Arizona general elections — a history of one-party dominance

Republican Jack Williams, former radio personality, defeated Democratic Gov. Sam Goddard

By Jeremy Duda | Arizona Mirror

The Democratic challengers to Gov. Doug Ducey and Attorney General Mark Brnovich must compete not only with voter registration numbers that favor the GOP, but with a 50-year trend that favors incumbents in statewide races.

Aside from Corporation Commission races, a statewide elected official hasn’t lost a general election in Arizona since 1966, when Republican Jack Williams defeated Democratic Gov. Sam Goddard. The last incumbent attorney general to lose a general election was Democrat Wade Church, who lost to Republican Robert Pickrell in 1960.

Gubernatorial nominee David Garcia and attorney general candidate January Contreras hope to reverse those trends this year.

Other statewide offices require a deeper dive into the history books. An incumbent secretary of state hasn’t lost a general election since 1922, when Democrat James Kerby ousted Republican Ernest Hall. And an incumbent state treasurer has never lost a general election, or a primary election, for that matter.

The lack of general election defeats in Arizona may be a function of the state’s history of one-party dominance.


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