John Dougherty, a former staff writer for the alt-weekly Phoenix New Times,
has launched a grass-roots campaign in Arizona to round up signatures
to put his name on the Democratic ballot, with the ultimate goal of
running against U.S. Sen. John McCain.
Until he retired from New Times
in 2006, Dougherty (shown to the right with his two sons) delivered award-winning investigative features about political and
religious leaders of the West, including polygamist FLDS prophet Warren
Jeffs and Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio. His groundbreaking coverage of the polygamous Colorado City/Hildale communities could fill volumes.
Polygamy aside, Dougherty is well-versed in the issues of the American West and could bring a reporter's insight to vexing issues such as immigration and ethics reform. His reporting career showed early promise with his 1989 story on the Charles Keating scandal, which nearly sank John McCain's political ambitions. Then, while working for the Dayton Daily News, Dougherty revealed how financier Charles Keating gave five senators -- including Arizona's John McCain -- trips and donations in exchange for their help in relaxing regulations on the savings and loans industry. If Dougherty's ballot dream is miraculously realized, the Keating 5 scandal could raise its head again.
The question remains, can Dougherty's
shrewd investigative skill set be effective in a realm where cronyism, compromise and
back-scratching are about the only way to get the work done? Who would have the chutzpah to invite the guy to lunch let alone on a golf junket to Florida?
At least he's charging out of the gate knowing he has to be every bit as accountable as the power elite he's investigated over the years needed to be -- no rookie mistakes tolerated in this department. And at least he has all the goods on his opponents to make it an interesting race.
He's off to a good start with his line in the Phoenix New Times article announcing his bid: "This will be a great exercise in the regular folks standing up and saying, 'Enough of this bullshit,'" Doughertysays.
Enough of this bullshit, indeed. Wonder if Utah party delegates are thinking that very thought heading into the Republican and Democratic state conventions.