The Explorer has offered space to Senate District 26 Republican candidates Pete Hershberger and Al Melvin.

The candidates were given word limits, and told there would be no editing of their submissions. They follow.

Pete Hershberger

It was an honor to serve you in the Arizona House, and it is an honor now to ask for your vote as the next State Senator from District 26.

I am proud to run on an eight-year record of integrity and legislative accomplishment. I was raised in the Arizona culture of Barry Goldwater and still model myself after the Senator’s maverick Arizona spirit and common-sensed principled leadership.

When Arizona’s economy was good I voted for the largest tax cut in Arizona’s history. I voted for the toughest employer sanctions bill in the country to combat illegal immigration, and I fiercely and consistently supported District 26 and Southern Arizona against the power brokers in Maricopa County. There is no greater champion in the Arizona Legislature for children. They are our future and should be safe, healthy and have access to a quality public education. I dedicated myself to their cause and received state and national recognition for my efforts.

My opponent is an extreme ideologue who pledged his unqualified support for Maricopa County leadership – even though their agenda frequently hurts the interests of Southern Arizona.  His extreme partisanship harms our political process at both the state and national level. I strive to be a statesman who will be guided by Republican principles when I address the real problems facing our great state.

Mr. Melvin states that you’re no better than a Democrat unless you fail to support all 92 pages of the Republican platform. That flies in the face of the Goldwater tradition, and impugns anyone who thinks for themselves and rejects blind loyalty. My opponent’s allegations that I vote with Democrats is simply not true. My eight-year record shows that I voted for more Republican-sponsored bills than half the Republicans in the House. In a few legislative sessions I ranked in the top third. I just won’t vote for some the ideas my opponent favors: specifically, guns in bars and guns in schools.

And I didn’t vote for a tax cut that would have been financed with borrowed money. That’s not fiscal responsibility.

My opponent distributed a “Compare the Candidates” piece that is filled with distortions and lies. For the real story, point by point, go to my website:

The Tucson Citizen endorsed me, saying that “The State Senate needs Pete Hershberger’s moderate voice,” and added that I have “ably represented District 26 for eight years.”  They characterize my opponent’s positions as revealing “…an uncompromising partisanship that would succeed only in raising the acrimony level in the state Capitol.” The Citizen’s endorsement can also be found on my website.

There is a clear choice for State Senate in District 26. I ask you to consider the facts. Once you do, I hope you will honor me with your vote on September 2nd.

Al Melvin

A simple election between candidates with opposite political beliefs has turned into a maddening example of what is wrong with politics. I watch in disbelief as my opponent ignores his liberal eight-year record and suddenly campaigns as a conservative. Outside groups and Democrats spend heavily to help him and mostly-Phoenix lobbyists provide him with the majority of his campaign funding. To top it off, he travels the district accusing me of being “extreme” and “dishonest”. It is shameless, deceitful, and the kind of campaign that turns people off to politics.

It also makes it critical that Republicans take the time to learn the facts and make an informed decision.

Visit and look at the material that is on there. My campaign has sourced every claim and every fact. And the facts are striking…

Pete Hershberger is the most liberal Republican in the Legislature

Hershberger voted for the budgets that drove us into deficits and is the biggest spender of any House Republican

Hershberger voted to raise our property taxes by $250 Million

Hershberger opposed Prop 200 and numerous efforts to crack down on illegal immigration

Hershberger’s politics are so liberal that he was the only Republican to vote “No” on 3-strikes legislation to keep violent criminals off the street and the only Republican to vote “No” on protecting traditional marriage between one man and one woman.

In comparison, I am a conservative family man who believes in traditional Republican values; a secure border, lower taxes and smaller government.  I believe in giving parents the right to choose the best school for their children, I believe in marriage between one man and one woman, and I believe that violent criminals belong behind bars. I have been endorsed by the NRA, Arizona Right-to-Life, and other Republican leaders, as well as conservative, pro-family, and pro-business groups.

As you drive in district you will see bright neon signs with Hershberger’s name and a Republican elephant on them, each with some phrase to make you think of him as a conservative. You probably don’t know that those signs are paid for by Democrat-aligned groups based in Phoenix.

Please, take the time and check the facts.  Then, pass the word to friends and neighbors, alerting them to what is going on in our district. Arizona is in deep fiscal trouble because of my opponent and his liberal allies. They have already raised our taxes and they will do so again rather than cutting spending. If you want less government, lower taxes, and safer streets, then I ask for your vote.

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