by Jim Nintzel
We told you a few weeks back about how Ted Downing, a former Democratic state lawmaker, is now making a run for the state Senate as an independent.
By going the independent route, Downing is able to avoid a Democratic primary against incumbent Sen. Paula Aboud in midtown Tucson’s Legislative District 28. Downing lost a primary to Aboud in 2006.
Downing isn’t the only independent in the race; Dave Ewoldt, who has been active with the local Green Party, has also abandoned the party label in order to run in the general.
Why all the reluctance to embrace a party label? Ewoldt tell us he decided against running as a Green because he thought voters were too dismissive of Green candidates. Downing says says he’s not running as a Democrat because he has a new vision of post-partisan politics.
We suspect Downing also figured out he’d lose a primary, but would have a shot at winning in a general election if he could grab some of his old Democratic supporters and win over the vote of a few Republicans who might reflexively vote against Democrat Aboud because there was no Republican in the race.
Or at least there wasn’t until recently, when Republican Greg Krino announced he was going to switch from running as for a House seat in LD28 to running as a write-in candidate for Senate.
Krino, a recent UA law school graduate and former A-10 fighter pilot, will need to get 214 write-in votes to earn a spot on the general-election ballot.
Krino, who is not participating in Clean Elections, doesn’t have a lot of money to get the word out about his write-in campaign; he’d only raised $2,635 as of the end of May, according to the most recent campaign finance reports.
But we hear he’s close to Greg Harris, the executive director of the Pima County Republican Party. If the GOP gets behind the effort (and we don’t see any reason why they wouldn’t), he might be able to make it over the top, especially since they have plenty of time to reach out to Republicans who have write-in ballots.
If Krino is successful in making the general election ballot, it creates something of a nightmare scenario for local Democrats: Downing could draw enough votes from Aboud to make a GOP victory in a solid Democratic district possible.