I'm not an Andrew Thomas fan. There are many who credit this post for his 2010 loss to Tom Horne.
Thomas seems to divert every question so that the answer involves securing the border and he claims that he won't be bullied by the "homosexual lobby." That last part is obviously controversial and to back up that statement, Thomas refers to SB 1062 that was the subject of intense national pressure, was ridiculed by the other gubernatorial candidates and was vetoed by Governor Brewer.
I think that Thomas has tapped into a large sector of the Conservative community that is stunned that President Obama and Hillary Clinton could oppose gay marriage as late as 2008 yet the position that marriage is between one man and one woman is now considered to be unacceptable in reasoned debate. That's been the fastest major social change in history and while much of it was accomplished by winning hearts and minds, some of it has been accomplished through intimidation.
I have a great deal of respect for the Republic's Phil Boas and I think he speaks for a lot of people here.
There are powerful arguments for gay marriage. Gay people are forming families and raising children. They require the framework of family law.
But to you gay activists who drove Mozilla CEO Brendan Eich from his job for supporting traditional marriage, here's what we know about you:
1. You think social change as momentous as the redefinition of marriage should happen without debate.
2. You are vengeful winners.
3. You are frightening.
Many of the folks who share Boas's views will vote for Thomas.
I moderated the Homebuilder's Gubernatorial debate and I can certainly see nuances between, say, Smith and Ducey, but from the perspective of non-establishment Conservatives, the four major candidates are all the same.
They are also all credible.
At this point, it seems like Ducey and Jones are leading, but I don't trust auto dialer polls that use small samples. I think that the Bennett, Ducey, Jones and Smith will each do pretty well...which means that a candidate might win with 21%. If Thomas successfully positions himself as the only non-establishment candidate, then he will have carved off a very large slice of the Republican electorate for himself--and that large slice may be more than 21%.
There are two other factors at play. The first is that Thomas supporters may not be the most likely to answer polls but they will be the most likely to show up at the polls. So he's more likely to pull an Evan Mecham type upset.
The second factor is from the dirty tricks department. Arizona Democrats want Andrew Thomas to win the Republican Primary. And in the past they have shown a willingness to spend significant amounts of money in order to manipulate the Republican electorate. So don't be surprised if Thomas's "Stand up the Gay Lobby" message gets a lot of independent financial support from mysterious sources.
I've linked to Thomas's ad below. My guess is that you will be seeing a lot of it.