OK, the polls are still open until 7 p.m. and results won’t be released until sometime in the 8 o’clock hour, but we’re gonna go ahead and call a few races.
On the Pima County Board of Supervisors, we’re declaring Democrat Ramon Valadez the winner in District 2; Republican Steve Christy the winner in District 4 (replacing Republican Ray Carroll, who did not seek re-election); and Democrat Richard Elias the winner in District 5.
We’re also declaring that Pima County Attorney Barbara LaWall will win another term, as will Pima County Recorder F. Ann Rodriguez and Pima County Treasurer Beth Ford.
The GOP team of Sen. Steve Smith and Reps. Mark Finchem and Vince Leach will win re-election in Legislative District 11; the Democratic team of Sen. Olivia Cajero Bedford and Reps. Sally Ann Gonzales and Macario Saldate will win tonight in Legislative District 3.
Our projections also show Congressman Raul Grijalva has won reelection in Congressional District 3.
So that brings us to the 16 races worth watching tonight:
• Prop 205: Will voters support letting Arizona adults get high? Recreational weed has had a winning streak in states around the country lately, but most of those states did not have the heavy-duty opposition campaign Arizona prohibitionists have has run. Polls have shown a close race.
• Prop 206: Voters will decide whether to give low-wage workers a raise by mandating a $10 an hour minimum wage starting next year and climbing to $12 an hour by 2020. (Toss in some sick leave for workers, too.) Polls have shown Prop 206 winning big.
• U.S. Senator John McCain will likely win a sixth term, but Democratic Congresswoman Ann Kirkpatrick has given him the only real competition he’s faced in forever.
• Kirkpatrick’s decision to challenge McCain has left an open seat in Congressional District 1, the sprawling district that stretches along Arizona’s rural eastern side and includes Oro Valley, Marana Flagstaff and the northern Native American reservations. Democrat Tom O’Halleran, who served as a moderate Republican in the Arizona Legislature, is up against Republican Paul Babeu, the Pinal County sheriff with Tea Party beliefs and a sketchy past. O’Halleran is the favorite.
• Congresswoman Martha McSally, who won office by just 167 votes two years ago, is up against Democratic challenger Matt Heinz. The district is highly competitive on paper—one third Democrat, one third Republican, one third independent—but McSally has spent her first term keeping up her profile in Southern Arizona and on the national stage, has outraised Heinz. Heinz has played out a recent advantage in Democratic early ballot returns, but the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee to abandon the district tells you a lot about the former state lawmaker’s chance of an upset.
• Pima County Supervisor and Queen Moonbat Ally Miller is seeking a second term against Democrat Brian Bickel. In the GOP-leaning district, Miller is the favorite despite a first term marked mostly notable for false accusations, feuds with her colleagues, harebrained reports to various law-enforcement agencies and a general war on the press.
• Pima County Supervisor Sharon Bronson is facing a tough challenge from Republican Kim DeMarco, a political rookie who has promised to align herself with Miller and open the spigot on a million gallons of crazy in Pima County. The district leans Democrat and incumbents rarely lose office in Pima County, but these are strange days indeed.
• Pima County Sheriff Chris Nanos, appointed to the job in 2015 after the retirement of Clarence Dupnik, is up against Republican Mark Napier, who is in a good position to pull off an upset win thanks to the indictment of Nanos’ top assistant for charges that he misused RICO dollars.
• Democrat Dustin Williams is facing Republican Margaret Burkholder in the race for an open seat for County Superintendent of Schools.
• Pima County Assessor Bill Staples is likely to fend off a challenge from independent candidate Suzanne Droubie.
• If there was ever a year that Democrats should be able to make a comeback at the Arizona Corporation Commission, this is it: The current ACC, with the exception of Republican Bob Burns, seems to be completely in thrall to Arizona Public Service, which has spent big to put its preferred regulators in place. (APS, the state’s largest utility, is pushing hard for ways to stick it to rooftop solar customers.) There are three open seats: Democrats Bill Mundell and Tom Chabin are up against Burns and two other Republicans, Andy Tobin and Boyd Dunn.
• Tucson’s Legislative District 9 is among the most competitive in the state. Sen. Steve Farley did not draw a Republican challenger (unless you count Mark Spear as a write-in) but in the House of Representatives race, Democrats Rep. Randy Friese and Pamela Powers Hannley are up against Republican Ana Henderson in race for two seats.
• Tucson’s Legislative District 10 is also competitive: In the Senate race, Democratic incumbent Sen. Dave Bradley faces Republican Randy Phelps, while two Democrats, Rep. Stefanie Mach and Kirsten Engel are facing Republican Todd Clodfelter in the House race.
• Legislative District 2 has a split House of Representatives delegation with Republican Chris Ackerley and Democrat Rosanna Gabaldon both seeking reelection. Can Ackerley hang on in a district that leans heavily Democrat or will Democratic challenger Daniel Hernandez knock him out of office? Meanwhile, Democratic Sen. Andrea Dalessandro faces Republican challenger Shelley Kais.
• Tucson Unified School District: Seven candidates are in the hunt for the three board seats now held by Kristel Foster, Cam Juarez and Mark Stegeman. Will the three incumbents hang on or will one of the challengers break through?
• Appointed Pima Community College Board member Martha Durkin is up against challenger Luis Gonzales.