Democratic Rep. Bruce Wheeler and political novice Democrat Stephanie Mach pushed Republican Rep. Ted Vogt out of political office – a major victory for Democrats in Tucson’s Legislative District 10.
Wheeler, who served on the Tucson City Council and in the state House from 1975 – 1977, came in first place in the race for the two seats, with 26.9 percent of the vote. Political newcomer Stephanie Mach, who owns a consulting firm for nonprofits, landed the second seat with 25.4 percent of the vote.
With more than 95 percent of the precincts reporting, Vogt, a Tucson Republican who was first appointed to the office in 2010 and won an election later that year, was losing.
Vogt had 24.5 percent of the votes in the district, which stretches from midtown Tucson to the east side of town and has a Democratic voter registration advantage of 3.4 percentage points.
Republican district president Todd Clodfelter trailed the rest, with 23 percent of the vote.
“It’s going to be a lot better (at the Legislature),” said Wheeler. “It’s going to be not as extreme . . . and we’ll have a say in what gets legislated.”
Democrats said Vogt was too conservative for the district. They pointed to his voting record and ties to Sen. Frank Antenori as proof that he wasn’t a good fit. And Wheeler said Tuesday’s results show the people agreed.
“You know I’ve always said Ted Vogt is a really great person, but that’s the person, the personality,” he said. “And his politics are unfortunately as bad as Frank Antenori’s and this district is not going to tolerate it.”
Vogt had the fundraising advantage, pulling in more than $67,000 as of the most recent campaign finance reports. Wheeler raised more than $42,000, while Mach raised almost $63,000, including the $34,000 she loaned her committee. Clodfelter received almost $40,000 in Clean Elections funds.
The Republican House Victory Fund independent expenditure committee also pumped a significant amount of money into the race, spending almost $28,000 against the two Democrats and another $21,000 to support Vogt.
The two Democrats were boosted by $41,000 in independent expenditure committee spending, which went to both supporting them and opposing Vogt.