by Jim Nintzel
The list of candidates for Arizona’s Feb. 28 presidential primary is complete—and Project White House 2012, the Weekly’s Reality Journalism competition, is underway!
A total of 23 Republicans are on the ballot, which is one less than the 24 Republicans who were on the ballot in 2008.
We would have gotten to 24 candidates this year, if former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman hadn’t messed up his paperwork. It really says something about the importance of organization when local guitar legend Al “Dick” Perry can get on the GOP primary ballot, but Huntsman screws it up.
Speaking of Al Perry: He landed the No. 4 spot on the Arizona GOP presidential ballot at a random drawing of names for ballot order at the Arizona Secretary of State’s office earlier this week. That puts him well ahead of Texas Gov. Rick Perry, who is at the No. 17 spot.
“I hope that doesn’t confuse our voters,” said Secretary of State Ken Bennett. “I think that people who support Rick Perry will vote for Rick Perry and hopefully they’ll notice the distinction between Rick Perry and Al ‘Dick’ Perry.”
Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio, who is chairing Rick Perry’s campaign in Arizona, did not appear too happy about his candidate sharing a name with another contender for the White House.
“Who is that?” Arpaio said when The Range asked him about Al “Dick” Perry. “I don’t know who that is. I know there’s only one of me.”
To answer Arpaio’s question: Al “Dick Perry” is one of the 10 GOP candidates who are participating in Project White House, which will present a variety of challenges to the candidates between now and Election Day. The candidate who does the best job will win the Tucson Weekly’s endorsement for the GOP race.
By luck of the draw, Project White House candidates snagged the top five spots on the GOP ballot this year.
The Arizona Democratic Party opted out of having a primary on Feb. 28, preferring to do a caucus later in the year. That prevents a Project White House candidate from potentially embarrassing President Barack Obama.
But the Green Party is in the race, with six candidates on the ballot. At least three of them are participating in Project White House and we’re hopeful that the rest will join in before the end of the week.
We’re looking forward to introducing you to the candidates in Project White House in an upcoming cover story, but in the meantime, you’ll find more information about them, as well as their plans for the country, at www.projectwhitehouse2012.com. You’ll meet people like Charles Skelley and Peter “Simon” Bollander, who made quite a splash during Project White House 2008. And you’ll meet newcomers like Sarah Gonzales, who notes in a missive to us that Arizona’s nomination form is the “easiest job application I have ever filled out. AND I can also see who else applied for the job! I totally know my competitors! After seeing who else applied from the Republican Party ... I think I have a shot.”
We agree, Sarah—and we’re thrilled to have you on board.
As truck driver and presidential candidate Cesar Cisneros told us when he agreed to be part of the Project White House 2012 this morning: “The rich guys get all the TV shows and media attention because they can buy it, but there’s always a miracle for the little guy.”
Hank Stephenson assisted in the reporting of this entry.