AH, THE JOYS of being a state legislator: the long drives up to the Capitol, a paycheck worth $15,000 a year, endless abuse in the press and the chance to navigate the complex maze of quasi-legal mumbo-jumbo that is the legislative process. Plus, you've get to deal face-to-face with gun nuts who are plotting revolution against the feds--and that's just in the majority caucus.

Still, all this doesn't deter candidates from running for office. This year, there are contested primaries in nearly every southern Arizona legislative district. To help prepare you for the September 10 primary election, we've assembled this easy-to-use guide. Don't worry if it seems somewhat light; more thorough coverage of individual races is coming in the next few weeks. Be sure to keep an eye out for it.

And don't forget: The last day to register to vote in the primary is August 12.

Although we've concentrated on the primary races this week, here are a few things to keep in mind about the general election:

In Districts 9 and 12, the Democrats were unable to field candidates for the Senate, so Republican incumbents Keith Bee and Ann Day will be able to skate to re-election. Likewise, in heavily Democratic District 10, the Republicans couldn't find anyone to run against Democratic Sen. Victor Soltero, who can also take a break from campaigning.

Sen. Patti Noland's retirement in District 13 has Democrat George Cunningham, who now serves in the House, running against Republican Dave Turner.

In District 14, incumbent Sen. Ruth Solomon will face Republican Jim Kisner. The district's House members, Marion Pickens and Hershella Horton, face challenges from Republicans Sharon Collins and Chuck Josephson.

An open seat on the Arizona Corporation Commission, the only statewide race this year, will pit Democrat Barbara Sherman against Republican Jim Irvin.

District 9
District 10
District 11
District 12
District 13

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