Polling. Polling. ‘Tis the season to be polling.
Unfortunately, when it comes to asking the public about Democrat presidential contenders, the numbers are just about meaningless at the moment. Way too early.
Saw one this week that had Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders way out in front. Duh. Of the 20 or so names on a pollster’s question sheet, do any of the others have the name identification of a 40 year politician - and recent Vice President for eight years - and a sitting senator who’s been running for President for 10 years and still has a national network of supporters?
It’s going to likely take another year for anything meaningful to come out of political sampling statistics. There’ll be lots of pushing and shoving and more than a few dropouts by early 2020.
Here in our cactus-littered landscape, we have an interesting race coming up. With some unique human interest.
After the death of John McCain, former Arizona Senator John Kyl was appointed to fill the remaining months until the 2018 election. At the same time, two of our members of Congress were going head-to-head for the other Senate opening to replace Jeff Flake who quit after polling showed him losing.
Eventually, Democrat Kyrsten Sinema beat the GOP’s Martha McSally in a close one.
Just before a new Congress could be seated, Kyl - as promised - stepped down, leaving McCain’s chair empty. So, what did our faithful Republican Governor do about filling it? Well, now, he just reached out and plopped the loser in the 2018 Senate race in it. The candidate the public had just rejected. McSally is in there until 2020 when - as the incumbent - she’s got to run again.
Hold those thoughts.
Several years ago, our Rep. Gabby Giffords was badly wounded in an assassination attempt in Tucson. During a long recovery, she was forced to resign and one of her staff members was eventually elected to replace her.
The main support for Giffords during recovery was her husband - former astronaut Mark Kelly. As she got better, the two of them started a national campaign to tighten requirements for gun ownership. Many prominent people joined in and the movement is now well-recognized and represented in several states.
A tragic story could happily end right there. But, it doesn’t.
After a lot of urging by a lot of people, Kelly has decided to run against McSally next year. Lots of hoopla around here when he made the announcement. Arizona has traditionally been a pretty red state. But, several House seats have recently gone to Democrats and Sinema is our first Dem in the Senate in 40 years.
Kelly was more than just another astronaut in our space program. He and his twin brother provided a unique opportunity for NASA to further determine the human effects of extended spaceflight when one twin circled the globe for a year while the other sat it out in Houston under the watchful eye of doctors. Additionally, Mark Kelly made three space flights himself.
As a result, Kelly brings a lot of charisma and name identification to the political wars. Around these parts, he’s thought of a lot more than just “local boy makes good.” So, there’s got to be some real concern in the McSally camp.
But, to me, there’s one more part of the promised McSally-Kelly match-up that will make it unique.
If all goes as planned, we’ll have a former Marine fighter pilot - McSally - running against a former Navy fighter pilot - Kelly - to replace another former Navy fighter pilot - McCain.
You just can’t get much more human interest than that.