Election Roundup: Gallego, Rogers, McSally Win Congressional Nods

August 26, 2014

(Photo by Stina Sieg - KJZZ)
Ruben Gallego gives his acceptance speech for the Democratic nomination in the 7th Congressional District with his wife, Kate Gallego.
(Photo by Stina Sieg - KJZZ)
Mary Rose Wilcox speaks with a supporter after conceding the Democratic nomination for the 7th Congressional District.

Democrat Ruben Gallego has come close to securing a spot in Congress after defeating longtime politician Mary Rose Wilcox in Tuesday’s primary for the 7th Congressional District.

He faces no Republican opposition in November's election in the Democratic stronghold held by retiring Rep. Ed Pastor.

Wilcox has been a politician in the Valley for more than three decades. By contrast, 34-year-old Gallego, is newer to the game of politics. He was in the state legislature from 2011 until he resigned earlier this year to run for congress.

Gallego gave his acceptance speech to an enthusiastic crowd.

"I’m going to be a Congressman that fights for the downtrodden. I’m going to be that Congressman that fights for that little kid who one day wants to go to Harvard or wants to go to ASU. And I’m going to say to that kid, 'you have that opportunity.' And I’m going to do everything I can to make sure you get it," Gallego said.

Wilcox said she knew the race would be difficult, but felt she had to run after longtime Pastor retired from his seat after representing constituents for almost 25 years.

"If I hadn’t tried to win, I would have regretted it the rest of my life. You know, the position was open. It would have been a great honor for me to go to Congress, but you know what? I tried, and I just feel satisfied that our team put one of the best efforts forward, and that’s life," Wilcox said.

Wilcox was the first Latina to be elected to the Phoenix City Council, and had been a Maricopa County Supervisor since 1993.

Meanwhile, Republicans were locked in a tight race in the 1st Congressional District. It's a swing district that already is attracting big money from national parties.

Arizona House Speaker Andy Tobin, state Rep. Adam Kwasman and rancher Gary Kiehne are battling for the chance to take on Democratic Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick in the general election.

In the 9th District, Wendy Rogers won the GOP nod, and will try to unseat Democratic Rep. Kyrsten Sinema.

In the 7th District, Gallego said his experience growing up poor, being the first in his family to go to college and serving in the military will keep him focused on curtailing the cost of higher education, making sure veterans get timely health care and improving the lives of people in the district.

Wilcox said her longtime service in the district means she knows the issues better than Gallego. Her support of gun buybacks, criticism of Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio and development of youth programs should resonate with voters, she said.

Air Force Col. Martha McSally won the Republican primary for the 2nd Congressional District, setting up a rematch of a tight 2012 race between her and Democratic Rep. Ron Barber, an aide of former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords who was wounded during the 2011 mass shooting at a political event in Tucson.

Tom Forese and Doug Little won the Republican primary for two Corporation Commission seats. Lucy Mason and Vernon Parker lost.

Independent groups with unidentified donors spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on the campaign. Forese said the money had an impact.

“It definitely had a place in the race. There was high expenditures for me and for Doug. And there was a lot of money for Lucy and for Vernon," Forese said.

Forese and Parker face off against Democrats Jim Holway and Sandra Kennedy in November.

The five-member commission is considered a separate branch of state government. It sets rates for regulated utilities such as water and power providers. The commission also handles corporate registrations and is responsible for ensuring safety of railroads and pipelines.

Updated 8/27/2014 at 12:57 a.m.

KJZZ's Alexandra Olgin and Stina Sieg contributed to this report.