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As a liberal pinko traitor who believes that conservatism is the bane of this fine country I am working locally to make a difference nationally.  Working with my local DFA group I want to see Rick Renzi removed as Representative for my district, which is Arizona CD 1.

There have been several Democratic candidates throwing their hat in the campaign ring.  Jack Jackson, Jr the candidate most likely to win dropped out. His reason? Not raising enough money (see earlier diary by Nonpartisan).

Luckily, Jackson dropping out doesn't disappoint me. I personally know one of the other candidates running. Mike Cacciopoli (pronounced kuh-chop-uh- lee) is one of our local DFAers. Moving to Flagstaff last year, he and his partner showed up at our meetup and immediately fit in with our group. Long discussions over the state of the country and the corrupt Republicans running it led to Mike deciding not to sit back and watch the CD1 race, but to do his best to take down Renzi. He joined the fight.

I was flabbergasted. How can someone who has never run for office before just decide to become a politician? How could he expect to win with no name recognition, no cash reserves, and with absolutely no experience in campaigning? Mike only knew that he had to do something. I thought he was crazy, yet admired his guts. I watched poor Paul Babbit do a miserable job against Renzi in the last election and wanted someone with backbone and bite to take Renzi on this time around. I got it in Mike Cacciopoli - or as Renzi put it once, "Mike Cacciop a who?" Renzi is learning who! Mike isn't playing it nice and sweet. He is willing to call Renzi on his BS and his connections to Tom DeLay and Jack Abramoff.

With Jackson dropping out I hope Mike gets more support from the powers that be, but doubt it.  An ex-New Yorker, Mike doesn't fit the usual Arizona suit and tie cowboy style. Of course, every time the state party recruits a candidate that fits the usual style they do poorly. Someone different will do nicely this time.

Mike for Congress

Originally posted to Erin in Flagstaff on Thu Mar 09, 2006 at 11:05 PM PST.

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Comment Preferences

  •  He has my support (4.00)
    I met Mike at the Arizona Democratic Party meeting about two weeks ago. Impressive guy that will turn heads.

    Jeff Latas for Congress www.jefflatas.com Candidate for US Congress, Arizona District 8

    by Jeff Latas on Thu Mar 09, 2006 at 11:16:58 PM PST

    •  He spoke highly of you (none)
      It's hard to gauge how this race is going to go.  Renzi is swimming in money, but I have to hope that something can tarnish him and hurt him enough to give the Dems a chance.
      •  You saw (none)
        the recent poll showing Larry King within 10 points of the supposedly unbeatable Hayworth in CD-5.  Larry's been doing exactly what Mike's been doing -- using his tiny campaign budget to trumpet loud and clear the case for voting against an entrenched Republican -- and look where it got him.

        If a friggin' black Democrat can poll within 10 of Hayworth in a supposedly noncompetitive district, then a transplanted New Yorker with the same message can give Renzi a run for his money.  We shall see.

        •  God, I hope so (none)
          Hayworth stinks. That poll indicated either Chuck Blanchard or Harry Mitchell could beat Hayworth. Oh, wouldn't that be nice?

          I hope your interview with Mike goes well. Just like Larry King, the right circumstances could really shoot him  into the main contender slot, but I wouldn't be surprised if the state party tries to find a safe candidate to replace Jackson.

          •  But who would they pick? (none)
            I'm trying to think of who could possibly be the "safe" candidate in CD-1.  The state party is not on speaking terms with the Yavapai County Dems (and God forbid one of them gets the nod, they're almost as bad as Renzi), and the only other candidate I can think of is Tom Chabin, whose candidacy would be seriously hampered by the fact that he hasn't been in politics for six years and lost a primary in a Rez-dominated district.  None of the supervisors will run (Archuleta's already passed on it, Deb Hill has said no to me repeatedly, Yellowman's too old, Taylor's too new, Ryan wouldn't give up his seat), and Jim Sedillo, who was seriously thinking about it, died of a stroke last winter.

            No, I don't think the state party can entice a "safe" candidate into the race.  It's going to be Mike.

      •  Something else (none)
        I want Mike to do the impossible -- to poll 40% in this district.  40% is more than Babbitt managed, and it will take away questions of legitimacy about Mike forever -- he'll be able to run for smaller offices like state senate and win them.  Also, it'll tell people that the CD is officially in play again for 2008, if an unknown like Mike can capture that much against Tricky Rick.

        The key will be capturing the support of the Rez, and that's what I'll be asking Mike about when I interview him next week.  If he's got a Rez-based game plan, then he's got a shot.  If not, he might as well not bother.

        •  Exactly (none)
          If Renzi wins it must not be a blowout.  He has to be damaged goods.  I don't want him to have a chance in the 2010 governor's race.

          You know, it's not just the Rez, it's Yavapai and the southern part of the district that is so important when the general election time comes around. Unfortunately, Renzi is actually delivering with some money for the tribes (unfortunate for Dems, but not the tribes).

          AZ-01 is such a huge district it is hard to mount a campaign covering the whole district when there's not enough cash or volunteers.

          •  I actually think (none)
            Mike might be in a position to heal the rift with the Yavapai Dems, precisely BECAUSE he's not backed by the state party.  Diane Prescott might see in him a copy of her abortive race two years ago, though with Vic McKerlie in the race it's hard to believe they wouldn't support him instead.
      •  and one more thing (none)
        Renzi is, in fact, swimming in money -- but who says he's going to spend it against a man he described as "Caccioppa-who?"  Two things on this: one, if Renzi doesn't seriously campaign, he leaves a hole for Mike to do well; and two, Mike NEEDS to draw off Renzi' cash resources to keep him from giving funds to other candidates or from just banking it all and hammering the '08 nominee with it.
  •  run, Mike, run! (none)
    Despite my earlier comments in nonpartisan's thread, it now sounds to me like Cacciopoli is probably the best contender at this point for the seat. It's going to be a very non-traditional campaign, and one that the DCCC probably decides to ignore. But an unorthodox race might be what we need to give Renzi the boot.
  •  Mike (none)
    I think Mike contacted me awhile back since I write a Progressive Democrat newsletter in NYC and he wanted to use his NYC connections. He seemed like a good guy. I kind of blew him off partly because I didn't know if he had any chance at all and partly because my newsletter does not endorse in primaries, so there wasn't necessarily anything I could do for him. I may be confusing him with someone else, but how many ex-New Yorkers can be running for office in Arizona???

    I have been pushing someone else's Act Blue list that targets the weakest Republican Congressional Reps. I suggest people donate to ALL these races, but top of the list is AZ-1.

    Best of luck to the Dems of AZ-1

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