Voter Registration Data Shows Republicans Taking Over Legislative Districts

Voter Registration Data Shows Republicans Taking Over Legislative Districts

By Corinne Murdock |

2020 established Arizona as a purple state going blue, but the latest voter registration data indicates that the state may be shifting back to red. The data appears to align with predictions that the new legislative maps would favor Republicans.

The Yellow Sheet Report first reported the voter base shift. They obtained the data from DeMenna Public Affairs, a Phoenix-based government relations, public affairs, and political consulting firm.

LD9 went from slightly Democratic at a 2.6 percent advantage, to slightly Republican at a .071 percent advantage. The Senate seat will either be taken by State Senator Tyler Pace (R-Mesa), Republican candidate Robert Scantlebury, or Democratic candidate Eva Burch. House LD9 candidates are Republican candidates Mary Ann Mendoza and Kathy Pearce, and Democratic candidates Lorena Austin and Seth Blattman. 

LD4 and LD13 increased Republicans’ advantage from 3.4 to 11.25 percent and 1.6 to 7 percent, respectively. 

The only Senate candidates for LD4 are State Senators Nancy Barto (R-Phoenix) and Christine Marsh (D-Phoenix) — if the data forecasts the outcomes, it appears Barto will take the seat. The House race will see sole Democratic candidate Laura Terech face off against two of the six Republican candidates: John Arnold, Kenneth Bowers Jr., Vera Gebran, Matt Gress, Jana Jackson, and Maria Syms.

Senate LD13 candidates are State Senator J.D. Mesnard (R-Chandler) versus either one of two Democrats: Cindy Hans or Michael Morris. As for the House seats, State Representative Jennifer Pawlik (D-Chandler) will face two of the five Republicans running: Josh Askey, Ron Hardin, Liz Harris, Don Maes, and Julie Willoughby.

LD2 increased steadily from a Republican lead of 3.8 to 6.28 percent. That may not bode well for State Representative Judy Schwiebert (D-Phoenix), the lone Democratic candidate running for one of the House seats. She may end up facing State Representative Justin Wilmeth (R-Phoenix) and one of the other Republican candidates: Christian Lamar, Pierce Waychoff, Neil Desanti, and Reynold Ramsey.

State Representative Steve Kaiser (R-Phoenix) is uncontested in the Senate LD2 primary, and will face off against one of the two Democratic candidates: Jeanne Casteen or Victoria Thompson. 

LD8 Democrats lost just under 45 percent of their advantage, dropping from 27.5 to 12.36 percent. State Senator Juan Mendez (D-Tempe) retains a decent margin against either of the Republicans running for the Senate seat: Roxana Holzapfel or Todd Howard. Vying for the House seats are State Representatives Melody Hernandez (D-Tempe) and Athena Salman (D-Tempe) as the Democratic candidates, with Republican candidates Caden Darrow and Bill Loughrige.

LD12 Democrats lost just under 66 percent of their advantage, dropping from 53.9 to 35.36 percent. State Representative Mitzi Epstein (D-Chandler) will likely win the Senate seat against either one of the Republican challengers: David Richardson or Suzanne Sharer. As for the House seat, five Democrats and two Republicans are vying for the seats: Democratic candidates Patty Contreras, Sam Huang, A.J. Kurdoglu, Stacey Travers, and Paul Weich versus Republican candidates Jim Chaston and Terry Roe. 

Only one legislative district shrunk for Republicans: LD16, where the advantage dropped from 3.6 to 1.04 percent. That makes the Senate race tighter for State Senator T.J. Shope (R-Phoenix) and Republican Daniel Wood, either one of whom may face Democrat Taylor Kerby. State Representative Teresa Martinez (R-Oro Valley) has two other Republicans in the race, Rob Hudelson and Braden Biggs, and one Democrat, Keith Seaman. 

Corinne Murdock is a reporter for AZ Free News. Follow her latest on Twitter, or email tips to corinne@azfreenews.com.

New State Election Bill Signed Into Law Last Week Could Be Gutted This Week

New State Election Bill Signed Into Law Last Week Could Be Gutted This Week

By Terri Jo Neff |

An internal conflict appears to be brewing over state legislation which passed through the House and the Senate on March 3 on combined votes of 85 to 0 and was immediately signed into law the same day.

House Bill 2839 was intended to address concerns with statutory deadlines for candidates to qualify to run in Arizona’s 2022 primary elections, the first based on the state’s recently redrawn 30 legislative and 9 congressional districts.

HB2839 was written as an emergency law to provide new rules for this year’s primary election nominating petitions. Passage required a bipartisan, supermajority margin of at least two-thirds of both the 60-member House and 30-member Senate to be become immediately effective once Gov. Doug Ducey affixed his signature.

Yet within 48 hours of the emergency law taking affect, questions began to be asked about one of the four sections of the new law. By Monday morning, the majority of legislators who voted for HB2839 conceded they either misunderstood Section 4 or had not read the bill before casting a vote.  

Section 4 contains a new, this-year-only nominating petition requirement which allows candidates for political party precinct committeemen (PCs) to skip signature gathering. But it also gives a political party’s local county committee sole authority to decide which one candidate must be appointed by the county board of supervisors to every PC position for that party.   

In Arizona, a PC’s minimum duties under state law involve assisting their political party in voter registration and also providing voter assistance during an election. But a key PC duty involves a vacancy in a county or state office. In most instances, it is a county’s PCs of the party of the prior officeholder who nominate the candidate(s) to fill the vacancy. 

The new law also contains other provisions in Section 4 which are confusing, such as providing for only one PC for each precinct, when some precincts currently have several PCs.

Senate President Karen Fann admitted on Sunday that Section 4 resulted in an unintended change in state law. She spent the weekend and Monday working with members to design a plan to repeal Section 4 while also ensuring the thousands of Arizonans interested in serving as a two-year terms as party precinct committeemen will be able to get their names on August’s primary election ballot.

Myriad reasons have been put forth by legislators for why they voted in support of HB2839 without questioning the drastic changes to PCs. Some privately admitted they did not read the bill’s language due to its support by legislative leaders. Others say the text of Section 4 was not capitalized, leading them to believe there was nothing being changed to PC-related laws.

Still others say they read the bill but believed Section 4’s reference to selection of PCs by the local party committee applied only to new precincts recently created under the once-a-decade statewide redistricting process. 

New bills were introduced Monday in both chambers – HB2840 and SB1720 – to fully repeal Section 4. However, there are not enough votes yet to pass either bill by the necessary supermajority margin to take affect immediately.  

In addition, many lawmakers say they will not vote to repeal Section 4 unless there is new legislation to properly address the PC nomination petition deadline. 

“I’ve been pushing for a full repeal of this language all weekend,” Rep. Jake Hoffman said Monday. “The section dealing with PC elections that was snuck into the emergency bill last week will be removed.”

Hoffman (R-LD12) also called on Monday for a thorough review of how the PC language was added to the bill without a full disclosure to legislators.

“In my meeting with leadership today I also made it exceedingly clear that there must be accountability for this abhorrent breach of trust and legislative process,” he said.

House Republicans Call Out Democrats’ Lack Of Support For K-12 Funding

House Republicans Call Out Democrats’ Lack Of Support For K-12 Funding

By Terri Jo Neff |

When the State House voted Friday to pass HB2898, the K-12 Education budget bill, it marked the end of a grueling process that resulted in passage of a $12.8 billion budget package for Fiscal Year 2022.

A key provision of HB2898 is the establishment of new academic standards for K-12 students in the area of civics. There was also funding for a number of special programs for students and a variety of new rules for school board and school districts.

But much of the debate about the bill centered on whether more money should have been allocated.

Rep. Aaron Lieberman (D-LD28) acknowledged HB2898 includes “a lot of money,” but he argued it was not enough. Lieberman noted 2,000 classrooms across the state do not have assigned, permanent teachers, something he said could be remedied by spending one-fourth of the state’s $2 billion surplus.

“It’s clear now more than ever we need every dollar,” Lieberman said in voting against the bill.

However, Rep. Bret Roberts (R-LD11) questioned why more focus is not on the decisions of school boards who spend the billions of dollars provided each year through federal funding and from the legislature.

“Why are we not asking the school boards why they’re not giving the money that the legislature sends to the school boards to the teachers?” he asked on the floor. “Why are we not holding the school boards responsible for the money that we send them to give to the teachers? When are the teachers going to hold the school boards responsible?”

Rep. Walt Blackman (R-LD6) expressed similar frustration, noting that many of the chamber’s 24 Democrats who were present Friday complained the funding in HB2898 was too low. So they simply voted against the bill.

Blackman acknowledged K-12 funding in the bill “may not be enough” but said those representatives who vote green -yes- are demonstrating they “support education by action.” Which is why he was disturbed to see so many red -no- votes.

Democrats may give myriad reasons for what is wrong in HB2898 or what could be done differently, he said, “but if we are really dedicated to teaching our children K-12, and that is a non-partisan issue, then why do we have red votes?”

“This can’t be an issue where we are upset and we take our marbles and we go home because we don’t have enough marbles to play,” Blackman said, adding that all of the votes should be green because “nothing is perfect.”

The House K-12 Education bill will now be transmitted to the Senate, which last week passed its own education bill.  There is now one significant difference between the bills which will need to be reconciled.

That difference involves a major expansion of the state’s Empowerment Scholarship Accounts (ESAs) which is currently available to about 250,000 students. The Senate’s budget bill added two eligibility criteria which would make ESAs an option to 700,000 students, including children from Title 1 schools where at least 40 percent of the families are considered low-income.

However, three Republicans in the House voted against an amendment which would have included the ESA expansion in HB2898. The amendment died without those votes and the three Republicans also voted against a later attempt to insert the failed amendment into the main bill just prior to final voting.

Sen. Paul Boyer (R-LD20) is a teacher and a major supporter of ESA legislation. He took to Twitter after the House vote to express his disappointment with the ESA decision.

“Meanwhile, minority students are 6 to 12 months behind their white counterparts. This defeat of ESAs for Title I students makes sure those same students never leave the school that’s failing them,” Boyer tweeted.

ASU Conservatives Smeared In Online Campaign

ASU Conservatives Smeared In Online Campaign

A group of conservative students at Arizona State University was smeared in an online social media campaign, targeted with doctored images and false claims.

According to documents obtained exclusively through YAF’s Campus Bias Tip Linea current representative in ASU’s student government, Daniel Lopez, reportedly helped create an Instagram page titled “Don’t Vote For These-USG!” intended to intimidate conservative students running for USG positions, and sway the results of the election.

 

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