Ruben Gallego, Quickly Ascending Political Star, Likely Heading to Congress

Keep New Times Free
I Support
  • Local
  • Community
  • Journalism
  • logo

Support the independent voice of Phoenix and help keep the future of New Times free.

Ruben Gallego's political star has ascended quickly in Arizona politics.

Last night, the 34-year-old beat out a politically connected and well-known Democrat in a race for Arizona's 7th Congressional District.

See also: -Video: Mary Rose Wilcox Concedes Seat in Arizona's 7th Congressional District -Ruben Gallego's Election Night Party Is Exploding; Mary Rose Wilcox Concedes

In November, he'll face a challenge from Independent candidate Jose Peñalosa, an immigration attorney, and Libertarian Joe Cobb.

But given Gallego's well-oiled and well-funded political machine -- and significant victory over Mary Rose Wilcox, a fixture in Latino politics -- it's unlikely Peñalosa or Cobb will put a significant dent in Gallego's general election campaign.

Even so, Gallego and his team want to continue urging residents to vote in the general election to help other statewide Democratic candidates.

That is, after some much needed sleep.

Andy Barr, a consultant on Gallego's congressional campaign, says that "part of the reason so many people gravitated to this campaign is because it's about something bigger than just one candidate."

The aim is consistent turn out from the predominately Latino districts.

"We can't just go to voters a few weeks before an election and ask them to vote," Barr says. "We need to make people feel connected to their community."

Getting people to show up on Election Day is what Gallego is good at. The former U.S. Marine demonstrated his political prowess when he took on a campaign for Michael Nowakowski, who was running against Congressman Ed Pastor's daughter, Laura Pastor, for a seat on the Phoenix City Council.

Despite her family's deep political roots and having a well-funded campaign, Gallego led Nowakowski to a surprising victory in the city's 2007 general election.

He served as Nowakowski's chief of staff and in 2010, ran a successful campaign for the Arizona House of Representatives. After just one term, he became the assistant minority leader in 2012.

When Congressman Ed Pastor announced he wouldn't be seeking reelection in Arizona's 7th Congressional District -- Gallego pounced.

According to early and unofficial results, Gallego and his team received 11,644 votes, or 48 percent of ballots cast.

Mary Rose Wilcox, a former Maricopa County Supervisor who has served the community for more than two decades and was endorsed by the outgoing Pastor, received 8,806 votes, or about 36 percent.

The other two Democrats in the primary election received a little more than 7 percent of the vote, about 1,800 votes each.

Got a tip? Send it to: Monica Alonzo.

Follow Valley Fever on Twitter at @ValleyFeverPHX. Follow Monica Alonzo on Twitter at @MAD_Blogger.

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.

We use cookies to collect and analyze information on site performance and usage, and to enhance and customize content and advertisements. By clicking 'X' or continuing to use the site, you agree to allow cookies to be placed. To find out more, visit our cookies policy and our privacy policy.


Join the New Times community and help support independent local journalism in Phoenix.


Join the New Times community and help support independent local journalism in Phoenix.