Legislative District 29: Elections Happen

With 97 percent of the precinct votes and 4,600 early ballots counted, only 3,000 provisional ballots and roughly 10,000 late-arriving vote-by-mail ballots remain. It looks like the surprises are over for Legislative District 29.

The big surprises last night in LD29 included Patricia Puig and Eric Carbajal Bustamante practically tying for the fourth slot of this Seven-Way Super-Slam, while Ephriam Cruz came in sixth place, ahead of only Gil Guerra.

Matt Heinz and Daniel Patterson seem to have locked down seats in Legislative District 29, while Rep. Tom Prezelski appears to be on his way out.

Although more than 30,000 registered Democrats live in LD29, voter turnout is at about 24 percent, with roughly 7,400 ballots having been counted so far.

Matt Heinz: 25.4 percent

Daniel Patterson: 17.6 percent

Tom Prezelski: 15.4 percent

Eric Carbajal Bustamante: 12.3 percent

Patricia Puig: 12.3 percent

Ephraim Cruz: 9.9 percent

Gil Guerra 6.9 percent

LD29 Speed-Dating: No Love at First Sight

Several of the candidates for House of Representatives in LD29 met at a bar on Thursday night to talk over their differences.

The meeting, organized by Tucson Drinking Liberally, was originally marketed on the website as an “LD29 Candidate ‘Speed Dating’ Forum” but since most of the candidates got cold feet, it was just another night drinking and talking politics at The Shanty.

The three candidates who did make the date each gave a short speech and took questions from the rowdy crowd of a few dozen political junkies.

Representative Tom Prezelski started off the event and, though he didn’t appear tipsy, his tongue was definitely loose. His relaxed performance included calling a Republican lawmaker a dick and one candidate from another district “full of shit.”

Besides bashing the Legislature, he called for reform of Health Care Group and explained the benefits of bonding for school construction, invoking his experience as a tribal planner and the example of Sunnyside High School, which he says was built cheaply, piece by piece as the money became available, and now needs Continue reading

Air War: TV Ads Debut in LD 29 Seven-Way Super Slam!

Two Democrats in the crowded Legislative District 29 Seven-Way Super-Slam are using their Clean Elections bucks to air TV ads.

Ephraim Cruz shows off his weightlifting skills…

…while Daniel Patterson visits a local playground.

ScrambleWatch Q&A: Democrat Ephraim Cruz on Crime

Democrat Ephraim Cruz is one of seven candidates running for two seats in the Legislative District 29 House of Representatives Democratic primary that voters will decide on Sept. 2. We asked him some questions about crime policy.

Should we increase state funding for prison construction?

I would like to see more funding in areas of prevention. And again, investing today in education and making people productive versus bolstering our corrections facilities to warehouse individuals that could otherwise be invested in better ways.

Should we have more contracts with private prisons?

In the realm of prisoner re-entry I’m a supporter of helping prisoners coming out of state prisons be rehabilitated and be reintegrated into society, helping them find jobs, helping them find residences and once again, making them be productive citizens so that, long-term, they’re Continue reading

ScrambleWatch Q&A: Democrat Ephraim Cruz on Taxes

Democrat Ephraim Cruz is one of seven candidates running for two seats in the Legislative District 29 House of Representatives Democratic primary that voters will decide on Sept. 2. We asked him some questions about tax policy.

Do you support the repeal of the state property tax?

No, I do not. We cannot keep gutting the tax revenue at every turn, as the Republican-led legislature has been doing for too long. It’s affecting services again in the most vulnerable district, District 29.

Do you support borrowing for school construction?

In light of the actions of, again, the GOP-led legislature for the last few years, we face a position where we have to exercise that avenue. In that regard, I support the governor’s signing of this bill to fund it in that manner.

Would you vote for the TIME initiative, which increases the sales tax by a penny per dollar to fund highway, rail and local transportation projects?

Yes, I support it. That goes toward the speed rail that I’d like to see us realize in the state. I’d much rather see a greater percentage of that tax revenue going toward public transportation and less of it going toward highways, but yes.

Any other quick thoughts on tax or budget reform you’d like to share?

Just to recap with taxation, we need reform. The state has enjoyed a decrease of taxes and an increase in salaries from 1990 until now. We need to raise income taxes and corporation taxes so that we have the revenues to fund these services–the basic human necessities, education, public transportation and health care that we need, especially in my district.

And in This Corner: Paton Vs. Cruz?

Ephraim Cruz

As if all the jockeying between candidates in the Legislative District 29 Seven-Way Super-Slam wasn’t enough, Democrat Ephraim Cruz is now trading jabs with State Rep. Jonathan Paton of Legislative District 30.

Arizona Daily Star political reporter Daniel Scarpinato reports that Cruz took a swipe at Paton in a questionnaire that the morning daily sent around to candidates. In response, Paton brought up Cruz’s child-support lawsuit, which was first revealed here on ScrambleWatch.

Writes Scarpinato:

Jonathan Paton

In response to a light-hearted question — “If you had a reality show, what would it be titled” — Cruz said, “No Legislator Left Behind.”

Explaining further, Cruz, running in Southside District 29 with six other Democrats, said of this imaginary show: “State lawmakers attend the public schools they have shortchanged for the past thirty years. Let’s see if Russell Pearce and Jonathan Paton can pass the AIMS test, shall we?”

Contacted for a response, Paton — who represents District 30 — referenced a case from 2004 in which Cruz had to be taken to court to pay child support. (For more, go here)

“I’m glad Mr. Cruz is so concerned about the welfare of school children, it’s too bad he had to be taken to court to actually pay child support for his own child,” Paton said.

Ouch! We don’t know if this tidbit is going to make it into Scarpinato’s political notebook in the Sunday print edition, but if it does, Cruz has now managed to get the most damaging story of his campaign back into widespread circulation just as early voting starts.

Thanks to The Scarp for the link back to ScrambleWatch!

Seven-Way Super-Slam: Cruz Slaps Patterson

Daniel Patterson

Over in the Legislative District 29 Seven-Way Super-Slam, where seven Democrats are vying for two House seats, Ephraim Cruz has gone on the attack against Daniel Patterson over whether Patterson has properly reported a couple hundred dollars worth of Web-hosting fees to Clean Elections.

Watergate, this ain’t.

The charges against Patterson were first aired in ScrambleWatch’s Muckracker’s Challenge, which encouraged ScrambleWatch readers to dig up campaign-finance irregularities in online reports. The mysterious Christine L. accused Patterson of improperly accounting for bumper stickers and the cost of his campaign Web site.

Ephraim Cruz

On his blog, Cruz has declared “it is our responsibility to investigate these claims. If verified, these discrepancies would seriously violate the rules (and spirit) of the Citizens Clean Elections Commission (CCEC) and its public financing system, and should be brought to the attention of the voters.”

The Cruz investigation reveals that Patterson has not yet accounted for the cost of his Web site.

From Cruz’s report:

Based on the fact that Mr. Patterson’s website was purchased prior to Mr. Patterson’s declaration of his candidacy, the cost of the website falls under the definition of a contribution (see ARS-16-901.5) and should have been reported by Mr. Patterson as an in-kind donation from himself to his campaign (subject to his personal and family contribution limit of $610) on his financial disclosure form submitted at the time of his campaign launch date.

While Mr. Patterson’s financial disclosure form is not available online, Mr. Patterson reports the maximum $610 personal and family contribution on his January 31 report (all donated as cash), indicating that the cost of his campaign website was not disclosed as an in-kind donation from himself to his campaign when he launched his run for office. The absence of any reporting of the costs of Mr. Patterson’s website is an egregious violation of the Citizens Clean Elections Commission policies.

Accountability matters. When Mr. Patterson hid the cost of his website (his only tangible campaign advertisement for voters for the eight to nine months prior to his Clean Elections funding) he gave himself an over two-hundred dollar advantage over every other candidate. This is no different than hiding the cost of campaign literature or hiding the cost of campaign radio ads. All of us deserve an explanation from Mr. Patterson regarding his decision not to report his campaign website. Everyone else with a campaign website in this race has done so.

This strikes us as the sort of assault that Patterson will not take lying down. We’ll let you know if/when he responds.

We think the whole affair says more about the chickenshit nature of the Clean Elections program more than anything else. (And as far as we’re concerned, the real Clean Elections story in the Seven-Way Super-Slam is that incumbent Rep. Tom Prezelski still hasn’t gotten his funding, even though early voting starts this week.)

By the way: We were unable to award the grand prize of four Sidewinders tickets in the Muckraker’s Challenge because none of the participants who dug anything interesting up used their real names.