Another view of the August 2, 2022 primary ballot

by Toby Duffell

If, like me, you have received a Voter Education Guide you may be wondering how to become educated as a voter. Well, it won’t be through reading the guide, which is a bit like going down for the third time in warm maple syrup while being shouted at by a lady with blue hair (no offence, mom). Every one of the candidates wants to be everything you want. Vote for me.

So, as a Precinct Committeeman, I felt that it is important to be able to make sensible recommendations to our constituents as to how we might win.  As a walk-away Democrat I can tell you that such advice was commonplace and was provided to me whether I wanted it or not. This was how to vote strategically, my Dear Leaders told me. So, having seen the light, I turned to the Chair of LD 12 and was eagerly looking forward to a reply that would help me make the best of my vote and those in my district. However, LD 12 has chosen to implement by-laws that prevent any recommendation or advice being given at this stage of the voting. Is it because the Republican party is too impartial, noble, and above the fray? Good luck with that.

As a result, here are some observations based on talking with better-informed patriots than me and a search of the internet, where everything that it published there is true or it would never show up. I make no claims as to accuracy or completeness of knowledge, or even intelligence, but you’ve got to start somewhere. As follows:


It seems that Scott Neely and Paola Zen can be discounted because they do not appear to have any traction, meaning, they are peripheral candidates and a vote for them would be wasted as it would not change anything. The two giants to consider are therefore Karrin Taylor Robson and, of course, Kari Lake. Ms. Lake is polished, telegenic (she was a TV news anchor), appears to be quite frank, and is endorsed by 45 although it seems The Donald has done so because she thinks the last election was in some way tampered with (really?). And more than three-quarters of AZ Republicans would back Trump. That said, being endorsed by 45 hasn’t been pivotal for his picks. Against Ms. Lake is that she has down-played her liberal past, but it is a human right to be allowed to change one’s mind and grow in outlook. But there seems to be too much ammunition lying around which her Democrat opponents will be quick to use if she becomes the nominee. (Source: NBC online article GOP race for Arizona governor becomes 2024 proxy war)

Now Governor Ducey has endorsed Ms. Taylor Robson and, in this setting, perhaps the view of a less flamboyant Republican will help woo those more moderate and even Independents given our current purplish appearance – choosing Lake might result in a win next month that goes no further. Advantage Robson.

Secretary of State

Mark Finchem seems to be the most electable. He is also truly hated by AZ Central (the on-line presence of the supremely reliable and impartial AZ Republic, which is currently flirting with a sub-100,000 circulation numbers for its daily edition). So that can’t be a bad thing, then, can it? Add to this that he is disliked by the Phoenix New Times and even the British Guardian newspaper, so a lot of the thinking has been done for you – if they hate him, they consider him a real threat and with true potential.

Finchem can be accused of some dumb moves, including his sympathy for the January 6th rioters. But he seems to have tapped into the concerns of everyday moderates including teachers proselytizing schoolkids for their political choices and promoting advanced self-criticism and racial division to the detriment of such mundane and dull topics as the Three Rs.

He isn’t the ideal candidate but seems the best of the bunch. All he needs is Sam Elliott to endorse him and he’s a shoo-in.

Attorney General

Abraham Hamadeh is seen by my conservative friends as truthful, a scarce commodity in the current environment. I actually met him, and he seems engaging, with a sharp mind, and switched on. Like me, he is a first-generation American, but unlike me, has served this wonderful country in the Armed Forces. He has publicly wondered why churches, schools and small stores were closed while big-box stores remained open, he seems to cherish independence and freedom, and vowed to go after the cartels that bring drugs into our community and treat them as terrorists. By the way, in case Abraham is imprisoned for mildly protesting anything (I’m looking at you, Gavin Trudeau), consider Tiffany Shedd.

Step forward the chief opponent from the dark side, Kris Mayes. No opinion on the cartels in her campaign statement. She believes in teaching critical race theory, that school-age children should be given sex-change surgery on demand, that police funding is best diverted to social programs, opposes immigrants learning English and is against a border wall. Nothing to see here, move along. (Source:

State Treasurer

Kimberley Yee already does the job and has been endorsed by almost the entire State Senate, or so it seems, with Barry Goldwater added in for good measure. A strong believer in mathematics, Kimberly has made just about every financial parameter we care about (investment, government assets, taxes) change in the right direction. She is a conservative Republican – pro-life, pro-second amendment, pro-law enforcement, pro-school choice, and wants to see civics, free market economics and finance as a component of education, along with American history and capitalism. She’s a smart, driven, Asian-American tiger mom with access to a rifle. Watch out, Martin Quezada . . .

Superintendent of Public Instruction

Just when you were thinking I had nothing but nice things to say about the candidates with an “R” after their name, consider Michelle Udall. In her case the R seems to stands for RINO, having voted to provide in-state tuition to illegal aliens and against the voucher system to provide parents with a choice of where to have their kids educated. Writing as a person who came here legally, I didn’t think I would be expected to pay for the education of the families of those who didn’t. But it’s not all clear-cut – on other touchstone issues she she’s pretty straightforward. (Source:

But Step forward Shiry Sapir, Tiger Mom On Fire – When the 100% accurate AZ Central has to use words like “suspicion”, “accusation” and “rhetoric of grooming” to criticize her you know they’re worried and she’s on the right track. Along with quoting left-wing firebrands in education who are passed off as impartial academics, Sapir is described as using inflammatory phrases like “Children belong to parents and families, not the government”. Gosh. How wrong is that, comrade. So yes, I’ll be voting for Ms. Sapir.

Corporation Commissioner

You get to vote for two in this particular race.

Kevin Thompson was written about by the impartial AZ Republic but against their better judgement had to report that he is actually interested in a secure and reliable energy grid. Their favorite, Lauren Kuby, proposed single-use plastic bags, climate activism (so successful in California) and bold, empathetic justice for families and people of all genders. My choice: Keeping the lights on (and the A/C running) for seven million Arizonans.

Thompson comes as a package with Nick Myers. For his part, Myers seeks to limit commission decisions and make them accountable to the Arizona Supreme Court.

Because unbiased information on the Corporation Commissioner hopefuls is somewhat limited on the web, perhaps it’s best to see which large groups with a vested interest in the welfare of the state have endorsed. Kuby and her partner are endorsed by Stonewall Democrats of Arizona, the leading statewide LGBTQI advocacy organization, a connection that is hard to make with electrical energy cost and reliability. Thomson and Myers are endorsed by the AZ Police Association, Mesa Police Association, and the Homebuilders Association of Central Arizona, among others. (Source:

State Senator – District 12

Suzanne Sharer seems to be the most sensible candidate in a field that a satirist (not me, of course) might paint as including a nut job and a RINO. Sharer is a long-time resident of her neighborhood, and has been hugely active in local affairs for most of her adult life, and seems well-versed in the issues. She is in favor of a southern border wall in AZ, wants to keep AZ business-friendly – with no new taxes – and is justifiably skeptical of what our children are being taught. She wants to ensure that education funding actually makes it to teacher salaries and classrooms and favors school choice for parents. She kindly spoke with me and the overall impression is a reasonable, stable candidate and someone who is committed to the place where she lives. So, amidst all this cynical patter from me, here is something genuine: Suzanne Sharer is our best hope for a Senator who has the ability to work with others, and do some real good for the state. By the way, she has just been endorsed by Kari Lake.

Back to being cynical, candidate Mitzi Epstein (D) appears to have an ultra-hard-left following whose tweets have caused a national shortage of exclamation marks, including one who posts a picture of “Lock Him Up” written in ketchup on the sidewalk. The clinical significance of this is not yet fully understood but would appear to present some concerns. Ms. Epstein seems to be cast from the same mold as Jennifer Adams, who I find a little scary (see the AZ Central article on her interactions with the City of Tempe HR department) Accuser and accused: Tempe council candidate had several run-ins while working for city). I had the opportunity to observe Ms. E. several years ago when she ran an HOA, and after first contact the real estate agent suggested we look at houses elsewhere . . .

David Richardson is something of a mystery. It is not clear why he has entered the race and does not seem to have supported fellow Republican candidates. His background includes CEO of bioSyntagna which develops Covid testing product, which might make one wonder about how he might vote on such issues, and his Twitter account shows him following Melinda Gates.

State representative – District 12

Here we get to choose both Jim Chaston and Terry Roe. Something of a no-brainer except that it’s important to know that the unassuming-looking Terry Roe is a 20-year veteran of the Arizona Police, has served on the board of the Salvation Army and the board of the Phoenix Silent Witness Program.

Jim Chaston is similarly middle-of-the-road, and his background in accounting seems to have taught him that maths isn’t racist. Jim appears to be moderate, reliable and not a firebrand who wants to “reimagine accounting”.

In Conclusion

I make no claims to be politically astute. But researching this article has required me to look at the political scene. A few things I have learned:

  1. The AZ Republic is not a newspaper. It is the agitprop mouthpiece of the left where opinion is expressed as fact. It has a panel of lefty academics and others on tap whom they cite as impartial, credible and authoritative sources. But even the simplest of searches reveals the backgrounds of these supposedly impartial commentators.  Except that no-one ever bothers to look.
  2. Opinion in AZ is presented as news. But the folks with the microphone are no better than you. At the best they provide content to get you to look – and then consume the “important messages from our sponsors”. At worst they provide a biased, sectarian POV in furtherance of the sinister cause of who is behind them.
  3. If the Rs win it won’t be because they have all the outlets covered.  The Ds have already done that.
  4. There is a battle for America. The Ultra Left want to wrest authority from parents and ordinary people like you and me to the state. This is a culture war, not an Arizona mid-term, and is far more serious than you think.

Good luck, and may God Bless America. I feel sorry for you, because, if it all falls apart here, I can go back to Europe. You literally have nowhere else to go.