Photos and story
by JOE GIDDENS
The national spotlight has come to Tucson as both parties compete for Arizona’s potential swing state status in the 2020 election.
Mike Pence Arrival
Vice President Mike Pence, Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey and Sen. Martha McSally arrived at Tucson International Airport Oct. 3 to stump for the U.S.-Mexico-Canada trade agreement. The USMCA is the successor to the North American Free Trade Agreement.
The agreement hasn’t yet been put to a vote in Congress because of the Democrats’ concerns with its enforceability and on labor matters.
Pence’s other objective for this visit was to campaign for McSally ahead of her expected matchup next year against Democratic frontrunner candidate Mark Kelly. The most recent poll by OH Predictive Insights in August had McSally trailing five points.
Traditionally, Arizona was a solidly Republican state, but has been going purple as seen in the midterms with the state’s other Senate seat flipping to moderate Democrat Kyrsten Sinema.
At the state government level Kathy Hoffman and Katie Hobbs became the first Democrats to hold state office in nearly a decade.
The trio of Pence, McSally and Ducey were greeted by about 100 Davis-Monthan Air Force Base personnel and fewer Trump supporters on the tarmac of Tucson International Airport. Pence’s previous visit to Southern Arizona was in March in support of President Donald Trump’s border emergency declaration and wall construction.
Pence’s arrival in Arizona came on the heels of the Washington Post’s report that Pence was repeatedly involved in Trump’s efforts to put pressure on Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky.
Pence didn’t take questions from reporters in Green Valley or at the Tucson airport. But did make his feelings known about the growing impeachment efforts at the Southwest Hispanic Leaders Roundtable at the First Baptist Church of Scottsdale.
“The American people have the right to know if the vice president of the United States or his family profited from his position as vice president during the last administration,” he said to reporters. “That’s about looking backwards and understanding what really happened.”
Beto town hall
Beto O’Rourke held a town hall meeting at Gentle Ben’s Brewing on Oct. 6. He became the first presidential candidate of 2020 to campaign in the Old Pueblo. O’Rourke’s voter satisfaction with Democratic primary voters was a 34 percent when he arrived in Arizona.
The former three-time Texas congressman spent 40 minutes earlier in the day at a bar called The Churchill in Phoenix.
The event opened with Pima County Democratic Party Chair Alison Jones taking umbrage with Pence’s visit to Southern Arizona and saying the public wasn’t getting access to their elected officials.
O’Rourke gave a 40-minute campaign stump speech and cited similarities between Tucson and his hometown of El Paso being border towns and being blue areas in red states. O’Rourke talked about his signature issue of gun control in the wake of August’s mass shooting at a Wal-Mart in El Paso. He pushed for mandatory buybacks of assault rifles with in what’s become another campaign trait with casual profanity.
Editor’s Disclaimer: We will be reporting his word choices unedited.
“Keep that shit on the battlefield and out of our lives,” he said.
As seen with on the Sept. 12 Democratic Debate: “Hell, yes, we are going to take your AR-15, your AK-47,”
Or in the aftermath of the Aug. 31 Midland–Odessa shooting “This is fucked up.” Further, when asked by a reporter on Aug. 5 on what Trump can do to improve race relations especially considering the racially motived nature of the El Paso shooting: “What do you think? You know the shit he’s been saying. He’s been calling Mexican immigrants rapists and criminals. I don’t know, like, members of the press, what the fuck?”
O’Rourke also called for universal background checks on all firearm sales and red flag laws. He also drew a link between the El Paso shooting and the Trump administration. Citing a Trump rally where the president rhetorically asked when talking about the southern border: “How are we going to repel this invasion?”
A participant yelled back, “Shoot them!” O’Rourke noted how both the crowd and the president laughed in response. O’Rourke’s view is this was Trump giving his consent to violence. And that the El Paso shooting was “wholly predictable based on the rhetoric and the practices and the policies of this president.”
— AztecPress (@AztecPress) October 6, 2019
O’Rourke’s energy plan is for the United States to be carbon neutral by 2050 by moving away from fossil fuels and toward renewables and geothermal, he also called for global cooperation but was light on specifics on how this would be achieved.
“If we can get there sooner by 2045, or even earlier,” he said in a response to the Aztec Press. “By God, we will doing everything we can.”