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home : local blogs : the crux December 17, 2014

7/27/2014 2:34:00 PM
Blog: The Crux
BLOG: Your 2014 GOP Primary Primer Part 2
State Treasurer; Superintendent of Public Instruction; and Attorney General.

Drew Desmond

Welcome to your 2014 GOP Primary Primer, Part 2! Sources utilized for this primer include: the candidate's websites; televised debates; and news stories...

State Treasurer

Jeff DeWit Hugh Hallman Randy Pullen

The Arizona State Treasurer is the manager of the state's bank and oversees the state's investments. The winner of this race will face nothing more than a write-in candidate in the general election.


Jeff DeWit: Investment professional for 21 years with 14 years as CEO of Echotrade.

Hugh Hallman: Former Mayor of Tempe for 8 years

Randy Pullen: Former state GOP Chair


All three candidates think that the current Treasurer, Doug Ducey, (who is running for Governor) did a good job during his tenure.

Additionally, all three see a need to improve the office's technology. Mr. Dewit sees it as an avenue to cost savings and transparency. Mr. Hallman feels it's necessary to improve the office's effectiveness. Mr. Pullen points out that during this upcoming term, the state will implement a new accounting system and he helped implement the last one.

Perhaps the most in-depth on issues is Mr. Hallman's website. The campaign slogan on his signs reads "Balance Arizona's Budget." Although this would be a task for the state legislature and the Governor, Hallman insists that "it only makes sense that the Treasurer also be the lead advocate for balanced budgets and fiscal responsibility."

What is more unclear is the relevance of his 19-paragraph epic on education. In it, he talks about curriculum; size of classes to teachers; the size of the community compared to schools and other education issues. He also takes positions on job creation and immigration. What does any of this have to do with the office of the Treasurer? Nothing, really. It is interesting to note that Mr. Hallman was first running for Governor before seeing a crowded field and switching to a run for Treasurer.


It seems that Mr. Hallman has a deeper fondness for public office than he does for the Treasurer's office. Perhaps he wrote his issues platform while he was still running for Governor(?).

There is not much to choose from as far as differences in the issues of this race. However, with the state implementing a new accounting system and the need to update technology, The Crux endorses Randy Pullen for State Treasurer. It is hoped that his experience with the last accounting change will give him important insight when the state switches to the new system.

Superintendent of Public Instruction

Diane Douglas John Huppenthal

The Superintendent of Public Instruction serves on all statewide education boards as well as apportioning education funds. He directs all employees in the department of education. The winner of this primary will face one of two democrats in the general election.


Diane Douglas:

*Fulltime Mother "anything (else) pales in comparison," she wrote on her website.

*BS in Business/Marketing, Rutgers University

*Former member and President Governing Board of the Peoria Unified School District

John Huppenthal:


*Chandler City Council 1984-92

*18 years in state legislature 1993-2010

In news that ISN'T listed on a candidate's website, this is offered from the Prescott Daily Courier (A link for the full story is included below):

"Arizona Superintendent of Public Instruction John Huppenthal broke down in tears Wednesday at the end of a news conference where he apologized for posting an anonymous blog comment that denigrated welfare recipients and other postings that were seen by some as racist.

"Huppenthal has been peppered with criticism for a week, ever since it became public that he had posted on both conservative and liberal blogs under pseudonyms for several years. Among the posts dating to 2011, when he took his current office, was one that denigrated both President Barack Obama and welfare recipients.

"Obama is rewarding the lazy pigs with food stamps (44 million people), air-conditioning, free health care, flat-screen TV's (typical of "poor" families)," Huppenthal blogged.


A visit to Diane Douglas' website as well as her performance in the televised debate quickly shows what she believes to be the singular most important issue of this race: "Stop Common Core."

Indeed, in answering the self-imposed question of why she is running, Ms. Douglas writes on her website:

"Quite simply, to stop the Common Core Standards in Arizona and return control over your children's education to you through your locally elected school boards.

"We now clearly understand that a major piece of President Obama's plan to 'fundamentally change' America is by controlling the education of our children through the federally mandated Common Core Standards (renamed "Arizona's" College and Career Ready Standards).

On the opposite side of the issue is Mr. Huppenthal, who wrote in an op-ed last September:

"Let me state this very clearly: I fully embrace the college- and career-ready standards for math and English language arts adopted by the State Board of Education in 2010... Misinformation has driven (this) debate. This includes erroneous beliefs about data compilation, federal intrusion into the classroom, and that the standards have been dumbed down. All of these are factually incorrect, but the misinformation persists."


In his epic classic, "Republic," Plato wrote of a mythical "Ring of Gyges." It granted its owner the power to become invisible at anytime. In this story, Plato considered how moral someone would act if he did not have to fear being caught (since he was invisible)... In a television interview, Mr. Huppenthal said that his anonymous "hurtful words" (his phrase,) were not from his heart. Yet, The Crux believes that when one is cloaked by anonymity, that is precisely when he is free to air the darker beliefs of his heart.

Ms. Douglas' belief that the Obama administration is responsible for Common Core is not factual. Common Core started with then-Arizona Gov. Janet Napolitano, who was the 2006-07 chair of the National Governors Association - during the Bush administration! One of the original appeals of Common Core was that it was NOT a federal mandate, but the states coming together to deal with education standards. After all, how can individual states see how their schools are stacking up against other states' schools if there isn't a common standard? (To see the origin and history of Common Core, click on the appropriate link below.)

For those who believe that Common Core is a conspiracy to turn our children into zombies, democrats, or even worse; the choice would be Diane Douglas. For those who disagree and appreciate his experience, the choice would be John Huppenthal. However, The Crux finds Mr. Huppenthal's blog posts to be offensive and alarming and therefore endorses no one for this race.

Attorney General

Mark Brnovich Tom Horne

The Attorney General is the chief legal officer of the state. He represents and provides legal advice to most state agencies. The winner of this primary will face Felicia Rotellini in the general election.


Tom Horne:


*4 years State Legislature

*Superintendant of Public Instruction 2003-11

Mark Brnovich:

*Maricopa Co. Attorney's Office 1992-98

*AZ State Attorney General's Office 1998-2003

*Director, AZ Department of Gaming last 4.5 years


The televised debate for this primary featured Mark Brnovich, Tom Horne, and a 500-pound gorilla. The gorilla took the form of five current investigations going on against Tom Horne. These include allegations of staffers doing campaign work on taxpayer's time as well as potentially illegal campaign spending and coordination with "dark" money. Those investigating Mr. Horne include the Secretary of State's Office; the Clean Elections Committee And more than one county attorney's offices.

For his part, Mr. Brnovich took a higher road. Instead of dropping accusatory bombs that Mr. Horne could deflect claiming "innocent until proven guilty," Mr. Brnovich instead pointed out that just DEALING with five investigations will take away time and attention from the duties of the post. Indeed, the Clean Elections sponsored debate had to be rescheduled by Mr. Horne for this very reason.

When groping for a reply as to why voter's should return him to office, Mr. Horne hyperbolized: "I try to sue Obama two times before breakfast, everyday."


Kudos to Mr. Brnovich for taking the high road. He is correct when he states that the Attorney General's Office should be held to a higher standard.

During the debate, Mr. Horne confessed that a notebook of his campaign donors behind his desk is indeed labeled "Border Patrol." Why would Mr. Horne label this notebook "Border Patrol" if he wasn't trying to hide something?

This is an easy one for The Crux. Even Gov. Brewer took the rare step of endorsing the opponent of an incumbent of her own party, (Mr. Brnovich). The Crux also endorses Mark Brnovich for the GOP Attorney General nomination.

Well, that's it for Part 2. Follow The Crux on Twitter @TheCruxBlog to see Part 3.

Related Stories:
• BLOG: Your 2014 GOP Primary Primer Part 3

Related Links:
• Prescott Courier's article about John Huppenthal's troubles.
• The History of Common Core.

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Reader Comments

Posted: Monday, July 28, 2014
Article comment by: Lisa Gray

The Treasurer does oversee the state's investments. While there may be a staff to help with this the responsibility of the office and investments lie on the State Treasurer. Based on the job description and the resumes of the 3 candidates, Jeff DeWit is the guy for this job.

Here's the job description of the State Treasurer which can be found on aztreasury.gov

The State Treasurer serves as Arizona’s Chief Banker and Investment Officer.

• Manages Arizona’s $12 billion investment portfolio
• Protects taxpayer money
• Directs the state’s banking services

The State Treasurer serves as Chairman of Arizona’s State Board of Investment, and State Loan Commission. He also serves as the State’s Surveyor General and is a member of the State Land Selection Board.

Running on "balancing the state budget" (which this position has absolutely no authority to do) and "install a new accounting system because I did it 32 years ago" are not reasons to elect someone to this position.

Jeff is a businessman (not a career politician) who has 21 years of experience in the finance world. His resume fits this job perfectly. He's the guy for the job.

Posted: Monday, July 28, 2014
Article comment by: Craig Arps

Apparently this paper has gone so far off the rails that they couldn't even find a Republican to comment on the Republican Primary.

Posted: Monday, July 28, 2014
Article comment by: Barbara Espinosa

@Lisa the Treasurer does not invest the funds complete seperate enity within treasures office.

Posted: Sunday, July 27, 2014
Article comment by: Lisa Gray

Interesting that you would endorse someone who worked on implementing the current accounting system in 1982...which was THIRTY-TWO years ago! Technology sure has changed since then. Nothing in Randy's resume shows that he's even stayed on top of the always changing technology. But Jeff has!

Jeff DeWit is a businessman who has a solid investment AND technology background. Was a CEO/Investment professional for 21 years. When you take a look at the actual job description which oversees the state's $13 Billion in INVESTMENTS it might be good to have someone investing our tax dollars that actually has the experience. Neither of the other two have this type of experience. Jeff is the guy for this position.

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