In a Surprise Victory, Alison Jones Elected as New Pima Democratic Chair 156 to 151

Alison Jones, new Chair of PCDP
Alison Jones addresses the precinct committeepeople of Pima County
Alison Jones addresses the precinct committee people of Pima County

In a surprise upset, precinct committee person and Democratic activist Alison Jones won election as the Pima County Democratic Chair, ousting Jo Holt.

Jones got 156 votes and Holt got 151.

A total of 307 of Pima County’s 427 Democratic precinct committeemen arrived at the ENR2 Building on the UA campus for the vote.

“I am ready to make the party more efficient, inclusive and more powerful,” Jones said. “We need to reach out the Arizona Ground Game, Indivisible, AZBlue2020, and organized labor. They are entitled to claim some credit for our election victories, and there are hundreds more who could be and should be in this room.” She is a precinct committee person from LD9.

Marion Chubon, a precinct committee person (PC) in LD10 and founder of the anti-McSally PAC Represent Me Az, nominated  Jones. “She may not have the connections yet, but she will hit the ground running, establishing relations with Arizona Democrats,” she said.

More than 300 precinct committeemen turned out for the Pima County Democratic Party reorganization.
More than 300 precinct committeemen turned out for the Pima County Democratic Party reorganization.

Jones emphasized six goals:

  • Partner with community, labor and community groups to help elect Democrats.
  • Build a bench of candidates and teach them how to win.
  • Establish a more welcoming county headquarters and treating volunteers like royalty.
  • Recruit a total of 1,200 PCs by 2020 (up from 427 today).
  • Establish a party platform. “We need to stand for something. Let’s be a party that people want to belong to, and focus on climate change, sensible gun laws and skyrocketing college tuition costs.

See the article Alison Jones will Include Community Groups as Pima Democrats Chair.

Jones won endorsements from:

  • Pamela Powers Hannley, a Democratic state House member from LD9.
  • Susan Bickel, Precinct 158 Committee Person and State Committee Member, LD 9 Corresponding Secretary, LD 9 PC and Volunteer Development Committee.
  • Connor Welton, Precinct 201 Committee Person.
  • Leila Counts, Tucson Unified School District Board MemberLeila Kottabi Counts, Tucson Unified School District Board Member.
  • Tamar Rala Kreiswirth, Founder The Arizona Ground Game and Precinct 56 Committee Person
  • Richard Gooding, Co-Founder of AZ Blue 2020
  • Marion Chubon, Founder of McSally Take a Stand and Represent Me AZ
  • Gabriella Cázares-Kelly, President, Progressive Democrats of Southern Arizona, Co-founder of Indivisible Tohono, Member of the Tohono O’odham Nation, State Committee Member for LD9, PC, Precinct 134.

The assembled PCs also elected several party officers, including a Millennial:

  • Recording secretary: Connor Welton won a three-way race that included Kim Khoury and Cecelia Aros Hunter. He is age 24 and is a new PC in LD9. “I believe the Democrat party must be the party of anti-white-supremacy. We have to root out racism from financial institutions, academic institution, our legal system, and our immigration enforcement. As Corresponding Secretary, I know I’m qualified in taking notes because I did so in college and high school,” he said.
  • 1st Vice Chair: Luci Messing, who is Chair of the Tanque Verde Valley Democratic Club, and the representative for the Democrats of Greater Tucson to the PCDP Executive Committee. She was elected by acclamation.
  • 2nd Vice Chair: Joel Feinman, the Pima County Public Defender and founder of the Pima Liberator website. His role will be to build the Democratic party’s bench by recruiting and training candidates. He was elected by acclamation.
  • Treasurer: Mary Matiella, who was a Democratic candidate for Tucson’s 2nd Congressional District in the U.S. House. She was elected by acclamation.
  • Corresponding Secretary: Connie DeLarge, who is the Chair of the Pima County African American Caucus, was re-elected by acclamation.


  1. Winning by 5 votes is not a mandate. She has her work cut out for her. It looks more like an even division. My question is not will we support her, but will she acknowledge those who worked hard in the past to build the county party to a point where we took all of the major races and turned them blue in this county with the leadership of Jo Holt. This needs needs to be her starting point. Without compromise, all of the hard work in the past will turn half of the PCs away.

  2. There’s no reason to be negative toward either of these women. They were the only ones to stand up and take a swing at what is going to be a very tough job. We’re going into what will be the most important election cycle of most of our lives. Let’s get to work!

  3. Let’s see what Alison’s TEAM can do. Its not just one person, folks, its volunteers. With all the effervescence of energy on the streets, its time to bring some into the party. GO TEAM ALISON! Oh, and for those of you who were just so behind Jo that you have to clear out your office and go all negative on the PCDP at this time (Mary Ker, others?) please remember that keys to the building, passwords to the website, volunteer lists, projects you were working on, etc., are county party property, not yours. If you really care about 2020, you will pass things along to the next team instead of jettisoning its possibilities for success in order to feed your own negativity.

  4. Thanks to Jo for the time and energy you put into our party! As a former county Chair in a Colorado County about the size of Pima County I know how demanding the job can be. Recruiting candidates was one of the most challenging parts of the job and you did a super job for us at that task.

  5. Jo Holt did a remarkable dedicated job as Dem Chair. She was also always pleasant and reaching out to people from across the “aisle” to encourage the best from people to work together for the greater good of the community. We hope that Alison Jones will invite Jo to give Jones advice and be open to learning from Jo’s experience as chair. Personally, although am registered in another party, was always impressed with Jo’s friendly welcoming nature that made us feel that Jo had the good of everyone in the community at the heart of her decisions and actions. We hope that Alison can also reach across the “aisle” and continue Jo’s cooperative community building.

    • Larry has updated this blog post as he learned that the actual vote difference was 5 votes (not 4), 156 to 151 per Alison, and our reader Ellie above.

  6. So we now have traded a full time chair for a part time one, one moreover who has not one single idea how things have been done or even what has been done. Expect to spend the next year watching her reinvent wheels Jo had half way around the track.

    • Lets hope Jo’s team, unlike Mary Ker in the comment above, can help make the transition smooth. That team never acknowledged all of the help they received in the work of getting out the vote but the voters noticed. Lets hope we don’t form our usual circular firing squad, and actually come together to make a more dynamic PCDP… That means delivering the keys of the office, delivering the password of the party website, etc. You really want to win big in 2020? Pitch in instead of bitchin’….

    • Why the negativity? I have been mostly encouraged by the unity I read in posts after the election.

      Mary, if you are concerned about “re-inventions” will you be volunteering to help the new team? I am. I am submitting my paperwork to become an appointed PC on Wednesday, along with a few of my friends (all millennials!).

    • I noted that one of the points Alison ran on was making sure all volunteers were welcomed at Pima Democratic HQ. As someone who volunteered there for the first time this year, I can assure you this change is needed. The manner in which I was treated as a volunteer was appalling and as a result I never returned and dissuaded two other friends from volunteering.

    • Yes, disappointing for Jo’s supporters (esp. such a close vote) but it seems the PCs of Pima County wanted a change, after 3 years. Let’s see what new Chair Alison can do to improve the PCDP and the election of 2020.

Comments are closed.