THERE WAS NO stopping Rich Genser seven weeks ago. He bounded up the Ragged Tops with his wife on a hike that he proclaimed a tribute on President's Day and lavished praise on the territory well before U.S. Secretary of the Interior Bruce Babbitt was lured here to check it himself for possible preservation.
Genser was on a roll. And he would use that seemingly irrepressible energy to also climb atop the Pima County Board of Supervisors in prickly District 1.
Reality bites. Political reality eviscerates.
Genser is no longer a candidate.
"I'm not running and there's no mystery to it," Genser said Monday. "I've just had this exploratory campaign going on now -- or committee, it's called -- for approximately a month. And I'm not going to do it. I mean it's that simple. I investigated it and it's not for me. So it's that simple.
"But I like doing the work from the outside. I will always continue to volunteer for different groups and press forward with my issues and good luck to the other candidates."
These, of course, are those who remain in the contest for the Republican nomination Genser would have sought: state Sen. Ann Day and state Rep. Dan Schottel. Both are from legislative District 12, primarily on the northwest side, and were early targets of Genser for running up a tab of political favors on state time while making a transfer to the much higher-paying county job.
Genser, in February, denounced both for both practices.
Day has amassed $46,519 in campaign funds through the most recent reporting period that closed January 31. Nearly three-quarters of that, $35,018, was money from her Senate campaign committee. Fundraising last fall and winter boosted her account by $13,005.
Among key contributors were Don Pitt, the lawyer and investor who with Donald Diamond held the big chunk of property fronting Pima Canyon; and Vicki Cox-Golder, the former president of the Amphitheater School Board who failed in her bid for the Board of Supervisors in District 3 four years ago. Both gave $100.
Dr. José Santiago, who resigned under pressure in 1989 as the head of psychiatry at the county's Kino Community Hospital, gave Day $200.
Dorothy Finley, head of the Miller beer and beverage distributorship in Tucson and a former member of the county's health care commission, gave Day the maximum $320 as did John Munger, a lawyer and longtime lobbyist for Pima County, and Democratic king maker Tom Chandler, another Tucson lawyer.
Day's race for money was just one of Genser's problems.
Name identification, or the lack of it despite his work on a broad range of environmental protection issues, was a key obstacle.
A longtime green Republican with solid business experience, Genser leaves the environmental community bare in District 1, which fans out north from Broadway to cover most of the foothills and Oro Valley.
Byron Howard, the predecessor to longtime and retiring county Waste Water Management Director George Brinsko, is the lone Democrat in the politically even district. Howard, a onetime executive for US Home, has heavy backing from development interests. And he has the advantage, if it can be translated with voters, of vastly superior knowledge of county and local issues as well as the mechanics of county government.
Although former District 3 Supervisor Ed Moore, who was elected twice as a Democrat and once as a Republican between 1984 and 1996, had reportedly been interested in seeking the Democratic nomination, he now dismisses those plans as a trivial prank.
Republicans have controlled District 1 since Katie Dusenberry ousted Democrat Ron Asta, who preached controlled growth with his Asta-crats when he won in 1972 -- the year the Board of Supervisors expanded from three to five members.
But it has been a difficult job, with forgotten mixed neighborhoods within the city that range from impoverished to upper class, and hyper-sensitive foothills neighborhoods.
Dusenberry was dumped after two terms by Iris Dewhirst, who was then beaten by fellow Republican Greg Lunn in 1988.
Lunn, a talented state senator, lasted just one term, choosing not to seek re-election. That opened the seat up for Mike Boyd, who after two terms will leave voluntarily.
The inside baseball bit is this: Wanda Shattuck -- who was friendly with Dusenberry, then created the political career of Dewhirst before bringing in Lunn -- is the brains behind Day's supervisorial campaign.
Her last entry in supervisorial sweepstakes was Lee Davis, the monied but studious country clubber who was upset in 1992 by Paul Marsh in eastside and Green Valley District 4. Marsh was aided by the late entry in that Republican primary by incumbent Reg Morrison, but also by some tricky and sometimes lucky work by political operative Rod Cramer. Shattuck beat Pam Patton, Cramer's candidate in 1988, with Lunn.
And now Cramer is back, too, running Schottel's show.