Monday, February 5, 2018

An Interview with Noah Dyer: Independent for AZ Governor

By: Alex Kack

Bull Moose Review: Let's start off with your recent party change, you were a Democrat but you recently became an independent, can you tell us a little more about what brought that change on?

Noah Dyer: Democrats are great people. However, I was really disappointed in some of the failures in leadership and ethics at the highest levels in the state party.  I didn’t feel like I could be successful in that environment, so I found a better way.  Most of the facts of my own situation are detailed here and here.  If you want additional depth, ask away.

I will add that, when I launched my campaign, I initially accepted the unchallenged premise that you can’t win if you don’t belong to one of the 2 major parties.  So I joined a party.  Prior to that, I’d been a registered independent since the mid-2000s.  After campaigning for several months, I realized that there wasn’t anything magical about belonging to a party.  There are some advantages the parties give candidates, as they’ve built out some of the infrastructure that candidates need.  But I realized that if I work hard, I could build enough of that structure myself to be able to win.  Running as an independent feels more in line with my true self and my mission.  Additionally, my campaign is activating independent organizers that will continue helping other independents after I win in November and my own campaign winds down.

How has changing to be an independent affected your campaign?

I didn’t realize how much the parties have created structural opposition to independent candidates.  For example, if I was running as a Republican or Democrat, I would need 5000 signatures to ge on the ballot.  But because I’m running as an independent, I’m required to get 35,000 signatures to get on the ballot.

Republicans and Democrats get voter data from the county recorders’ offices for free as often as they want it.  Independents have to pay about $2000 every time they want to get data for the whole state.

And Republicans and Democrats get to use the government resources to build their organizations, such as the election of precinct committeemen and committeewomen.

Because of these scheming advantages that partisan legislators have devised for themselves and their allies, campaign needs and requirements that are trivial for partisan campaigns require major organizational effort and fundraising effectiveness for independent candidates to achieve.  Fortunately, the people of Arizona have proven themselves to be up to the challenge of helping me win, and I couldn’t be more grateful.

What are your biggest worries running as a third party candidate?

The biggest thing I have to contend with is the false perception that independent candidates are always spoilers.  I’m not a spoiler, I’m a victor.

There’s an obvious reason other third parties have failed - they don’t appeal to enough of the electorate.  For example, the Democratic party has chosen a platform that appeals to less than ⅓ of Arizonans, based on voter registration.  The Green party has taken that ideological stance even further, creating a party that appeals to 1-2% Arizonans.  You don’t win elections by advocating positions that 2% of voters agree with.  Though they would chafe to hear me say it, Libertarians have a similar relationship with the Republican party and the right side of the ideological divide.  Republicans have just over ⅓ of voter registrations, and Libertarians 1-2%.

So it’s true that a strong Green party candidate would be a threat to Dems while posing no meaningful threat to Republicans. And a strong Libertarian would threaten Republicans without threatening Democrats in a significant way.

Unlike traditional 3rd party candidates, I’ve chosen a platform that a significant majority of Arizonans agree with: probably 60-80% depending on the issue.  I believe in markets, religious freedom, personal responsibility, and the individual pursuit of happiness.  

In fact, our internal polling indicates that I’m already the most liked candidate, both on a personal level and in terms of my policy recommendations.  Even so, if the election were today I wouldn’t win. Too many people have been scared by the parties into thinking that if they vote for me they’re giving the election to the candidate they like least.  

Fortunately, the election is not today.  We’ve got 9 months to convince Arizonans to vote for the candidate they like best.  It’s not easy but it’s doable, and when we’re successful, I’ll win.  

What can you tell us about your background? What in your background makes you more qualified than Doug Ducey or the other candidates currently in the race?

I’m a former junior high school technology teacher and college professor of video game programming and production.  For the last 10 years or so, I’ve been primarily dedicated to starting and running companies - a businesspersons businessperson.  Arizonans want someone with my broad business and education experience, who neither tries to solve every problem with bigger government nor with corporate welfare paid for by the middle class and the poor.  I’ll be a Governor of everyone.  
Before politics, Ducey’s claim to fame was creating hundreds of minimum wage jobs and becoming a millionaire in the process.  As Governor, he tries to solve every problem through the lens of helping corporate elites.  He’s been absolutely ineffective when it comes to engaging other stakeholders, such as small businesses, nonprofits, and the education community: a fact he tries to hide by calling himself the “education Governor.”  No one is buying it, except the few corrupt operators of profiteering schools that benefit from Ducey’s policies.

David Garcia is an education professor who has yet to reveal a comprehensive education policy (mine was released months ago and can be read at, or give any other meaningful policy positions.  He ran for the position he was qualified for in 2014, and lost to someone infinitely less qualified.  He’s not qualified to be Governor, and the only people who think he is are those who think a willingness to parrot Democratic talking points from a big mic makes someone qualified.

Steve Farley’s been a state legislator for 10 years.  Arizona voters are looking for the kind of change a career, establishment politician can’t possibly offer.  Besides, I don’t think most voters see a significant difference between him and Ducey.

Fryer got in too late.  $800k in Democratic donor dollars and thousands of precinct committeemen and committeewoman have already been allocated to Garcia and Farley.  Peeling away enough of those resources for a primary victory will be very hard, especially since I don’t think she offers a compelling enough reason for them to do so.

The other candidates will have trouble getting on the ballot, and even if they do will have to work hard to win their 1-2% of the vote.  They won’t be a significant threat.

What is your biggest criticism of Gov. Ducey and his administration?

Doug Ducey isn’t a leader.  He’s a lackey for his donors and his extreme right-wing supporters.  When a challenge worthy of public resources arises, he asks his donors what he should do.  They have him sit quietly on the sidelines while their bought and paid for legislators muscle through horrible bills.  These bills are thinly masked handouts to big corporations.  Their bills masquerade as solutions to the problems average Arizonans face, but they are nothing of the sort.  And Ducey routinely rubber stamps them when they end up on his desk.  

He has also supported some of the most medieval legislation in Arizona’s history, all of which has been overturned by the courts at great expense to Arizona taxpayers.  We’ve spent millions of dollars defending unconstitutional laws that they knew were unconstitutional before they passed, but did it anyway.  He’s not a great friend to the average Arizona taxpayer, just far-right, fringe donors.

What inspired you to run for governor?

Our state and our nation lack for genuine political leadership.  Republicans are yelling, Democrats are yelling.  No one is listening.  Very little gets done.  When something does get done, as soon as the other side can get 50% plus 1 they undo it. Teeter-totter policy is no way to run a state or a nation.

I offer real leadership by encouraging elected representatives to look at issues in new ways, and to solve the problems of their constituents, not their donors.  Together, legislators can do work that they can be proud of, and that will last more than 1 or 2 election cycles.

What do you think the biggest issue facing Arizona is currently and what would you propose to fix it?

Our biggest issue is partisanship.  We can’t make any lasting progress on small business growth, permanently fixing our education system, or other issues so long as our elected leaders speak as though getting anything other than their exact demands is to compromise with evil.  I’m very good at building strong working relationships, including with people who have initially considered themselves my adversaries, and I’m confident I can do the same as Governor.  Part of it begins with the fact that I genuinely don’t consider anyone from any party to be in “opposition” to me.  I will bring into my administration reasonable, common sense people from across the political spectrum to build a broad coalition of Arizonans working together for our people.

Beyond that, almost everyone I talk to tells me that their top concern is with the state of public education in Arizona.  While all the candidates are making noise about it, I’m the only candidate that has outlined a comprehensive education plan.

If elected what do you anticipate your first 100 days would look like?

My first order of business will be to build close relationships with legislators, and encourage legislators to build closer relationships with each other, especially with folks from other parties.  This is a process that I will begin immediately after election night by assembling a leadership team from across the political spectrum.  I will be particularly dedicated to this task prior to beginning the legislative session, but that will continue throughout my term.  One of the reasons so little gets done, or that everything that gets done happens along party lines, is because partisans see each other as less than human; sometimes as the embodiment of evil.  Such an attitude doesn’t lead to better policy, or to the kind of solutions the people expect from politicians.  I will be dedicated to breaking down barriers and rhetoric that divide us.

After that, much of the first 100 days will be dedicated to passing legislation to resuscitate our public education system in accordance with my education plan.  There are many well-meaning legislators who disagree with me and with their constituents about how to best manage education in Arizona.  I intend to engage those legislators, along with public education allies, to pass the legislation Arizonans want.

Lastly, I will begin a thorough review of state contracts.  Arizonans recognize that the billions of dollars are spent with crony companies that are cuddled up close to Ducey, and that don’t offer Arizonans fair value for the money they get from us.  They want contracts to go to honest Arizona small businesses, and it’s important to me to get to work on that right away.

What would be your three biggest priorities be as governor?

  1. Attack partisanship.
  2. Fix public education.
  3. Empower Arizona’s small businesses and entrepreneurs.

As an independent how do you think you would interact with Republicans and Democrats in the legislature, do you anticipate having a better working relationship with one versus the other?

I anticipate having a great working relationship with all legislators and statewide officials who sincerely represent the interests of their constituents.  A legislator who represents a conservative district by fighting for conservative policies will have my respect and my cooperation.  The same goes for centrist and progressive legislators.

But I will butt heads with legislators who put their donors above their districts.  

Coming into the job, every official will begin with a clean slate as far as I’m concerned.  There’s no one who I’ll approach with the assumption that they are corrupt, or with the assumption that we are opponents on any particular issue.  

You've been incredibly candid about both your fiscal troubles and your sexual history during this campaign, why?

Arizonans, all Americans really, have lost trust in their elected leaders.  This loss of trust comes because politicians as a class have shown themselves to be deceitful and hypocritical.  For people who expect more of politicians, I am the answer.  I’ve shown that I’m not afraid to be honest, even if it might lead to people misunderstanding me or slandering me.  That’s how I’m running my campaign, and that’s how I’ll run the Governor’s office.

Everyone who has given me a dollar, an hour of their time, or any other help on my path to victory, has done so having had the opportunity to know who I am, what I’ve done, and how I think.  It’s empowered me to move forward courageously; without fear of some hidden fact coming to light in a way that upsets my supporters or my chances of victory.

When your detractors say that your troubled fiscal state or your behavior on the campaign trail show that you're unfit to be Governor, how do you respond to them?

I don’t accept this question as stated.  I don’t think that anyone, including detractors, has accused me of having inappropriate behavior on the campaign trail, nor am I in a troubled fiscal state.  All of my debts will be paid off within 15 years.  To be debt free at 50 is something many Arizonans don’t achieve.  

Additionally, the millionaires and billionaires who run on their ability to generate personal wealth have shown themselves incapable of managing state and national resources responsibly. In fact, they have largely used public policy to enhance and enlarge their own personal wealth and that of their donors.  

I’ve always been a good steward when entrusted with other people’s resources, and Arizonans can trust that I will continue that track record as an elected official.

Alex Kack is the editor and founder of the 'Bull Moose Review' as well as 'Spooky News'. He is a political advocate, writer and comedian currently based in Washington D.C. where he lives with his girlfriend and their excessive number of pets. Follow him on Twitter here: @Alex_Kack He's on Tumblr here:

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