women ($37K). Arizonans for a Healthy Economy also picked up a bunch of contributions from Tucson-area lefties.

Here in Southern Arizona, the Democrats have targeted Districts 25, 26 and 30 with more than $300,000 in campaign spending. They should get an easy pick-up in LD25, where Republican Rep. Jennifer Burns is retiring. The district leans Democratic and the Republican candidates are not especially credible; one of them, David Stevens, isn’t even in the country to campaign.

In GOP-leaning District 26 (Catalina Foothills, Oro Valley, Saddlebrooke), the Democrats have to protect Rep. Nancy Young Wright and carry Don Jorgensen to victory against Republicans Vic Williams and Marilyn Zerull. They also want to keep the state Senate seat in Democratic hands by supporting Cheryl Cage against Republican Al Melvin.

In LD26, the Democratic committees have combined to spend Continue reading

You Betcha: The Skinny Line

Let’s face it: Many of the races this year aren’t that competitive. So in this week’s Skinny, we presented The Skinny Line to handicap the contests to make it a little more interesting on Election Night.

Tell us: What are the good bets? And does anyone have propositions of their own? Maybe some over-unders?

McCain in AZ 6 Obama in AZ
GIFFORDS 9 Bee
GRIJALVA 47 Sweeney
Cage Even Melvin
Paton 7 Valle
BRONSON 8 Brenner
DUPNIK 30 Shaw
LAWALL 13 Roach
Prop 102 YES 9 Prop 102 NO
Prop 105 NO 4 Prop 105 YES
Prop 200 YES 2 Prop 200 NO
Prop 202 YES 12 Prop 202 NO
Prop 300 NO 32 Prop 300 YES

INCUMBENTS in CAPS
For entertainment purposes only. Arizona law strictly forbids wagering on the outcomes of elections.