With Tuesday’s primary (Missouri) and caucii (Colorado and Minnesota) behind us, Republican presidential candidates, their campaigns and the national media will soon turn their thoughts southwest. Arizona’s primary is the 28th.
I’ll bet that many professional political consultants or MSM political reporters see Arizona as one big population center (metro Phoenix) surrounded by a series of outlying, secondary places (Tucson, Yuma, Flagstaff).
If we asked them “What pops into your mind when you hear the name “Tucson,” I wouldn’t be surprised to hear responses like this:
- Home of the sherrif who gave a whole new meaning to the word “civic pride.” On a night when the whole world was listening to him, he chose to refer to his home state as “a mecca for intolerance and bigotry.”
- Home of the newspaper that, after it heard what the sherrif did and when he chose to do it, chose to stick up for him and second what he’d said. (And this was AFTER the Arizona Republic, which probably thought that SOMEBODY in the local media should rebuke the sherrif for grandstanding at a time when his city (and the state, nation and the world) looked instead for dignity and wisdom, apparently felt that it had to do the job itself.
- The town whose high school students…well, certainly can’t be criticized for being complacent and disinterested.
- Has a popular river called the “Rio Nuevo.”
Nevertheless, we do find ourselves in the midst of a competitive GOP presidential primary. (As I type this, Rick Santorum is winning Colorado AND Minnesota AND Missouri.) There are plenty of GOP votes in southern Arizona, for candidates who are willing to work for them. A candidate who creates a big splash in Arizona might start a wave that carries him to Super Tuesday, one week after our primary. Arizona has six cities in the top 100 of population nationwide, according to the 2010 census. Only one—Tucson—is outside the metro Phoenix area.
So, will the GOP presidential candidates shape a message that speaks to the needs of southern Arizona, or just metro Phoenix? Will the MSM drive their rental cars further south than Sky Harbor airport, to see if all the loathing comments they hear about Tucson in the checkout lines at NYC or DC Whole Foods are fair or not?
Starting this week, the commander, staff and garrison of Fort Buckley (me, myself and I) will focus as much effort on the GOP primary as the pre-schooler, honey-do list and spring semester courseload will allow.
I’ve already contacted the four GOP presidential candidate’s campaigns, introduced myself and asked them to engage with me and the readers of TucsonCitizen.com. I’ve asked them to explain why southern Arizonans should vote for them. As I get those responses from the campaigns, I’ll post them for your comment. Then, we can all judge which (if any) of the campaigns can tell the difference between Tucson and Tempe.
As of Sunday, here’s what a few Google searches told me:
- Only one of the four campaigns—Mitt Romney’s— has publicly identified people who are focused on Pima County. (Ed Parker and David Hoefferle). The Gingrich and Paul campaigns have state-wide coordinators—-Lisa James for Gingrich, Shawn Dow for Paul. I couldn’t find any Arizona representatives for Rick Santorum.
- I didn’t see any Tucson events planned for any of the four campaigns. (Perhaps that will change?)
Politics is the contact sport of the mind. Let the games begin.