By Scottsdale Pinetop
Regardless of which party ultimately triumphs in the November midterm elections, one thing is for certain – this is the time for women in politics. For the first time since 1992, a record number of women are tossing in their names for federal and statewide offices in the 2018 midterm elections. And Arizona is no exception.
Arizona has one of the best records in the U.S. for electing women to political office with over 40% of state legislators being women. Arizona is also the only state to have four women serve as governor – two Democrats and two Republicans.
Now Arizona voters are looking to elect a woman to the U.S. Senate to replace retiring Republican Jeff Flake. And these women contenders are all impressive in their own right.
On the Democratic side, Representative Kyrsten Sinema from the 9th congressional district is shaping up to be the most likely candidate. Representative Martha McSally is a retired Air Force colonel, first female fighter pilot to fly in combat, and the “darling” of the GOP establishment. She will be battling it out come the August primary against her political counterpart, former state legislator Kelli Ward.
But Arizona’s open Senate seat won’t be the only contest between strong women. Republican groups are already lining up to support Lea Marquez Peterson, a high profile leader in the Latino community serving as the President of the Tucson Chamber of Commerce. She will be campaigning against former Democratic Representative Ann Kirkpatick who has been looking to make a comeback after her defeat in the 2016 U.S. Senate race. After a nail-biting defeat this past April, Democrat Hiral Tipirneni is already ramping up for a rematch against Republican Debbie Lesko to win the 8th Congressional District seat.
If this is the year for women, few places are a better showcase of women empowerment than Arizona politics. The state has a history of shattering stereotypes about women in politics, despite its conservatism tendencies. And with the momentum of the #MeToo movement, which is one of the great civil and gender rights issues of our time, the best is yet to come. With multiple different players and a lot at stake, the November vote could change gender dynamics in Washington D.C. for years to come.
By Scottsdale Pinetop