It must be tough being Scott Smith. The former Mayor of Mesa, left a job he loved (and was good at) to run for Governor of Arizona in the GOP primary.
He lost that primary election. To Doug Ducey. And, unlike Jan Brewer, Smith didn’t endorse Ducey during the primary election night. When one reporter asked him if he was, he said he was going to wait. He said he wanted to get through the night, and that all that will work itself out in the coming days and weeks.
Well it’s been seven days since he made that statement. One week. And no endorsement from Smith has come. He hasn’t stood by Ducey, the Republican candidate for Governor, and I have to wonder if he ever intends to.
On paper, Ducey and Smith are really quite different. Ducey – the former treasurer of Arizona – is also the former head of Cold Stone Creamery. He is a privileged Republican, who has dumped more than a million dollars of his own money into his campaign. He has championed tough immigration policies, and is a favorite among tea-party “leader” Sarah Palin.
Smith, though still well off, never had the financial means to dump millions of dollars into his own campaign. And throughout the primary, he reminded folks that he is a moderate Republican who has done great things in Mesa. He lowered taxes. And made Mesa one of the safest cities in the nation. Smith balanced a budget with a huge budget shortfall. Unlike Ducey, Smith is no favorite among tea-party Republicans, and unlike Ducey, Smith has practical experience that would have served the people of Arizona well.
It must be tough being Smith, because the “right” thing for him to do, at least for the Republican party, is endorse Doug Ducey. But he hasn’t. While no one can blame him for not wanting to on election night, people have to be wondering if the the guy who came in second against Ducey is ever going to back him.
I don’t think Smith should back Ducey, now, later, or ever.
Scott Smith has always been pragmatic. He maybe a Republican but he’s not an idiot. Throughout the campaign he favored results over politics. In Mesa, he demonstrated his willingness to put partisanship aside if it meant he would get results. It was a political asset, as one of his campaign workers said to me via email.
On paper, the guy who resembles Smith the most is Fred DuVal.
DuVal totes his Republican backers like a badge of honor. And to him, they really are. People like Grant Woods, the former Republican Attorney General of Arizona, have put politics aside to back DuVal, because they want to see Arizona move forward.
Scott Smith should join Woods. Though endorsing DuVal might hurt Smith in the future with the Republican base; they already chose. They chose Doug Ducey. Smith can’t change that.
What Smith can do, is be the Scott Smith I know and love. He can put party alliance aside and support the Democrat he never had the chance to run against. Nearly a third of Republicans are looking to Smith to do the right thing and endorse someone. That someone should be someone he wants to see as Governor.
It must be tough being Scott Smith, because it’s pretty clear that he doesn’t wish to see Doug Ducey elected Governor. Instead, I have to believe, he wants DuVal to win.
So it’s time Smith make the tough choice and endorse Fred DuVal for Governor of Arizona.