Republicans Declare Victory In Arizona House, Senate

By Katie Campbell
Published: Friday, November 6, 2020 - 12:17pm
Updated: Friday, November 6, 2020 - 12:35pm
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Republican leaders in the state House of Representatives and Senate are declaring victory for their party.

In a statement, Senate President Karen Fann and House Speaker Rusty Bowers said, “The people of Arizona want leaders who are focused on economic prosperity and safe communities, not progressive politicians who support the failing policies of California and Illinois.”

The voters “made it abundantly clear,” they went on, that the GOP should remain the majority party in both chambers — a statement, by voters and legislators alike, that seems to contrast with the leads held by Democrats Joe Biden and Mark Kelly in their respective races.

Democratic legislative candidates had hoped to ride the energy around Kelly, in particular, to victory at the state Capitol.

Democrats have long promised to flip both chambers in response to the Republican-controlled Legislature’s stance on hot-ticket issues like education funding, health care and citizens’ ability to send proposals to the ballot; both Proposition 207, to legalize recreational marijuana for adult use, and Proposition 208, to raise taxes on the wealthy to increase funding for public schools, were submitted and approved by voters in this cycle.

But while two Democrats hold leads over incumbent Republicans, those wins would not be enough to claim victory in either the House or the Senate.

Democrat Christine Marsh is still likely to claim Republican Sen. Kate Brophy McGee’s seat in Legislative District 28. But her lead has narrowed to less than 2,000 votes, leaving room for a comeback. Brophy McGee, a moderate in her caucus, was considered the most vulnerable incumbent heading into this election despite her popularity among voters and colleagues on both sides of the aisle.

A Marsh victory would narrow the partly split in the Senate but not enough to give Democrats a majority; if her lead holds, there will be 14 Democrats and 16 Republicans in that chamber.

Meanwhile, Rep. Anthony Kern may be the only Republican casualty in the House. Democrat Judy Schwiebert is ahead of Kern by more than 4,000 votes. Rep. Shawnna Bolick is currently holding the second seat behind Schwiebert, with more than 2,000 votes separating her and Kern.

On Friday, Kern participated in a pro-Trump rally at the Maricopa County Elections Center, where speakers falsely claimed there was evidence of widespread voter fraud.

Schwiebert’s win alone would not have been enough to win the Democrats a majority in the House, but it could have been enough for a clean ¡— and dramatic — 30-30 split.

That scenario is unlikely, though.

Rep. Geraldine Peten remains in third place in the LD4 House race; her Democratic seatmate, House Minority Leader Charlene Fernandez, is leading that race, but Republican challenger Joel John is currently holding on to the second seat ahead of Peten.

Her loss would leave Democrats with 29 members in the House and 31 Republicans — a slim majority that has led to partisan votes, Republican holdouts and frustrated members on both sides.

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