Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Let the Games Begin

Posted By on Tue, Jun 3, 2008 at 12:44 PM

We’ll know who’s in and who’s out in our upcoming campaign season—barring some sort of legal action—by the end of the day tomorrow.

Candidates have until 5 p.m. to file their nominating petitions with the Arizona Secretary of State.

You can check out the list of who’s filed here.

So far, there's no sign of John Kromko, who has been threatening to run a campaign against Phil Lopes and Olivia Cajero-Bedford in Legislative District 27.

Among the most interesting legislative races in Southern Arizona:

Legislative District 26, which includes Saddlebrooke, Oro Valley and the Catalina Foothills. Although Republicans have a registration advantage, Democrats hold the Senate seat and one of the two House seats after winning upset victories in 2006. Democrat Charlene Pesquiera scored an upset victory of Republican Al Melvin, who had knocked out incumbent Republican Toni Hellon in the GOP primary. A strong Democratic effort in the district also carried Lena Saradnik into one of the House seats. Health difficulties forced Saradnik to step down earlier this year; she was replaced by Nancy Young Wright, a former member of the Amphi School Board.

Melvin is back for a rematch for that Senate seat. He’s already qualified for Clean Elections and received a check for $12,921.

He’ll go up against Rep. Peter Hershberger, who has termed out of the House of Representatives after eight years representing District 26. Hershberger is already getting pounded by Melvin on gun control, abortion, illegal immigration, gay marriage and whether or not he is a “loyal, mainstream Republican.”

Democrats–who are hoping that Melvin wins the primary, because they see him as the weaker candidate in the general election–have found Cheryl Cage to replace Pesquiera, who announced earlier this year that she would not seek re-election. Cage is familiar with LD 26 after running Democrat Lena Saradnik’s successful House campaign in the district in 2006.

In the House, Democratic incumbent Nancy Young Wright is running for the House alongside Democrat Don Jorgenson against Republicans Marilyn Zerull and Trent Humphries. Vic Williams has until tomorrow to file his petition signatures.

Legislative District 29, where Rep. Linda Lopez has her eye on the Senate office being vacated by retiring Sen. Vic Soltero. With an open House seat, five Democrats have already filed their paperwork and more may be on the way:

• Rep. Tom Prezelski, who now holds one of the House seats, was appointed to the seat in 2003, faced no opposition in his first campaign one year later and survived a four-way primary in 2006.

• Physician Matt Heinz, who works at Tucson Medical Center, came in third in a four-way race for a House seat in 2006 in District 28. Heinz has already qualified for $12,921 in Clean Elections funding.

• Environmentalist Daniel Patterson is a former staffer with the Center for Biological Diversity who now works for Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility. Patterson has served a president of the Santa Rita Park Neighborhood Association and has been on the city of Tucson’s Planning Commission. He also pens a local blog.

• Ephraim Cruz is a former U.S. Border Patrol agent whose court battles with the agency have been covered in the Tucson Weekly by Tim Vanderpool.

• Patricia Puig came in fourth in a four-way primary for the LD29 seat two years ago.

The GOP primary in Legislative District 30 will be interesting; more on the races soon.

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