After nearly a decade of running for office, Wendy Rogers’ long quest for elective office has her running for yet another GOP nomination. Is the fifth time (and the third district) the charm for her in 2018?
Wendy Rogers wants to get elected to office, badly. Badly like the way some parents buy an RV and take their kids on sports tournament circuits for years to chase a scholarship. Badly like John Cusack on the front lawn with a boombox over his head. We’re talking moving districts, switching races, shifting issue positions because “I want to get elected!” badly.
From her state legislative run in 2010 (she lost), to her first run for Congress in central Phoenix in 2012 (she lost the primary), to her next run for Congress in that same Phoenix district in 2014 (she won the primary but lost the general), to her next run in the sprawling CD1 in 2016 (she lost the primary), to her current run back in CD1, Rogers has been running with the same drive she has always had.
Her supporters see her near-obsession as a positive – a focus on mission that reflects her military background. Her detractors point to her ideological inconsistency not as a good sort of flexibility, but as a willingness to say anything or support anyone that she thinks will help her get elected. After all, this is a woman who was on Jeb Bush’s Arizona leadership team and was a bundler for Jeb! just months before shifting into a Cruz supporter after Jeb crashed and burned, then morphing into a full-blown Trump supporter, even speaking at one of his rallies. There isn’t a parade, organized by others, that Rogers doesn’t want to jump out in front of.
But according to a recent poll by Rogers’ own SuperPAC, her plan may well be working. Her poll had her at 21% and five points ahead of her nearest competitor. Her “all Trump all the time” message ignores her passionate support of Jeb Bush and, in the absence of any of her opponents educating the voters about her past, is proving effective, convincing conservative Trump supporters that she is one of them.
Standing in her way is Steve Smith, a conservative State Senator who has secured the support of conservatives from Ted Cruz to Congressman Andy Biggs to groups like Freedom Works, the US Border Patrol, and Gun Owners of America, and Tiffany Shedd, a wealthy newcomer to politics who touts an endorsement from former US Senator Jon Kyl and has numerous connections to John McCain’s powerful network of consultants and donors. Shedd in particular has opened up her checkbook and has been pounding the airwaves and mailboxes to tout her “constitutional conservative” credentials.
The CD1 race is far from over, but for Team Rogers, nearly 10 years of work and posturing may finally pay off with a general election matchup with Tom O’Halleran, himself a similar political chameleon who has morphed from a Republican to an Independent and ultimately a Democrat in his quest for elective office. What a choice that would be for CD1 voters.