Democratic precinct committeemen in Legislative District 26 chose three nominees Friday evening to fill the district’s vacant state House seat.
The 36 elected committeemen nominated LD26 Democrats’ second vice chair Quant’a Crews, former state Rep. Christian Solorio and LD26 committeeman and treasurer Veronica Monge during the election held at Carpenters Local Union in Phoenix.
Friday’s election came four days after Sen. Flavio Bravo, D-Phoenix, resigned from the seat to fill the district’s Senate vacancy on May 8. State law requires districts with 30 or more elected committeemen to nominate candidates for a legislative vacancy within five days of the vacancy.
The vacancy is the third of the legislative session. The Maricopa County Board of Supervisors recently appointed Julie Willoughby to a vacant LD13 House seat after Republican former Rep. Liz Harris was expelled from the House on April 12. The following day, former Senate Democratic Minority Leader Raquel Terán resigned to focus on a Congressional campaign, and Bravo was appointed by the board to fill her seat, creating another vacancy for Bravo’s House seat.
Seven candidates self-nominated and gave brief speeches to the committeemen, who proceeded to ask questions to the candidates about various policy issues and their interest in the seat. The other nominees included other precinct committeemen and district residents who have applied to be a committeeman.
The election required committeemen to write the names of their top three candidates but not rank them. They also had the option to write fewer than three names. The vote totals were not announced during the meeting.
Crews, a real estate appraiser and chaplain, was also nominated for Terán’s Senate seat, along with Bravo and Rep. Cesar Aguilar, D-Phoenix. She said Friday she wants to prioritize education and housing since she’s had her rent doubled over the last three years and has had to watch her neighbors live out of their cars or house neighbors herself so they can keep children in school.
“I see the need for all our voices to be lifted up and for our Legislature to look like our community,” Crews said.
Solorio was appointed to the House in 2021 when Terán replaced former Senator Tony Navarrete, who resigned after being charged with child molestation. He ran for re-election after his term ended but he lost the LD26 Democratic primary election to Aguilar and Bravo, which allowed him to continue serving on the Alhambra Elementary School District Governing Board. He also spoke about housing and said it’s the reason he ended up in the Legislature in the first place since his work as an architect is “inherently political.”
“I am guided by my belief that everyone, no matter what your background is, deserves a place to live,” Solorio said.
Monge said she comes from a small farming town and grew up in a farming family. She said she was motivated to get involved politically after her husband died in an accident at work. She lost a lawsuit against his company over the incident, and it made her lose faith in the U.S. court system. Since then, Monge has taken on leadership positions with advocacy groups including the Civil Rights Center and the Arizona Poor People’s Campaign.
“I have what it takes to fight back against people that have power – they’re not going to scare me,” Monge said.
The Maricopa County Board of Supervisors will again nominate either Crews, Solorio or Monge to a LD26 vacancy. The board took more than three weeks to fill the previous LD13 and LD26 vacancies after precinct committeemen from each district submitted their nominees.
Each appointment required background checks of the candidates and interviews from the board’s supervisor who represents the Legislative district. Supervisor Steve Gallardo, the only Democrat on the board, represents the area that makes up LD26 of central west Phoenix.g