Arizona voters have selected the three GOP candidates running for the Arizona Corporation Commission over their Democratic opponents, meaning the five-person commission that oversees Arizona’s utility industry will be comprised entirely of Republicans.
Republican incumbent Bob Stump and challengers Bob Burns and Susan Bitter Smith will join the other Republicans on the panel, Gary Pierce and Brenda Burns.
Stump, Burns and Bitter Smith won with 17.9 percent, 17.2 percent and 17.1 percent of the vote, respectively. Incumbent Democrats Paul Newman and Sandra Kennedy, and their teammate, Marcia Busching, lost with 15.2 percent, 15 percent and 13.6 percent respectively.
The three Republican candidates ran on a message of cautious movement toward adopting renewable energy, with deference to keeping consumer prices low and stable.
The Democratic candidates, conversely, ran on a message of expanding Arizona’s renewable energy portfolio, particularly with regard to solar energy. The trio named themselves “The Solar Team.”
Republican Bob Stump said the results show that the Republicans presented a better message to voters.
“The Republican team presented a vision of clean energy which is also affordable, whereas our Democratic friends, I believe, slighted the affordable side of the equation. And I suspect that’s why they did not prevail this evening,” he said.
Arizona is required by a 2006 resolution to have 15 percent of the state’s energy portfolio comprised of renewable energy. The Democratic candidates talked about expanding that goal, but the Republicans have all said they want to reach that goal before considering altering it.
Stump said he thinks the new five-Republican commission will mean lower utility rates for Arizonans and a less contentious commission.
“It means protecting our ratepayers to the fullest extent. It means greater civility on the commission. I’m looking forward to the next four years,” he said.