As is the case with the congressional races in Arizona, not every race for Arizona's legislative seats is competitive -- just 17 of the 30 state Senate races have candidates from both major parties, and 20 of the 30 state House races have at least one Democrat and one Republican.
Still, that leaves plenty of room for some competitive races, which could change the party breakdown in both chambers. Republicans currently occupy 40 of the 60 seats in the House, and 21 of the 30 seats in the Senate.
Below, find our list of five legislative races to watch for today's election, and note two things: two House seats are up for grabs in every legislative district, and the districts were also redrawn for this election, which adds another component to these races.
There are two candidates from each party in the LD-20 House race -- Paul Boyer and state Representative Carl Seel on the Republican side, and Jackie Thrasher and Tonya Norwood for the Dems. According to the Arizona Capitol Times, Seel is the Dems' target in LD-20, which covers parts of Glendale and Phoenix. Seel's an obvious target for Democrats if they have a chance, since he's been a supporter of several of the more loony bills at the Leg' in his days there, including the embarrassing "birther" bill -- which he announced with Sheriff Joe Arpaio and conspiracy theorist Jerome Corsi in tow. On the Senate side, Democrats also put up candidate Michael Powell against abortion-fanatic state Senator Kimberly Yee.
LD-10, a Tucson district, also features two Democrats running against two Republicans in the House, and a Republican against a Dem in the Senate. In what the Cap Times has called a "liberal-leaning" district, Republican state Senator Frank Antenori's seat might be at risk here, especially after a poor showing in his run for Congress -- in which he placed third out of four candidates in the Republican primary for the CD-8 special election. We've also seen pictures of a skywriter spelling "Antenori" over Tucson this weekend, and if using a skywriter as a campaign tool doesn't smell desperate, we're not sure what does. The House race will also be interesting, since two of the candidates are both sitting House members: Democratic state Representative Bruce Wheeler, and Republican Representative Ted Vogt (who saved face with Internet trolls earlier this year over a bill about online harassment). The Democratic newcomer is Stephanie Mach, and the Republican is Todd Clodfelter.
This one's mostly interesting due to the party-registration breakdown being kind of close, and the fact that incumbents are involved. LD-18, which includes Ahwatukee, as well as parts of Tempe and Chandler. On the House side, Democrats Darin Fisher and Corey Harris are challenging Republican state Representatives Jeff Dial and Bob Robson. The district has more Republicans then Democrats by a decent amount, but who knows. Democrat Janie Hydrick is challenging Republican state Senator John McComish on the Senate side, so the Dems taking one of the three seats would certainly be an upset.
More on page 2
Republican state Senator Jerry Lewis, the man who punched Russell Pearce square in the jaw (at the ballot box, of course) in Pearce's recall election, is already vulnerable. Lewis is running against Democratic Representative Ed Ableser in the east Valley district, and it's been a little slimy. On the House side, everyone's a newbie. Republicans Raymond Speakman and Mary Lou Taylor are running against Dems Juan Mendez and Andrew Sherwood.
Aside from supporters of the two Republican candidates running in this south Phoenix district, we doubt anyone's ever said this race would be close, but Dan and Sarah Coleman are our dark horse picks for the day in terms of making things interesting. After speaking with Dan Coleman a couple weeks ago, and despite him being kind of a country fella, it's hard to think of any other Republican who could possibly be more passionate about -- or in-tune with -- the area. Although he's running against two incumbent Democrats -- Representatives Ruben Gallego and Catherine Miranda -- the controversy involving Miranda would certainly appear to help Coleman, if the "R" next to his name doesn't instantly scare away the Dems. Sarah Coleman, Dan's wife, has an even tougher challenge -- she's going against state Senator Leah Landrum Taylor, who's already been elected three times in the heavily Democratic area.
- Honorable mention
In any district where there are candidates from each of the big two parties in the Senate, and two from each party in the House, it's a general sign that those districts might be competitive. In addition to several of those mentioned above, that list includes: LD-6, LD-8, LD-11, LD-14, LD-17, and LD-21
Keep Phoenix New Times Free... Since we started Phoenix New Times, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Phoenix, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Phoenix with no paywalls.