Saturday, June 02, 2012

Preliminary Guide to AZ's Congress And Legislative Elections

OK, this post will be long and more than a little dry (kind of like AZ's summers), but here are the sources of info -

From the Arizona Secretary of State:

- Voter registration counts in the new Congressional districts, as of April, here
- Voter registration counts in the new legislative districts, as of April, here
- Listing of candidates who have submitted nominating petitions for the Congressional, legislative, and statewide primary elections, here; Note - one or more candidates will have their candidacies challenged in some way or will withdraw or will somehow end up not on the ballot.  Right now, I can't predict which candidates will be impacted, so all analysis will be based on conditions "as is".

In the following analysis, I've stuck with practical considerations; my opinion of policy considerations can be summed up thusly - if an Arizona Republican is able to make it through a primary, he/she can safely be assumed to be anti-society and anti-Arizona's future.

To those who hoped last year's redistricting processes would help bring some balance to Arizona's political scene:

First the good news - it helped...

Now the bad news - ...but not much.  A majority of districts remain so uncompetitive that the either the race is uncontested or will effectively be decided in the primary.

Congressional races:

The applicable voter registration figures for the new Congressional districts (note: in some of the voter reg sources, Independents are referred to as "Other" but I believe "Other" could be construed to include Greens and Libertarians.  As these numbers don't include Greens and Libertarians, I'm showing the numbers of those who didn't specify a party on their registrations as "Independents"):


Democrats Republicans Independents
CD1 144102 113428 110609
CD2 125212 131545 112390
CD3 114777 60045 93053
CD4 81707 153023 127653
CD5 89575 182667 135873
CD6 94811 168003 129776
CD7 91887 37618 77194
CD8 98588 163681 129118
CD9 110186 123069 124687

 Map of the districts, courtesy the Arizona Independent Redistricting Commission -

The good news here is that no incumbent is unchallenged.  All are facing a primary or major party general election opponent, or both, in every district.  The bad news is that most of the races are in districts where the voter registration of one party or another is so steep that the races there will effectively be over after the primary results are in.


- CD1 is a Democratic-leaning district that could go R. 

The Democratic primary will come down to the grassroots organizing of Wenona Benally Baldenegro against the deep pockets of and establishment support for Ann Kirkpatrick.  I think that favors Kirkpatrick, but if there is going to be a Democratic primary upset, it will be here.

The Republican primary here is a crapshoot.  The only candidate that I've heard of, former state senator Jonathan Paton, is also the one who doesn't live in the district.

Edge (for now): Kirkpatrick.

- CD2 is a slightly Republican-leaning district that could go D.  It's shaping up to be D Ron Barber vs. R Jesse Kelly, but the wild card is that both are in the (current) CD8 special election to serve out the remainder of Gabby Giffords' term and if either one gets smoked next week, that could open up things for a primary challenger.  Slight edge: Barber, as he is a friend and former staffer for Giffords, and there is an incredible amount of affection and respect for her in the area, state, and country.

- CD3 is a strongly Democratic district and the contest is likely to be decided in the primary.  There, incumbent Raul Grijalva is facing a pair of primary challengers, but I haven't heard that enough Ds in that district are ticked off at him to put his seat in danger.  So long as he takes the challenges seriously and campaigns.  Edge: Grijalva.

- CD4 is a strongly Republican district and the contest is likely to be decided in the primary.  There, carpetbagger/incumbent Paul Gosar is facing termed-out state senator Ron Gould of Lake Havasu.  Pinal County Sheriff Paul Babeu was in the race, but he and his office are the subjects of federal investigations (not actually a problem in R primaries) and he was outed as being gay (that actually *is* a problem in R primaries).  Right now, I'd call this one a toss-up.

- CD5 is a strongly Republican district and the contest is likely to be decided in the primary.  Former congressman Matt Salmon and former speaker of the Arizona House Kirk Adams are facing off.  Salmon has a fundraising advantage right now, but Adams may have the ground game to counter that advantage.  Edge (for now): Salmon.

- CD6 is a strongly Republican district and the contest is likely to be decided in the primary.  Current members of Congress David Schweikert and Ben Quayle are facing off.  Schweikert is more polished, but Quayle still has access to his father's money and even more importantly, his contacts.  Right now, this is another toss-up.

- CD7 is a strongly Democratic "voting rights" district.  The winner of the Democratic primary will be the winner - the Republicans don't even have a "show the flag" candidate here.  However, incumbent Ed Pastor is facing a primary challenge from one Rebecca Dewitt.  Haven't heard of her before, so edge: Pastor. 

- CD8 is a strongly Republican district and the contest is likely to be decided in the primary.  Incumbent Trent Franks is facing both primary and general election opponents.  If he was running for mayor of Washington, D.C., he'd be in trouble, but as he is running for Congress from AZ, he should be fine.  Edge: Franks.

- CD9 is a truly competitive district.  There are strong primary battles on both sides of the ballot, and the general election result will be driven by "Get Out The Vote" efforts.

On the Democratic side, David Schapira, the Democratic leader in the state senate, Kyrsten Sinema, a former legislator, and Andrei Cherny, the former chair of the Arizona Democratic Party are contesting for the nomination.  Schapira and Sinema are experienced campaigners, Cherny is a former staffer in the Clinton-era White House and has access to a lot of out-of-state money.  All are smart and have smart people around them, but Schapira is the only one who has run in, and won in, a competitive district.  Slight edge: Schapira.

Disclaimer:  I support Schapira in this race and while I've tried to be fair and stick to practical factors, my personal opinions of his candidacy should be taken into consideration when evaluating what I've written here.

On the Republican side, there are seven candidates, ranging from former or current members of city councils (Lisa Borowsky, Scottsdale; Martin Sepulveda, Chandler; Vernon Parker, Paradise Valley) through former government employees who will be sure to have demonization of public sector workers as a campaign plank (Wendy Rogers, USAF; Leah Campos Schandlbauer, CIA) to dilettantes/business owners who think that running a business is more than adequate qualification to hold high public office (Travis Grantham, [Robert] Jeff Thompson).  Got no clue on this one right now, so it's a toss-up, for now.

General election:  toss-up.  Any candidate strong enough to win a primary race in this environment will be strong enough to win a general election race in this environment.

Quick overall analysis:  Four seats that are all-but-guaranteed to end up in R hands, two that are all-but-guaranteed to end up in D hands, and three seats that either major party has a real opportunity of taking.

Summary:  While the partisan breakdown of the nine Congressional seats could end up 7-2 in favor of the Rs or 5-4 in favor of the Ds, it seems likely that it will be 5-4 or 6-3 in favor of the Rs, unless this year turns out to be a "wave" year in one direction or the other.

Legislative races:

There are many races here where the major party candidate(s) is (are) unchallenged, but there are a few interesting races to watch nonetheless.  In many of the districts, particularly the non-Maricopa districts, I am not familiar with many of the candidates or the conditions on the ground (so to speak) and won't even try to make a prediction, even one that is heavily laden with "weasel words" ("might", "maybe", "could", etc.).

Also, write-in campaigns are possible and where no one from a particular party has filed to run for a seat, they're more than a little likely.  There was one successful one in 2010 when Republican Don Shooter ran as a write-in in the LD24 (Yuma) Republican primary for state senate before going on to win the general election.

Voter registration numbers -

Democrats Republicans Independents
LD1 25073 60515 41557
LD2 34832 20827 27398
LD3 39291 14206 24475
LD4 30048 18636 26656
LD5 26682 48114 43111
LD6 31709 43612 36367
LD7 62954 23104 31657
LD8 30736 24810 28662
LD9 40668 37516 31895
LD10 40232 37566 31532
LD11 30345 44843 36104
LD12 25243 59352 40563
LD13 23055 39051 31877
LD14 35864 49261 38588
LD15 26856 51722 37930
LD16 26365 45098 43571
LD17 31126 49319 44287
LD18 38858 50372 45013
LD19 25914 13494 26411
LD20 30767 41678 35718
LD21 32819 44019 39016
LD22 29290 59472 41739
LD23 31394 67436 49151
LD24 31042 20833 27878
LD25 28608 59076 39967
LD26 28004 22850 35669
LD27 32546 10352 25661
LD28 33095 48204 33411
LD29 24075 13464 23610
LD30 23458 15064 22057

Maps courtesy the AIRC -


Maricopa County

Pima County

- LD1 is a heavily Republican district where the race will be over after the primary.

State Senate - incumbent Steve Pierce is unchallenged in the primary and no Democrat will be facing him in the general.  However, Independent (and former R) Tom Rawles filed to run directly in the general.  Given that this district is overwhelmingly Republican, the edge goes to Pierce here.

State House - one of the most interesting legislative primaries this year.  Incumbents Karen Fann and Andy Tobin, from the Prescott area in Yavapai County, are being challenged by Lori Klein, from Anthem in Maricopa County.  Klein is currently in the state senate but redistricting put her suburban Phoenix home into a district that is heavily rural.  Edge: Fann and Tobin.

- LD2 is a Democratic-leaning district where the race will likely be decided in the primary.

State Senate - incumbent Linda Lopez is unchallenged in both the primary and the general election.

State House - the two Democratic candidates, Andrea Dalessandro and Rosanna Gabaldon should be able to hold off the single R candidate.

- LD3 is a heavily Democratic district where the results of the general election will match perfectly with the results of the primary - no Republicans filed for the seats here.

State Senate - this is one of the non-Maricopa primaries where I can make no predictions - incumbent Olivia Cajero Bedford is facing one Maria Garcia, who I believe is the widow of late state senator Jorge Garcia.

State House - the Democratic candidates, Sally Ann Gonzales and Macario Saldate don't face any challengers at all.

- LD4 is a Democratic-leaning district where no Republican candidates are running.

State Senate - incumbent (sort of - she's a state rep right now) Lynne Pancrazi is the only candidate on the ballot.

State House - there's a three-way primary for the two seats.  Democrats Charlene Fernandez, Lisa Otondo, and Juan Escamilla are running.  No predictions here.

- LD5 is a heavily Republican district where the primaries are likely to determine the general election outcome.  At least the Democrats are making an effort here.

State Senate - the Republican primary includes candidates Nancy Mclain, Sam Scarmado and Kelli Ward.  McClain is currently in the House, but I don't know the others.  No predictions here.  Democrat Beth Weisser awaits in the general.

State House - the Republican primary includes candidates Sonny Borrelli, Wyatt Brooks, Doris Goodale, and George Schnittgrund.  Goodale is an incumbent, but I know nothing about the others.  No predictions.

- LD6 is a Republican-leaning district that could get interesting.

State Senate - two current House members, Democrat Tom Chabin and Republican Chester Crandell are contesting for the seat.  The numbers favor Crandell, but Chabin is a smart and strong candidate with a solid base of support in the Flagstaff area.  Right now, I'll give the edge to Crandell, but it's only a tentative edge.

State House - Democrats Doug Ballard and Angela Lefevre will face Republicans Brenda Barton and Bob Thorpe in the general.  Right now, the numbers favor Barton and Thorpe, but this is one to keep an eye on.

- LD7 is a heavily Democratic district where the Democratic primary will decide the races.  No Republicans are running here.

State Senate - incumbent Jack Jackson is unchallenged.

State House - a three way Democratic primary for the two seats.  Incumbent Albert Hale, Jamescita Peshlakai, and Phil Stago are the candidates.  No predictions.

- LD8 is a Democratic-leaning district that could see the Rs poaching one or even two of the three legislative slots here if the Democratic candidates take the voter registration advantage for granted.

State Senate - Democrat Barbara McGuire, a former legislator, and Republican Joe Ortiz are running.  The experience and numbers favor McGuire.

State House - Democrats George Arredondo, Ernest Bustamante, and Emily Verdugo are going after the two D nominations in the district.  The winners of that contest will face Republicans Frank Pratt, an incumbent, and TJ Shope in the general.

- LD9 is a slightly Democratic-leaning district that could see a seat poached by the Rs.

State Senate - Democrat Steve Farley, a current state representative, will face Republican Tyler Mott in the general.  This one will be a GOTV-based result.

State House - three Democrats, Dustin Cox, Mohur Sidwa, and Victoria Steele are vying to face Republican Ethan Orr in the general.

- LD10 is a slightly Democratic leaning district that seems likely to end up with a partisan split in its representation at the state capitol.

State Senate - a potentially very interesting race here.  Democrat David Bradley, a former state legislator, and Republican Frank Antenori, a current state senator and failed Congressional candidate, are the only candidates who filed here.  Bradley isn't the most electric candidate, but Antenori is the kind of person that is either loved or despised, no middle ground.  No prediction.

State House - Democrats Bruce Wheeler, an incumbent, Stefanie Mach, and Brandon Patrick have filed, as have Republicans Ted Vogt, an incumbent, and Todd Clodfelter.  No predictions.

- LD11 is a strongly Republican district without contested primaries, but at least the Democrats are showing up here.

State Senate - incumbent R Al Melvin will face D Jo Holt in the general.  Edge: Melvin. (If I could choose a prediction to be wrong about, this would be the one.  Melvin is a tool, and not a particularly sharp one.)

State House - Democrat Dave Joseph will face Rs Steve Smith, a current state senator, and Adam Kwasman.  Edge to Smith and Kwasman.

- LD12 is a strongly Republican district where the race will be decided in the Republican primary.

State Senate - incumbent Andy Biggs is unopposed.

State House - a four-way R primary, with candidates Eddie Farnsworth, an incumbent, Larry Chesley, and Warren Petersen.

- LD13 is a strongly Republican district where the race will be decided in the Republican primary.  No Democrats filed in this district.

State Senate - one of the more interesting primaries.  Incumbents John Nelson and Don Shooter are facing off.  Shooter chose to move to this R-friendly district than run in a D-leaning one.  It may work, but the grassroots of the major parties have one thing (and perhaps only one thing) in common - they don't like rewarding candidates who prefer to take out one of their own over a contest with someone from the other party.  No predictions, but... :)

State House - a four-way primary, with candidates Russ Jones, incumbent, Steve Montenegro, incumbent, Toby Farmer, and Darin Mitchell.  No predictions.

- LD14 is a heavily Republican district where the general election is likely decided in the primary, but at least the Democrats aren't giving the Rs a free pass here.

State Senate - Democrat Pat Fleming will face incumbent Gail Griffin in the general.  The numbers favor Griffin, however, this one has a small, but real, chance to get interesting.

State House - Democrats Robert Leach and Mark Stonebraker will face incumbents David Gowan and David Stevens.  As with the senate race, the numbers favor the Rs, but a lot of hard work and a little luck could make this race one to watch.

- LD15 is a heavily Republican district where the races will effectively be over after the primary.

State Senate - incumbent Nancy Barto is unchallenged in the primary or the general.

State House - there's a four-way R primary with incumbents Heather Carter and David Burnell Smith, John Allen (who I believe is a former legislator, but I'm not sure) and James Bearup on the ballot.  Pat Flickner is the sole candidate on the Democratic side of the ballot.

- LD16 is a heavily Republican district where the races will effectively be over after the primary.

State Senate - another interesting primary.  Current state rep John Fillmore lives in the district and is running for the senate, but current state senator Rich Crandall moved to this district to avoid a primary battle with former state senator Russell Pearce.  The winner of this one will face Democrat Scott Prior in November.  No predictions.

State House - a four-way R primary with candidates Jeff Davis, Judy Novalsky, Doug Coleman, and Kelly Townsend.  The only one that I've heard of is Townsend, who is a tea party type and was a regular at AIRC hearings last year, haranguing them repeatedly in support of uncompetitive district.  Don't know if the overall map is uncompetitive enough for her taste, but she should be happy with this district. 

No predictions.

- LD17 is a strongly Republican district where the races are already effectively over.  There aren't any primaries on either side of the ballot.

State Senate - incumbent Steve Yarbrough will face Democrat Bill Gates in the general election.

State House - incumbents JD Mesnard and Tom Forese will face Democrat Karyn Lathan in the general election.

- LD18 is a strongly Republican district but there is a full slate of smart and energetic Democratic candidates who could make this one interesting.  There are no primary contests in this district.

State Senate - incumbent John McComish will face Democratic candidate Janie Hydrick in the general.

State House - incumbents Bob Robson and Jeff Dial will face Democrats Corey Harris and Darin Fisher in the general election.  Independent Brent Fine will also be on the general election ballot.

- LD19 is a strongly Democratic district where no Republican candidates filed to run.

State Senate - current state rep Anna Tovar is running unopposed.

State Houe - a four-way primary with candidates Mark Cardenas, Lupe Contreras, Bryan Kilgore, and Lorenzo Sierra.  No predictions.

- LD20 is a strongly Republican-leaning district where some interesting stuff could happen.

State Senate - current state rep Kimberly Yee will face Democrat Michael Powell in the general election.  The wild card here is former state rep Doug Quelland, who has filed to run as an independent.  He may get knocked off the ballot by a new state law that bars anybody who owes fines for election-related infractions from running for office until the fines are paid.  Quelland was removed from office for violations of Clean Elections rules and has refused to pay the associated fines.  However, since Arizona is a Voting Rights Act "pre-clearance" state and the new law affects the conduct of elections, it has to be approved by the USDOJ before it can go into effect.

State House - a three-way R primary with candidates Carl Seel, an incumbent, George Benavides and Paul Boyer duking it out for the opportunity to face Democrats Jackie Thrasher and Tonya Norwood.  I don't know anything about Norwood, but Thrasher is a former state rep who was the victim of R games in 2008.  Not predicting an upset here, though.  Yet.

- LD21 is a Republican-leaning district, but there is a full slate of Democratic candidates so this won't be a walkover.

State Senate - incumbent Rick Murphy will face De mocrat Michael Tarrats in the general election.

State House - incumbents Debbie Lesko and Rick Gray will face Democrats Carol Lokare and Sheri Van Horsen in the general election.

- LD22 is a strongly Republican district where the race will be over after the primary election - no Democrats filed to run here.

State Senate - appointed incumbent Judy "I was a birther before Ken Bennett" Burges is completely unchallenged.

State House - there's a three-way primary with candidates Jeanette Dubreil, Phil Lovas, and David Livingston.

- LD23 is a strongly Republican district where the race will be over after the primary election - no Democrats filed to run here.

State Senate - incumbent Michelle Reagan is completely unchallenged.

State House - three-way primary involving incumbents John Kavanagh and Michelle Ugenti and challenger Jennifer Petersen.

- LD24 is a solidly Democratic district.  However, there will be hard-fought Democratic primaries, and if the D races get nasty, it could create an opportunity for the Republicans to poach a seat.

State Senate - current state rep Katie Hobbs and former state senator Ken Cheuvront are vying for the Democratic nomination.  The victor will face the victor of the R primary, either Augustine Bartning or Scott Fistler.  Hobbs and Cheuvront are known names among district Democrats, but that may not help Cheuvront.  Two years ago he tried to mount a primary challenge to a local highly-regarded justice of the peace, not because the JP in question was bad at the job, but because Cheuvront was term-limited out of the senate and he wanted a steady paycheck.  Edge: Hobbs.

State House - incumbents Chad Campbell and Lela Alston are joined in the primary by challengers Jean Cheuvront-McDermott (no, she's not related to me, and yes, she's related to Ken Cheuvront, above - she's his mom) and Tom Nerini.  Apparently, Ken is ticked off that the current electeds in the district wouldn't step aside in his favor, so he got his mom to mount a primary challenge.  I don't know anything about Nerini.  Edge (for now): Campbell and Alston.

- LD25 is an overwhelmingly Republican district where the races will be decided in the primary.

State Senate - but what a primary.  The LD25 Republican senate primary is easily the most-watched legislative race in the state, perhaps in the whole country.  Mesa businessman Bob Worsley is taking on Russell Pearce, who is attempting to make a return to the state senate after his historic, but ignominious, defeat in a recall election last year.  This one is going to get Ugly.  Democrat Greg Gadek will face the victor in the general election.

State House - incumbents Justin Pierce and Justin Olson, along with challenger Christopher Montijo are facing off in the R primary.  They'll face Democrat David Butler in November.

- LD26 is a Democratic-leaning district that could very well see a seat poached by the Rs.

State Senate - current D state rep Ed Ableser is facing current R state senator Jerry Lewis.  The numbers favor Ableser, but Lewis is the man who defeated Russell Pearce last year, and he may still garner some gratitude for that from general election voters.  The numbers may favor Ableser, but he's the underdog in this race.  Edge: Lewis.

State House - Democrats Andrew Sherwood and Juan Mendez will face the winners of a four-way Republican primary which has candidates Mary Lou Taylor, Buckley Merrill, Raymond Speakman and Jason Youn.  Edge to Sherwood and Mendez, but it's not an overwhelming one.

- LD27 is an overwhelmingly Democratic district where the real contest is in the primary.

State Senate - incumbent Leah Landrum is facing Victor Contreras in the primary.  The victor will face Republican Sarah Coleman in the general election.

State House - incumbents Catherine Miranda and Ruben Gallego and challenger Reginald Bolding square off in the Democratic primary.  They'll face Republican Daniel Coleman in November.  I don't know his relationship to the Sarah Coleman in the senate race, but they have the same filer address on their SOS paperwork.

- LD28 is a strongly Republican district where the winner(s) of the R primary is likely to win the general election, but there are strong Democratic candidates here who could make the race very interesting.

State Senate - incumbent Adam Driggs will face Democrat Eric Shelley in November.

State House - because of redistricting, three incumbent will be facing off in November.  Democrat Eric Meyer and Republicans Amanda Reeve and Kate Brophy McGee have no primary challengers.  Edge to the Rs, but since Meyer has won uphill battles before this, keep an eye on this one.

- LD29 is a strongly Democratic district where no Republicans have filed to run.

State Senate - incumbent Steve Gallardo is unchallenged.

State House - incumbent Martin Quezada and challengers Lydia Hernandez and Martin Samaniego face off in the primary.

- LD30 is a strongly Democratic district where no Republicans have filed to run.

State Senate - incumbent Robert Meza and challenger Raquel Teran are waging a primary battle here.

State House - incumbent Debbie McCune-Davis and challengers Jonathan Larkin and Mike Snitz are squaring off in the primary.

Based on what I can see here, the days of Republican supermajority control of each chamber of the lege are over, though it is unlikely that the Democrats will be able to take over one or another chamber this year.


Michael Bryan said...

excellent work, Craig! Please crosspost.

Matt E said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Matt E said...


I beg to differ on a few of these, and would be happy to fill you in on some of the information you don't have on D16. I am in a position of leadership here in 16, and know the candidates (one of whom you've left off) very well.

matthew dot ekstrom at gmail dot com

Pat Flickner said...

etenJohn Allen in LD15 is, indeed, a former Rep (session 46). He is an ultra-conservative whose religious preferences border on the theocratic. I believe that CAP is supporting him.

Pat Flickner said...

Oh, and don't assume that a heavily Republican district means a Republican win. When I ran against Lori Klein, I took 1/3 of the vote and most of them were Republicans. I was a virtual unknown, having around of $2,000 to spend. This time around? Let's just say that I'm looking forward to August 29.