AZ Democratic Chair: How We’ll Win in 2024

Following are the remarks by Arizona Democratic Party Chair Yolanda Bejarano, speaking at the LD18 Democrats‘ meeting on March 26, 2024.

I think we can all agree that the future of our state and our country is in jeopardy.

Longtime union organizer Yolanda Bejarano was elected in 2023 as Chair of the Arizona Democratic Party.

We’re seeing election denialism, extremism, and discrimination being normalized by the Republican Party on a daily basis. It’s wrong. It’s frankly disgusting, and we must organize around it.

Trump puppets

I know politicians and people like to say this is the most important election in our history. But that may very well be the case for Arizona. The path to the White House runs through Arizona. President Biden does not win reelection unless he wins Arizona. The path to a US Senate majority runs through Arizona. We also have the opportunity to put real civil servants in the US House to represent Congressional District Six and Congressional District One.

We also have a clear path to victory to flip the Arizona legislature, and we can elect Democrats to the Corporation Commission — people who will actually fight for Arizona’s working families. But these are all incredibly competitive races, and we at the Arizona Democratic Party are focused on reminding voters of what exactly is at stake here of the contrast between Republicans and Democrats.

Donald Trump is willing to incite an insurrection if he doesn’t win, and he will drag our country backward if he does. And Kari Lake will help enact a national abortion ban, and she’ll be right next to Donald Trump, spreading lies and conspiracy theories.

Juan Ciscomani (R-CD6) and David Schweikert (R-CD1) will continue to be Trump’s puppets and play politics with the issues that Arizonans care most about. And Shawnna Bolic (AZ Sen. R-LD2) and (LD17 Republicans) Justine Wadsack, Rachel Jones, and Cory McGarr will all continue to peddle MAGA extremism, lying about elections, calling immigrants rapists and criminals, and banning abortion. These are all races that Democrats were competitive in this last cycle.

Since 2020, each of these Republican candidates has demonstrated exactly why they are toxic for Arizona’s future. And I’m incredibly confident that we can win the state House and state Senate.

Strong Democratic candidates include state LD17 Senate candidate John McLean, who has been in the district for more than 30 years and has brought hundreds of jobs to our state with his business experience. Candidates like Kevin Volk, running for LD17 House, are well-known business owners and education advocates. We also need to protect Keith Seaman in LD16, who won by just 600 votes last cycle in the district where many statewide Democrats lost.

Make the Corporation Commission work

And we can actually make the Corporation Commission work for our families with Democratic candidates like:

  • Joshua Polachek, a Foreign Service officer who fought for Arizona’s best interest for over 20 years.
  • Ylenia Aguilar, a Clean Elections candidate at the front lines of water issues facing Arizona.
  • Arizona native and aerospace engineer Jonathon Hill, whose technical background would be an asset to all of us on the Commission.

Flipping the Corporation Commission

The three Democratic candidates just had an online town hall, like a virtual town hall. And they’re fantastic candidates. They’re phenomenal. Each of them offers a different perspective. They have different backgrounds, but they are so smart.

I was so floored by just what they can offer Arizonans, whether it’s making sure that we’re thinking long-term about clean energy or keeping rates from going up all the time.

We’re going to have to help folks understand what the Corporation Commission actually is. I think most people don’t know what it does. They don’t see how it affects their daily lives. We’re sure that people understand that voting for our Democrats will help make the lives of their children better. What the Republicans on the Corporation Commission want to do right now is turn Arizona into Texas, with the rolling blackouts, privatizing everything, and not having any regulations.

So, each of these candidates needs your help, whether it be financial support or knocking on doors to get out the vote as we get closer to election day.

US House and Senate majorities

It’s really about having those conversations with Arizonans across the entire state, but in particular, focusing on districts that we can flip. In Congressional District Six, we lost by about 5,000 votes. In Congressional District One (northeastern Maricopa County), we lost by about 3,000 votes.

These are tiny margins. Congressional District Six, we have a fantastic candidate in Kirsten Engel. Then we have Juan Ciscomani (R-CD6), who just endorsed Donald Trump. Juan Ciscomani voted against one of the strongest proposed border bills. He voted against that and then, a few days later, went to the border to take a picture.

So he’s not a serious person. They don’t want solutions. Donald Trump told them not to vote in favor of this because it was not going to help their election. They want to continue to weaponize the border and want to weaponize immigration and demonize people.

Border security

We do have a problem at the border. We need to have border security. We also need to treat people humanely, and Congress needs to act on a solution, but Republicans don’t want that.

David Schweikert in CD1 is the subject of many ethics investigations. He also voted to overturn the election results. District 1 will reject him.

I feel confident that District 6 and District 1 will flip to Democratic candidates. It’s about doing the work, talking to people at their doors, talking to them about the stark contrast between what our candidates stand for, what our values are, and what these Republican MAGA elected officials offer.

Republicans have achieved nothing

What have Republicans done for Arizona? They just offer tax cuts for the rich; that’s what I’ve seen them offer. I have not seen anything else. They have not lowered prescription drug prices. They have not brought jobs back from other countries, and they’re not doing anything to help Arizona. And so I think it’s going to be a tough fight, but we’re going to do it.

And I think most people are sick and tired. I do believe the spell has been broken for a lot of people with Trump, especially with all the convictions and all the legal trouble he’s in. I think people are starting to realize that any money they give to the Republican Party is going to go to pay Trump’s legal bills.

There is a path forward, and it’s going to take a lot of organizing, a lot of one-on-one conversations, and really trying to meet people where they’re at.

For legislative candidates, the ADLCC (Arizona Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee) offers candidate services. They offer training. Really, it’s like anything that a candidate needs. We’ll try to get them or direct them to where they need to go.

DNC heavily invested

The DNC (Democratic National Committee) has already invested pretty heavily in Arizona. We were able to open up two field offices, one in Maryvale and one in more central Phoenix.

The Democratic National Convention will be in Chicago on Aug 19-22.

And there will be more offices open, but this is DNC funding for a Latino organizing project. And it’s a relational organizing project. It’s this idea that people will answer your call, your text or an email. They’ll answer it more than if it’s coming from somebody that they know or that they trust we share.

The DNC is really heavily invested. Our executive director, Morgan Dick and I are in constant communication with the DNC when something’s coming down the pipeline or if there’s something that hits the news. We’re all constantly working together to make sure that we are aligned in our messaging.

We’re working really closely with the DNC. They know that President Biden needs to win Arizona to be reelected. We are a full battleground state.

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1 thought on “AZ Democratic Chair: How We’ll Win in 2024”

  1. This is the first time in years that the state Dems have actively pushed the ACC candidates. I’m so glad to see that. Leading from the front the AZ State Dem party will lead us to wins. Now we have to walk the walk.
    Are they going to get ACC lit down here in Tucson so we have it to distribute?
    I think I read it correctly that only one candidate is running clean. I think that is good because it is difficult to win a state wide race running clean. That’s my opinion only. Convince me I’m wrong.

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