Last week, our very own "2010 Watch" speculated that Jim Pederson was going to enter the 2010 Governor's race taking on likely challenger Terry Goddard in the Democratic Primary. He has wasted no time trying to set himself up as a front-runner looking out for those who feel disenfranchised.
Pederson has launched his new committee, Stand-Up Arizona, with a spiffy website filled with polished videos criticizing the legislature and the Governor on the budget. Pederson, who spent millions of his own money in his failed race against Senator Kyl, is once again sparing no expense to get his name out there... this time narrating the videos and talking to concerned cowboys somewhere in the desert.
There will be a few challenges for Pederson to overcome in his bid:
The first challenge for Pederson will be his connections to the previous administration who helped cause this major budget problem in the first place. It is no secret that Pederson was the money man behind the Democratic party and the Napolitano machine. He was a big backer of Napolitano's initiatives, and supported her in her efforts to increase spending to record levels. Now, that Napolitano is gone, Perderson is criticizing the new Governor and the legislature for cleaning up the mess. The irony of that will not be lost on his opponents.
Second challenge for Pederson is his soft stance on immigration. Despite the economy, immigration remains a hot button issue, and not just for conservatives. Pederson has been connected in the past with efforts to oppose employer sanctions laws, which are widely believed to be working, and trying to overthrow candidates who are tough on immigration.
Next, Pederson will have some trouble running against Goddard or even Mayor Gordon without a policy success under his belt. He needs to be a player in this budget fix to get his name out there in the mix as a person looking to find solutions, not just a guy who is looking to spend his way into the seat.
The final challenge will be if Pederson can change his image to be a "man of the people." The man is a multimillionaire development mogul who has spent his money around town gaining favor and shaping the Democratic party and its strategies. Can he get people to relate that he is "one of them" and looking out for the people who don't think they can "make a difference?"
Perhaps this is why Pederson is starting now, a mere 16 months before the Democratic primary.