The Democrats won’t have ousted lawmaker Doug Quelland to kick around in the Legislative District 10 House race in November.
Republicans considered Quelland, who ran with public funding after being expelled from office for violating Clean Elections laws, to be a weak candidate in a district that has seen a Democratic surge in recent years.
With all precincts reporting and early ballots counted, Quelland was a distant third to the team of Jim Weiers and Kimberly Yee, who will now take on Democrats Jackie Thrasher and Aaron Jahneke.
“Our team is feeling great,” Yee said. “I think it’s a great victory. The voters of District 10 came out and declared they are ready for leadership they can count on.”
Thrasher has been a contender in two of the four elections she has competed and a winner in 2006, sending Quelland to sit out a term until he regained it in 2008 by a slim margin.
In 2008, Democratic-funded independent expenditure campaigns spent more than $70,000 to aid Thrasher and Lamont Lovejoy, also a Democrat. Republicans, meanwhile, benefited from about $23,000 in independent spending.
Part of the Weiers and Yee campaign strategy was to highlight Quelland’s ouster.
Quelland ran with public funding this year after the Clean Elections Commission kicked him out of office for overspending his 2008 campaign funds.
Weiers’ and Yee’s political consultant, Constantine Querard, said that if they didn’t bring up Quelland’s problems with voters, then the Democrats surely would have.
The fourth candidate, Bill Adams, is a distant fourth place.
The district, which covers parts of Phoenix and Glendale between Northern and Bell, 51st Avenue and 16th Street, has a nearly three-way split among voters registered as Republicans, Democrats and others, including independents.
The GOP still holds a slight edge with 34.5 percent of the district’s registered voters, but the number has steadily declined from about 41 percent in 2002.
Thrasher became the first Democrat to take a seat in the district, beating Quelland and coming within 358 votes of Weiers in 2006.
Quelland also had no support from county Republicans, who asked him not to run again, and he carried no endorsements. Weiers also ended a political partnership with Quelland that went back three elections.
The Democratic ticket may have an education slant to its campaign since Thrasher is a teacher and Jahneke sits on the Washington Elementary School District governing board.
Weiers carries significant name recognition and much experience, running for his fourth consecutive term in the House after serving one term as a senator. Before that, he served eight years in the House. During those years in the House, he served as speaker for four years.
Yee, who was the communications director for the State Treasurer’s Office before being appointed to take over Quelland’s seat in the interim, also served in California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s administration and California Gov. Pete Wilson’s office.
Yee said she wants to conduct a top to bottom review of the budget to find waste and non-essential spending and put a ceiling on spending.