Full Disclosure: This writer is a PC for LD 18.
In a post-election legislative district monthly meeting with Felicia Rotellini, the chair of the Arizona Democratic Party, present, a jubilant crowd filled the LD 18 Democratic office in Tempe as they celebrated the victory of 92 percent of the district’s Democratic candidates including the reelection of State Senator Sean Bowie, State Representative Mitzi Epstein, and the election of State Representative Jennifer Jermaine.
Arizona Legislative District 18 serves residents in Tempe, Mesa, Chandler, and Phoenix-Ahwatukee Foothills. It has been on a shift from red to blue for the last three years.
In 2016, Mitzi Epstein and Sean Bowie broke the red wall to assume the positions they were re-elected to on November 6. This year, fueled by an increase in voter enthusiasm and activism along with an extensive get out the vote effort that focused on neighborhood canvassing and phone banking, the district became predominantly blue with the election of Jennifer Jermaine to the seat currently held by Republican Jill Norgaard and other first time Democratic winners like Judge Sharron Sauls, Constables Karyn Lathan and Kent Rini, Kyrene School Board Member Kevin Walsh, and Tempe High School Board Members Andres Barraza and Brian Garcia.
Speaker after speaker complimented the combined team efforts of the LD 18 staff and volunteers led by LD 18 Chair Dr. Janie Hydrick and the ADLCC (Arizona Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee) group led by Philip Wewiora and Kaylyn Adams for their efforts that led to victory in the elections. Some of the candidates enthusiastically spoke about pursuing progressive programs like restoring education funding (a committee Representative Epstein wants to help lead) and safeguarding the rights of all citizens. Democratic Chair Rotellini said that all the LDs in the state would learn from the electoral model LD18 built this year so they can improve their political performance in 2020.
The future of the Democratic Party looks brighter in Arizona as the state becomes purple.
- Democrats have won their first statewide offices in at least 12 years. Kyrsten Sinema has become the first woman elected Senator in Arizona’s history.
- Kathy Hoffman will become the Superintendent of Public Instruction.
- Katie Hobbs may become the Secretary of State and Sandra Kennedy looks likely to rejoin the Arizona Corporation Commission.
- The party, led by the efforts of LD 18, has also gained seats in the Arizona State House, various school boards, and other local offices.
- Other Legislative Districts like 28 and 17 are on the verge of shifting to all blue.
By following the electoral model developed by LD18, the Arizona political landscape will become bluer sooner rather than later.