Valley political expert: Curt Schilling could be formidable candidate

Aug 13, 2019, 2:15 PM | Updated: 4:39 pm
Curt Schilling poses with Breitbart News founder Stephen Bannon on April 27, 2016, before Bannon's ...
Curt Schilling poses with Breitbart News founder Stephen Bannon on April 27, 2016, before Bannon's tenure in the Trump administration.

PHOENIX — U.S. House Democrats from Arizona should be worried about the possibility of stepping into the electoral batter’s box against former Diamondbacks pitcher Curt Schilling, according to one Valley political expert.

“If I were a Democrat in Arizona, I would not want to face him, no matter what my district looked like,” Stan Barnes, president of Phoenix’s Copper State Consulting Group and a former state lawmaker, told KTAR News 92.3 FM’s Arizona’s Morning News on Tuesday.

Barnes isn’t alone in liking Schilling’s chances. Two days after Schilling revealed Sunday on Armed American Radio that he was “absolutely considering” a run against a Democratic House member in Arizona, President Donald Trump tweeted that it was a “Terrific!” idea.

Barnes said the Diamondbacks’ co-MVP of their 2001 World Series championship could be a strong Republican candidate in the current political climate.

“This is the era of Arizona and American politics when a guy like this can do something like that,” Barnes said. “After all, he’s got name ID, he’s got money, he’s got likeability, connects with people.”

Democrats hold five of Arizona’s nine House seats. Barnes said Schilling’s best chance would be to challenge either Reps. Greg Stanton, Ann Kirkpatrick or Tom O’Halleran.

“Those are the three,” he said. “It would not be the dominant Hispanic districts like Ruben Gallego’s district or Raul Grijalva’s district.”

Armed American Radio host Mark Waters was discussing the 2nd Congressional District, the southeastern Arizona seat held by Kirkpatrick, when Schilling brought up the possibility of running.

“I’m considering going back to Arizona and running for a congressional seat, one of the blue ones,” Schilling said.

Schilling didn’t specify a target, but he’s been actively promoting Brandon Martin, a Republican candidate in Kirkpatrick’s district.

In 2018, Kirkpatrick won the seat Republican Sen. Martha McSally vacated to make an unsuccessful U.S. Senate run against Sen. Kyrsten Sinema. Despite losing the election, McSally was later appointed to the seat formerly held by late Sen. John McCain.

Schilling previously considered a 2018 run against Sen. Elizabeth Warren in Massachusetts, but he told Waters he decided against putting his family through a campaign at that time.

But he said he’s been talking about a run in Arizona with his wife, “and she’s now becoming more and more comfortable.”

“We’re still quite a few discussions away, but, yeah, it’s something that we’re absolutely considering,” he continued.

Schilling attended Shadow Mountain High School in Phoenix and Yavapai College in Prescott before becoming one of the most dominant postseason pitchers in major league history and winning three World Series championships, one with the Diamondbacks and two with the Boston Red Sox.

In 2016, ESPN fired him from his gig as a baseball analyst after he shared a meme about transgender bathroom policies that the network considered offensive and unacceptable. He went on to work for the conservative Breitbart News.

Despite a 20-year major league career that included six All-Star selections, 216 wins and 3,116 strikeouts, Schilling hasn’t been inducted into the Hall of Fame.

Schilling and others have speculated that his outspoken, and some say insensitive, espousal of conservative views has kept him out of Cooperstown.

The president has Schilling’s back on that matter, too, tweeting before this year’s vote that the right-hander deserved enshrinement.

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Arizona Diamondbacks pitcher Randy Johnson, left, and Curt Schilling, right, hold the World Series MVP trophy they will share after being named co-receipiants of the World Series Most Valuable Player award after the Diamondbacks beat the New York Yankees 3-2 in Game 7 of the World Series Sunday, Nov. 4, 2001, at Bank One Ballpark in Phoenix. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip) In this image released by Electronic Arts, Three -time World Series Champion Curt Schilling, right, R.A. Salvatore, center, Todd MacFarlane, and Ken Rolston, with 38 Studios, interact with fans during an autograph signing at Comic-Con on Thursday, July 22, 2010, in San Diego.(Sandy Huffaker/AP Images for Electronic Arts) NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 27:  Former ESPN Analyst Curt Schilling (C) talks about his ESPN dismissal and politics during SiriusXM's Breitbart News Patriot Forum hosted by Stephen K. Bannon (R) and co-host Alex Marlow (L) at the SiriusXM Studio on April 27, 2016 in New York, New York.  (Photo by Cindy Ord/Getty Images for SiriusXM) PHOENIX, AZ - AUGUST 03:  Curt Schilling watches the MLB game between the San Francisco Giants and Arizona Diamondbacks at Chase Field on August 3, 2018 in Phoenix, Arizona.  (Photo by Jennifer Stewart/Getty Images) Curt Schilling pitcher for the Philadelphia Phillies on the mound throwing a pitch during the Major League Baseball National League West game against the San Francisco Giants on 29 May 2000 at Pacific Bell Park, San Francisco, California, United States. Giants won the game 7-2.  (Photo by Tom Hauck/Getty Images) BOSTON, MA - AUGUST 03: Former Boston Red Sox pitcher Curt Schilling #38 sits with his wife, Shonda Schilling, while being inducted into the Red Sox Hall of Fame prior to the game against the Minnesota Twins during the game on August 3, 2012 at Fenway Park in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Jared Wickerham/Getty Images) LOUDON, NH - SEPTEMBER 14:  (L-R) Curt Schilling, Shonda Schilling stand by as republican presidential candidate John McCain waves to fans with his wife Cindy McCain before the start of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Sylvania 300 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway on September 14, 2008 in Loudon, New Hampshire.  (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images) BOSTON - OCTOBER 25:  Curt Schilling #38 of the Boston Red Sox pumps his against the Colorado Rockies during Game Two of the 2007 Major League Baseball World Series at Fenway Park on October 25, 2007 in Boston, Massachusetts.  (Photo by Nick Laham/Getty Images) 2 Aug 2000:  Pitcher Curt Schilling #38 of the Arizona Diamondbacks pitches against the Atlanta Braves at Bank One Ballpark in Phoenix, Arizona. The Diamondbacks defeated the Braves 2-0Mandatory Credit: Jeff Gross/Allsport 20 May 2001:  Randy Johnson #51 of the Arizona Diamondbacks talks with teammate Curt Schilling #38 during the game against the Chicago Cubs at Wrigley Field in Chicago, Illinois.  The Cubs defeated the Diamondbacks 6-5.Mandatory Credit: Ezra Shaw  /Allsport

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Valley political expert: Curt Schilling could be formidable candidate