Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Reasons for Optimism about Ruth McClung

Ruth McClung is running a very close race against incumbent Democrat Raul Grijalva in Arizona's 7th Congressional District. Grijalva is the Co-Chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus and a leading foe of Arizona's new immigration law---he even called for the boycott of his own state.

McClung is hitting Grijalva hard on that proposal for a boycott and on a variety of issues. Though many analysts rate this as a solid Democratic district, there are a number of reasons to be optimistic about McClung's changes.

For starters, polls are showing a close race. According to one poll, she leads Grijalva by two points (39-37); according to another, she lags two points behind. Those are very close margins.

And Grijalva should be in a much better position than this. As the Hill notes:

Still, observers are skeptical this race will be competitive. Grijalva's lowest winning percentage was 59 percent of the vote, and that was in 2002 when he was first elected. In 2008, he took 63 percent, while President Obama netted 57 percent of the vote in the district. 

It seems to me that these numbers should give more, not less hope, to McClung's campaign. This is a candidate who has won in the high 50s and low 60s in the past, and now he's stuck polling in the high 30s and low 40s.

Money is another reason for McClung's backers to be optimistic. The Hill reports on the campaigns' finances:
Espino said the GOP would like to win what they regard as a "trophy" district, but there are several things working in the Democrat’s favor. Grijalva had close to $75,000 banked at the start of August, while McClung had only close to $16,000. 

In terms of political campaigns these days, that's small money. McClung's acquired a lot of big-name endorsers recently (including Michelle Malkin, Sarah Palin, Mitt Romney, and John McCain). If only a few donors open their checkbooks, McClung could quickly enter financial parity with Grijalva.

The winds of change could be upon Arizona in 2010---and this time, they could benefit the GOP. McClung has a serious chance in this race, and a few dollars and a little support could go a long way to flipping another seat for Republicans.

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