Recap and Commentary for Arizona’s 2018 Mid-Term Elections


At the federal level, 10 of 11 seats in Arizona’s Congressional delegation saw election races. The 2018 election shaped up to be a groundbreaking year for Arizona politics as hard-fought races caught the attention of the entire nation.

U.S. Senate: With Senator Flake’s announcement to not seek re-election, a contentious election bid formed for the open Senate seat.

Election night ended with Rep. McSally holding a 0.9%-point lead, However, throughout the prolonged processing of election returns, Senate candidates Rep. Martha McSally (R) and Rep. Kyrsten Sinema (D) spent nearly a week swapping the lead, then finally concluding with Rep. Sinema winning the race by 38,000 votes and slightly more than 49.5% of the vote.

U.S. House District 1: Tom O’Halleran retained his position in District 1.

U.S. House District 2: Ann Kirkpatrick defeated Lea Marquez Peterson in the general election after earlier defeating Matt Heinz in the Democratic primary.

Federal Race Results Summary

Arizona U.S. House General Elections 2018
Winners are written in green – Incumbents are marked with an (i)
Office Democrat Republican Other
District 1 Tom O’Halleran  (i) Wendy Rogers
District 2 Ann Kirkpatrick Lea Marquez Peterson
District 3 Raul Grijalva  (i) Nicolas Pierson
District 4 David Brill Paul Gosar  (i) Haryaksha Gregor Knauer (Green Party)
District 5 Joan Greene Andy Biggs  (i)
District 6 Anita Malik David Schweikert  (i)
District 7 Ruben Gallego  (i) Gary Swing (Green Party)
District 8 Hiral Tipirneni Debbie Lesko  (i)
District 9 Greg Stanton Steve Ferrara


Governor: Arizona voters overwhelmingly supported Governor Doug Ducey’s reelection, easily defeating Democratic opponent David Garcia. Early polls indicated the race between Gov. Ducey and Garcia could be close, however, Gov. Ducey demonstrated a commanding lead prior to election night. Real Clear Politics’ polling data leading up to the election showed the governor 16.3 points ahead of Garcia. Gov. Ducey defeated Garcia 56.5% to Garcia’s 41.4 % of the Arizona vote.

Secretary of State: Business owner Steve Gaynor (R) appeared headed to victory on election night with a margin of 42,000 votes over state Sen. Katie Hobbs (D). The margin then tightened and closed as votes were counted throughout the state. Hobbs ultimately took the lead and the win against Gaynor by more than 5,700 votes.

State Attorney General: Brnovich was reelected in his campaign against former county and state prosecutor January Contreras (D), with a lead of more than 87,000 votes.

State Treasurer: Kimberly Yee, a state senator and former Senate Majority Leader from Arizona’s 20th legislative district, defeated Democrat Mark Manoil, a small business owner, for State Treasurer.

Superintendent of Public Instruction: The race between Republican and Democratic candidates for Arizona Superintendent of Public Instruction remained too close to call on election night. While Frank Riggs, a Republican businessman and former California Congressman, held a narrow lead at the outset of reported returns, Hoffman declared final victory.

State Races: (House 31-29 – Senate 17-13) The Republican balance in the House will remain in place, although incumbents did fall to Democrats in three House races. Their defeat only narrows the split in that chamber to 31-29. Republican Reps. Todd Clodfelter of Tucson, Jill Norgaard of Phoenix and Maria Syms of Paradise Valley all lost their re-election bids.

Senate Majority Leadership: Sen. Karen Fann will be the next Arizona Senate president. Senator Fann will be the second woman in Arizona history to become the chamber’s leader. Sen. Fann’s victory prevented former House Speaker J.D. Mesnard’s attempt to make the leap from serving as House Speaker to Senate President. The Senate GOP leadership team includes Sen. Rick Gray majority leader and Rep. Sonny Borrelli as majority whip.

Senate Minority Leadership: Senate Minority Leader, David Bradley. Assistant Minority Leader, Lupe Contreras. Minority Whip, Jamescita Peshlakai. Minority Whip, Lisa Ontondo.

 House Majority Leadership: Rep. Rusty Bowers secured the House speakership while Rep. Warren Petersen and Rep. Becky Nutt claimed the majority leader and whip slots. Rep. Bowers defeated Rep Finchem for the top spot. The GOP caucus selected Rep. Petersen over Rep. Anthony Kern and Rep. Nutt over Rep. David Cook.

 House Minority Leadership: Minority Leader, Charlene Fernandez. Assistant Minority Leader, Randy Friese. Minority Whip, Athena Salman.


Getting Measures on the Ballot

Citizens of Arizona may initiate legislation as either a state statute or a constitutional amendment. In Arizona, citizens also have the power to repeal legislation via veto referendum. The Arizona State Legislature may place measures on the ballot as legislatively-referred constitutional amendments or legislatively-referred state statutes. In addition, the Arizona Commission on Salaries for Elective State Officers is one of only a few state committees that have the power to place measures on the ballot.

To qualify a measure for the ballot, citizens are required to file at least 150,642 valid signatures for initiated state statutes, 75,321 valid signatures for veto referendums and 225,963 valid signatures for initiated constitutional amendments.

The 2018 state legislative session ran from January 8, 2018, to April 17, 2018, during which time the Arizona State Legislature was able to place legislative referrals on the ballot.

On the Ballot

Title Subject Description Passed/ Failed
Proposition 125 Pension Allow for adjustments to the Elected Officials’ Retirement Plan and Corrections Officer Retirement Plan Passed
Proposition 126 Taxes Prohibits the government from increasing taxes on services in the future Passed
Proposition 127 Energy Requires 50 percent of energy to come from renewable resources by 2030 Failed
Proposition 305 Education Upholds SB 1431, expanding Empowerment Scholarship Accounts program Failed
Proposition 306 Elections Designates unlawful contributions from clean election accounts and removes commission exemption from rulemaking requirements Passed

If you have any questions or would like to discuss any of the above information, please contact the author Greg Harris at