Shooter upsets Aguirre; Pancrazi, Jones win re-election
There's new blood headed to the state Legislature, along with some incumbents - but whether new or old, local legislators face a tough job ahead.
Yuman Don Shooter, Republican, won his bid in the State Senate race beating incumbent Amanda Aguirre with 53.56 percent of the vote (14,612 votes) with all of district 24's precints fully reporting.
Aguirre, a Democrat, lost her bid for re-election with 41.97 percent of the vote (11,449 votes).
Yuman Jack Kretzer, a Libertarian, received 4.36 percent, or 1,189 votes.
For State Representative, both incumbents are headed back to Phoenix after a tight race with a newcomer.
Democrat Lynne Pancrazi won her seat with 30.36 percent, or 10,887 votes. That was narrowly beating out Yuma Attorney Jon Weil, who lost his first run at elected office with 26.83 percent, or 9,623 votes.
Republican Russ Jones took an early lead and won the second open seat with 42.53 percent, or 15,254 votes.
The Yuma Sun spoke with Jones just before 11 p.m. Tuesday.
And while he may have won another turn in the State House, Jones says jokingly he wishes he could look forward to it.
That's because state Legislators face a tough year with a large deficit and weak economy.
“My first reaction is I feel great, and I'm very grateful to the voters,” Jones said. “It's kind of a mandate to get back there and ‘do your job.'”
He said the numbers he received are humbling.
“To get numbers like that, I had to get a lot of Independents and others, and I'm very grateful in their confidence in voting for me,” he said.
He said with Proposition 302 looking like it would fail at around 11 p.m., that's just one revenue source that the budget for next year was built upon - and that will mean cuts have to happen somewhere, he said.
“The dilemma we're facing as a Legislature is we don't have those funds for Child Protective Services and other, similar programs,” he said. “I'm afraid that we're going to be facing cuts that are going to be very difficult to do, but nonetheless, it's going to be very necessary.”
Stephanie A. Wilken can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 539-6857.