August 31, 2018

Competitive Primary Races; Value of Political Endorsements; New Trade Deal

Also, chair of the Arizona Democratic Party, Felecia Rotellini says Democrats are primed to capture Arizona voters.

This year's primary elections brought into view the importance of candidate endorsements. Arizona 360 invited Kate Kenski, a professor from the University of Arizona Department of Communication and School of Government and Public Policy to talk about their role in the election cycle.

Endorsements come in three different forms: political, celebrity and citizen. Arizona 360 host Lorraine Rivera asks Kenski to detail how those endorsements have the ability to sway voters.

Kenski explains that endorsements provide a roadmap for voters. Rather than having to sort out nuanced perspectives, the voter can make a judgment by looking to someone they trust, or do not trust, as the case may be.

“If someone is not trusted, if someone has burned bridges in certain ways, them offering their support can be a signal to people who don’t like that person that whoever they are supporting, is someone they don’t want to support.”


Arizona has long been a conservative stronghold, but Democrats say this is the year for change. Republicans hold the majority when it comes to registered voters, followed by independents and then Democrats.

Those numbers are not daunting to the chair of the Arizona Democratic Party,Felecia Rotellini.

Arizona 360 host spoke to Rotellini recently during her tour in Southern Arizona.

“Arizona values are the values that democratic candidates are fighting for — affordable health care, a good public education system, so every kid has the shot at the American dream. Protect social security and medicare and medicaid.”

Rotellini further detailed how they have the midterm backlash in favor of the Democrats and a surge of engagement following the presidential election.


Arizona 360 invited UA’s James E. Rogers College of Law professor David Gantz to discuss the new trade deal with Mexico. As an expert in international economic law, Gantz provides a complete understanding of the current situation and possible impact on Arizona.

“I think the most significant impact for Arizona was what was not changed,” explained Gantz. “From what I have seen, there are no changes that would disrupt the enormous flow of Mexican fruits and vegetables across the Nogales border, where we have of course huge transportation services, processing, and other major industries. This would be terribly disrupted if this were changed in a new NAFTA, so that I think is a great relief for Arizona.”

Gantz also discusses how the Trump administration is trying to deal with key issues, such as the sunset clause termination and the rules that govern the North American auto and auto-parts industries.


One month remains until ballots for the general election go out. For many candidates, that could signal a change in how they talk about the issues. Arizona Public Media’s Christopher Conover takes a look at a pattern of candidates skewing toward the political middle for the general election.

Republican political strategist Barrett Marson explains, “They have to show the party base that they are either a committed conservative or progressive, and then they also have to leave wiggle room to show the broader audience of moderates in each party and independents that they are best situated to best represent in Congress, in a statewide office.”

Conover speaks to Mike Noble, a Republican pollster in Arizona. Noble has spent nearly a year looking at who Arizona’s moderate voters are.

According to Noble’s polling, about 15 percent of Arizona voters are moderates this year, with 9 percent of those leaning conservative and 12 percent leaning liberal. He says those voters are moving in a new direction.


With the primary election in the rearview mirror, candidates, political pundits and journalists are looking toward November.

Arizona 360 host Lorraine Rivera is joined by Dan Shearer from the Green Valley News, Sarah Garrecht Gassen from the Arizona Daily Star, and Jim Nintzel of the Tucson Weekly and Tucson Local Media.

These Southern Arizona journalists analyze this week’s primary election. They will discuss some of the more competitive races in Arizona, and which ones will have national implications.

Arizona 360
Arizona 360 airs Fridays at 8:30 p.m. on PBS 6 and Saturdays at 8 p.m. on PBS 6 PLUS. See more from Arizona 360.
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