Wednesday, November 25, 2020 4:36 am

Loss of moderate GOP lawmakers in Senate no boon for Democrats

Sens. Heather Carter and Paul Boyer hug May 28, 2019, at a ceremonial signing for a bill. With Carter losing her seat in the 2020 GOP primary and Sen. Kate Brophy McGee, R-Phoenix, losing in the 2020 general election, Boyer is the last of Senate Republicans who bucked their party and the Democratic caucus’ biggest hope of helping them stop GOP legislation /Photo by Dillon Rosenblatt/Arizona Capitol Times

By Julia Shumway | Arizona Capitol Times

Democrats picked up one new seat in the state Senate, but are headed into the 2021 legislative session with potentially less power to stop Republican legislation.

Over the past two years, the Arizona Senate — that same governing body that over the past decade was responsible for passing an immigration law, 2010’s SB1070, that led to boycotts and an ultimately vetoed anti-gay religious freedom bill, 2014’s SB1062, that led to threats of boycotts — has become the place where the most extreme measures passed by the state House go to die. 

The Democratic caucus had three Republicans to thank for that across-the-aisle assistance. Whether because of their personal politics or the demands of their districts, some combination of Sens. Kate Brophy McGee, Heather Carter and Paul Boyer publicly split with the rest of the GOP caucus on some bills and privately extracted concessions on others.

Two of them will be gone next year. Carter, R-Cave Creek, lost a heated primary battle to social conservative Rep. Nancy Barto, who successfully painted her as a RINO, or Republican in name only. Brophy McGee, R-Phoenix, lost her own seat to Democratic challenger Christine Marsh, giving Democrats their 14th caucus member. 

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