Legislative Scramble: Potential Pols in Tucson's Statehouse Districts

An update to an earlier look at how the 2012 legislative races are shaping up as we get new intel about some of our new Tucson-area districts:

The new LD10, which includes much of central and eastern Tucson south of Speedway Boulevard,
is a competitive district where Democrats hold a 3-percentage-point voter-registration advantage.

Former state lawmaker Dave Bradley is looking at the Senate seat, while current LD28 Rep. Bruce Wheeler may be joined in the district by Brandon Patrick, a political strategist who is now working for Tucson City Councilman Paul Cunningham.

“Tucson deserves another voice like Bruce Wheeler and Dave Bradley to reflect Tucson values,” said Patrick, who served in the Afghanistan war before returning to Tucson to help torpedo an ill-considered proposition in Tucson in 2009 that would have required the city to maintain certain levels of police and fire protection, at the expense of everything else in the city budget.

It’s still unknown what state Rep. Ted Vogt will do later this year. Vogt, a conservative Republican whose voting record fit right in with the current hard-right District 30, will now have to court voters who are likely less eager to see school funding reduced and poor people go without health insurance so we can cut corporate taxes. Vogt has indicated that he’d be seeking a House seat in LD10, but there’s a slight chance he could end up in the state Senate, if D30 Sen. Frank Antenori ends up resigning to focus on his congressional campaign.

On the other side of Speedway, in the new LD9, it appears that state Rep. Steve Farley is angling for the Senate seat—unless he ends up running for the congressional seat recently vacated by Gabby Giffords.

If that happens, you might see UA professor Todd Camenisch, who lost a Senate run against Antenori in LD30 in 2010, consider a run on the Democratic ticket in this competitive district where Democrats hold a voter-registration advantage of about 4 percentage points.

On the House side, a Democratic primary battle is shaping up between newcomer Victoria Steele and Mohur Sidhwa and Dustin Cox, who both lost primaries in 2010.

In the downtown area, state Rep. Daniel Patterson has decided to shift gears. Although he was looking at running in the new LD2 that runs from Tucson down to Nogales along Interstate 10, he's now aiming at the new LD3. That sets up a primary race against fellow state Reps. Macario Saldate and Sally Ann Gonzales.