Ugenti-Rita defends seat against spectrum of detractors

Sen. Michelle Ugenti-Rita, R-Scottsdale, shares a laugh at the Arizona Technology Innovation Summit at The Duce on March 20, 2019. Detractors of the 10-year incumbent include both sides of the abortion divide and fellow Republican lawmakers as she defends her seat against a well-financed primary opponent.
/ PHOTO BY GAGE SKIDMORE/FLICKR

By Julia Shumway | Arizona Capitol Times

Bright yellow signs blasting Sen. Michelle Ugenti-Rita as “ethically compromised” litter roads in Scottsdale, where the 10-year incumbent seeks to fend off a primary challenge from a well-funded opponent.

It’s the most intense primary yet for Ugenti-Rita, one of the Senate’s most conservative Republicans, who swept into office in 2010 as a first-time candidate riding a Tea Party wave of activism. From that first race on, Ugenti-Rita has been a maverick unafraid of upsetting her own party — a stance that wins plaudits from constituents when it results in wins like an early repeal of a controversial vehicle license tax, but that also generates conflict at the Capitol, where legislative leaders prize “team players” above all else.

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