We welcome former Arizona Democratic Party Chairman Jim Pederson’s announcement this week that he’s running against U.S. Sen. Jon Kyl, R-Ariz., but we don’t share at least one Democratic operative’s claim that the incumbent is vulnerable because he "simply has nowhere to hide anymore."
Bob Grossfelt, a Scottsdale-based Democratic political consultant, told the Tribune’s Le Templar that Kyl "has never been a standout, front-and-center, on-the-radar political force. He has been fairly well able to hide who he is and what he is from the Arizona voters."
As we and others have observed over the years, Jon Kyl is a workhorse, not a showhorse. His voting record shows he is a full shade more conservative than Arizona’s more visible senior senator, John McCain, but is politically savvy enough to have forged alliances on key issues with U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., and some other prominent Democrats in order to get important things done.
We have never known Kyl to "hide" from any issue during his long and distinguished career in Congress. He is smart, well-informed, articulate and respected by his GOP Senate colleagues, who named him to head their Republican Policy Committee.
We relish a good, lively political battle, and Pederson at least has the money and party ties to make him a credible challenger. But it’s going to be, well, challenging. Anyone who thinks Jon Kyl isn’t up to that challenge and will run and hide is in for a big, big surprise.