Campaign 2020 kicks into high gear In Chandler The Chandler Arizonan

Campaign 2020 kicks into high gear In Chandler

Campaign 2020 kicks into high gear In Chandler
City News
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By PAUL MARYNIAK
Arizonan Executive Editor

Two new candidates for State House have entered the Legislative District 18 General Election campaign as the races for two House seats and the Senate seat heat up.

Official results from the Aug. 4 primary showed that Donald Hawker of Tempe secured 1,026 votes – 4.59 percent of all votes cast two weeks ago and more than twice the 499 he needed to get his name on the November ballot.

He will join Ahwatukee resident Bob Robson on the GOP ticket for the LD18 House race against incumbent Democratic Reps. Mitzi Epstein and Jennifer Jermaine in a district that covers northern Chandler as well as Ahwatukee and parts of Tempe and Mesa.

Meanwhile, Tempe resident Chris Wilson, a 16-year Arizonan and ex-Marine who works in sales and management for a company that manufactures prosthetic feet and knees for amputees, has declared himself in the running for a LD18 House Seat on the Constitution Party, setting up a five-way race for the two seats.

He has made Gov. Doug Ducey’s “unconstitutional” shutdowns of businesses a major focus of his campaign, calling it “tyranny” and lambasting the incumbents and their colleagues for not stopping the governor’s actions.

The LD 18 Senate campaign is an all-Ahwatukee affair as Republican Realtor Suzanne Sharer tries to deny Democrat Sean Bowie a third term.

Robson, Hawker and Sharer have their work got out for them as registered Democrats outnumber registered Republicans in LD 18 53,755 to 49,958, according to the latest registration data maintained by the County Recorder. There also are 47,773 registered voters who are not affiliated with either party.

Democrats’ registration advantage in LD18 showed at the polls on Aug. 4 even though there were few primary contests that might merit their interest. According to unofficial results, both Sharer and Robson attracted few votes than their November opponents.

Robson garnered 20,794 votes and Sharer 20,706 to Bowie’s 29,721 votes, Jermaine’s 26,063 and Epstein’s 25,467.

The three LD 18 Democrats also are leading in the race for cash, according to the latest campaign finance records filed with the Arizona Secretary of State, with Bowie far ahead of the other four candidates.

Bowie has raised $153,523 and spent $49,680 – including $21,000 to the Arizona Democratic Party. He’s followed by Jermaine, who has raised $69,118 and spent $24,873 and Epstein, who raised $34,073 and spent $10,916.

By contrast, Sharer has raised $17,416 and spent $12,482 while Robson has raised $13,100 and spent $2,122.

Bowie’s contributors cover a wide range of individuals and political action committees and most of his contributions are well below $1,000.

Among his larger individual contributors is Arizona Cardinals owner Michael Bidwill, who donated $1,000, and Darin Fisher, founding owner and managing partner of the Ahwatukee-based HOA management company, Vision Community Management. Fisher gave Bowie $2,000 as well as $1,000 to Jermaine and $2,500 to Robson, records show.

Among some of the larger PAC donations to Bowie’s campaign donors were the International Association of Sheet Metal, Air, Rail, and Transportation Workers, which gave $3,000; Arizona Pipe Trades 469, which donated $5,200; United Food and Commercial Workers Local 99, which gave $2,500; Southwest Gas, $2,000 and the Arizona Education Association’s PAXC, $1,500.

Bowie also garnered $1,000 contributions from a number of corporate PACs, including Prudential Financial, Blue Cross, Cox, Enterprise Holdings, One Main Holdings, Raytheon, CVS Health, Arizona Firefighters, Union Pacific and the Arizona Bankers Association.

Jermaine’s two largest contributors were the Future Now Fund, a national advocacy group for progressive political candidates that gave $5,400 and the Arizona Pipe Trades 469, which gave $5,300. She also received a $1,500 contribution from the Arizona Education Association’s PAC and $1,000 from the Wellcare Health Plans PAC.

Epstein’s biggest contributor was New York venture capital firm founder Eldon Klaassen, who donated $10,000.

Besides Fisher, Robson’s only other four-figure contributor was Jonathan Dinesman, senior vice president for government relations for Centene Corp., a healthcare insurer. Dinesman donated $2,000.

Sharer’s two largest contributors were Brianna Jordan and David Weld, who each gave $5,200.

Robson is vying to return to the State House, where he served from 2001-09 and 2011-2017 after serving two four-year terms on the Chandler City Council.

Hawker, a retired computer programmer for the federal departments of Energy and Defense, ran unsuccessfully in 2018 in a four-way Republican primary race.

He said the prospect of an empty Republican slot on the November ballot for LD18 House bothered him, so he started an effort in mid-June with active campaigning revving up July 1.

He said he printed his own campaign material and he and “several precinct committeemen and other supporters hand delivered about 5,000” to eligible GOP registered voters.

According to the County Recorder, Hawker for 1,026 of the 1,531 write-in votes cast in the Primary Election.

A staunch conservative who in the 2018 election favored school vouchers and opposed abortion, Hawker told reporters in 2018, “I try to research and articulate positions. I will not compromise with the immorality and civic irresponsibility of the Democrat party.”

He said he expects to join Robson and thee three Democrats in LD18 for the 6 p.m. Aug. 26 online debate sponsored by the Arizona Clean Election Commission.

The Arizona Citizens Clean Elections Commission is moving its legislative debates online because of the pandemic.

The debates will be live streamed on the commission’s YouTube page, but viewers will be able to submit questions in real time via email and phone.

The debates will also be archived on the Clean Elections Commission website.

For details: azcleanelections.gov/arizona-elections/debate-information

Wilson, on the other hand, said he does not expect to be part of the commission’s debate.

He conceded that “a write-in campaign is quite a challenge, but I couldn’t stand idly by after May 1 when the Governor continued the unfair, unnecessary and unconstitutional shut-down without a single vote.”

“Too many business owners I interacted with were all pleading for someone to do something. And since I did miss the deadline to get on the ballot, write-in was my only option,” he told reporters.

“The 18th District is a small neighborhood, small business community that has been drastically impacted by the governor’s overreach and the voice from the current representation in the Arizona House has been silent,” he said.

Wilson said he is mounting a vigorous campaign, especially since “now that the primary is over, I have newly available space on the corners of major intersections for my signs, which helps.”

He also has some podcasts on his website, writeinwilson.com, and also plans some Facebook live events coming up.

“And there is the campaigning to small businesses, which the current powers have made more difficult, but not impossible,” he said.

He said he decided to join the race because “today voters in District 18 feel they have no real choice for representation in the Arizona House.”

Meanwhile, another race with a Chandler accent involves the race for Maricopa Court supervisor in District 1.

Jack Sellers, a former two-term Chandler City Council member and chair of the State Transportation Board, is seeking his first four-year term on the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors after he was appointed two years ago to replace Denny Barney, who quit to become president/CEO of the Phoenix East Valley Partnership.

He’ll be battling Jevin D. Hodge, who is vying to become the county’s first African-American supervisor.

The son of Tempe Union High School Governing Board Berdetta Hodge – who is seeking reelection this year – Jevin is the national engagement director and Phoenix operations manager for Washington, D.C.-based LINK Strategic Partners, a strategic communications, stakeholder engagement and social impact consulting firm.

Hodge also chairs the Booker T. Washington Child Development Center, is the former president of the Tempe Union High Schools Education Foundation and sits on the boards of several non-profit charitable institutions around Arizona.

In the primary election, unofficial results show Hodge and Sellers were neck-and-neck in Supervisor District 1, which has 187,079 registered Republican voters to 166,349 Republicans and 169,234 voters not registered with either party.

The Aug. 4 election produced 73,801 votes for Sellers and 79,707 for Hodge.

Hodge also is leading the race for cash, amassing $117,184 in donations since Jan. 1, 2019. He has spent $60,559 and is starting his fall campaign with $56,624.

Sellers has collected $73,245 and spent $28,289 and is entering the fall campaign with $44.955.

Among Sellers largest contributors is East Valley strip mall developer Michael Pollack, who has donated $6,450 and Mike Ingram of El Dorado Holdings, $3,300.

Hodge’s larger supporters include Scottsdale philanthropist Nestor Guzman, who has donated $5,000, and Los Altos, California, physician Dr. Karla Juvelson, who kicked in $2,000.

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