The general election on November 6th was one to remember, characterized by high voter turnout and contentious races. On a national level, this election proved to be the highest turnout in a midterm since 1966. Arizona alone had nearly 65% of registered voters cast ballots in the election, roughly 20% more than Arizona’s 2014 midterm election turnout.
Republicans prevailed in the Arizona State races maintaining most of the state offices. In the race for Governor, incumbent Doug Ducey (R), a great friend to the health care industry, handily won re-election to his second and final four-year term over challenger David Garcia (D). The Secretary of State race proved to be too close to immediately call. Democratic candidate Katie Hobbs held a narrow lead prior to the final Maricopa County Precincts’ reporting, over her Republican challenger Steve Gaynor, a businessman with no prior elected office experience. Katie Hobbs secured her victory in the race and will hold Arizona’s second-highest office.
Former Senator, Kimberly Yee (R), won comfortably over Mark Maniol (D) in the Arizona State Treasurer race. In the Attorney General race, Mark Brnovich (R), the incumbent Attorney General (and another friend), beat January Contreras (D). The Superintendent of Public Instruction proved to be a trying race, with Kathy Hoffman (D) beating out Frank Riggs (R). The Corporation Commissioner race resulted in split-party winners, Democrat Sandra Kennedy, and Republican Justin Olson will serve side by side for the next four years.
The competition to win the open Senate seat remained contentious until the new victor was announced on November 12th. Known as one of the marquee races nationwide, Martha McSally (R) and Kyrsten Sinema (D) both expended political and financial capitol until a victor was announced. It took nearly a week to tabulate the results of the Senate race, with Sinema winning by a narrow margin. She will be Arizona’s first democratic U.S. senator since 1976. This midterm election also brought a historical first for Arizona: Kyrsten Sinema being the first female Senator to represent Arizona.
Of the nine U.S. House seats in Arizona, seven incumbents were seeking re-election and two seats were being vacated; one in CD 2 and the other in CD 9. In southern AZ, former Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick (D) took the seat in CD 2, while former Mayor Greg Stanton (D) won the seat easily in CD 9 (metro Phoenix). The incumbents in the AZ delegation held the remaining seven seats, making for a split of five Democrats to four Republicans. By gaining the CD 2 seat, Arizona helped solidify a democratic majority in the Congressional House of Representatives. Here are the representatives for the next two years:
CD 1 – Tom O’Halleran
CD 2 – Ann Kirkpatrick
CD 3 – Raul Grijalva
CD 4 – Paul Gosar
CD 5 – Andy Biggs
CD 6 – David Schweikert
CD 7 – Ruben Gallego
CD 8 – Debbie Lesko
CD 9 – Greg Stanton
Control of the Arizona Legislature will remain, barely, in the hands of the Republicans. In the Senate, 14 of Arizona’s 30 newly-elected Senators will be new to the upper chamber, although most of the freshmen will have served in the Arizona House. The Senate remained the same with 17 Republicans and 13 Democrats.
Twenty members of the 60-member House will be newly elected, with five members moving down from the Senate. Democrats gained four seats in the House, narrowing the GOP margin to 31-29.
- Senate Republicans elected Karen Fann (LD 1) as President, Rick Gray (LD 21) as Majority Leader, and Sonny Borrelli (LD 5) as Majority Whip.
- Senate Democrats elected David Bradley (LD 10) as Minority Leader, Lupe Contreras (LD 19) as Assistant Minority Leader, and Jamescita Peshlakai (LD 7) and Lisa Otondo (LD 4) as Minority Co-Whips.
- In turn, the House Republicans elected Rusty Bowers (LD 25) as Speaker, Warren Petersen (LD 12) as Majority Leader, Becky Nutt (LD 14) as Majority Whip.
- House Democrats elected Charlene Fernandez (LD 4) as Minority Leader, Dr. Randy Friese (LD 9) again as Assistant Minority Leader and Reginald Bolding (LD 27) and Athena Salman (LD 26) as Minority Co-Whips.
There were five ballot propositions up for consideration this election. Proposition 127, which would have increased the state’s renewable portfolio standards to 50% in 2030, was defeated by a significant margin. Another ballot initiative that failed to gain traction was Proposition 305, a ballot measure requiring for a popular vote for SB 1431. This proposition would have expanded the state’s voucher program for charter and private schools. The ballot measure was defeated, meaning SB 1431 will not become effective.
Of the measures passed, Proposition 126 is proving to be positive for healthcare providers. This constitutional measure will prohibit Arizona’s state and local governments from enacting new taxes or increasing tax rates on services (including health care services) performed in the state. Passing by about three points is Proposition 125; an amendment to the Arizona Constitution that permits the state to adjust certain benefits in the public pension plans for corrections officers and elected officials to help alleviate underfunding problems. The final proposition that passed, Proposition 306, will prohibit publicly funded candidates from transferring any campaign funds to a political party or private tax-exempt organization that attempts to influence elections. This proposition also subjects the Election Commission’s rulemaking procedures to regulatory oversight through the Governor’s Regulatory Review Commission.