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Arizona House

Arizona House

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Arizona Senate / Arizona House

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Overview

Arizona is a ruby red state that Democrats have long had in their sights as a potential blue state, thanks to changing demographics.

Arizona is currently a Republican trifecta, with Republicans controlling the Governorship and both houses of the state legislature. Democrats have had some success in statewide contests over the years; Bill Clinton won the state in 1996, and Janet Napolitano won the Governor’s race in 2002 and 2006. Also, Republicans only have a four seat margin in the State Senate, controlling the chamber 17 to 13. Republicans control the State House 35 to 25.

This year could be the year Democrats wrest power away from Republicans in the State House, as there are strong pick up opportunities in both chambers that would put Democrats in the majority.

The Opportunity

To win the majority, Democrats need to pick up 3 seats in the State Senate, and 6 seats in the State House. This year, Democrats have the opportunity to win back both chambers.

EveryDistrict’s Legislative District Index (LDI) ranks state legislative districts on a scale from 100 to -100, using statewide elections data. Districts with a score of 100 would vote for statewide Democratic candidates by 100 points (with the Democratic candidate receiving 100% of the vote); districts with a score of -100 would vote for statewide Republican candidates by 100 points (with the Republican candidate receiving 100% of the vote).

EveryDistrict divides winnable districts into three categories: Tier I, Tier II, and Tier III. Tier I districts lean Democratic but are held by a Republican state legislator. Tier II districts lean slightly Republican, with a range of 0 up to -5. Tier III districts lean slightly more Republican, with a range of -5 up to -10. For more information about EveryDistrict’s LDI, please click here.

In the State Senate there is one seat that leans Democratic (Tier I): Senate District 28. Then, there are another three seats in the Tier III category: Senate Districts 6, 8, and 20.

Though Tier III seats tend to be more Republican, they are in play this year due to the dynamics we’re seeing in special elections across the country. Democrat Hiral Tipirneni made it a close race against Republican Debbie Lesko in the special election for Arizona’s 8th congressional district in April 2018. Cook’s PVI ranks the district as an R+13 (meaning the district generally votes for Republicans by 13 points), but Lesko only defeated Tipirneni by 5 points.

In the State House, there are two members per district. There are three Democratic-leaning (Tier I) districts, each with one Republican and one Democratic member: House Districts 10, 18, 28. There are three seats in the Tier III category (the same as the Senate Districts): House Districts 6, 8, and 20.

What’s At Stake

Fair maps are at the heart of why a Democratic majority in the Arizona state legislature is critical. In 2000, voters approved Proposition 106 and amended the state’s Constitution to take redistricting power away from the state legislature, creating the Independent Redistricting Commission (IRC). Since then, the IRC has been successful in its mission; Arizona has been ranked one of the least gerrymandered states. This, of course, has infuriated Republicans who have tried several different ways to re-exert control over redistricting. Their most recent attempt proposed changing the number of members on the Commission (to skew Republican) and changing the rules for how districts are to be drawn, which advocates say would lead to less minority representation.

Arizona is one of many Republican-held states that have refused to enact common sense gun safety measures. In the wake of the Parkland High School shooting, Democrats tried to force a vote on a measure to ban “bump stock” devices. Republicans thwarted that attempt and refused to even hold a hearing on the proposal.

Arizona is one of 13 states with a pre-Roe v. Wade ban. If the Supreme Court overturns Roe v. Wade, Arizona still has laws on the books that would go into effect making abortion illegal.

Candidates

EveryDistrict endorses candidates in competitive districts that are committed to moving their communities forward, have strong connections to their districts, and have a campaign strategy in place to win. In Arizona, EveryDistrict has endorsed: Wade Carlisle (SD 6), Christine Marsh (SD 28), Felicia French (HD 6), Hollace Lyon (HD 11), and Jennifer Jermaine (HD 18).