New voter registration figures show that although both major parties continue to lose numbers to independent voters, some of the most competitive upcoming elections may favor Republican candidates more than previously thought.
In two highly competitive congressional districts, Republicans widened their registration advantages. And in two legislative races, modest Democratic advantages shrunk, making them more competitive, according the party registration figures released earlier this month by the Arizona Secretary of State’s Office.
On paper, Arizona’s 2nd Congressional District is one of the most competitive in the state. The southern Arizona district, comprised of parts of the metro Tucson area, as well as surrounding rural expanses and a stretch of the Arizona-Mexico border, had a near even split of registered Republicans and Democrats, as of last year.
But the new figures show Republicans have expanded that lead to 2.5 percentage points.
Democratic Rep. Ron Barber, who handily won a special election last month to replace former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, is running in the district. He faces state Rep. Matt Heinz, a fellow Tucson Democrat, in the Democratic primary for the district.
The winner of that primary will go on to face either Mark Koskiniemi or Martha McSally, who is widely considered the frontrunner in the Republican primary.
When Arizona’s redistricting commission drew the metro Phoenix-based 9th Congressional District, the commission’s chairwoman lauded the notion of creating a highly competitive new district, which Arizona was afforded due to population growth and the national reapportionment of congressional districts that happens along with redistricting every 10 years.
According to the figures that were originally used to gauge the district’s partisan breakdown, Republicans held a 3.4 percentage point registration advantage over Democrats. But the latest figures show that lead expanding to 5.4 percentage points.
Republican candidates include Lisa Borowsky, Leah Campos Schandlbauer Travis Grantham, Vernon Parker, Wendy Rogers, Martin Sepulveda and Jeff Thompson. The Democratic candidates are Andrei Cherny, state Sen. David Schapira and former state Sen. Kyrsten Sinema.
Legislative District 9, which includes the northern parts of Tucson and suburban areas to the north of the Tucson city boundaries, had previously shown a 5.4 percentage point advantage for Democrats. The new numbers show that advantage being narrowed to 4 percentage points.
Only one sitting lawmaker, Rep. Steve Farley, is seeking re-election in LD9. The Tucson Democrat is running for the Arizona Senate this year and is unopposed in the primary. Farley will face off with Tyler Mott, the only Republican running for state Senate in the district.
Three Democrats – Dustin Cox, Mohur Sidhwa and Victoria Steele – will compete for two seats in the Arizona House of Representatives. Ethan Orr is the only Republican running for the House in the district and will advance to the general.
Legislative District 10, which is made of central Tucson as well as the suburban areas stretching eastward from there, had previously shown a 5 percentage point advantage for Democrats. The new numbers now show a 3.5 percentage point advantage.
Republican Sen. Frank Antenori is seeking re-election in the district, and is unopposed in the primary. He will face Democrat David Bradley, who is also unopposed in the primary.
The two Republicans running for the Arizona House of Representatives in the district, Todd Clodfelter and incumbent Rep. Ted Vogt, will advance to the general. They will face two of the three Democrats running for the House: Stefanie Mach, Brandon Patrick and incumbent Rep. Bruce Wheeler.