Home > Uncategorized > Authoritarians Vs. Representatives: My Take On The 2016 General Election Candidates

Authoritarians Vs. Representatives: My Take On The 2016 General Election Candidates

By Elisha Dorfsmith

The November 8th, 2016 General Election ballot promises to be one of the longest ballots in Flagstaff history as City candidates and local ballot measures are added for the first time to the already overflowing County, State and Federal ballot. The purpose of this post is to help guide voters through the maze of candidates and issues and offer my humble recommendations on as many races as possible.

This year you will not find many third party candidates on the ballot (except for in the presidential race). You can thank our local LD6 representatives for that, along with the rest of the Republicans in the state legislature. Their push for HB2608 made it extremely difficult, if not impossible for third party candidates to qualify for ballot access in Arizona.

With third party candidates pushed out, for many races you will see me recommend writing NOTA (None Of The Above) in the write in section of the ballot. These write in votes are counted in the generic “write in” section of the election results and are a great way to register your dissatisfaction with the choices (or lack of choices) for any particular race.

Below is an example I selected at random from the Coconino County Elections website. It shows that 15 people were not happy with the two choices they were given in the Democratic primary for BOS District 4. If write in votes are in the hundreds or thousands they can send a very strong message to the parties and the media that voters are unhappy.


While the November ballot will likely start with the Presidential race and work down to local races, I feel local races are the most important and will focus on them first. Local politicians consistently impact our day to day lives with their decisions and they are the ones we have the best chance of reaching out to when making our concerns heard.

For the sake of space, I don’t plan to go too much into detail about where the candidates stand on specific issues. If you would like to know how the City and County candidates feel about the issues you care about, Flagstaff Liberty Alliance put out a great candidate survey and posted responses here:


In past elections I framed my election suggestions in the context of who is the most libertarian minded. Since the term “Libertarian” seems to be objective and mean almost anything (or nothing) these days, I have decided to divide many of my choices between representatives and authoritarians.

I may not agree with the candidates I support on every issue but they are people who I feel are most likely to listen to and respond to my concerns. Authoritarians, on the other hand, believe they have the right to use the force of government to tell you how to run your life. Of course, other factors contributed to my decisions but representatives vs. authoritarians seems like an appropriate mindset we all should have when considering candidates this year.

Flagstaff Mayor

I may not agree with Mayor Jerry Nabours on all of his high profile votes but Nabours has a track record of consistently listening to my concerns and explaining the reasoning behind his votes when we disagree. When I contacted him with concerns about a police shooting that left an unarmed suspect dead earlier this year, he took my concerns directly to the City Manager and Chief of Police, got answers to my questions, and got back with me as quickly as he could. He is the perfect example of a representative.

His competitor, on the other hand, blocked me on facebook for simply letting her know that a law she was pushing was unnecessary because it was already on the books.

The choice for Flagstaff Mayor is very clear. I will be voting for Mayor Jerry Nabours.

Flagstaff City Council

There are three openings on the Flagstaff City Council this year and there are six candidates running for those three positions. I have had the opportunity to speak with all of the candidates who are running many times and am proud to cast my votes for Jeff Oravits, Charlie Odegaard and Karla Brewster. Oravits and Brewster have a long track record of standing up for the issues I care about and I believe Odegaard will join them in being a great representative of the people of Flagstaff!

Coconino County Board of Supervisors District 3

It is time for positive change on the Coconino County Board and that change carries the name Christine Gannon. Gannon is dedicated to freedom and liberty and representing the people in her district as well as countywide. I do not live in District 3 but if I did I would be casting my vote for Christine Gannon.

Coconino County Board of Supervisors District 4

My friend Josh Collier ran a great race in Coconino County District 4 but unfortunately, the GOP voters chose Jim Parks, a tax and spend candidate who is being funded and pushed by outside special interest groups. The Democratic candidate Janis Crosman is not running a campaign based on fiscal responsibility either but nobody really expects Democrats to be for cutting taxes or reducing spending. While Parks will be representing outside special interest groups, I believe Crosman has a better chance of listening to me. I will be voting for Janis Crosman on November 8th.

Flagstaff Unified School District Board

The Flagstaff Unified School District has three seats open and five candidates running including two incumbents. One of those incumbents is Paul Kulpinski who, when voters rejected a 10% tax override, pushed to put a 15% override on the ballot. That kind of disrespect for voters puts Kulpinski in the authoritarian category. Newcomers Carole Gilmore and Danielle Lawrence will be getting my votes because change is needed and they have personally reached out to me…especially Danielle Lawrence who asked for my thoughts on a variety of issues.

County Recorder

Only one candidate, a Democrat is on the ballot. I will be writing in NOTA.

County Assessor

Only one candidate, a Democrat is on the ballot. I will be writing in NOTA.

County Superintendent Of Schools

Only one candidate, a Democrat is on the ballot. I will be writing in NOTA.

County Treasurer

Only one candidate, a Democrat is on the ballot. I will be writing in NOTA.

Coconino County Attorney

The Coconino County Attorney race is a perfect example of how the Republicans in the legislature worked to limit your choices. We have Democrat Bill Ring running unopposed because Republicans didn’t run any candidates and Jonathan Apirion, the Libertarian in the race, faced impossible odds and failed to get his name on the ballot. Thanks for limiting my choices Bob Thorpe, Brenda Barton and Sylvia Allen. I will be writing in NOTA.

Coconino County Sheriff

In Coconino County we have the choice between an Independent who has spent most of his law enforcement career waging the war on drugs against citizens and a Democrat, Jim Driscoll, who is a bit more balanced and more responsive to community policing. As usual, Republicans didn’t run any candidates in this race. Jim Driscoll will be getting my vote.


All judges in Coconino County are running unopposed. Once in it is almost impossible to unseat a judge. In all of these races I will be writing in NOTA.

State Senator Legislative District 6

Time after time State Senator Sylvia Allen has been an embarrassment to residents in LD6. This campaign cycle she seems to be running as a one issue candidate against marijuana. Her anti marijuana emails have become so frequent that at one point my wife wrote her back and asked if there was anything else she cared about. Allen’s challenger this year is Nikki Bagley, a fiscally responsible pro gun Democrat. Bagley was at the Coconino County fair over the weekend and scored a lot of points with liberty minded friends who were there. The authoritarian vs. representative theme fits perfectly here. Nikki Bagley will get my vote.

State Representative Legislative District 6

State Representatives Brenda Barton and Bob Thorpe were a big part of the push to keep third party candidates from qualifying for the Arizona ballot. This is not the only issue where they showed authoritarian tendencies but it is one of the highest profile issues. Unfortunately, the Democrat in the race is also an authoritarian and I could never vote for him. To Thorpe’s credit, he worked recently to reform civil asset forfeiture laws but police unions and prosecuting organizations killed his bill. He may be the only chance we have of bringing the bill back in the next session so that is one good reason to vote for him. I personally will be voting NOTA.

Corporation Commission

All of the Republicans, including Bob Burns who pretends to be fighting for you are beholden to special interest groups. Democrat Tom Chabin is by far the worst representative I have ever known (he used to be my state representative). That leaves William Mundell who will be the only candidate I vote for in this race.

Congressional District 1

Democrats were dancing on primary night when they saw that Paul Babeu was the Republican choice for CD1. They have so much dirt on him that the GOP pretty much handed the Dems the seat. Babeu will be up against Tom O’Halleran and I cannot support either. Casting a big NOTA in this race.

United States Senate

John McCain vs. Ann Kirkpatrick? Both pushed to expand the Patriot Act, trample your Second Amendment rights and meddle in your personal life. I will vote NOTA.

President of the United States

I have heard good reasons to vote for Jill Stein. I have heard good reasons to vote for Gary Johnson. I have even heard good reasons to vote for Donald Trump. But I have not heard one good reason to vote for Hillary Clinton. So my suggestion this election cycle is vote for anyone but Hillary…even if that anyone is NOTA.

For my take on the ballot measures, please visit:


Categories: Uncategorized
  1. Bill Tippett
    September 10, 2016 at 9:12 am

    What level of sincerity would you give to Trump’s anti-interventionist stance?

    • September 10, 2016 at 2:49 pm

      I think he is pretty sincere about it based on the fact that it is an unpopular position to take and is causing a lot of establishment Republicans to fight against him.

  1. September 7, 2016 at 8:28 pm
  2. September 15, 2016 at 8:24 am

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