Friday, October 20, 2006

Graf's Cochise Cty. tour weak; Giffords holds strong

Randy Graf tours Cochise County Wednesday
Events sparsely attended by hardcore righties

BISBEE AZ – GOP candidate for congress Randy Graf toured Cochise County Wednesday with stops in Benson, Willcox, Douglas, Bisbee, and Sierra Vista.

Graf, seen short at left with other white guys and Global Warming Hummer, drove himself and campaign manager around in a Ford truck.

Starting in Benson at 8am at the Horse Shoe Café, four of the five campaign stops had very few supporters show up.

About 4-8 Graf fans turned out at each of the first four stops. About 30 showed up at County GOP HQ in Sierra Vista to end the day. A weak total of maybe 50 people all day.

Reporters from CNN and The Hill were there early, then left to return from Tucson. A Los Angeles Times editorial writer appeared in Benson, Douglas, and Bisbee. And I made all stops, covering all corners of the county to bring you the independent perspective.

Graf did an interview with the BBC by phone from Willcox.

The talk was tough, when there was much talk. Mostly Graf jawboned and joked with the sparse huddles of supporters, some in cowboy hats, some with sidearms.

Guns were a major theme of talk on the Graf tour. Randy is endorsed by the NRA. I got a yellow diamond sticker (think ‘baby on board’) that reads ‘WARNING: Driver only carries $20 in ammunition.’ Unique and truly American. Oh wait, these are also probably popular in Iraq and Afghanistan.

I support guns and the 2nd amendment, so I was not troubled by this too much. I'm glad Giffords also supports the right to bear arms. Guns are a powerful issue in AZ politics, especially in rural areas.

At one stop Randy joked, ‘my alarm system goes 2900 feet per second, can you outrun that?’ He was referring to the speed of a bullet.

The border and immigration, of course, were the other big targets today. Randy talked tough. Border vigilantes greeted him in Douglas, one packin’ heat in a black skull and crossbones shirt. The tough punisher mentality.

Answering questions, Randy showed positions on many issues.

He thinks House Speaker Hastert (R) has done nothing wrong that should require his removal.

He supports Prop 207, putting him at odds with almost all other elected officials in AZ.

Randy wants to break up the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, calling it ‘too liberal.’

Graf recently met with Karl Rove during Rove’s GOP fundraising stop in Tucson, but he doesn’t expect any direct support from the White House before the Nov 7 election.

Graf’s tour was small and homey. It did not seem extremely well organized. The turnouts were small.

Giffords seems strongest, even in Cochise County, and especially in organization.

Bisbee, the county seat, and Douglas, on the border, are especially strongholds for Giffords.

Most of the voters in CD8 are in metro Tucson, where Giffords is strongest. But don't be surprised if she also wins Cochise County.

People here are pretty smart, and want a more independent voice who is not lock-step with Bush.

This Independent Voter report was done for the Arizona Independent Media Center and will also be posted there,

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