WALL STREET SHUFFLE
President Barack Obama finally has his Wall Street reform package after Democrats persuaded Republican Sen. Scott Brown to cross party lines and support it.
Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords supported the legislation, which is designed to bring more oversight to financial markets, require financial firms to have more capital and less debt, give the government the power to take control of collapsing financial firms, and allow the feds to regulate those wacky derivatives that created so much of the fantasy wealth of the last bubble.
"I strongly support this landmark legislation because it puts consumers first," Giffords said in a statement. "It will protect Arizonans and all Americans from the unfair practices of credit-card and mortgage companies. This legislation specifically prevents Wall Street from gambling with our money, reins in big banks and their excessive bonuses, and puts an end to taxpayer bailouts and the idea of 'too big to fail.'"
Former state lawmaker Jonathan Paton, one of four Republicans who are trying to oust Giffords this year, says he wouldn't have voted for the reform plan.
"It's overbroad and has a lot of unintended consequences," Paton says. "From talking to a lot of different businesses, they feel that it will make it extremely difficult for investors."
Paton says that there may "possibly" be a need for financial reform, but "this bill may create more problems than it solves."
Republican candidate Jesse Kelly says that with current unemployment numbers, "giving a president who has never run a lemonade stand more control over our economy is not the solution. The solution is to free the American people and the American businessmen to run the economy and run their businesses as they see fit."
Kelly says the financial reform that's needed is "less government involvement in our economy."
Brian Miller also says the new regulations are flawed because they don't properly address problems with government-backed mortgage lenders and gives too much power to the Federal Reserve.
"Wall Street will act responsibly when there is no prospect of getting bailed out," Miller wrote in a statement. "The lender of last resort—the Federal Reserve—makes bailouts possible. Audit the Fed. Curtail the Fed. End the Fed. The best financial reform will come when we legalize the harshest regulation possible: failure."
CD 8: THE SUMMER'S DEAD HEAT
Republican Jonathan Paton got some national attention last week with the release of some selected poll numbers showing him tied with Democratic Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords in Congressional District 8.
The survey of 300 CD 8 voters, conducted by the Tarrance Group, a Republican polling firm, showed that 45 percent of voters supported Paton, and 44 percent supported Giffords. Among voters who know who both candidates are, Paton had a 10-point lead over Giffords in the poll, which had a margin of error of 5.8 percent.
Daniel Scarpinato, spokesman for the Paton campaign, notes that Republican Tim Bee, a former state senator who ran against Giffords in 2008, never led Giffords in any polling.
"This is a real departure from what we've seen in the past, and I think it illustrates that Jonathan Paton is the candidate who can beat her," said Scarpinato, who added that the poll numbers explain why the Democrats have been videotaping Paton at events and highlighting his record as a lobbyist for the payday-loan industry.
"You really don't have to look any further than the actions of her campaign and the state and national Democrats," Scarpinato said. "They probably have similar polling."
Scarpinato said the campaign wouldn't be releasing any poll numbers on Paton's primary race against Jesse Kelly, Brian Miller and Jay Quick, but in a fundraising appeal over the weekend, Paton told supporters that "voter ID" efforts showed him ahead in the GOP contest, although there were many undecided voters.
Kelly jumped on the lack of primary poll numbers.
"It's no surprise that Jonathan is afraid to release the primary poll results showing that he will never have a chance to face Giffords this November," Kelly said in a statement. "We are ahead in the primary because voters are now rejecting big-spending Republicans like Paton."
Miller says he can't understand why Paton is only tied with Giffords.
"In this environment, I'd expect him to be doing better," Miller says.
The Paton poll is the latest to show that Democrats in swing districts with CD 8's profile appear to be an endangered species. A June NPR survey drilled down into voter attitudes in 60 of the most competitive districts now held by Democrats, including CD 8.
In that survey, 42 percent of voters told pollster Greenberg Quinlan Rosner that they were likely to vote to re-elect a Democratic incumbent, while 47 percent said they were likely to vote for a Republican candidate.
One reason that Republican Jonathan Paton chose last Thursday, July 15, as the day to release poll numbers showing him neck and neck with Congress-woman Gabrielle Giffords: He hoped it would distract from the release later that day of the campaign's second-quarter financial filings, which were quite a bit below the first-quarter haul.
Paton raised about $167,000 between April and June, which is about one-third of the $505,000 he raised in the first quarter.
It was also a lot less than the $583,000 that Giffords raised in the quarter. Giffords had more than $2.2 million on hand as of June 30.
Paton spent roughly $284,000 over the three months and had about $286,000 remaining in the bank.
At this point two years ago, Giffords' GOP challenger, Tim Bee, had already raised more than $1.1 million and had more than $687,000 in his account.
Anne Hilby, spokeswoman for the Giffords campaign, said that Giffords' haul demonstrates that "Southern Arizonans are increasingly supporting her work for the district."
Hilby added: "As for Mr. Paton's numbers: He talks a lot about out-of-control spending, but I didn't know that was in regards to his own campaign expenditures."
Paton spokesman Daniel Scarpinato put a positive spin on the $167,000 the campaign collected in the second quarter.
"That's a lot of money," said Scarpinato. "We're proud of the number, and we've got a lot of stuff in works."
Rival Republican Jesse Kelly raised nearly $122,000 in the quarter and had roughly $160,000 on hand.
"Our message of conservatism, of getting this government back in its rightful place in society and replacing these career politicians with real Americans, is something that appeals to the people of District 8 and the country as a whole," Kelly said of his third-place finish in the money chase.
Republican Brian Miller pulled in roughly $27,000 in contributions and loaned his campaign an additional $15,000, according to Federal Election Commission reports, which showed Miller had $6,287 cash on hand at the end of the reporting period.
"We continue to do everything we need to do," says Miller. "We're doing what we've always done—going after grassroots support—and it's a little bit of a badge of honor to be able to do what we've done and be in a position where we're a force in the race."
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For info on where to register, call the Pima County Recorder's Office at 740-4330.