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Tom Has Some Thoughts on the Ballot Ahead of the Start of Early Voting

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It's hard to believe, but early voting starts next week. Mail-in ballots will be sent out and people can vote in person at early-voting sites. I ran into one of my neighbors at the mailboxes the other day. She told me that she was going to vote on the first day possible. When I asked her why, she said, "I want to make sure my vote is in just in case I die before Election Day."

That's some serious Americanism going on there. We chatted for a while and, using uncharacteristically colorful language for someone of her bearing and erudition, she made it abundantly clear against whom she would be voting.

I'll be voting in person on Election Day, which means that I will probably be mistaken for a MAG-got. I'm actually hoping that I get approached by one of Junior's "army" of poll watchers. I guarantee he will be amazed at how quickly an old white man can whip out the STFU, using the perfect Richard Pryor inflection as I do so.

While much of the attention will understandably be focused on the races for president and senator, there are other things cooking that should not be ignored. The Arizona House of Representatives has had a Republican majority since 1966. That's crazy. In fact, between 1992 and the present, Republicans have held the governor's office and both the House and Senate in 20 of those 29 years. But this year, the Republicans hold a slim 31-29 edge in the House and there's a decent chance that it could flip to the Democrats for the first time in forever.

I decided to look at some of the races for the State Legislature and, just for the heck of it, judge some of the people just by their name. Jumping out immediately is Billy Bragg in District 29. First of all, Billy Bragg sounds like he would be the faithful teenage sidekick to a super hero from the Golden Age of Comics. He is NOT to be mistaken for Billy Bragg, the English punk/folk artist and political activist. It would be so much cooler if that Billy Bragg were running for the Arizona State Legislature.

Unfortunately, this Billy Bragg is an African-American Trump Republican, which carries with it numerous layers of sadness. I mean, if this guy showed up at a Trump rally, some inbred guy named Dewey would look over and say, "Wait a minute! Didn't you die from the COVID after the Tulsa rally?"

Also running as a Republican in District 29 is a woman named Helen Fokszanskyj-Conti. Really. So, you've got a last name like Fokszanskyj. (I tried to pronounce it, but I just threw up my hands and screamed the first syllable.) Anyway, you've got a name that maybe 10 people in the country can pronounce, one that ends with "k-y-j," and you decide to become a hyphen person? As James Coburn said in Payback, "Man, that's just mean!"

In District 25, there's a Dem named Suzanne Hug. Meanwhile, District 14's incumbent is Becky Nutt.

There's a Democratic hyphen person in District 15, Kristin Dybvig-Pawelko. I'm fairly certain that she didn't meet her husband online because those dating-service algorithms have secret instructions. If they come across somebody with a name like Dybvig or Pawelko, they can only match them up with a Smith or a Jones. To her eternal credit, her website says "Kristin Dybvig-Pawelko. Difficult Name. Easy Decision."

In District 10, on Tucson's far East Side, there's a Republican candidate named Mabelle Gummere. Imagine if she were in the Army, standing at attention, and the officer called her name, "Gummere!" So, she takes a couple steps forward and gets yelled at to get back in line. That would never get old.

Oh, and in District 11, there is Oro Valley's own Mark Finchem, who disgraces himself on an almost-daily basis. Apparently, "Finchem" is Hillbilly for "moron."

There are a couple other races that are decidedly lacking in humor. In District 20, Shawnna Bolick is running for reelection. When she filled out her paperwork to be on the ballot, she intentionally put down the wrong address, that of a private mailbox service. What she did was against the law and should have disqualified her from running. But the Arizona Supreme Court said that it would let her slide this one time and then added that their decision had nothing to do with the fact that HER HUSBAND IS ON THE SUPREME COURT! Well, OK then.

And then there's the saga of long-time legislator Sylvia Allen, the White Mountain crackpot who said, among other things, that the Earth is 6,000 years old, that attending church on Sunday should be compulsory; and that higher birth rates for Latinos is leading to the "browning of America."

Allen lost her primary race to heavily funded Wendy Rogers, who is kinda like the Wicked Witch of the West, only with fewer redeeming qualities. Rogers may be even crackpot-ier than Allen. Plus, despite the fact that she has lived in Tempe for the past quarter-century, for the sake of this election, she is claiming that she lives in a 600-square-foot mobile home in Flagstaff. Her carpetbagger status may give the Democrats an opening.

Finally, there's the Republican candidate in the Senate District 4 race—Travis Angry.

Aren't we all?

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