How Progressive is Your Candidate?

We can choose candidates who will look out for the health and safety of our communities, if we carefully analyze primary candidates up for election right now in Pima County. Use this chart to help understand endorsements and contributions.

You may notice there are no Republicans on our chart.

This is because no Republicans in Arizona come close to espousing the values that are important to us. The party of Trump/Ducey/McSally have proven time and again that their goals are diametrically opposed to ours. Instead, we are highlighting Democratic candidates, because, while there are some common values they all share, there are also many differences. Most of the differences are in funding sources, legislation priorities, and attitudes and actions toward special interests (such as the anti-worker, anti-consumer Arizona Chamber of Commerce, as well as police unions, and the real estate and fossil fuel industries).  These differences should be understood, especially in the primary.

We never dreamed we would be using the same strategies originally honed for Martha McSally to tell a more complete story about Democrats. However, when the Democrats in office are not promoting all of the values of the platform of their own party, voters need to know.  Some of these candidates are great people and great legislators. They get it right much of the time. And obviously we don’t want Republicans in their place. Our hope is that by increasing transparency  about their funding and votes, they will be more accountable to their constituents and perhaps consider not accepting donations and endorsements from organizations that actively work against their stated values. 

We focused on six issues for the following reasons:

No Fossil Fuel

 Sunrise Movement states that  “The No Fossil Fuel Money pledge is an important signifier to voters, to potential donors, and to the media and the public that a politician is willing to stand with people, not big polluters.” Fossil fuel companies lobby to kill legislation that works to combat climate change. Climate change is the most existential threat to our planet and communities that are already vulnerable will be hit hardest. The amount of money and other resources spent to maintain the status quo is obscene. Fossil fuel money should be rejected by every progressive Democrat. 

Chamber Endorsement

The Arizona Chambers of Commerce (Tucson Metro, Phoenix, Arizona, Tucson Hispanic) have a history of coming down on the wrong side of issues important to Southern Arizona. They lobby and spend millions every year to push their priorities such as anti immigration, tax breaks for the wealthy, union busting and capping wages, deregulation of industry safety and environmental standards, fighting against renewable energy initiatives, and school choice which is a direct attack on public schools. 

$ from Police Unions

Whether you are a reformist or abolitionist, no progress in addressing inequities and violence in policing will be made unless we end  the influence of police unions. Many of the unions donate to all candidates in an attempt to gain favor and influence. It is time for progressives to reconcile this relationship with our values. We used Progress Now Arizona’s list of candidates who received money from police unions. This list is not comprehensive for all races down ballot because the contributions of  local Sheriff unions were not investigated. If you have information to add, please let us know. Please be aware that some of the people who received money from police unions returned the money. They are not reflected in the list. 

Labor Endorsement

Pima Area Labor Federation (PALF) is the Federation of all local unions under the AFL-CIO in Pima County. While some candidates are endorsed and receive donations from individual unions, we felt that the endorsement from PALF is the best indicator of universal commitment to fair wages, workplace protections, working families and undocumented workers. Delegates from 46 local union chapters voted on these endorsed candidates. 

$ from Realtors

Like the Chambers of Commerce, efforts from the real estate lobbies are often in opposition of progressive values. Real estate PACs spend money to suppress progress on issues of housing justice, landlord tenant equity, and even immigration. In 2019 in Tucson the Realtors Association, otherwise known as RAPAC spent $50,000 to kill a Sanctuary bill that had widespread support according to polling data collected by business lobbies. 

$ from Landlords/ Developers

The inappropriately named Arizonans for Healthy Living PAC, the Home Builders Association of Central Arizona, Arizona Association of Community Managers, and the Arizona Multihousing Association pursue a conservative agenda and sometimes endorse candidates. They contribute mostly to Republican candidates (although they do support a few Democratic candidates who they believe might be willing to support their goals). The Arizona Multihousing Association doled out almost $30,000 to candidates and the Republican Legislative Victory Fund in 2019-2020, and backed HB2358, a bill we feature in the Key Legislative Votes section, that will make Pima County’s eviction rates even worse. 

A chart with the data can be found here for the visually impaired

While we used the issues explored in our Key Votes analysis (button below) to highlight the areas of influence, we would also like to point out the following Pima County candidates who were endorsed by LUCHA (Living United for Change in Arizona) who went through a “a rigorous endorsement process, driven by our members. They answered difficult questions on each of the four LUCHA Pillars of Economic Justice, Fighting White Supremacy, Mass Liberation & Democracy.”

Congratulations to: Gabriella Cázares-Kelly, Andres Cano, Domingo DeGrazia, Charlene Fernandez, Adelita Grijalva and Joanna Mendoza

We also examined the votes of our incumbent candidates on some key issues.