Tucson CitizenTucson Citizen

Glassman postpones decision on Senate candidacy

Stick a fork in Rodney Glassman, he’s done. Glassman yesterday announced that he’s delaying until April his decision on whether to run for U.S. Senate this year because the city needs him to help solve its budget crisis.

In other words, he’s chosen to be a city councilman over being a U.S. Senator.

You can’t unseat a four-term Senator and former candidate for President by campaigning for only six months. Glassman needs gobs of money. Great, heaping gobs of money. Jim Pederson in 2006 spent $12 million to unseat Jon Kyl and couldn’t get within five points of Kyl, and that was in a Democratic year when voters were fed up with Republicans and swept Democrats into power.

The money is needed not just to buy TV and radio ads and mail out a couple hundred thousand glossy “Vote for Rodney” placards but also to pay for foot soldiers. The heart and soul of any campaign are the campaign volunteers, the proxy candidates who go door-to-door trying to push fence-sitting voters over to your candidate’s side of the yard.

Those volunteers need local campaign offices where they can pick up their campaign materials, talking points and get their maps and strategy. Those offices need rented desks and computers and office campaign managers. These things don’t magically appear out of thin air. It takes months to get the campaign army organized and set up, then months to work the campaign. And it takes months before that of heavy campaign fundraising to get the money to pay for that campaign. The paltry $20 donations he’s asking for ain’t gonna get it done. At the very least he needs $10 million, but realistically he needs $20 million. He can’t raise that money in six months and no one’s going to give it to him now while his decision is “postponed.”

Glassman is grossly underestimating what it takes to run for Senate. Which means he’s probably more enamored with the thought of running for Senate than actually being Senator.

The problem with his postponement announcement is that J.D. Hayworth has made the race interesting. Hayworth scares the hell out of moderates. There’s a chance, depending on whether the angry tea party movement is just a lot of noise or a real rift in the Republican party, that Hayworth could pick off McCain in a primary where turnout is usually low and limited to the most ardent, or most angry, of party faithful. And right now the faithful are not happy with John McCain.

If that were to happen, it could open the door for a Democrat who could rally frightened Democrats and moderate independents and Republicans who would desperately not want Tom Delay’s former bag man as their Senator for the next six years. That Democratic candidate needs to be standing in the door when it opens, not solving Tucson’s budget troubles.

But while Rodney dithers, other Democrats interested in running because of the above Hayworth scenario have to decide if they want to jump in. But there is only so much money to go around. If Rodney later decides to run, you could end up with two realistic Democratic candidates (Rudy Garcia is not a viable candidate) having to bleed Democratic donors but then spend a large portion of that money in a primary. Plus, the winner will be left with only a couple of months to campaign against McCain. That’s a recipe for failure.

Resign and run, Rodney, or drop out and let someone else stand in front of the Straight Talk Express.

Text of Glassman’s press release announcing the postponement of his decision:

Tucson Vice Mayor Rodney Glassman pledged today to make a decision concerning his potential run for U.S. Senate in early April after helping to lead the City of Tucson through its current budget crisis, “I will not abandon my duty for ambition, especially in a time of crisis,” says Glassman, “Other politicians are leaving the people who voted for them in a lurch by resigning in the middle of the worst financial crisis in the history of Arizona, a crisis that must be dealt with at every level of our governments.”

Glassman is postponing his decision until the Tucson City Council completes its budget deliberations and forwards its recommendations to the City Manager, “My priority is my responsibility to Tucson. The people who elected me are counting on me to see the Tucson 2011 budget process through.”

Glassman is exploring a run for U.S. Senate against the winner of a Republican primary built on promises to represent the narrowest constituency on the Far Right. He’s received thousands of $20 donations as an expression of interest in seeing him provide a new Arizona voice on Capitol Hill, representing mainstream Arizona values. He has received the support and encouragement of all of the 2010 Statewide Democratic candidates and from more individuals than any other candidate to take on McCain in Arizona history.

“The people of Tucson need me to fight for them and fight through a budget shortfall, even as the state Legislature ties our hands insofar as what we can do to handle it,” Glassman said. “When we make our decision concerning higher office, it will be after I’ve tended to the duties of my current office. That’s what Arizonans should expect of anyone seeking to lead.”

The City Council is scheduled to forward budget direction to the City Manager on April 6. For more information about the Rodney Glassman U.S. Senate Exploratory Committee please visit www.rodneyglassman.com.

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