And so here we are: Election Day 2004.
And what a glorious election year it's been: When was the last time you saw this kind of interest in getting out the vote? It's gotten so you can't even get a cup of coffee in a local café without overhearing people jabbering about how much they hate Bush's insane war-mongering or Kerry's spineless flip-flopping. Everybody wants a piece of the action, from those swift-boat vets on the right to the moveon.org crowd on the left.
The good people of Arizona have had their brushes with greatness: The candidates themselves met in Tempe for the final debate of the campaign season, while down here in Tucson, we've seen visits from Dick Cheney, John Edwards, Teresa Heinz Kerry and Elizabeth Edwards. We've had Michael Moore promising voters clean underwear and Ann Coulter dodging poorly aimed pies.
The voter ranks have swelled, thanks to registration efforts by the political parties and by outraged citizens, such as the downtown hipster chicks who have banded together as the Tucson Suffragettes to remind us that voting is the hot 'n' sexy thing to do. (And don't forget: The Suffragettes are behind the Virgin Voter Ball at Club Congress after the polls close, with live music, dancing and big-screen TVs to watch results come in from across the country.)
In these final weeks, the presidential race has once again grown too close to call, even if Arizona isn't considered one of the crucial swing states anymore. We're hearing allegations of all manner of skullduggery, including accusations that get-out-the-vote organizers are trading crack cocaine for completed registration forms and shredding forms from the opposite side of the political aisle. We're even seeing voter machines breaking down in Florida--after they've had four years to get it right.
Best of all, for those of us who haven't had enough: It appears that, after Election Day, the battle for the White House will continue in the courts!
But for those of us who play political parlor games on the local level, the season has been a bit lackluster. After you get past the big rumble at the top of the ticket, there are only a few competitive local races, such as the contest for an open county assessor office or three seats on the Tucson Unified School District board. Even the propositions, once you get past the pitched battle over Protect Arizona Now, have generated little heat. (For a list of our endorsements, see Jimmy Boegle's editor's note on Page 3.)
Most of the undercard action is a weak line-up of third-party challenges to entrenched incumbents. Republican Pima County Supervisor Ann Day vs. Libertarian Sandra Abbey? Democratic Supervisor Sharon Bronson vs. Libertarian Bennett Kalafut? County Attorney Barbara LaWall has it really rough, facing both Green candidate Claudia Ellquist and Libertarian David Euchner.
All we can say is: zzzzzz.
So we're presenting, for the first time, the Weekly line, laying out the favorites and underdogs separated by a percentage-point spread. We hasten to add that the line is for entertainment purposes only--Arizona law strictly forbids gambling on election outcomes.
Now it's up to you to find put together straight-up bets, parleys and teasers to make Election Day a bit more interesting.
And, of course, we urge you to go out and vote. Polls will be open from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 2.
The Weekly Spread
|PROP 100 YES||2||Prop 100 No|
|PROP 102 YES||10||Prop 102 No|
|PROP 200 YES||8||Prop 200 No|
|PROP 300 NO||12||Prop 300 Yes|
|Congressional District 8|
|Congressional District 7|
|Pima County Turnout|
|Tucson Unified School District|
|PROP 400 YES||3||Prop 400 No|
All spreads are in percentage points. For entertainment purposes only. Wagering on elections is a class 2 misdemeanor in Arizona.