As the dust settled Wednesday, the Republicans of Legislative District 6 found themselves ahead of their Democrat opponents who had much more in campaign contributions for their campaigns.
Republican newcomer Walter Blackman ran for state representative and ended up coming in first in the race, with Republican incumbent Bob Thorpe nailing the second place position and Democrat candidate Felicia French coming in a close third. While the numbers are subject to change as the last votes are counted, Blackman had 38,958 votes, Thorpe had 38,231, French had 36,306 and Democrat candidate Bobby Tyler had 31,365, according to data Wednesday from the Arizona Secretary of State.
In the district's state Senate race, Republican incumbent Sylvia Allen took an early lead and cemented it, finishing over 3,000 votes ahead of Democrat candidate Wade Carlisle, who had over 38,000 votes, according to the Secretary of State.
While each of the counties have thousands of early and provisional ballots left to count, there is no way to tell how many of the outstanding ballots will fall within the expansive District 6 that crosses over parts of Coconino, Navajo, Gila and Yavapai County.
Thorpe said that he was confident that the lead would not change for him and his new co-worker in the Arizona House of Representatives, something that Blackman agreed with.
“I think both Walt and I are fine,” Thorpe said. “If it was a 50-, 100- or even 200-vote difference, we’d be concerned. There might have been a recount. But when you have a 2,000 margin, usually there’s not a recount.”
Democrat candidates in District 6 heavily outspent their Republican counterparts. Allen raised $69,622 for her state Senate race to Carlisle’s $101,680, according to data from the Arizona Secretary of State. The same report showed that Blackman raised $30,700 and Thorpe raised $32,121 to French’s $135,382 and Tyler’s $79,650 in campaign contributions for state representative.
The newly elected Blackman was happy to get the top votes, but brought his celebration back to the voters, with whom he hopes to be open and transparent regardless of their political background.
“I didn’t run for me. I ran for the folks in my district, regardless of their party affiliation and whether they’re involved,” Blackman said. “It’s not a win for me.”
District 6 has a solid history of Republican electorate since the redrawn lines were implemented in 2012. In the most recent midterm election in 2014, Thorpe and outgoing Republican State Rep. Brenda Barton won their seats by over 5,000 votes. Allen eked out a win for her spot by just over 1,000 against then-Independent candidate Tom O’Halleran.
In 2016, Thorpe and Barton won their seats by over 3,000 and 4,000 respectively; Allen was victorious by over 2,000.
Blackman said that he hopes to get the Reserve Officer Training Corps into the high schools in rural districts to give children extracurriculars and to help create scholarship opportunities for children to go to college. He wants to explore the possibility of converting the Cholla Power Plant from coal-fired energy generation to a waste-to-energy plant to keep the jobs up, and also mentioned creating an internet infrastructure, although he did not explain how it would be implemented.
Thorpe and Allen hope to return to pushing issues they had been working on and will focus on improving the economy while working on natural resources like water.
“I thank so many of the voters of District 6 for putting their trust back into my re-election,” Allen said. “I’m going to work hard for our district and get accomplished many good things, so I’m just very thankful for the voters that voted for me.”
The Democrat candidates for District 6 did not respond for comment.