The growing divide at the Capitol, and in Arizona, will lead to gridlock
By Dustin Gardiner | Arizona Republic
The Legislature is about to undergo a personality makeover.
On Jan. 14, the next group of state lawmakers will be sworn into office. It will be unlike any state Legislature in decades because members will be closely split along partisan lines.
Democrats fell short on Election Day in their quest to flip a legislative chamber at the state Capitol, but they made historic gains.
They picked up up four seats in the Arizona House of Representatives, fueled by support by the #RedForEd teacher movement and apprehensions about President Donald Trump’s tenor of politics.
Their gains came in suburban districts in east Phoenix, Ahwauktee Foothills and Chandler — areas that were once Republican strongholds.
Republicans will have a 31-29 majority in the House. That’s the closest divide since Democrats last controlled the chamber in 1966, before a landmark court ruling redrew districts based on population.
It means that Republicans can’t lose a single legislator’s vote to create laws on a party-line vote. It also means lawmakers from either party can easily influence a close debate.