The good people at Mesa Issues put together a roundtable discussion between bloggers who are covering the LD 18 Senate race. East Valley Immigration, Thoughts on Mesa, Sonoran Alliance , and Adams and Jefferson agreed to participate. The first installment of the discussion follows:
1. Which candidate (Pearce or Gibbons) do you think has greater negatives right now?
Adams and Jefferson:
Kevin Gibbons - he is taking on a "favorite son" in the district and will have difficulty proving himself to be more conservative than Mr. Pearce in an incredibly conservative district.
Thoughts on Mesa:
Even though a negative piece came out on Pearce about a 28 year old divorce filing, I think that most republicans can see what is going on by the "open boarder" and "cheap labor groups" supporting Gibbons. I still firmly believe that Gibbons has the greatest negatives.
East Valley Immigration:
Although Gibbons is making a run at smearing Pearce, I think when you consider the fact we are in a Republican Primary, Gibbons has the most to lose. He has come off looking like an open border, democrat taking special interest money. I know my neighbors in Mesa don't exactly line up that way.
I think that the independent expenditures were fired up because they saw that Gibbons had clearly been put forth as the outsider with a lot of questionable connections. Gibbons has spent considerable time trying to put Pearce down more, when in fact, he should be trying to play up his positives. I predict that from here on out, Gibbons will go positive and allow his colleagues to do the mudslinging.
Sonoran Alliance: One would think that Russell Pearce has the highest negatives with the recent independent expenditure hit pieces against him but it is quite the opposite. Kevin Gibbons negatives are greater and continue to increase as more attacks on Pearce occur. Even before the attacks on Pearce, Gibbons was considered an outsider with ties to business interests trying to thwart the employer sanction laws. One must remember that West Mesa neighborhoods are a very tight-knit community and an outside attack on someone so closely identified and respected is seen as an attack on the whole community. Over the years, Pearce has earned the respect of many people in his district and knows more people than his opponent anticipated. Gibbons has an uphill battle trying to earn the respect of a community that which knows he has not been apart of. The revelation that Gibbons did not participate in previous elections will hurt him. Gibbons' ties to immigration legal services is also a problem with voters who have seen their community negatively affected by illegal immigrants and cheap labor. Finally, there is also a perception that Gibbons comes from a higher class status and was handpicked by individuals seeking political power. West Mesa voters are very protective of their community and elected officials and are not likely to be told what to do. Kevin Gibbons has an uphill battle and it only gets more difficult with each hit piece on Russell Pearce. I believe that Mesa Deserves Better's tactics are backfiring back on Gibbons.