Both Democrats in the Legislative District 18 House race maintained last night’s early lead and have won.
Republican Rep. Jill Norgaard will not return to the Legislature, finishing behind Rep. Mitzi Epstein, who got the most votes, and Jennifer Jermaine. Republican Greg Patterson, a former member of the Arizona Board of Regents who served in the House from 1991-94 finished last.
The money race already signaled a tough if not impossible road ahead for Patterson. He raised a mere $31,000, less than half of what Jermaine reported raising.
Still, Save Our Schools Arizona volunteer Jermaine’s path to the House was never guaranteed.
The district flipped in favor of Democrats in 2016, when Sen. Sean Bowie claimed his seat and Epstein took one of the two House seats. But Republicans put up a fight to maintain what they already had and possibly unseat the incumbent senator. Neither battle was successful for the GOP as Bowie kept his Senate seat.
Jermaine was one of at least three Democratic newcomers who overcame Republican incumbents in the House. Domingo DeGrazia topped Rep. Todd Clodfelter in Legislative District 10, and Aaron Lieberman outdid Rep. Maria Syms in Legislative District 28. Those outcomes narrow the party split in that chamber to 32-28.
And Dems could gain a fourth seat. Rep. Jeff Weninger won his re-election bid in Legislative District 17, but the race for the second seat was too close to call. Weninger’s fellow Republican Nora Ellen was behind Democrat Jennifer Pawlik by 1 p.m. Wednesday, but just about 400 votes separated the two.
LD18 House by the numbers
Jill Norgaard 24 percent
Greg Patterson 22 percent
Mitzi Epstein 28 percent
Jennifer Jermaine 26 percent