Greg Ensell, Vice President Government Relations
After months of speculation that 2018 might be the year Democrats turned Arizona blue, it appears Republicans will keep their statewide seats and maintain control of the state Legislature. Democrats did, however, gain a congressional seat (CD-2) and appear to have picked up a handful of state House seats – meaning the GOP will have its narrowest House majority in recent memory.
As of Wednesday night, there were approximately 500,000 uncounted votes, primarily in Maricopa and Pima counties, which could make the difference in some races are currently too close to call. That includes one of the biggest nail-biters of 2018: the Sinema/McSally Senate Smackdown. We likely won’t know the outcome of that race – and a handful of others – until the end of the week.
Few races were as contentious, closely-watched and completely unpredictable as the campaign for Arizona’s U.S. Senate seat. For weeks, the battle to replace outgoing Sen. Jeff Flake has been neck-and-neck between Democratic Congresswoman Kyrsten Sinema and Republican Congresswoman Martha McSally. As of Wednesday, Rep. McSally holds a slim, roughly one-point lead in a race that is still too close to call.
Regardless of who wins, history will be made when Arizona elects its first woman U.S. Senator . . . we’ll just have to wait a little longer to find who she’ll be.
Of the Congressional seats that were competitive (CD-2, CD-9, and CD-1), only one would change party. The return of Ann Kirkpatrick (D-Tucson) to Congress in CD-2 will shift the Congressional split in Arizona to favor Democrats 5 to 4. The new Congressman in CD-9 will be former Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton (D-Phoenix).
Arizona statewide offices are where the Blue Wave met a Red Wall.
Incumbent Republican Gov. Doug Ducey easily defeated Democratic challenger David Garcia by nearly 18 points, earning Ducey another four years representing the state’s highest office.
Attorney General Mark Brnovich will also keep his seat, defeating political newcomer January Contreras.
Meanwhile, Senate Majority Leader Kimberly Yee is now Treasurer Kimberly Yee. The Republican lawmaker decisively defeated Democratic challenger Mark Manoil for the position currently being held by gubernatorial appointee Eileen Klein.
In the Arizona Secretary of State’s race, it appears voters have narrowly selected Republican businessman Steve Gaynor over Democratic opponent Katie Hobbs. Republican Frank Riggs has a slight edge over Kathy Hoffman in the race for Superintendent of Public Instruction – but with less than 7,000 votes separating them, this one is still too close to call.
Assuming the votes hold, the House of Representatives will remain in Republican control . . . but they will cede some seats to the Dems. New makeup of the House looks to be a 31-29 advantage for the GOP, compared to the current 35-25 margin.
Democrats will pick up a seat in the House in LD 10 as Representative Clodfelter (R-Tucson) was defeated by Kirsten Engel and Domingo DeGrazia.
Democrats currently hold the second seat In LD 17, as Nora Ellen (R-Chandler) trails her democratic challenger, Jennifer Pawlik (D-Chandler) by roughly 400 votes.
In one of the bigger surprises of the night, Representative Jill Norgaard (R-Phoenix) was defeated by Jennifer Jermaine (D-Chandler).
In LD 28, incumbent Representative Maria Syms (R-Paradise Valley) trails Democrat Aaron Lieberman (D-Phoenix) by 600 votes for the second seat in the House.
Meanwhile, the Senate will most likely remain 17-13 in Republican control. Senator Brophy McGee (R-Paradise Valley) holds a narrow lead of roughly 1,500 votes over her Democratic challenger, Christine Marsh (D-Phoenix). Democrats were hopeful they could pick up a seat in LD 6, however, it looks as though Senator Sylvia Allen (R-Snowflake) will win her re-election.