Guest Editorial: New Face and New Path For AZ Democrats

By Scottsdale Pinetop

Since the insurgency on the U.S. Capitol Hill earlier this month, much of the media attention has been focused on the current state of Arizona’s “Grand Old Party.” And rightfully so.

With the recent protests challenging the election results to the GOP vote to censure high profile Republicans like Governor Ducey, former U.S Senator Flake and Cindy McCain to the narrow re-election of the controversial Kelli Ward as leader of the Arizona Republican Party – there’s a lot of questions left unanswered.

But what’s happening with the party from across the aisle?

There’s no question that 2020 was a victory year for Arizona Democrats. For the first time since 1996, Republicans lost Arizona in the presidential election and for the first time in decades lost both U.S. Senate seats to Democrats Kyrsten Sinema and Mark Kelly. But can the Democratic Party keep the momentum going?

On January 23rd, AZ Democrats overwhelmingly elected State Representative Raquel Terán from District 30, succeeding Felecia Rotellini who did not seek re-election. She will be the new face and will set the tone for the state’s party platform.

“Our focus for 2022 is to build on our federal successes and win at a state-level,” said Raquel Terán in an interview with KJZZ. “That means our focus will be from the bottom of the ticket to the top of the ticket – from school board members to our state legislatures to the governor’s office. And we are in it to fight to elect every Democrat.”

And the progressive lawmaker will have her work cut out over the next couple of years to maintain and extend the party’s success down-the-ballot. Arizona Democrats continue to struggle with the lesser-known races as Republicans still maintain control of both legislative chambers and losing major races like county attorney and recorder in Maricopa County.

But there’s no time like the present. As Arizona’s GOP wrestles with its own political future – Arizona Democrats have the unique opportunity to take advantage of the situation. Their next challenge will be to bridge the gap between far-left leaning factions in the party and the centralists who seek to support candidates like Sinema and Kelly to create a path forward.