- Associated Press - Saturday, September 10, 2016

PHOENIX (AP) - Democratic lawmakers are more hopeful than in previous elections that they could make real gains the Arizona Legislature come November.

Former and current politicians say the results of last month’s primary races indicate the Senate could turn more to the blue side, the Arizona Capitol Times (https://bit.ly/2c9c9mm ) reported.

Democratic Party Executive Director Sheila Healy said Republican incumbent Sen. Jeff Dial getting knocked out in the primary is great news.

“We’ve been working closely with (Chandler Democrat Sean Bowie), and I think with (Tempe veteran Frank Schmuck ) as our opponent currently, the Republicans lose that name recognition that Dial had and it becomes a much more expensive race for them,” Healy said.

Political consultant and former House Democratic leader Chad Campbell says it’s possible for the party to pick up one or two seats.

“It’s a legitimate scenario where you have a split Senate next year,” the political consultant said. “It’s the most legitimate scenario we’ve seen for quite some time.”

The 30-member Senate was last evenly split between the parties in 2002.

Democrats are also looking to fill two Senate seats typically held by Republicans.

Candidates are in a tight race to replace the seat that Phoenix Republican Sen. Adam Driggs is leaving.

Arizona Republican Party Chairman Robert Graham said the GOP could in fact take some ground from Democrats.

“Given our capacity to raise funds, we’ve got a lot of conservative interest groups who are interested in the state Senate, so I think (Democrats’) hurdle is massive,” Graham said. “If nothing else, I think they’ll go backwards.”


Information from: Arizona Capitol Times, https://www.arizonacapitoltimes.com

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