The single-shot Democratic state House candidate in Legislative District 16 lost his lead to both Republican opponents by Wednesday morning.
Incumbent Rep. Teresa Martinez, R-Casa Grande, currently leads the district with 36.66% of the district’s votes as of 10:30 a.m. Her running mate Rob Hudelson received 31.76% and Democratic newcomer Keith Seaman, just trails Hudelson with 31.57%.
Seaman led both Martinez and Hudelson when initial results were posted Tuesday night with more than 35% of votes. The two Republicans caught and surpassed him as more votes were counted through the night.
Martinez is seeking her second term after being appointed to the House in 2021. Seaman currently serves as a Coolidge Unified School District governing board member.
Hudelson, a pastor at Legacy Baptist Church, calls himself “the sworn enemy of socialism” on his Secretary of State information paragraph and is seeking his first term in office. He served on the Coolidge City Council and faced allegations in 2016 that he didn’t reside within city limits, although a Pinal County attorney determined there wasn’t enough evidence to declare a vacancy, the Coolidge Examiner reported.
As of Tuesday, Martinez is overcoming what she called a concerning primary election in which she received the fewest votes among the trio;
and only the other two ran. In the primary, Seaman received 14,973 votes and Hudelson received 14,351 votes. Martinez received the least votes at 13,647.
LD16 isn’t as much of a focus in spending for either party compared to other competitive districts. Martinez raised $82,669 and Hudelson raised $57,606, with the two receiving $51,000 and $55,283 in independent expenditures from outside groups respectively. Seaman raised $93,760 and outside groups spent $138,336 for him.
Independent expenditures against all three candidates were relatively low compared to other candidates in competitive districts. Hudelson only had $5,326 spent against him; Martinez had $13,051 spent against her and Seaman had $17,042 going against his campaign.
The district leans more heavily Republican compared to other competitive districts, according to the Arizona Independent Redistricting Commission.
The district is located near Interstate 10, Casa Grande, Florence and is northwest of Tucson.
Updates: This story has been revised to include updated numbers and quotes.