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AZ-08: Randy Graf vs. Gabrielle Giffords

To hear the liberal media, the Democratic Party and a few disgruntled liberal Republicans tell it, the seat of retiring Rep. Jim Kolbe (R.-Ariz.) is already lost to the Democrats. Republican nominee Randy Graf would save himself a month of aggravation by conceding now, they will tell you, and Democrat Gabrielle Giffords can start hiring staff and contacting real estate agents in Washington, D.C.

To all that, conservatives throughout Arizona’s 8th District and nationwide should chorus in unison: “You’re dreaming!”

Graf, stalwart conservative and former majority whip of the state house of representatives, made headlines two years ago when he pulled a handsome 43% of the vote against moderate Republican 20-year incumbent Kolbe. Graf drew a vivid contrast between himself and the seemingly untouchable Kolbe by campaigning foursquare on conservative themes: solidly pro-life, for the 2nd Amendment, and—most significant in the Tucson-based district that stretches along the Mexican border—for tough border-security measures and against amnesty for illegal aliens. In fact, the conservative swashbuckler put his name on the Grand Canyon State political map as senior adviser for Project Arizona Now’s Proposition 200, which would deny public services to illegal immigration. The measure passed statewide by 56% to 44% in November 2004.

When Kolbe announced his retirement and his former primary opponent declared for the open seat, the “Graf-can’t-win” mantra started. But Graf did win, topping a field of five primary candidates that included the hand-picked candidate of the outgoing congressman. All of Graf’s erstwhile opponents thereupon endorsed the nominee, as did Arizona’s six Republicans in Congress and the U.S. House GOP leadership. The lone holdout is Kolbe.
“And most importantly, Randy has the best volunteer organization because he motivates the gun owners, cultural conservatives, small-government and low-tax Republicans and libertarians—just like Ronald Reagan did,” says campaign manager R.T. Gregg, a former Reagan Administration official, “and he’s facing someone who is a wholly owned subsidiary of the Howard Dean wing of the Democratic Party.”

Just a glance at Giffords’ major-donor list proves Gregg’s point that the Democratic nominee is the candidate of the far left. Contributors to Giffords include: the Communications Workers of America ($5,000), the pro-abortion EMILY’s List ($1,448), the Human Rights Campaign PAC ($1,600), the National Education Association ($5,000), the Sierra Club ($5,000), and the United Food and Commercial Workers Union ($10,000). You get the picture.

And conservatives must get the picture as well: Randy Graf can hold Arizona’s 8th District for them, but only if his fellow cause-driven allies make him a major cause this fall.

Written By

John Gizzi has come to be known as ???the man who knows everyone in Washington??? and, indeed, many of those who hold elected positions and in party leadership roles throughout the United States. With his daily access to the White House as a correspondent, Mr. Gizzi offers readers the inside scoop on what???s going on in the nation???s capital. He is the author of a number of popular Human Events features, such as ???Gizzi on Politics??? and spotlights of key political races around the country. Gizzi also is the host of ???Gizzi???s America,??? video interviews that appear on Gizzi got his start at Human Events in 1979 after graduating from Fairfield University in Connecticut and then working for the Travis County (Tex.) Tax Assessor. He has appeared on hundreds of radio and TV shows, including Fox News Channel, C-SPAN, America's Voice,The Jim Bohannon Show, Fox 5, WUSA 9, America's Radio News Network and is also a frequent contributor to the BBC -- and has appeared on France24 TV and German Radio. He is a past president of the Georgetown Kiwanis Club, past member of the St. Matthew's Cathedral's Parish Council, and secretary of the West End Friends of the Library. He is a recipient of the William A. Rusher Award for Journalistic Excellence and was named Journalist of the Year by the Conservative Political Action Conference in 2002. John Gizzi is also a credentialed correspondent at the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund. He has questioned two IMF managing directors, Dominique Strauss-Kahn and Christine LaGarde, and has become friends with international correspondents worldwide. John???s email is JGizzi@EaglePub.Com

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