Incumbent Sen. T.J. Shope gains major lead over Kerby

Incumbent Sen. T.J. Shope gains major lead over Kerby

Kerby, Shope, Senate, Legislative District 16, election, ballots, early results
Incumbent Sen. T.J. Shope, R-Coolidge, on right, on Wednesday gained a huge lead over his Democratic challenger Taylor Kerby, on left, in the Legislative District 16 Senate race.

On Wednesday morning, incumbent Sen. T.J. Shope, R-Coolidge, gained a significant lead over his Democrat challenger Taylor Kerby in the Legislative District 16 Senate race.

As of 10:18 a.m. on Wednesday, Shope was ahead with 56.6% of the vote. Kerby had 43.4% of the vote.

“I’m feeling pretty good about where I’m at,” Shope said on Tuesday night. He said he expects things to shift in his favor. “I feel good about myself,” he said. 

Kerby is a political newcomer and elementary school teacher and school board member living in Casa Grande. Championing public education is one of his priorities. 

Shope raised $202,505 and benefitted from $141,482 in spending by independent expenditure groups. Independent expenditure groups spent $14,163 against him. 

Kerby raised $48,610 and benefitted from $124,319 in independent expenditure spending. His opponents only spent $12,147 against him. 

Shope has served in the Legislature since 2013. He was first elected to the House of Representatives at age 27. 

Since Trump’s loss in 2020, Shope has been labeled a moderate by members of his own party and even criticized as a “Republican in name only.” He supported Republican gubernatorial candidate Karrin Taylor Robson in the primary over the more extreme right-wing candidate Kari Lake. Shope also supported the Legislature’s recent bipartisan budget, and he also supports raising the aggregate expenditure limit on public school funding, and leans away from election related conspiracy theories. 

District 16 is competitive but leaned Republican in the most recent election.  

Wednesday morning’s results are a reflection of the primary election. Both Shope and Kerby were unopposed in the primary and Shope received 19,177 votes to Kerby’s 15,172. 

Updates: This story has been revised to include updated numbers and quotes.