Home > Elected Officials, Flagstaff, Politics, Uncategorized > November Election Date Turns Local Council Races Partisan

November Election Date Turns Local Council Races Partisan

By Elisha Dorfsmith

During last year’s City Charter campaign I strongly argued against the option to have the Flagstaff City Council election on the same date as the state and national general election. While the alternative was not perfect (spring of odd-numbered years) I felt it was better than having City Council races on the same ballot as the President of the United States.

My biggest fear at the time was that having the City election on the same cycle and same day as other high profile races would turn the local non-partisan contests into partisan battles. Local candidates would be competing against congressional and state races for air time and press with some advertising going to the highest bidder. The cost of campaigning would be much higher for Council candidates than in past years.

This would lead to local candidates being forced to raise more money and piggyback on volunteers who are working on large scale campaigns for Democrats and Republicans.  There would be a big incentive to turn what used to be local independent races that focused on local problems, into large scale campaigns that distract from the issues locals really care about. Additionally, political parties and outside dark money groups would certainly have a bigger influence in the City as they started pouring cash and resources into the local elections.

Unfortunately, the charter change to move the election date to November won by a landslide and it appears that my biggest concerns are now starting to come true. Last week former “independently minded” candidate Jim McCarthy announced he was running for City Council as a Democrat. His campaign signs even say “Democrat for Flagstaff Council”.

The days of local issues oriented, non-partisan Council races are no more and we are all worse off because of it. At a time when more and more voters are running away from the party system and shedding (R) and (D) labels, Flagstaff seems to be running in the opposite direction.


The above post by McCarthy was posted on Facebook a couple days ago.

  1. John Kistler
    March 23, 2016 at 11:40 am

    So I saw and talked to Jim at the Bernie event. He was out “glad handing” and shilling for votes. I said: “Jim what’s with this partisanship you’re pushing for local elections? We’ve had a non-partisan tradition for a long time in Flag and now you are single-highhandedly screwing it up. Why?” His answer was: ” Well, people keep asking me if I’m a Democrat or Republican, so I just thought I’d let them know up front.” I said: “Jim that’s BS, anyone who knows you also knows your politics and all you have to do is open your mouth and explain your position on an issue and people will know you lean left. What you have done is broken the dam and now the political partisanship in Flag can flow like the bloody river Nile in the days of the biblical plagues of Egypt “(yep sometimes I do wax poetic).

    He said: “well the big thing is we got the elections moved to the fall. That was really important.”

    I let him know why I think that was a huge mistake, which I won’t go into detail on here. The important point is the leftists think they can wrest the city council from more moderate voices by letting their “hammer and sickle” flag fly at full mast and piggy-back on the Dem ticket for state and national elections. Because Flag is a island of neo-progresivism in a sea of moderates and conservatives (and libertarians) here in Coconino county.

    • March 23, 2016 at 6:41 pm

      Thanks John. Glad you let him know what a huge mistake this is.

  2. March 25, 2016 at 3:03 pm

    Partisan left-right politics is for credulous “useful idiots”. Voting just gives consent — which I cannot give. Just listen to a few George Carlin rants — a man WAY ahead of his time and spotting naked emperors everywhere he looked. Don’t vote for naked emperors. The lessor of two evils is still EVIL.

  1. September 6, 2016 at 6:14 pm

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