Mark Trahant: Two Native candidates fall short in Arizona primary

Victoria Steele campaigning on election day in Tucson, Arizona, when it was 104 degrees in the shade (and, Steele added, there was no shade). Photo via Facebook

#NativeVote16 – Arizona primary results
By Mark Trahant
Trahant Reports

Arizona voters went to the polls Tuesday to narrow the number of candidates that will be on the November ballot. Turnout was light. According to the Arizona Secretary of State’s office, less than a quarter of eligible voters cast a ballot.

In Arizona’s 2nd Congressional District, Victoria Steele fell short in her bid for federal office. A Tucson physician, Matt Heinz, won the Democratic primary with 27,791 votes to Steele’s 24,417 votes. He will face U.S. Rep. Martha McSally. Steele is Seneca.

Shawn Redd, running in Arizona’s 1st Congressional District, only earned about 3 percent of the vote and was sixth in the remaining field of six Republicans. Pinal County Sheriff Paul Babeu won the GOP primary and will face Democrat Tom O’Halleran in November. This district has the highest percentage of Native American voters in the country. Redd, who is Navajo, was the only remaining Native candidate in the race.

As of Wednesday morning, Jamescita Peshlakai was leading Steven Begay by 1,301 votes in the Democratic primary for Arizona's Senate District 7. Screenshot from Arizona Secretary of State

In a contested state Senate race, Jamescita Peshlakai is ahead of Steven Begay by some 1,300 votes. “I think the LD7 senate race won’t be called until tomorrow,” she wrote on Facebook Tuesday night. “Although my heart is beating like a rabbit, I’m going to try to sleep. Thank you to all that made this campaign amazing. I truly am humbled, grateful and feel good about our people, our communities and the positive forces that bring us together.”

Three other #NativeVote16 candidates were on the ballot, but running unopposed in the primary, Eric Descheenie, Wenona Benally, and Sally Ann Gonzales.

Mark Trahant is the Charles R. Johnson Endowed Professor of Journalism at the University of North Dakota. He is an independent journalist and a member of the Shoshone-Bannock Tribes. To read more of his regular #NativeVote16 updates, follow On Facebook: TrahantReports On Twitter: @TrahantReports

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