A Day At The Races LD-23

From time to time, Sonoran Alliance will be previewing the 2008 legislative contests, looking at the candidates and issues involved in the top districts in the state.

A Day At The Races LD 23

Senate: There is no current GOP candidate in this race, but locals tell us that 2006 House candidate Frank Pratt will be making a run. Pratt lost his 2006 contest by less than 300 votes and is expected to be a strong opponent for Democrat Rebecca Rios. Another encouraging sign for Republicans is a very strong trend in the GOP’s direction in voter registration. Three years ago the Democrats had a 24% edge in voter registration. The most recent numbers are approximately 7%. Lots of new homes and lots of new Republicans are proving to be fertile terrain for an energized Pinal County GOP. A steady drumbeat of Democrat corruption in the county has led to jail time for at least one Dem official and the environment seems right for a switch in dominant parties from Democrat to Republican.

House: 2006 nominee John Fillmore and former House member (and former Democrat) Cheryl Chase are the GOP’s nominees for these two seats. They are expected to provide genuine threats to both longtime Democrat legislator Pete Rios, and newcomer Barbara McGuire. Rios continues to antagonize his fellow Democrats while McGuire’s first year was completely without accomplishment, leaving her a relative unknown. When they both ran as Democrats, Chase would beat Rios at the polls and she remains reasonably popular with some of the district’s Democrat voters. As with the Senate race, the changing demographics of this district present the GOP with excellent opportunities to capture multiple seats. State party officials are indicating that LD23 will be a top target and at least one predicted that LD23 would be a Republican district in terms of voter registration by the time the 2008 elections arrived. These candidates are also sure to benefit from what appears to be the hardest working county organization in the state.

Naturally, we can expect the Democrats to spend whatever it takes to protect these seats. Their hopes and dreams of a majority in either body will not survive the loss of a single seat from this district, so everyone is expecting maximum effort from the Dems to try and counter the sustained effort being put forward by Arizona Republicans.


  1. Go get ’em GOP! The numbers from last time were so close for Pratt. Any other year than 2006 and we’d already have GOP members from LD23. 2008 is the year!

  2. Frank Pratt would be foolish to run for Senate against Rebecca Rios. He should run in the House primary and try to knock off Fillmore because Fillmore’s much too partisan to win a race in this district. I’ve lived here my whole life and while the numbers are changing, the district’s not ready for the kind of Republican that Fillmore is and I don’t mean that as a knock on him.

    The way I could see it breaking down if Chase and Pratt were to run would be Chase winning and Pratt making a strong challenge to Pete Rios for the other seat and possibly beating him. If Fillmore were the candidate with Chase, she would still win and Fillmore would probably finish 4th in the race.

  3. As a side note, Pete Rios has been rumored to be considering running for the open seat on the Pinal County Board of Supervisors that is being vacated by Lionel Ruiz.

  4. Rios would benefit far more financially by moving to the Board of Supervisors. He’s getting older and the drive to Phoenix is probably wearing on him although he does really spend most of his time in the metro area. He will also max out his state retirement but moving to the Supervisor’s seat.

  5. Rios isn’t going to run against an incumbent Democrat for that County seat, nice as it would be. We’re going to have to beat him to beat him!

  6. Hey John, read my earlier post. Lionel Ruiz is retiring so Rios wouldn’t be running against an incumbent would he? I didn’t think so.

  7. I’m open to the possibility TEEJ, but where did you get that information about Ruiz? I haven’t seen that announcement anywhere and had actually heard that Ruiz was not going to retire. Good news if you’re right, but can you let us know where you got your information from?

  8. I spoke to him a few months back and he was joking with me about running his campaign which is an on-running joke between us since he knows how much of a Republican I am. He later went on to say that “this is it, I’m going to retire after this term.” I haven’t seen a “official” annoucement either bud but it’s pretty common knowledge to us down here in the District 1 of Pinal County.

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