Chandler GOP Chaos, Half Vote For Jones Against Hartke
Ruth Jones won close to 50% of Republican votes. Kevin Hartke won a second term as mayor with the help of Democrat voters. Hartke endorsed council candidates were beaten by Dems.
Hartke struggling against Jones among Republican voters
A mere ~50,000 people voted in the Chandler open primaries for mayor. Chandler is a city of almost 300,000 people. The mayoral primaries pitted challenger Ruth Jones against incumbent Kevin Hartke. Both are Republicans. Republicans and Democrats voted in these open primaries. We estimate at least half of the primary voters were Democrats, since Democrat candidates were on the same ballot for the city council open primary elections and collectively got more votes than the Republican candidates.
Hartke got 38,800 votes, or 77% while Jones got 11,586 or 23%. Given that the vast majority of Democrats voted for Hartke - Jones is a hate figure among the left - this means that Jones got an estimated 40 to 50% of the Republican primary votes. In a closed/partisan primary Jones may have won. Given her obvious weaknesses, which are her newcomer status running against an experienced and well known incumbent, her optics - which she could improve, her support for the non-discrimination ordinance, NDO and her refusal to endorse any fellow Republicans running for city council, this is a damming result for Hartke.
Hartke supported city council candidates Farhana Shifa and Darla Gonzalez came in behind the three Democrats Orlando, Poston and Encinas. Encinas is a far left immigration activist, yet in a red wave year with voters angry about the wide open southern border allowing millions of illegals to stream into the state, Hartke endorsed candidates couldn't even beat him.
What is going on?
While Encinas, Poston and Orlando somewhat coordinated their campaigns and had fire fighter union paid for posters with their three names put together, Republicans appeared to have had no comprehensive party strategy. Instead every candidate seemed to run for him or herself. Republicans only ran two candidates for the three available city council spots, further evidencing apparent disarray and lack of leadership. Hartke told us in his interview with us that he spends a lot of time campaigning for Gonzalez and Shifa. However, there wasn't a single election poster in which Hartke endorsed Shifa and Gonzalez. For people not deeply versed in local politics, it was hard to know Shifa and Gonzalez are actually Republicans.
We also note that although both Gonzalez and Shifa went to the Pride Forum to answer questions from voters that for the most part won't vote for them, neither agreed to be interviewed by The Valley Telegraph, which is read by a portion of the Chandler conservative and libertarian base, i.e. their potential voters.
The exploding numbers of homeless people on Chandler's streets are obvious to anyone. Hartke spent much of his career as pastor working with the homeless. As mayor he has continued this, pushing for homeless programs paid for by taxpayer money, which appears to attract the homeless to Chandler. Perhaps the Republican base is unhappy about this? In his interview with us he told us that the city used Covid-19 money to hire 5 homeless navigators, which are welfare administrator make-work type of government employees that mostly vote left. Such policies hence help to turn Chandler into a blue city. Two weeks ago the city council approved a resolution that would seek federal HUD funds to build more public housing in Chandler, removing land that could otherwise be used to build private single family housing for people who are much more likely to vote Republican than residents of public housing facilities.
Chandler is still well run, but this can change quickly if Democrats take over the city council and start implementing their policies. Good politics isn't just about bond ratings and tax rates but also about shaping demographics in a favorable direction so that one can hold on to power. It's also about fighting for conserving culture and values. What good is it to build a nice, clean and well run city, only to alienate your own voters and, out of ill-advised do-goodery, bring in so many Democrats that the city ends up flipping into the hands of the left?
City Council turns woke?
Matt Orlando has won re-election outright and doesn't need to go on to the general in November. Poston and Encinas, got fewer votes but but also appear to have gotten enough to get elected outright, precluding a run off in November. Incumbents OD Harris and Matt Orlando, and newcomers Jane Poston and Angel Encinas hence form a leftist majority on the 7-person city council, which includes the mayor. Chandler, a conservative city, now has at least two very far left leaning council members, presumed BLM aligned OD Harris and immigration activist Angel Encinas. Hopefully Republicans don't point at George Sorors or dark money as culprits, but turn inwards and realize that their weak stances on issues - Democrat light - are to blame.
Sarcasm alert! Maybe Republicans didn't do enough to displease their voters yet? Maybe they should now focus on passing the NDO their voters love so much, build public housing their voters dislike, bring in more homeless people which their voters demand and pass - paging council member Mark Stewart - universal voting by mobile phone, when their voters are already upset about mail in voting. They could also talk more about diversity, equity and inclusion, DEI, and hire more city staff who could implement more DEI policies Republican voters see as a top priority. And who doesn't look forward to our children being forced into wearing masks again? How about a light rail down Arizona avenue, with free tickets handed out to homeless people and "oppressed racial minorities"? Now that's an idea that will surely convince Republicans to vote for us rather than staying home in disgust. Sarcasm over!
Lessons for the school board elections in November
In November there are school board elections. Two Republicans, Kurt Rohrs and Charlotte Golla, have the chance to take two seats from the radical left. They should learn from Tuesday's disaster and firm up their positions, campaigning and messaging to appeal to their voters. Rohrs got off to a poor start by supporting the budget override (Kevin Hartke supported it too) in late 2021, which took millions of dollars out of the wallets of Chandler taxpayers, and handed it over to the Chandler Unified School District, CUSD80 and their teachers union cronies. Parents and taxpayers had fought this override hard, and Rohrs fought back, for the override, against parents and taxpayers. He now gives speeches at school board meetings decrying the massive budget surplus and deposits of CUSD80 at various banks, and calls on them to release some of that money back to tax payers, which of course they won't do.
HARTKE, KEVIN NON 38,800 77.01%
JONES, RUTH NON 11,586 22.99%
ENCINAS, ANGEL NON 24,017 19.46%
GONZALEZ, DARLA NON 21,804 17.67%
ORLANDO, MATT NON 33,250 26.95%
POSTON, JANE NON 25,427 20.61%
SHIFA, FARHANA NON 17,815 14.44%