Congressional-level spending in a state legislative race appears to have paid off for Wendy Rogers, who jumped out to an early lead over longtime lawmaker Sylvia Allen in a northern Arizona GOP primary.
Rogers has 59.5% of the vote so far to incumbent Allen’s 40.5%, and a leading in each of the four counties that make up Legislative District 6.
“We are here watching the results come in at our home in Flagstaff,” Rogers tweeted. “Thank you thank you thank you. Looking good so far.”
The winner will go on to face Democrat Felicia French, a retired U.S. Army colonel who came within a few hundred votes of winning a seat in the state House last year. Republican observers were closely watching the GOP primary, arguing that an Allen win was the only way to keep the seat — and possibly the entire Senate — in Republican hands.
Allen, R-Snowflake, has represented the White Mountain area in the Senate off and on since 2008, when Navajo County supervisors appointed her to fill out the remainder of Sen. Jake Flake’s term after he died from injuries sustained falling off a horse. She returned to her district in 2012 to run for the Navajo County Board of Supervisors, only to again be tapped by the county Republican party for a Senate run after Sen. Chester Crandell died from being thrown off a horse a few weeks before the 2014 primary.
Allen holds an influential post as the chair of the Senate education committee, a pulpit from which she has championed charter schools and decried the teaching of sex education, but also sparked conservative ire by supporting an increase in sales taxes earmarked for education.
Rogers has been on a primary ballot somewhere in Arizona every election for the past decade, running for state Senate or Congress from Tempe in 2010, 2012 and 2014 and then running for Congress in northern Arizona in 2016 and 2018. She has yet to win a general election, but has built a strong national fundraising network, and the $525,000 she gathered for this race far outpaces any other legislative candidates.