This Friday, 1/18, at 10 a.m., the Pima County Board of Supervisors will meet to select the new State Representative for LD 26 to replace Lena Saradnik, who recently resigned for health reasons. By Monday a new Representative will be driving up to Phoenix to join the budget battle.

The elected LD 26 PCs tonight selected the slate of three nominees from which the Board will select that new Representative. The PCs preference, and that of Lena Saradnik, couldn’t have been any more clear: they want Don Jorgenson as their new Representative.


Don won his nomination on the first round with 62 votes, a total
which would have required a good number of single-shot ballots to
achieve. Lena herself made Don’s nomination and made it unambiguously
clear that he is her choice to fill the position, though she also endorsed Cheryl Cage and Nancy Wright to be on the slate of three candidates. Jeff Latas seconded Don’s nomination.

Lena was quite firm that as a life-long feminist, she did not want
gender to be dispositive in who is selected to replace her, but rather
she wants the person best able to do the work, win re-election and help
capture more seats in LD 26 for Democrats. She thinks that person in
Don, and the PCs of LD 26 seem to strongly agree with her. She did
insist that if Don were selected, his running mate must be a strong
woman candidate, which obviously means either Cheryl or Nancy.

Nancy Young Wright was also selected on the first ballot with
49 votes. Nancy probably has the most track-record and history with the
current Board of Supervisors. She knows them, has dealt with them and
worked with them in the past, whereas the other candidates are largely
unknown to the Board, which could either be an advantage or a
disadvantage for Nancy when the Supervisors vote. Having met Nancy, I
would guess it to be an advantage, but knowing that she is a
citizen-politician with little tolerance for political corruption and
peculation, I suspect she may also have stepped on more than one set of
toes in the past.

Cheryl Cage was nearly elected on the first ballot with 36
votes, but it was not quite enough for the absolute majority needed.
The other nominees received relatively few votes; Rolande Diane Baker
got 6 votes, Tom Cuevas (who used part of his 5 minute address to
endorse Don) got 10 votes, and Fred Koch got 1 vote (which was not
himself, as he did not have a vote) and was eliminated for the second
round. Cheryl garnered 47 votes in the second round to capture the
third nomination.

Now the choice is in the hands of the Pima County Supervisors. There
are no legal guidelines as to how they make their selection. They can
vote for any of these three candidates for whatever reason might strike
them. I think a significant factor will surely be Lena Saradnik’s
lobbying on behalf of Don Jorgenson. If she can sway all three
Democrats to vote as she asks, then Don is certain to be selected.

But both Sharon Bronson and Chairman Elias are thought by some to be
concerned about the gender of the selectee. Most elected PCs in LD 26
and Lena herself don’t seem to be as concerned about replacing a woman
with a woman, but the fact remains that there are some in the
Democratic Party who might be apt to criticize a decision to do
otherwise. Will that potential criticism affect the vote of any members
of the Board?

If the Democrats are unable to remain unified on a selectee,
possibly due to differences on the issue of gender, that could open the
door to the decisive votes being cast by Republicans Ray Carroll or Ann

I expect a lot of lobbying of the Board members by the PCs of LD 26
over the next few days. What they will hear overwhelmingly is that Don
Jorgenson is the first choice of the Democratic Party in LD 26. They
aren’t obligated to listen, however, and so it remains unclear who will
be driving up I-10 on Monday.