When Randy Pullen was 15, he worked for the 1964 Republican presidential bid of Arizona Sen. Barry Goldwater.
It was his “most exciting campaign,” and Pullen was “very disappointed” in that outcome.
Pullen, now 59 and the chairman of the Arizona Republican Party, is nearly as excited about the prospects in November 2008, with Arizona Sen. John McCain the presumptive Republican presidential nominee.
“This time, the dynamics are such that I think Senator McCain’s chances are pretty good,” said Pullen, who met with Republicans in Rancho Vistoso last Friday.
Pullen believes McCain’s presence has a number of consequences.
“Having Senator McCain at the top of the ticket made my job much easier than it was,” said Pullen, in his second year as Arizona GOP chairman. It moves Arizona “from a battleground state to a foregone conclusion,” Pullen continued. “Margin, that’s the question.”
Pullen expects a record number of Arizonans – somewhere near 80 percent – to cast votes this fall. “We will have a very solid Republican turnout in Arizona,” he said. “That may not be the case across the country. There’s going to be a huge Democratic turnout, too.”
McCain’s presence is “very helpful” throughout the GOP ticket, Pullen asserts. “All elections are local,” he said. “It helps right down the ballot in Pima County.”
Pullen likes Republican State Sen. Tim Bee’s chances against Democratic Rep. Gabrielle Giffords in Congressional District 8.
“Compare how she has voted to what she said she was for,” Pullen said of Giffords. “The joke around Washington is that she’s (Senate majority leader) Nancy Pelosi’s poodle.”
Bee has “done a great job” in the Legislature, Pullen continued. “There has been no non-Maricopa County president of the Senate in 20 years. He’s a great candidate, and his fund-raising is strong. Raising money is important.”
In the Arizona Legislature, Pullen hopes the Republicans can hold strong House and Senate majorities.
District 26 has “great candidates” on the Republican side, he said, with Trent Humphries, Vic Williams and Marilyn Zerull running for the House, Al Melvin and Pete Hershberger for the Senate.
“We have two great Senate candidates,” Pullen said. “I’m confident either one will win the Senate seat.”
Rep. Jennifer Burns’ decision not to run in House District 25 is a challenge for the Republicans. “That seat will be tough for us to hold.”
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