More battles expected between gov., lawmakers
Republican Sen. Tim Bee (with his wife, Grace, and their 15-month-old son, Sterling) is likely to become the Senate president.
The Democratic blue tsunami that rolled across the nation Tuesday did not have enough momentum to sweep over the Arizona Legislature, which will remain strongly Republican next year.
The statehouse in Phoenix will remain a red and conservative bastion that re-elected Democratic Gov. Janet Napolitano will have to deal with to address issues such as the border, health care and education that will continue to demand attention from the state’s elected leaders.
Before the election, Republicans held a slight hope of building on their majority in the Arizona Senate and House of Representatives and perhaps gain the ability to override gubernatorial vetoes of legislation favored by Republicans.
Before the election, Republicans held an 18-12 edge in the Senate and a 39-21 margin in the House. Given current results, some of which could change in tight races, Republicans will lose seven seats in the House yet maintain their numbers in the Senate.
The override of a veto requires a two-thirds vote in both houses.
But the GOP failed to build that irresistible force in the chambers and faces another stormy year with the governor.
Napolitano has vetoed more legislation – 125 bills – than any other governor since Arizona became a state in 1912.
The result: The status quo is expected for the state as a whole and for southern Arizona. One Democratic governor. Two Republican houses of the Legislature. “It will be just like we’ve had it in the past,” Donna Branch-Gilby, chairwoman of the Pima County Democratic Party, said Tuesday night.
“Everything gets concentrated in Maricopa County and Tucson loses out,” she said.
She cited gerrymandering of state legislative districts as a major reason why Democrats did not break the Republican hold on either statehouse Tuesday.
Pima County Republican Party Chairwoman Judi White said she was not surprised that Arizona did not go nearly as strongly for Democrats as did other states.
“Arizona didn’t work out blue because we have a strong Republican base statewide except in Pima County,” White said.
White also saw more of the same – volatility – between the governor and the Legislature.
Southern Arizona should get a boost with the likely election of District 30′s Tim Bee as Senate president.
Bee easily won re-election in his district, which includes portions of Tucson and Green Valley.
Bee said it is important that members of both parties from southern Arizona work together.
“We agree on more issues than we disagree,” he said. “I’m confident we can work together.”
District 27 Democratic Rep. Linda Lopez also won re-election. Lopez is in the running for House leader of the party, another possible plus for southern Arizona.
Moderate Republican Jennifer Burns of Tucson was in a tight fight to retain her District 25 seat against fellow Republican Gail Griffin and Democrat Patricia Fleming. The race was too close to call this morning.
Incumbent Democrat Manny Alvarez won the other House seat.
A Griffin win would represent a shift to a more conservative GOP member, while a Fleming win would give both seats to Democrats.
Democrat Charlene Pesquiera and Republican Al Melvin, newcomers, were in a tight battle for the state Senate seat in District 26. With only 146 votes separating the two this morning, the race rests on ballots yet uncounted.
Melvin surprised experts by beating three-term incumbent Republican Toni Hellon in the GOP primary in September.
Hellon was considered moderate, while Melvin is more aligned with current Senate leadership.
A Pesquiera victory would give Democrats a Senate seat in a traditionally Republican district they did not expect to win.
A Melvin win would give Republican conservatives an additional voice.
Pesquiera: Democrat holds tiny lead over Republican Al Melvin in Senate District 26
Your voices: Election 2006
Your Voices: Election 2006
Tucson voters speak.
Producer: Tucson Citizen
Slide 1 of 15.
Audrey Gamez, 64: "She has done a good job with more money for schools and student vocational education," said Gamez of Gov. Janet Napolitano. "It's important because if you have a trade, you have a head start so you can move on to college if you want to."
Source: XAVIER GALLEGOS/Tucson CitizenSlide 2 of 15.
Scott Darlage, 30: Voted for Democrat Jim Pederson. "I think he's a good moderate Democrat and can work with both the Republicans and the Democrats. He's a good middle of the road candidate. Kyl is extrememly conservative."
Source: XAVIER GALLEGOS/Tucson CitizenSlide 3 of 15.
Lorenzo Cotton, 58: Has concerns about propositions that were "a slant and an assault against Mexicans." Cotton voted against giving private companies use of public land for development: "I don't think that's right."
Source: XAVIER GALLEGOS/Tucson CitizenSlide 4 of 15.
William Munday, 76: "This year I voted across the board Democrat. I never did before. But I just need a change. Everyone in that whole House needs a change."
Source: XAVIER GALLEGOS/Tucson CitizenSlide 5 of 15.
Jerry Esquivel, 45: Voted for the increase of the minimum wage. "We can't live on this - living at $5.15 an hour. If you rent an apartment, you can't buy food. But then if you go to the food stamp office, they say you are making too much money. You have to work two or three jobs."
Source: XAVIER GALLEGOS/Tucson CitizenSlide 6 of 15.
Nick Schneider, 35: "I am fairly annoyed with the current administration. I think Democrats have a good chance of taking over the House but I am not so sure about the Senate."
Source: XAVIER GALLEGOS/Tucson CitizenSlide 7 of 15.
Jeremy Quinones, 26: Voted against Gov. Janet Napolitano. "I just don't like her." He voted for U.S. Sen. Jon Kyl "because my mom told me to. I pretty much voted for all the Republicans."
Source: XAVIER GALLEGOS/Tucson CitizenSlide 8 of 15.
Kate Reeve, 52: Voted for Gabrielle Giffords because, "I am terrified of Randy Graf. I disagree with Giffords' border politics. I believe everybody should have the right to integrate."
Source: XAVIER GALLEGOS/Tucson CitizenSlide 9 of 15.
Jennifer Maloney, 22: A Pima Community College student and retail worker, Maloney smokes half a pack a day but voted for a ban on smoking. "Nobody else wants to smoke with me and I can always smoke in my house."
Source: GARY GAYNOR/Tucson CitizenSlide 10 of 15.
Erik Wright, 21: He is concerned about there not being enough information put out on the propositions. "In my eyes these propositions need to be read deeply. I didn't vote on too many because I wasn't too aware of the issues."
Source: XAVIER GALLEGOS/Tucson CitizenSlide 11 of 15.
Mandy and Donald Butler are promoting a yes vote for Proposition 201 outside the library at 9640 E. Golf Links Rd.
Source: GARY GAYNOR/Tucson CitizenSlide 12 of 15.
Dist. 29 House candidate Bruce Murchison stopped by the library at 9640 E. Golf Links Rd. to find out that 255 people voted there by 1 p.m.
Source: GARY GAYNOR/Tucson CitizenSlide 13 of 15.
Jacqueline Jones, 37: Voted a straight Democratic ticket. The war in Iraq is a big issue for her. "Not that I think we should cut and run." She thinks the war would end more quickly if Democrats control the House.
Source: GARY GAYNOR/Tucson CitizenSlide 14 of 15.
Nancy Maloney, 47: Voted a straight ticket. "It wasn't so much that they are Democrats -- mostly we wanted to send a message to Washington."
Source: GARY GAYNOR/Tucson CitizenSlide 15 of 15.
Dolores Mills, no age given: Proposition 201 was most important for her. "No on gay marriage -- I don't think the government should have anything to say about it."
Source: GARY GAYNOR/Tucson Citizen
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