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Catherine Miranda defeats stepdaughter in LD27 Senate race

Sen. Catherine Miranda (left) faces off against her stepdaughter, Maritza Miranda Saena, in the Legislative District 27 Democratic primary.

Sen. Catherine Miranda (left) faces off against her stepdaughter, Maritza Miranda Saena, in the Legislative District 27 Democratic primary.

The family reunion might be a little awkward this year: Incumbent Democratic Sen. Catherine Miranda defeated her stepdaughter, Maritza Miranda Saenz, in the Legislative District 27 Senate Democratic primary.

With most ballots counted, Miranda held 57 percent of the vote, while Miranda Saenz held 43 percent.

Miranda, a former educator, served in the Arizona House of Representatives from 2011 to 2015. Her husband, the late Ben Miranda, served in the House from 2003 to 2010.

Miranda Saenz, who owns a boxing promotion business, is Ben Miranda’s daughter, and she’s touted her familial ties to the area and to the Legislature throughout her campaign.

But despite major spending from independent expenditure committees, Miranda Saenz couldn’t pull off the upset.

She repeatedly noted her democratic values and attempted to paint Miranda as a lawmaker who didn’t stay true to such values, highlighting her endorsement of Gov. Doug Ducey and her anti-abortion votes.

The south Phoenix district’s voters are 48 percent Democratic, making the Democratic primary a crucial part of the election. Thirteen percent of voters in the district are registered Republican, and the remainder are independents or other parties.

Two independent expenditure committees, Arizona Wins and the Democratic Values Project, spent huge on Miranda Saenz. Arizona Wins, a dark money group, spent about $14,000. The Democratic Values Project spent about $53,000 to support her. That group reported just $5,000 in income compared to its $53,000 in expenditures in its latest campaign finance report, and the group only spent on Miranda Saenz’s race.

Miranda raised about $46,000 and spent $26,000, according to the latest campaign finance report. Outside groups spent about $2,000 to support her, with the Arizona Rock Products Association ROCK PAC spending $478 and the Arizona Student Achievement Coalition spending $1,629.

Miranda will face Green Party candidate Angel Torres (a write-in candidate) in the general election. No Republicans are running in the LD27 Senate race.

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