2020 campaigns across the board in full swing

Congressman Tom O’Halleran speaks to the crowd at the Orpheum Theater at a Coconino County Democratic Party Election Viewing Party Oct. 6, 2018. Congressman O’Halleran attended the viewing party with his family.

Local and state elections are sure to mark new territory for some and lost ground for others. Arizona has remained a red state for some time, but a new batch of candidates for various positions in the United States House, Senate or otherwise have announced themselves.

Congressman Tom O’Halleran is preparing for reelection of his House seat for the first district according to ballotpedia. O’Halleran was a previous member of the Arizona Senate from 2007 to 2009.

To compete with O’Halleran, Eva Putzova, a registered democrat and former councilwoman, is also running for the first district.

According to Putzova, her portfolio includes a 14-year tenure of past work experiences at NAU and her effort in passing and upholding the most recent minimum wage increase to $15.50 in Flagstaff by 2020.

Putzova said that there are a variety of issues she would like to focus on, including climate action, medicare for all, tuition-free college, immigration overhaul, along with women’s and workers rights.

She also said that there are many urgent problems that need to be addressed, and that progress must be made on all of them.

“Climate change is urgent and we are in a climate crisis,” Putzova said. “Our policies and laws regarding immigration have been neglected by both parties, and we need to make progress with Indigenous people’s rights.”

In recognition of her commitment to the community, Putzova was awarded the Arizona Woman of Vision Award in 2015 and the Eleanor Roosevelt Award by the Coconino County Democratic Party in 2017.

First District Coconino County Supervisor Chairman Art Babbott has also announced his race for sixth district seat in the State house.

Babbott cited his experience of 15 years within local and county government.

“During my 15 years with local and county government I have enjoyed bringing diverse interests together to find solutions to problems and create new opportunities,” Babbott said.

Additionally, Babbott plans to run as an independent.

“As an independent, I will be uniquely positioned in the Arizona House of Representatives to build bridges across the current dysfunctional divide to address our state’s most pressing issues,” said Babbott. “Especially in education, transportation, mental health, substance abuse and fiscal policy.”

Another person running for legislative sixth district is Felicia French, according to her website. French previously lost in the 2018 election for the same district to Bob Thorpe and Walter Blackman, with one point of the vote lost (French (D) 25.6, Thorpe (R) 25.9, Blackman (R) 26.5 and Tyler (D) 22).

French is a retired army colonel, promoting issues regarding advanced education like full-day kindergarten funding, affordable healthcare, support for veterans and responsible gun ownership.

Another candidate that some may believe to be the most surprising of all, according to his website, is retired astronaut Mark Kelly. He is running for McSally’s seat in the Senate.

The husband of former representative Gabrielle Giffords, Kelly is running to focus on issues ranging from climate change to gun control to health care. Kelly wrote in an email that he believes that healthcare is a right.

“As a cancer survivor and the husband of Gabby Giffords, who was nearly killed in a shooting and owes her life to quality medical care, I have a deep appreciation for the importance of health care and coverage that you can rely on,” Kelly said.

According to Kelly, 2.8 million Arizonans have a pre-existing condition, and he believes that none of them should lose their health insurance or be unable to attain insurance in the first place because of their pre-existing condition.

“I will work to fix what is broken with our healthcare system,” Kelly said. “By providing more options and competition to reduce costs, including introducing a public health care option, and taking on the pharmaceutical industry to lower the cost of prescription drugs.”

His most personal issue on guns comes from the attempted assassination of his wife in Tucson in 2011. As a result, they both have created nonprofit gun control advocacy group Americans for Responsible Solutions.

On a much larger scale, there also seems to be a plethora of candidates running for the 2020 presidential election.

One of the candidates is current President Donald Trump.

Coming off a controversial presidential term, Trump hopes to continue with his efforts of building the wall and “make America great again.”

While he is presumably one of the most popular candidates, there are a few other Republican candidates also running.

Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan and former Ohio Gov. John Kasich have expressed their interest in challenging President Trump for the Republican primary.

Coming from the Democratic side, according to a Vox article, one of President Trump’s biggest challengers is Senator Bernie Sanders from Vermont. Sanders proved to be a big contender within the 2016 Presidential election. Many anticipate this will most likely be the same for the upcoming 2020 presidential election.

Another big name running is former Vice President Joe Biden. He, as many others also anticipate, will most likely prove to be one of the toughest competitors in the upcoming election.

Former Rep. Beto O’Rourke has made a name for himself with his 2018 campaign for Senator of Texas. According to the Vox article, O’Rourke is seen as the wildcard for the 2020 presidential campaign due to his ability to make a persuasive speech.

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee may also prove to be a big contender with his campaign, as stated in an article from The Atlantic. Inslee’s campaign will be revolving around climate change and working on environmental issues that are affecting the world today. He hopes to bring the importance of the changing climate to the limelight and hopefully solve the issue at hand.

Additionally, the way in which votes are counted during elections have also become a contention point for states.

The National Popular Vote Interstate Compact, as stated on the National Popular Vote website, was originally drafted in 2006.

As of March, 12 states have banned together in hopes of bypassing the electoral college. The agreement specifically states the parties involved, ideally all 50 states and the district of Columbia, would award all electoral votes to the presidential candidate winning the popular vote.

Whether this initiative is accepted by the 270 electoral votes needed to pass is hard to say. Currently 180 votes are cast in favor, which is about 67% of the needed majority.

While there are more candidates running each day, many say it will definitely be a hard-fought presidential campaign. Putzova highlighted the importance of political involvement in this election.

“I hope people will be voting and will be engaged this election year,” Putzova said. “We have grand challenges and grand opportunities ahead of us.”

The Democratic and Republican primaries will be held from January to July 2020. The City of Flagstaff will hold its next General Election Nov. 3, 2020, in conjunction with the statewide election.