Arizona State Rep. Nancy Barto announced this week that she is running for the State Senate LD15 seat.
With Republicans clinging to a narrow 17-13 advantage in the State Senate, and Democrats working hard to narrow or eliminate that edge altogether, the makeup of the Republican caucus is increasingly important to deciding what kind of legislation can get passed. Ensuring that the liberal Carter will not be the decisive swing vote appears to be playing a large part in the decision by the conservative Barto to challenge the incumbent State Senator in next year’s GOP primary.
Carter is the most liberal Republican in the entire Legislature – House or Senate – and she has attempted to use her position to push for higher taxes and a great deal more spending, often joining with Democrats to try to force concessions from Governor Ducey and her fellow Republicans. Earlier this year Carter was a holdout on the state budget because she wanted massive amounts of additional spending. Fortunately, the Republican majority was able to get around Carter’s power play and get a budget passed.
Whether on life issues (Carter is pro-choice), 2nd Amendment issues (Carter favors numerous gun control proposals), taxpayer-funded benefits for those here illegally (Carter has run legislation to discount college tuition for those in the country illegally), or several other hot-button issues, Heather Carter has taken positions entirely at odds with the party she represents, but she has found success at the ballot box by raising massive sums of money and campaigning largely as a conservative. In fact she was intimidating enough that she was elected in 2018 without so much as a primary challenger.
For her part, Barto served in the State Senate for 8 years before term limits sent her to the State House, so voters have plenty of familiarity with both candidates. Barto’s voting record is right of center and she is a favorite of right-wing groups like the Scottsdale-based Center for Arizona Policy. If early tweets and press remarks are any indication, the LD15 State Senate primary is going to be a bloody and brutal affair, with potentially the fate of Arizona’s State Senate at stake.
I’m pleased to announce my run for State Senate, LD15. You need a senator who fights for your freedoms & values. I'm your conservative fighter with the record to prove it. I listen, I solve problems & I'll never compromise our values. https://t.co/7X2yjUi9hm #Nancy4SenateLD15
— Nancy Barto (@NancyBarto) September 18, 2019