Rep. Gosar wins primary election
August 29, 2012
By Craig Palmer, ADA News staff
Prescott, Ariz.—Dentist/Rep. Paul Gosar (Ariz.), buoyed by ADPAC support, won a contested primary race Aug. 28 for the Republican nomination in Arizona’s new 4th congressional district and probable re-election to a second term in Congress. He and Rep. Mike Simpson (R-Idaho) are the two dentists in the U.S. House of Representatives.
Rep. Gosar told the ADA News, “As a dentist and not a professional politician, I came to Congress and did what any dentist would--I asked the people 'where does it hurt and how can I help?' I then got to work to solve the problems. I was labeled the hardest working and most effective freshman Congressman and have no doubt my 25 years as a dentist prepared me for the job. The people recognized, in spite of negative deceitful attack ads against me, that I have served the people of Arizona well and have focused on the issues everyone is concerned about -- our economy, our healthcare system and getting the government out of the way of small business owners.”
The three-candidate primary race “tightened significantly” in July when a conservative advocacy group, the Club for Growth, “began a significant Independent Expenditure campaign on behalf of (state Sen. Ron) Gould, attacking Gosar in a series of television ads costing approximately $600,000,” the American Dental Political Action Committee said in an ADPAC Primary Update reporting that Rep. Paul Gosar (R-AZ) Wins!
“An initial benchmark poll commissioned by ADPAC to assess the race in late July after the CFG campaign had enough time to register with voters found a tied race with Gosar and Gould both with 33% support,” the Primary Update said. “Just as ADPAC Independent Expenditure (IE) efforts began in support of the Gosar campaign over the final 2 and 1/2 weeks of the campaign, ADPAC commissioned a second poll to capture a snapshot of the situation on the ground at that time.
“This was after a couple of additional weeks of CFG ads running but also during a time the Gosar campaign had begun campaign advertising and ADPAC’s IE campaign had also begun. The results were stunning,” the Primary Update said in an unusually detailed disclosure of ADPAC campaign activity. The poll found Rep. Gosar’s support increasing while Gould’s remained stable.
In the primary election, Rep. Gosar won 51 percent of the vote, Gould 32 percent and radio-station owner Rick Murphy 17 percent. ADPAC Independent Expenditures supported 2 and ½ weeks of radio ads and four mailers in support of Congressman Gosar, the Primary Update said.
The Wall Street Journal Aug. 25 print edition said, “The dentists’ trade group is in a battle with the Club for Growth, the small-government, pro-business group, over a House seat representing Arizona. They are sparring in a GOP primary over a seat currently held by a dentist. The dentists come well-armed,” the WSJ said. “The American Dental Association is one of the most influential trade lobbies and has one of the top-spending health-care PACs.”
The new seven-county congressional district, which covers most of western Arizona, is predominantly Republican. Rep. Gosar and state Sen. Gould each had significant bases of support in separate counties within the district.
“With that information, the ADPAC IE effort was targeted not in the two large counties where voters had already made their decisions, but instead in the other counties in the remainder of the district,” the Primary Update said. “When combined with efforts of the Gosar campaign, the strategic decision made by the ADPAC IE Committee to focus on the outlying counties paid huge dividends.”
Arizona media said that two “political newcomers” were competing in the Democratic primary.