In legislative races, progressive victories spur excitement and anticipation

Photo by Gage Skidmore | Flickr/CC BY-SA 2.0

BY: SHONDIIN SILVERSMITH | Arizona Mirror

Anna Hernandez in some ways stands as a shining example of where the Democratic Party stands in 2022 — and what its future holds.

A candidate for Senate in District 24, which includes Maryvale and a large portion of Glendale, Hernandez toppled incumbent state Rep. César Chávez in this month’s primary election. 

“This is what happens when establishment Dems underestimate the power of community and underestimate the power of a bada** Mexicana,” Hernandez tweeted. She declared victory in the early hours of Aug. 3, by thanking Arizona voters, her community, and everyone who helped her along the way. 

“Tonight we made history,” Hernandez wrote on her Facebook page. “Community showed up and showed out.”

Her success has many Democrats, and especially those in the progressive movement, excited. 

Hernandez is a progressive Latino woman, and is increasingly representative of the kids of Democratic candidates finding success in legislative races.

Of the 91 Democratic legislative candidates on August ballots, 59 were people of color. Nearly half — 28 of them — were women, and 21 of those women advanced to the November election.

Across the board, those figures are higher than in 2020, when 44 of 77 Democratic legislative hopefuls were people of color; 23 of them were women, of which 19 won their primaries. 

The influx of women of color running for office shows what the priorities and concerns are for Arizonans, said Jenny Guzman, the deputy director for Progress Arizona. 

“We saw a lot of women of color run for office, and historically, women of color have been marginalized from running in these positions and from being fully properly represented,” Guzman said in an interview with The Mirror.

Seeing more women of color running for office, Guzman said shows that people are not taking excuses anymore, especially people from marginalized communities.

“The background of the people running for office is reflective of what issues everyone cares about,” she added. “They’re stepping in and they’re fighting for these issues to ensure their communities have the solutions that they deserve.”

AZ Poder, a community organization that works to build political power among working-class Arizonans, rejoiced that Hernandez — who the group endorsed — won her election by more than 13 percentage points. 

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