by Jim Nintzel
Democrat Cheryl Cage, who lost to Republican Al Melvin by in the Legislative District 26 Senate race last year by 1,966 votes, is already hungry for a rematch.
Cage had hoped to keep the district in Democratic hands after Melvin had narrowly lost to Democrat Charlene Pesquiera in 2006. But after defeating moderate Republican Pete Hershberger in the 2008 primary, Melvin was able to prevail in the general election.
In 2010, he’ll have the advantage of incumbency on his side. But he’s also running in a district whose voters have shown they will support Democrats when Republicans veer too far to the right.
Cage is hoping to capitalize on Melvin’s support for deep cuts to education, universities and social spending in the 2009 budget fix that was passed in January.
Melvin is well aware of his vulnerabilities, which is why—unlike some Southern Arizona Republicans—he hasn’t been complaining about wasted money with Rio Nuevo or arguing that Science Foundation Arizona is a big waste of money.
We expect Cage’s entry into the race will tamp down some of the rumors we’ve been hearing that Hershberger might
switch from Republican to Democrat as part of a plan to take on Melvin again.
Cage sent out a press release announcing her candidacy today:
“It is with a great deal of optimism, and a profound sense of urgency, that I announce my candidacy for the State Senate in 2010,” said Cheryl Cage.
“Optimism because of the powerful community interest in saving public education and services to our most vulnerable; urgency because Arizona cannot thrive with the type of ‘my-way-or-the-highway’ approach to governing radiating from the current majority in Phoenix.”
Ms. Cage said, “An elected official should advocate for—not dictate to—the citizens he or she represents. The voters of LD-26 deserve a State Senator that listens, respectfully, to all ideas and whose only agenda is doing what is best for Southern Arizona. We must return to the inclusive, moderate leadership provided by Lena Saradnik, Pete Hershberger and Toni Hellon.”
Former representative Lena Saradnik will serve as Campaign Chair and local business leader Don Jorgensen has signed on as Campaign Manager.
“I am honored that such all-star community leaders are supporting me in such a visible manner” Ms. Cage said.