Arizona is the Super-Battleground Epicenter of the 2024 Election. And That’s Great News!

There are very few places where the battle for control of the Presidency, the U.S. Congress, and for control of a state legislature overlap more tightly than in Tucson’s northern suburbs and exurbs. That makes the jurisdictions in and around the Southern Arizona region, such as Arizona’s 6th Congressional District (CD6), and the 16th and 17th State Legislative Districts (LD16 and LD17), which are some of the most contested ground in the entire state, and indeed, the entire nation (despite all these districts having been gerrymandered to make them safer for Republicans in Ducey’s rigging of the IRC process this decade which sought to preserve the GOP’s fading electoral power in AZ – one of his most nefarious legacies).

Winning solidly in Pima County, and pulling nearly even in Maricopa, have been vital to Democratic victories in Arizona’s recent statewide contests, and it is no certainly no different this year. Political power and money is flowing into the state, and Southern Arizona in particular, at pace I’ve never seen before.

Rep Ruben Gallego‘s statewide bid to bring one of Arizona’s U.S. Senate seats back into reliable Democratic control will hinge on racking up a large lead in the Southern Arizona counties of Pima and Santa Cruz – as will Joe Biden’s and Kamala Harris re-elect.

Luckily, following Kyrsten Sinema‘s narcissistic political self-immolation and defection from the party, she has ridden off into the sunset on her high horse, prudently leaving the field before being stomped into it, and greatly clarifying the lines of battle between Ruben and the eventual GOP nominee (probably #LyingLoserLake, but Sheriff Mark Lamb could surprise us all, I suppose). Let us recall that Sinema is flouncing off with an $11 million war chest, and where that treasure might wind up in the coming year will be an interesting story. It seems… wildly unlikely… that it would wind up helping to fund Gallego’s crusade, so where might that cash wind up?

Freshman Rep. Juan Ciscomani (#CiscoMAGA) is running for reelection in CD6, an area that Biden would have narrowly won in 2020 as currently drawn, and that former Arizona State Legislator and law professor Kirsten Engel came within about 5K votes of winning in the mid-term election of 2022. With both a Presidential election and the Arizona Abortion Access Initiative on the ballot providing a Blue Wave for her to ride, instead of the rather flaccid ‘Red Wave’ pushing her out to sea, freshman Ciscomani will be facing the political fight of his life to hang (ten?) onto his seat. Engel’s successful storming of the beaches of CD6 would contribute greatly to both Gallego’s and Biden’s surfing to victory. Ok, I’ll stop it now…

But the synergies don’t stop there. LDs 16 and 17, positioned largely in Pima, and swiftly-growing Pinal Counties, will help determine control of the Arizona House and Senate. Democrats Gov. Katie Hobbs and Sec. State Adrian Fontes both carried the 17th District when they won in 2022, and the state legislative committee (The ADLCC, led by Souther Arizona’s State Sen. Priya Sundareshan) is making it a top target this year. The party needs to flip just two seats in the state House and two in the Senate to win a trifecta (as it’s called when one party controls the governorship and both chambers of the legislature).

Kevin Volk, a local housing developer who’s running for State House in LD17 as a Democrat in a single shot bid to flip one of those GOP-held State House seats, started knocking on doors in January – and the general is still 7 months away. “Arizona politically seems like the belle of the ball for the first time,” said Volk, referring to the competitive races at the state and federal levels. “And that’s translated to a lot of on-the-ground enthusiasm.”

After a few stumbles finding a candidate, Democrats recruited local business founder and CEO John McLane to contest the LD17 Senate seat. Depending on the outcome of the GOP primary, McLane could be facing one the most polarizing and divisive political figures in the State – Justine Wadsack, who I not-so-affectionately refer to as #JustMeanWadsack – or slightly less controversial, but just as mean, former State Senator Vince Leach, whom -in perhaps the best banana peel moment thus far this decade in Arizona politics – the district was crafted to protect, but who wound up getting narrowly defeated by the decidedly more fruity Wadsack.

In the slightly more Republican-leaning LD16, which embraces much of Pinal County, State Rep. Keith Seaman will be seeking to hold on to his single-shotted seat – an absolute must for Democrats this year. Challenging for control of the district’s State Senate seat is his daughter and first-time candidate Stacey Seaman. We’ll see if any resulting built in name recognition is of assistance in her race.

Perhaps I at some point soon I will talk about the vulnerability of David Schweikert in CD1, the possible peril of even deeply entrenched MAGA politicians this cycle, the battle in LD 4 and other swing districts around the state, and the only other statewide race on the ballot this year, the Arizona Corporation Commission (for which we have a full slate of Democratic candidates!), but the point is established, I think: local races in Arizona will have outsized effects on the outcome of national affairs this year. As a result of all these synergies between the statewide campaigns and this region’s overlapping local jurisdictions, we need to make sure we are making correspondingly major investments up and down the ballot in Southern Arizona.

But just money only goes so far; the enthusiasm and hard work of activists and volunteers in powering an epic ground game focused on persuasion and turnout will make the decisive contribution to the outcome of all these key races. Politics is, after all the blather and money, really just about talking to people face to face: nothing else is even close to as effective as a real conversation about what matters most to an individual voter.

So, my droogs, when the anxiety of another Trump term leaps on your back in the night and steals your sleep, beat the monster off with some productive work. Write post cards; write checks to these down-ballot candidates; participate in canvasses and phone banks, or just really sincerely talk to your friends, family, co-workers, and any one who will stand still long enough to listen, about how important you think this election is, and why. Scare the hell out of them so that their anxiety monsters will put them to work, too.

The goal of keeping our 2020 and 2022 gains, gaining a Federal Trifecta, and achieving an Arizona Quad-fecta (the ACC is the 4th branch!) are all within reach… if you want it bad enough.

Get to work! And bury your anxiety monster in the backyard.


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5 thoughts on “Arizona is the Super-Battleground Epicenter of the 2024 Election. And That’s Great News!”

  1. Is Trump beating Biden in all eight Arizona polls in March cited by 538 also good news?

    • Oh no! Not the same 538 that said Hillary Clinton was a sure thing in 2016!

      Oh my! They are never wrong!

      Oh well, this is the part where John Who Lives On the Taxpayer Dime Kavanagh stops by, makes a spurious or otherwise useless comment, and then when confronted with reality and facts or his own words he runs away and hides like a yellow belly coward. 🙂

      JGCK never responded to questions in just the last week, like….

      What about convicted rapist Donald J Trump not attending any GOP debates, JGCK? Does that mean he’s got dementia? Because that’s what you said.

      What is your stock tip for $DJT? Do you recommend it as a buy? Over weight? Buy and hold?

      You don’t give us reasons to vote for your party, you don’t answer questions about comments you post, so tell me, what good are you?

      I think you’re just afraid to reply to me and some others here because you know you’re outmatched. Not because any of us are super smart, because you’re super not smart.

      RaicesTexas.org – Free or low cost legal help for immigrants, you know, immigrants who want to come here and be of use, unlike this creepy America and Democracy and Capitalism hating politician from New Jersey who spends his time collecting government checks and trolling the webs.

      • “Oh well, this is the part where John Who Lives On the Taxpayer Dime Kavanagh stops by, makes a spurious or otherwise useless comment, and then when confronted with reality and facts or his own words he runs away and hides like a yellow belly coward. 🙂”

        The immortal Winston Legthigh summed up our little Johnny Boy perfectly:

        “Well your teeth are clean
        And your mind is capped
        You leave your smell
        Like and alley cat!”

  2. Calling me a droog makes me want egg-y weggs while cranking some Ludwig Von, but I always identified more as one of The Warrior’s, just trying to get home.

    After you remind everyone to vote and donate to the local pols you support, think about finding someone like Marc Elias’s Democracy Docket team and/or some of the local legal folks we’ll need to fend off confessed liars like KKKari LaKKKe and the Arizona FaKKK elector bunch.

    Maybe one of the fine writers here can give us some guidance on that.

    I’d feel a lot better about everything, and I mean everything, if Biden had at least tried to pack SCOTUS, and made a run at reforming the electoral college.

    Because the MAGAts are already planning to send any losses to KKKrying KKKavanagh, Billionaire Pant Leg Humper Clarence Thomas, and Amy Coney Been a Handmaid in a Cult and Liked It Barrett.

    Planning for emergencies makes it easier to bury the Anxiety Monster.

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