The latest installment of CityBeat's election column, Turds & Blossoms, wherein we rate campaigns and candidates and award them turds or blossoms for their latest foibles and triumphs.
It’s easy to laugh at Republican presidential candidate John Huntsman for failing to get on the Arizona ballot, but we’re shoveling shit all over ourselves, too, for similarly screwing up our efforts to recruit candidates for the Arizona primary.
In 2008, the alternative newspaper Tucson Weekly discovered that it was super simple to get people on the primary ballot and recruited 24 candidates for a reality-journalism competition called Project White House. For 2012, CityBeat joined in and found five local candidates to run. All of them—including CityBeat editor David Rolland, who wanted to run on the Republican ticket—were rejected by Arizona Secretary of State Ken Bennett, who’s enforcing new policies. For example, Rolland was rejected because he’s not a member of the Republican Party, something that didn’t matter in 2008. Andrew Hinkle, better known as musician Grampadrew, was rejected from the Green Party ballot because he didn’t list an Arizona address for his campaign committee— even though that didn’t affect the eligibility of two other candidates. As of deadline, Hinkle was appealing.
We promised local candidates that they’d start with 100 blossoms—because of the massive fail, we issue ourselves 500 pieces of crap. We did, however, get one candidacy certified: New Mexico-based singing satirist Jim Terr, who, due to the luck of the draw, is the second candidate listed on the Republican ballot. In total, 10 of the 23 GOP candidates and three of the six Greens are connected to Project White House.
One of the remaining Greens, it turns out, is local: Kent Mesplay, a county air-quality inspector, tells CityBeat that his chances are much better this year than when he ran in 2004 and 2008, because the previous nominees (David Cobb and Cynthia McKinney, respectively) aren’t running. Citing a Blackfoot tribe lineage, Mesplay says he hopes to court campaign workers from the tribal communities. We’d award Mesplay 100 endangered marsh sandworts, but we recently learned that there are only 10 wild specimens left in existence.
Bonus: Here's Terr's first campaign video: