Early voting poll results show Sen. Sean Bowie defending his Senate seat against his old rival, Republican Frank Schmuck.
A Chandler Democrat, Bowie last beat Schmuck in 2016, when the two ran head-to-head for the open Senate seat in Legislative District 18. Now Bowie, the incumbent, is leading Schmuck again on election night.
Bowie spent the last two years in office carving a place in the Senate as a moderate Democrat, knowing that in a competitive swing district like LD18, which spans parts of Phoenix, Chandler, Tempe and Mesa, a bipartisan streak is a necessity. A voting analysis, conducted by the Arizona Capitol Times and the Arizona Center for Investigative Reporting, found that Bowie voted alike with Republican senators more than any other Democratic lawmaker in 2017.
The vote that perhaps best demonstrated Bowie’s willingness to buck party trends was his yes vote on Gov. Doug Ducey’s budget plan to give Arizona teachers a 20 percent raise over three years. Bowie was one of a handful of Democrats who cast votes in favor of the proposal, avoiding a potential attack from Schmuck on the campaign trail.
While Bowie touted his votes for public school funding, he attacked Schmuck, a Tempe Air Force veteran, for a position Schmuck took in 2016: A proposal to phase out the state’s income tax.
Bowie labeled Schmuck’s prior support of the plan as untenable given the need for even more funding for K-12 schools.
LD18 Senate by the numbers
Frank Schmuck 44.1 percent
Sean Bowie 55.9 percent