This article was originally published by AZ Central.
I started my journey in Arizona politics decades ago, when our state favored politicians like Russell Pearce and Joe Arpaio, some of the most radical Republicans to hold elected office in this state at the time (Wendy Rogers might take the cake now).
In those days, the running joke around the Arizona Legislature was that Democrats were a part of the “pizza caucus” because you could feed all of us with one pizza. Spoiler alert … we require a lot more pizza.
Cut to now – voters delivered Arizona for President Biden, elected two Democratic U.S. senators, a secretary of state, superintendent of public instruction, two corporation commissioners, and we’ve grown our legislative caucus to just a one-seat deficit in each chamber.
Not to mention the number of progressive ballot measures that voters have supported – everything from demanding more funding for our schools to increasing the minimum wage.
Democrats keep picking up seats
The Democratic momentum is fierce and undeniable.
And still, I continue to hear the false narrative that Arizona Democrats are destined to fumble the ball and fail to take advantage of the “doomsday ticket” the Republican Party has put forward for November’s election.
This notion is an insult to the blood, sweat and tears being put into these races. It is an insult to our slate of experienced and patriotic candidates, and it is an insult to Arizona voters who have come out in droves to elect Democrats as a check on Republican extremism.
Enough is enough.
While it’s easy to armchair quarterback, Democrats have excelled at picking up seats across Arizona in some of the most competitive legislative districts, and we intend to continue that tradition of winning.
In the face of a vitriolic political atmosphere and an unfavorable hand dealt by new maps, Arizona Democrats have still fielded an impressive slate of legislative and statewide candidates across Arizona. We are mobilizing now to win and put Arizona’s future in the hands of people who value education, equal rights, equal opportunity and fair elections.
We have our best slate. GOP offered its worst
Democrats are mounting a solutions-oriented slate for the top of the ticket this November:
- -Katie Hobbs, our staunch democracy defender, for governor.
- -Adrian Fontes, a former Marine and elections official, for secretary of state.
- -Kris Mayes, a lifelong consumer advocate, for attorney general.
- -Kathy Hoffman, a special-education teacher, for superintendent.
- -Martín Quezada, an experienced state senator, for treasurer.
- -Sandra Kennedy and Lauren Kuby, our climate change warriors, for the Arizona Corporation Commission.
Meanwhile the GOP is putting their worst foot forward in every race. Their candidates are reality denying extremists with a backward-looking, radical right agenda: Kari Lake, Mark Finchem, and Abe Hamadeh all support total bans on abortion and deny – with no proof – the results of the 2020 election.
Up and down the Republican slate, their nominees have lost focus of what the majority of voters want. Arizonans want leaders with real solutions to real problems families are facing, not out-of-touch conspiracy theorists who are looking only to kiss the ring of Donald Trump.
A vote for the Democratic slate is a vote that says “the truth still means something in Arizona.”
It’s not about R and D, but freedom and truth
We know winning these races will not be easy. But Democrats and community leaders have spent years building the infrastructure and the “big tent” coalition needed to win.
While Republicans are working overtime to divide us on fringe culture war issues that won’t create a single job, educate a single child or lift a single Arizonan out of poverty, Democrats firmly believe there is more that unites us than divides us.
We have the record to prove it. Our past wins are not anomalies; they are a direct result of years of building, and we are nowhere near done.
But, let’s be clear, this is not about Republican versus Democrat anymore. This is about defending the freedoms of every Arizonan from a slate of dangerous and radical extremists who want the government to tell Arizonans how to live, who to love, and control nearly every aspect of our daily lives.
Trust that Democrats are the ones fighting to defend your freedom from these attacks and defend every Arizonan’s bodily autonomy and individual choices.
We ask that you join us in organized rage and vote these extremists out in November. Let’s prove our critics wrong.
Raquel Terán is the chair of the Arizona Democratic Party. On Twitter: @RaquelTeran.