Arizona Women Win 42 Legislative, State & Congressional Races

Kyrsten Sinema

Arizona Senator-elect Kyrsten Sinema

Arizona has a history of electing women to public office. In 1932, Arizona elected Isabella Greenway to the US House of Representatives. In 1972, State Senator Sandra Day O’Connor was the first female president of the Arizona Senate. In 1998, Arizona voters elected five women to run the state government— Jane Hull (Governor), Betsy Bayless (Secretary of State), Janet Napolitano (Attorney General), Carol Springer (Treasurer), and Lisa Graham-Keegan (Superintendent of Public Instruction). To this date, Arizona’s Fab Five remain the most number of women elected to state government at the same time. In 2017, the Arizona Legislature had the highest percentage of women (40 percent) of any state Legislature in the Country.

In 2018, Arizona elected its first female US senator and 41 other women to political office. Out of 108 races, women won 39 percent of them this year. After inauguration in January 2019, half of Arizona’s statewide offices (4/8), 27 percent of our Congressional delegation (3/11), and 39 percent of the Arizona Legislature (35/90) will be women.

Most of the woman who won are Democrats but not all. In the Congressional races, US Senate was won by Kyrsten Sinema (D), Ann Kirkpatrick (D) took CD2, and Debby Lesko (R) was re-elected to CD8. On the statewide level, women took: Secretary of State (Katie Hobbs, D), Treasurer (Kimbery Yee, R), Superintendent of Public Instruction (Kathy Hoffman, D) and one of the Arizona Corporation Commission seats (Sandra Kennedy).

In the Arizona Senate, six of the 13 women who won are Democrats. The female senators are: newly elected President of the Senate Karen Fann (LD1, R), Andrea Dalessandro (LD2, D), Sally Ann Gonzales (LD3, D), Lisa Otondo (LD4, D), Sylvia Allen (LD6, R), Jamescita Peshlakai (LD7, D), Victoria Steele (LD9, D), Sine Kerr (LD13 R), Heather Carter (LD15, R), Michelle Ugenti-Rita (LD23, R), Lela Alston (LD24, D), Rebecca Rios (LD27, D), Kate Brophy McGee (LD28, R).

Arizona House Democratic women, 2018

A record number of women were elected to the Arizona House in 2016. The Democrats’ “feisty freshmen” made waves with their outspoken nature. Here are: Reps. Wenona Benally, Mitzi Epstein, Geraldine Peten, Athena Salman, Kelli Butler, me, Isela Blanc, and Kirsten Engel in the front. We don’t always wear red; the above two photo was taken on Red for Ed days. Benally didn’t run for re-election. Everyone else did and won. (Capitol Times photo.)

In the Arizona House 14 of the 22 women are Democrats. All of the Democratic Party’s outspoken “feisty freshmen” from 2016 were re-elected. The female representatives are: Rosanna Gabaldon (LD2, D), Alma Hernandez (LD3, D), newly elected Minority Leader Charlene Fernandez (LD4, D), Geraldine Peten (LD4, D), Regina Cobb (LD5, R), Pamela Powers Hannley (LD9, D), Kirsten Engel (LD10, D), Joanne Osborne (LD13, R), Gail Griffin (LD14, R), Becky Nutt (LD14, R), Nancy Barto (LD15, R), Kelly Townsend (LD16, R), Jennifer Pawlik (LD17, D), Mitzi Epstein (LD18, D), Jennifer Jermaine (LD18, D), Shawnna Bolick (LD20, R), Jennifer Longdon (LD24, D), Michelle Udall (LD25, R), Athena Salman (LD26, D), Isela Blanc  (LD26, D), Kelly Butler (LD28, D), and Raquel Teran (LD30, D).

One legislative district– LD4– will be represented by three women, Otondo, Fernandez and Peten (all Dems). Eight districts– LDs 2, 3, 9, 14, 15, 18, 24, and 26– elected women for two of their three Legislative seats.

On the opposite end of the spectrum, seven legislative districts will be represented only by men. Five of those seven LDs are dominated by Republican men (14/15 white men); the other two male-dominated LDs are controlled by Latino Democrats. It is worth noting that all of these seats are in safe districts. The LDs with 100 percent male representation in the Arizona Legislature are: LD8 (Pratt, Shope, Cook), LD11 (Leach, Finchem, Roberts), LD12 (E. Farnsworth, Petersen, Grantham), LD19 (Contrerras, Expinoza, Sierra), LD21 (Gray, Payne, Rivero), and LD22 (Livingston, Toma, Carroll).

Lest you believe that every woman who ran in the General Election won, there were seven women who ran for Congressional office and lost; one woman who ran for statewide office and lost; 15 women who ran for Arizona Senate and lost; and 16 women who ran for Arizona House and lost (including two incumbents Reps. Jill Norgaard and Maria Syms). Some of these women lost to other women and some lost to men.

With Sinema taking the US Senate seat for the Dems, with a record number of women elected to Congress and so many wins at the state level, 2018 was the Year of the Woman… and the Year of the Blue Wave.

Now, let’s get busy!

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One response to “Arizona Women Win 42 Legislative, State & Congressional Races

  1. What do you think the outcome would have been if the pay were much higher? Would there have been many more male candidates?