Ableser was first elected to the House in 2006 and has done an admirable job of representing his ASU-centric district while starting a family and a professional career. He was and is a perfect match for a diverse, educated, moderate, and mostly middle-class district.
Lewis was first elected to the Senate last year during the recall election that ousted nativist icon Russell Pearce from the Arizona legislature. Lewis is a successful businessman, active in the community, and a family man.
Based on my personal knowledge of Ableser (we're friends) and everything that I've heard about Lewis (we've never met, but many people that I know also know him), both are fine men and upstanding citizens.
And while those characteristics should be expected from *every* elected official (except female electeds, who should be expected to be "fine women and upstanding citizens" :) ), alone, they aren't enough to qualify someone to represent a district in the legislature.
While Lewis has the support of the "yeah, but he's a nicer guy than Russell Pearce" brigade, that's like saying that "yeah, but he doesn't foam at the mouth like a rabid dog". On the face of it, it may be true, but so what? That's setting the personal temperment/behavior bar rather low.
Personally, I have a deep amount of respect for Lewis for daring to take on the Pearce machine and doing his part to end years of near-dictatorial control of the political structure by Pearce and his allies in that area. He was the precisely right candidate for a district where the electorate was Republican-leaning but with a strong Latino contingent. As inappropriate for society in general as Pearce's bigoted rants and stunts were, they had become an expression of open contempt for a huge portion of his constituents.
It's no coincidence that immigration issues moved to the lege's back burner when Lewis moved in.
However, that seems to be the only area where Lewis has exhibited a moderating influence.
For example, he voted for a budget that continued the lege's devastation of public education in Arizona (not really a surprise though - he's a big charter school guy; anything that is bad for public ed is good for him. Leave him in the lege long enough and people will be talking about him like they talk about Steve Yarbrough.)
Some people like to tout Lewis as "independent" or even "moderate". He's not -
He voted with the Center for Arizona
There is absolutely NOTHING moderate about CAP; pretty much every anti-woman and anti-personal freedom measure that goes before the Arizona Legislature is a product of theirs.
In short, he may put a smiling face on it, but his extreme positions on social policy are NOT a good fit for the new LD26. The new LD26 contains the most moderate part of Mesa as well as the portion of Tempe that contains ASU. Nothing about Lewis says that he is a "college town" kind of legislator.
Vote for Ed Ableser. Not only is he a part of the community that he represents, but his beliefs and priorities are in line with that community.