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Posted: Thursday, October 31, 2002 12:00 am

The following in an overview of the five major state races, governor, attorney general, secretary of state, superintendent of public instruction and treasurer.


Candidates' answers to budget problems dominate governor's race

PHOENIX (AP) _ The biggest challenge facing Arizona's next governor will be to plug the holes in a state budget that's bleeding red ink.

Each of the two major party candidates promises to consolidate agencies and trim government spending. Both say their budget plans would protect K-12 schools' classroom funding and state revenue given to local governments.

A key difference between Democrat Janet Napolitano and Republican Matt Salmon: a willingness by Napolitano _ and a disinclination by Salmon _ to change tax laws to collect more money.

Napolitano and Salmon face independent Richard Mahoney, a former secretary of state, and Libertarian businessman Barry Hess in the Nov. 5 election. The winner will replace term-limited Republican Gov. Jane Hull in January.

Republicans have held the governor's office since 1991. This year's race has been rated a tossup between the two major party nominees, though Napolitano did better than Salmon in recent polls while Mahoney and Hess trailed with single-digit standings.

With tax collections down from expected levels, the state faces a shortfall in the current fiscal year's $6.2 billion budget of up to $500 million.

Hull may act to reduce the size of the shortfall before the next governor takes office, but the early read on the next fiscal year's budget also calls for a projected shortfall of up to $1 billion.

Napolitano _ like Salmon _ has pledged to cut government spending to help balance the budget and has forsworn tax rate increases. But she says some corporate tax breaks should be repealed to pay for education improvements.

“That's not a tax increase. That's making a choice between children and telemarketers,” Napolitano said, citing one of the sales-tax exemptions she wants to eliminate.

Salmon pledges to veto any taxes increases and said he would rely on supply-side economics by cutting taxes to spur economic growth.

“No matter what she wants to call them, the fact is she is proposing tax increases,” Salmon said. “The key is we will cut spending. When we talk about revenue growth, it will be because of job growth.”

While the state's fiscal troubles have dominated many debates and other joint appearances, Napolitano and Salmon also have tried to focus voters on each other's record in and out of public office.

Napolitano comes to the party as the state's current attorney general and as a former U.S. attorney for Arizona. Salmon is a former congressman who went to Washington after serving in the Legislature.

Napolitano has sought to capitalize on her law enforcement background during the past decade, citing state lawsuits against the Arthur Andersen accounting firm and a dramatic decrease in pending child-dependency cases.

Salmon points to the promise he kept to step down from Congress after three terms and his sponsorship of federal legislation to crack down on repeat sex criminals.

Salmon has sought to neutralize Napolitano's position of strength, charging that she and her staffs were lax in prosecuting several sex criminals who targeted children.

“My opponent is trying to cover up a dismal record on criminal justice issues,” Salmon said.

Napolitano responded by saying Salmon was blowing the cases out of context, and she won support from one victim's mother who said Salmon's criticism had “re-victimized” her son.

And Napolitano charged that Salmon's voting record in the Arizona Senate (1991-1994) and Congress (1995-2000) was marred by votes against pension protection, early education, school funding and health care.

“The Legislature made a choice, Matt Salmon made a choice, and it was the wrong choice because it shortchanged our children,” Napolitano said, referring to state budgets that didn't adjust basic state aid for schools for inflation.

Salmon defended his record, citing inflation-adjusted increases in overall spending for schools.

He said Napolitano has her own credibility problems on school funding, having lowered an early goal she set for the percentage of money to reach classrooms.

Napolitano and Salmon also sparred over each other's work histories. Napolitano said Salmon's recent work for Qwest _ she says “lobbying,” he says “consulting” _ shows he would bend over backward for special interests.

“If Matt is the governor, we'll have a government like I said _ of the lobbyists, for the lobbyists and by the lobbyists.”

Salmon noted that Napolitano herself was a registered lobbyist while she a lawyer in private practice before becoming U.S. attorney in 1993.

The most controversial attacks of the campaign have come from Mahoney. He targeted both Napolitano and Mahoney on a law-and-order issue: allegations of sexual abuse and bigamy in Colorado City, a polygamist community in extreme northwestern Arizona.

A Mahoney ad accused Napolitano's office of ignoring conditions in Colorado City. She denied it, citing a continuing investigation hindered by a lack of willing witnesses.

Mahoney's ad against Salmon was more inflammatory, suggesting the GOP nominee couldn't be counted on to tackle the controversial subject because of his Mormon faith. Salmon denied that, accused Mahoney of trying to incite religious bigotry, and said he would not tolerate the alleged abuse.

Mahoney since has said the Salmon ad merely asked a question without making the accusation. He said he was satisfied by Salmon's promise to act.

Candidates' bios at a glance -

Barry Hess

Party: Libertarian.

Home: Phoenix.

Age: 45.

Education: Received bachelor's degree in English from Fordham University, 1978.

Occupation: Stone tablet manufacturer.

Political background: Worked for Ronald Reagan's first presidential campaign as volunteer in New Hampshire. Ran unsuccessfully for U.S. Senate in 2000.

On the Net:

Richard Mahoney

Party: Independent, former Democrat.

Home: Phoenix.

Age: 51.

Education: Bachelor's degree in history from Princeton, 1973. Doctorate in international studies from Johns Hopkins University, 1980. Law degree from Arizona State University, 1980.

Occupation: Educator.

Political background: Served as secretary of state, 1991-1995. Ran unsuccessfully for U.S. Senate in 1994.

On the Net:

Janet Napolitano

Party: Democrat.

Home: Phoenix.

Age: 44.

Education: Bachelor's degree in political science from Santa Clara University, 1979. Law degree from University of Virginia, 1983.

Occupation: Attorney general.

Political background: Served as U.S. attorney for Arizona, 1993-1998. Elected attorney general in 1998.

On the Net:

Matt Salmon

Party: Republican.

Home: Mesa.

Age: 44.

Education: Bachelors degree from Arizona State University in English literature, 1981. Master's degree from Brigham Young University in public administration, 1986.

Occupation: Business consultant.

Political background: State senator, 1991-1994. U.S. House member, 1995-2000.

On the Net:

Attorney general

Candidates in heated race

PHOENIX (AP) _ The candidates in the race for state attorney general have used extreme terms to try to paint one another as being outside the mainstream.

Republican Andrew Thomas refers to Democrat Terry Goddard, a former Phoenix mayor and former candidate for governor, as a “classic soft-on-crime liberal.” Thomas ran an ad that attacked Goddard's stance on mandatory sentences and the death penalty.

Goddard called the ads “knowingly deceptive.” He said Thomas is a radical Republican with an “extreme view of society.” Goddard distributed excerpts of a book written by Thomas that promoted gun ownership for the law-abiding.

But Thomas defends himself as a “law and order” conservative. He wants to abolish plea bargaining for child molesters. He said he would stay tough on drug offenders and juvenile criminals. He also promises to make the attorney general's office family friendly by allowing telecommuting and flex time.

Goddard pledges to crack down on corporate crime. He promises to prosecute violators of the state's securities laws and to create a specially trained anti-fraud section in the office to deal with retirement fund fraud.

The two face Libertarian Ed Kahn in the Nov. 5 general election. The most recent poll showed Goddard leading Thomas by almost double digits.

Political experts say Goddard largely owes his lead to name recognition. In addition to his high-profile past, Goddard comes from a well-known Arizona political family.

“I think the real issue is whether or not Goddard mounts a sufficient campaign to keep the strength,” said Earl de Berge, director of the Phoenix-based Behavior Research Center.

Thomas, a former assistant attorney general, said he's campaigning vigorously and isn't fazed by his opponent's high profile.

“Name ID advantages tend to melt away as voters find out who the other candidate is,” he said.

The Republican is hoping to make a name for himself by promoting debate on provocative issues.

The issue of mandatory sentences is one such point of contention.

Goddard said mandatory sentences should not apply in some minor crimes like drug possession. He cites budget problems due to prison overcrowding, a side-effect of having mandatory sentences for too many criminals.

“It's gotten very confusing and sometimes counterproductive,” he said. “But I think for major crimes, it's necessary.”

Thomas said Goddard's way of thinking would mean putting more criminals on the street.

“People sentenced to prison for drug offenses are career criminals and drug dealers,” he said.

Thomas' own proposals have also drawn fire from Goddard.

Thomas said he would combat severe turnover problems in the attorney general's office by allowing employees to telecommute and utilize flex time.

Goddard said Thomas has exaggerated the turnover problem. He said he doubts that Thomas's idea of “twisting personnel roles” is legal.

“I think the attorney general's office is a very exciting place to work,” he said. “It's still a place that can attract top talent.”

Candidates' bios at a glance

Andrew Thomas

Party: Republican.

Home: Phoenix.

Age: 36.

Occupation: Attorney, author.

Education: Bachelor's degree in political science from the University of Missouri, 1988. Law degree from Harvard Law School, 1991.

Political experience: First run for elected office. Former assistant attorney general. Former deputy counsel and criminal justice adviser to then-Gov. Fife Symington. Former chief attorney for the Department of Corrections.

On the Net:

Terry Goddard

Party: Democrat.

Home: Phoenix.

Age: 55.

Occupation: Attorney.

Education: Bachelor's degree from Harvard College, 1969. Law degree from Arizona State University, 1976.

Political experience: Phoenix mayor, 1984-90. Former assistant attorney general, 1976-78. Former director of the Arizona Office for the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, 1995-2002.

On the Net:

Ed Kahn

Party: Libertarian.

Home: Tucson.

Age: 66.

Occupation: Attorney.

Education: Bachelor's degree in journalism, Fordham University, 1958. Law degree from Fordham Law School, 1966.

Political experience: Ran for legislature as Republican in late 1980s. Ran for Mayor of Tucson as a Libertarian in 1999.

On the Net:

Secretary of State

Candidates plan different ways to improve voting system

PHOENIX (AP) _ The major party candidates for secretary of state would both update Arizona's voting system and replace outdated punch cards. But they wouldn't do it in the same way.

Democrat Chris Cummiskey wants to begin testing an online voting system, starting with service men overseas. And he supports a record-keeping system that leaves voter rolls in the hands of county recorders.

Republican Jan Brewer doesn't think voting online is secure enough yet. She'd rather let the military vote by fax. She also says she would improve the efficiency of voter registration by keeping all voter rolls at the Capitol.

Cummiskey and Brewer face off with Libertarian Sean Nottingham in the Nov. 5 election. The most recent poll in the race showed Cummiskey and Brewer were about even, with about a third of registered voters undecided.

But despite the issues involved and the fact that the secretary of state is first in line to succeed the governor, political experts say candidates for the secretary of state and their views often fall below the radar screen for many voters.

Pollster Earl De Berge said the race is the least well known of all the statewide contests. In cases like that, voters typically stick to party lines unless one voter has better name recognition.

“If you are mainstream, you will probably win, depending on which party gets the most voters out,” De Berge said.

Both Cummiskey and Brewer plan to use federal money to put optical scanners in state voting booths. The scanners are much more precise than the punch cards still being used in much of Arizona.

Cummiskey also wants to start a pilot program to allow servicemen overseas to vote over the Internet. He said he'd use the program to gauge how well the technology can be adapted for more widespread use.

“This is another advancement that we are going to proceed cautiously on,” Cummiskey said.

Brewer's approach to military voting uses different technology: servicemen would receive ballots and cast them by fax. She said she doesn't think the Internet is secure enough yet to be used for voting.

Cummiskey said voting by fax is even less secure.

“I can't imagine any military person wanting his ballot sitting on some county recorder's fax machine,” he said.

Brewer doesn't like the current system in which voter registration rolls are kept by officials in the state's 15 counties. She cites cases where people are registered in more than one county as evidence that the system is flawed.

Her solution is to keep the registration records at the Capitol, under the eye of the secretary of state. She said that will cut down on confusion as Arizona's population continues to grow.

“We know that these voter rolls have really bloomed, it's important to know who's voting where,” she said.

Cummiskey calls the idea of centralizing records

“wrong-headed.” He said county recorders are doing fine.

“Basically, (centralization of voter rolls) creates a system that dupes local control and does not have the promise of being any more effective,” he said.

Candidates' bios at a glance

Jan Brewer

Party: Republican.

Home: Glendale.

Age: 58.

Education: Attended Glendale Community College, Glendale, Calif., 1962. Received a radiology technology certificate from Valley College in North Hollywood, Calif., 1963. Attended Glendale Community College in Glendale, Ariz., 1975-76.

Occupation: Co-owner of Brewer and Associates Properties and Investments.

Political background: Member of the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors, 1997-2002; Chairwoman in 1998 and 2001. State senator, 1987-96. State representative, 1983-86.

On the Net:

Chris Cummiskey

Party: Democrat.

Home: Phoenix.

Age: 38.

Education: Bachelor of Arts in Communication from Arizona State University, 1987.

Occupation: State senator. Director of development for Southwest Human Development, a children's nonprofit.

Political background: State representative, 1991-94. State senator since 1995.

On the Net:

Sean Nottingham

Party: Libertarian.

Home: Phoenix.

Age: 36.

Education: Associate of Arts degree in Military Science from New Mexico Military Institute, Roswell, N.M., 1986. Bachelor of Arts in Communication, University of Southern California, 1989. Studied public policy for one year at Regent University's School of Government, Virginia Beach, Va., 1993-94.

Occupation: History and government teacher at Camelback High School in Phoenix.

Political background: Ran for state representative in 2000.

On the Net: No Web site.

Candidates' bios at a glance

Jay Blanchard

Party: Democrat.

Home: Gilbert.

Age: 55.

Education: Drake University, bachelor of arts degree in history, 1968; Drake University, master's degree in science in teaching, 1974; University of Georgia, doctorate in reading education, 1979.

Occupation: professor of psychology in education at Arizona State University.

Political background: State senator, 2001-present. Defeated former House Speaker Jeff Groscost, architect of an alternative fuel vehicle tax subsidy that cost Arizona about $120 million.

On the Net:

Tom Horne

Party: Republican.

Home: Phoenix.

Age: 57.

Education: Harvard, bachelor of arts, magna cum laude in government, 1967; Harvard, juris doctorate, 1970.

Occupation: Lawyer, specializing in construction law.

Political background: Paradise Valley School District governing board member, 1978-2002; State representative, 1996-2000.

On the Net:

John Zajac

Party: Libertarian

Home: Tucson.

Age: 45.

Education: Stanford University, bachelor of science degree in biological science, 1980; Stanford University, master's degree in biological science, 1984.

Occupation: Producer and director of television and radio commercials.

Political background: Secretary of the Arizona Libertarian Party Inc.


Candidates differ on ways to invest state's money

PHOENIX (AP) - At the heart of this year's race for state treasurer is an argument over how the state's money should be invested.

Democrat Ruth Solomon believes the treasurer should continue to invest using an S&P 500-based model.

But Republican David Petersen says it's time for a change. He would hire professional money managers to tell him how to invest in a less risky manner.

The two face off Nov. 5. The most recent poll shows them to be virtually even, with about 40 percent of registered voters undecided.

Each one claims to have the more valuable job experience. Both have served in the state senate for eight years.

Solomon has also served as chairman of the Joint Legislative Budget Committee in charge of the state's budget. Petersen has held a financial securities license for 21 years, and he has served as the Republican whip.

And the two candidates, both campaigning on Clean Elections funds, already have experience running an operation on a tight budget _ their campaigns.

“Clean Elections means that people don't know who the candidates are,” said Bruce Merrill, a professor and pollster at Arizona State University. “The problem with Clean Elections is you can't run a statewide campaign on the money they give you.”

Because the candidates can't afford to get their message out, many voters will pick based on party and not platform, Merrill said.

As treasurer, Petersen wants to hire professional money managers to help decide where the state should invest. The state keeps about $500 million of its $8.5 billion in equities.

He said his strategy would be safer than using the S&P 500. That model has lost the state a lot of money, he said.

“They thought that over time with the S&P index fund, they would be just ahead by not managing it and let it ride,” he said.

Solomon said a model based on the S&P 500 is the soundest way to go. She said she thinks the treasurer's office should continue using in-house expertise rather than paying for outside help.

“The treasurer's staff does as fine a job as any outside firm, and they use the same ratings agencies,” she said.

Petersen also said he wants to be a hands-on treasurer and a good watchdog for the state's bank. He points to the alt-fuels scandal, in which the state found itself facing a ballooning bill because of subsidies offered to people who bought alt-fuel vehicles, as a case where the treasurer could have made a bigger difference.

As far a guarding the public's interests, Solomon wants to band together with other states to make sure corporations adhere to ethical standards. The coalition would refuse to invest in companies that use offshore tax shelters or are cited for unethical deals.

Candidate bios at a glance

David Petersen

Party: Republican

Home: Mesa

Age: 52

Education: Three years studying business and finance at Arizona State University and University of Phoenix.

Political background: State senator, 1995-present.

On the Net:

Ruth Solomon

Party: Democrat

Home: Tucson

Age: 61

Education: Bachelor's degree in Education, University of Arizona, 1971.

Occupation: State senator; retired teacher.

Political background: Served in the state House and Senate since 1988. Current chair of the Senate Appropriations Committee and co-chair of the Joint Legislative Budget Committee.

On the Net:

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