Republicans lead race for Arizona House, Senate control by slim margins
PHOENIX – The next Arizona Legislature is on track to look a lot like the last one, although several races were close enough to potentially flip as more votes are counted.
According to results available as of Thursday morning, Republicans were leading for 16 Senate seats and 31 House seats. If that holds, the GOP will have the same one-seat advantage in each chamber as in the current Legislature.
In such a case, Warren Petersen will assume the role of senate president after he ran unopposed in district No. 14, the Arizona State Senate Republican Caucus announced Thursday.
Republicans have controlled both chambers every session but one since 1993. The exception was when the Senate was deadlocked 15-15 in 2001-02.
Here’s a look at how some notable legislative races from Arizona’s 2022 general election were going as of Thursday morning:
• The Senate race in District 2 had a razor-thin margin, with Republican Steve Kaiser up by just 412 votes. If Democrat Jeanne Casteen erases the gap, the state would be looking at a 15-15 Senate.
• In the closest contest for a House seat that could change the party breakdown, Democrat Keith Seaman was a mere 12 votes ahead of Republican Rob Hudelson in District 16. That race could be heading for an automatic recount.
• In a showdown between two incumbent senators who landed together in District 4 after redistricting, Democrat Christine Marsh was leading Nancy Barto by 3,589 votes, 51.9%-48.1%. Barto was a key figure in crafting Arizona’s 15-week abortion ban and supported a full ban in the wake of Roe v. Wade being overturned.
• Republican Ken Bennett, a longtime legislator before serving as secretary of state from 2009 to 2015, is positioned to return to the Senate for the first time since 2007. He had an overwhelming 66% of the vote in District 1. Bennett served as the state Senate liaison for the Cyber Ninjas-led review of the 2020 Maricopa County election.
• House Majority Leader Ben Toma, a potential speaker for the next session, was only 1,572 votes ahead of Democrat Don Kissinger for the second seat in District 27. Republican Kevin Payne led the field at 34.03% (28,466 votes), followed by Toma at 33.92% (28,372) and Kissinger at 32.04% (26,800).