Chamber Business News

Arizona Legislature remains in Republican control

When legislators and policy wonks return to the state Capitol in January, Republicans will maintain control of both chambers, but by a slimmer margin in the House of Representatives.

If the current ballot trends continue, the State Senate will remain 17-13 Republican majority, but the State House will have a closer margin of 31-29 GOP majority.

While many claimed a “Blue Wave” would take over the state, the numbers reveal the so-called Democratic momentum only yielded four seats in the House.

“Arizona Senate Republicans have to be happy, though, as they held off serious, well-funded challenges to a handful of incumbents,” said consultant Matt Benson. “As Republicans cling to the slimmest of majorities in the House, Democrats figure to have their strongest hand in memory when it comes to budget-making and priority issues. More than ever, though, Governor Ducey will set the Capitol and state agenda. With the likelihood Arizona will have a pair of freshman U.S. Senators in 2019, and fresh off his nearly 20-point victory Tuesday with no re-election to worry about, Governor Ducey will truly be the King Kong of Arizona politics.” 

Legislative District 6:

It has been a challenge for Republicans to maintain control of this northern Arizona district over the years. This cycle, Republicans held onto all three seats in the district.

State Senator Sylvia Allen (R) will return along with her colleague State Representative Bob Thorpe (R). While Democrats were hoping to pick up a seat in this district, Walter Blackman (R) will head to the Legislature in January. Blackman is the only African American Republican who sought legislative, statewide or federal office in Arizona.

State Senator

  • *Allen, Sylvia Tenney (REP)* – 52 percent
  • Carlisle, Wade (DEM) – 48 percent

State Representative

  • *Blackman, Walter “Walt” (REP) – 26.89 percent
  • *Thorpe, Bob (REP) – 26.39 percent
  • French, Felicia (DEM) – 25.06 percent
  • Tyler, Bobby (DEM) – 21.66 percent

Legislative District 17:

This East Valley district was typically reliably Republican, but with changing voter demographics, Republicans and Democrats poured in lots of cash, especially in the state Senate matchup between Republican J.D. Mesnard and Democrat Steve Weichert.

Mesnard, currently the speaker of the Arizona House of Representatives, was considered vulnerable by Democrats, but he will to return to the Capitol.

Currently, Democrats may pick up a seat in the House race as Rep. Jeff Weninger (R) and Jennifer Pawlik (D) are the top-two vote getters.

State Senator

  • *Mesnard, J.D. (REP) – 52.5 percent
  • Weichert, Steve (DEM) – 47.5 percent

State Representative

  • *Weninger, Jeff (REP) – 34.75 percent
  • *Pawlik, Jennifer (DEM) – 32.86 percent
  • Ellen, Nora (REP) – 32.39 percent

Legislative District 18:

LD 18 is the perennial competitive district given the voter registration, which is nearly 1/3 Democrat, 1/3 Republican and 1/3 Independent. The district is currently represented by State Senator Sean Bowie (D), and Reps. Epstein (D) and Norgaard (R). Democrats are positioned to sweep this district and pick up a seat in the House. 

State Senator

  • *Bowie, Sean (DEM) – 55.4 percent
  • Schmuck, Frank (REP) – 44.6 percent

State Representative

  • *Epstein, Denise “Mitzi” (DEM) – 27.65 percent
  • *Jermaine, Jennifer (DEM) – 26.39 percent
  • Norgaard, Jill (REP) – 24.11 percent
  • Patterson, Greg (REP) – 21.86 percent

Legislative District 20:

With Senator Kimberly Yee running for state treasurer, Rep. Paul Boyer decided to run for the open seat. Typically considered a safe district, Republican candidates have come under fire as Democrats attempted to capitalize on areas that were part of a former Democrat-leaning legislative district. It appears the district will remain Republican.

State Senator

  • *Boyer, Paul (REP) – 50 percent
  • Ervin, Douglas (DEM) – 43.3 percent

State Representative

  • *Kern, Anthony (REP) – 27.00 percent
  • *Bolick, Shawnna (REP) – 26.51 percent
  • Chandler, Hazel (DEM) – 23.62 percent
  • Gilfillan, Christopher “Chris” (DEM) – 22.87 percent

Legislative District 28:

The most-watched legislative district this cycle has been LD 28. With infighting among Republicans and outside spending targeting the district, Democrats were confident they could take all three seats.

Incumbent Republican Sen. Brophy McGee is up by 1,000 votes in the Senate race, while the Democrats, incumbent Rep. Kelli Butler and challenger Aaron Lierberman are leading Republican incumbent Rep. Maria Syms and challenger Kathy Pappas Petsas. Should Syms and Petsas both lose, the Democrats will pick up an additional House seat.

If Brophy McGee maintains her lead, the Senate will remain 17-13.

State Senator

  • *Brophy McGee, Kate (REP) – 51.1 percent
  • Marsh, Christine Porter (DEM) – 48.9 percent

State Representative

  • *Butler, Kelli (DEM) – 27.33 percent
  • *Lieberman, Aaron (DEM) – 24.68 percent
  • Syms, Maria (REP) – 24.18 percent
  • Pappas Petsas, Kathy (REP) – 23.82 percent

The newly elected and returning legislators will meet today to vote on leadership positions for the upcoming session. There are still approximately 600,000 outstanding ballots statewide.

Lorna Romero

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