Jul 20, 2022 - Politics

Keep an eye on these legislative races in Arizona's primary

Illustration of the Arizona State Capitol with lines radiating from it.
Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

Only five of Arizona's 30 legislative districts are considered competitive. That means most of the seats up for grabs in the state House and Senate will be determined on Aug. 2.

Context: The recent redistricting process rearranged the legislative map and left some members who had previously been in separate districts now fighting each other for their seats.

What we're watching: Former President Donald Trump has endorsed a handful of legislative candidates who are in contested Republican primaries.

Battle over the 2020 election

  • House Speaker Rusty Bowers is termed out and running for the open Senate seat in east Mesa-based Legislative District 10 against former Sen. David Farnsworth.
  • Bowers has taken a strong stand against the false 2020 election fraud claims and testified for the Jan. 6 U.S. House committee about Trump's attempts to pressure him into overturning President Joe Biden's win in Arizona.
  • Farnsworth falsely claims that the election was rigged against Trump and got the former president's endorsement as a result.

Rural Arizona showdown

  • Incumbent Republican Sens. Wendy Rogers and Kelly Townsend will face off in LD7, which stretches from southern Flagstaff down to Pinal County and the edge of the Phoenix metro area in Apache Junction.
  • Trump has endorsed Rogers, who has a history of making inflammatory and offensive statements, and was censured by her Senate colleagues earlier this year.

Trump's endorsements

  • Robert Scantlebury in his race against Sen. Tyler Pace for LD9 in west Mesa.
  • Former Rep. Anthony Kern over Jamie Kelly in LD 27. Kern was among the crowd that stormed the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021.
  • Janae Shamp in the race against Rep. Joanne Osborn and Ryan Eldridge, for the open Senate seat in LD29.

For the Democrats

  • Redistricting pitted three House incumbents – Sarah Liguori, Jennifer Longdon and Amish Shah – against each other in central Phoenix-based LD5, where they also face challengers Aaron Marquez and Brianna Westbrook.
  • In the West Valley, Democratic Reps. Richard Andrade and Diego Espinoza are facing off for the LD22 Senate seat.
  • Termed out Sen. Lupe Contreras and Rep. Lorenzo Sierra are running as part of a slate with Espinoza for LD22 House seats, and face Natacha Chavez and Leezah Sun in the Democratic primary.

Welcome back: 10 legislative candidates, all incumbents, face no opponents in either the primary or general elections, so they're guaranteed to return to the Capitol next year: Sens. Sonny Borrelli (R), Sally Ann Gonzales (D), David Gowan (R), Sine Kerr (R), Warren Petersen (R) and Raquel Terán (D), and Reps. Andres Cano (D), Neal Carter (R), Alma Hernandez (D) and Jacqueline Parker (R).

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