Saturday, December 03, 2005

Michael: The Gabby Rush, the sequel

Now that Gabby has announced her retirement from the State Senate to run for the open CD 8 seat, it has set off something of a scramble in southern Arizona politics. Gabby's Senate seat will become vacant and the Pima County Supervisors will have to fill it from a list of three nominees provided by LD 28's elected PCs. The PCs, including myself, will probably meet in mid-December to decide on the slate of three. The obvious first two candidates will be current LD 28 Representatives David Bradley and Ted Downing. The real wild-card is who will be the third.

Of course, if either Bradley or Downing is selected by the Supes, that will set off a new and more open scramble to fill the vacated representative seat.

There are many worthies who would be willing to fill either the Senate or the theoretical Representative slate of candidates. Many office-holders and workers-behind-the-scenes will circulate their names as candidates among the LD 28 PCs over the next two weeks. I have already received several calls on the subject. Most of the names wouldn't mean anything to anyone who doesn't attend Party meetings and follow Party politics closely.

One interesting aspect that I am convinced will have a decisive impact on the process is gender politics. Gabby herself has expressed hope that her successor will be a woman. It appears that Sharon Bronson, a Democratic Pima County Supervisor that will play a key role in selecting from the slate of candidates, may also be disposed to ensure that a woman is selected.

This means that if a woman is able to get on the LD 28 PC slate of three that she may have an advantage over the Bradley and Downing. Downing has expressed an interest in running for the Senate seat next year even if he isn't appointed, so gender politics may tilt toward appointing a woman now and letting the voters have the final say in the next election.

Even if Bradley or Downing are selected for the seat, which may be more likely if a third man is slated by the LD 28 PCs, gender politics could play a role in filling the appointee's vacated Representative office. At that point, the pressure to appoint a woman may become more intense, given that the Senate seat will have gone to man.

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