Legislative District 11 Clean Elections Debate

Republican candidate Al Melvin speaks Monday night at Pima Community College Northwest Campus for a debate put on by the Arizona Citizens Clean Election Commission.

J.D. Fitzgerald/The Explorer

Sen. Al Melvin was elected to a third term in the Arizona Senate Tuesday night, defeating Democrat Jo Holt for a seat in Legislative District 11, which was formerly District 26.

According to the unofficial count, Melvin leads Holt 38,590-28,185.

“I’m pleased with my re-election,” said Melvin. “But, I am also pleased with the election of my two teammates.”

Melvin ran along side Republicans Adam Kwasman and Sen. Steve Smith, who were running for the two seats in the House of Representatives for LD11.

The three ran as a team throughout the general election, appearing on signs and print advertisements together.

Melvin commended Smith for working as a team to help the Republican party, rather than running for the Senate.

Melvin said the way the Arizona Redistricting Commission drew the new district lines in the state showed a plan to pin Republicans against each other.

Before redistricting, Smith served as a Senator in the former Legislative District 23. After redistricting, is seat fell into Melvin’s district in LD11.

“You can see what the commission did with the redistricting, and a Democrat-leading chairwoman who drew the lines. They put me in a Republican district, but pinned me against a fellow Republican. They had hoped we would tear each other apart in the primary, and a Democrat would just around and pick up the pieces. (Steve Smith) was working for the party here.”

Smith, who opted not to see a Senate seat, went on to win the election. He and Kwasan defeated Democrat David Joseph.

Besides LD11, Melvin said the redistricting hurt other Republicans in the Nov. 6 General Election.

Melvin blamed the new district lines on incumbent Sen. Frank Antenori losing in LD 10. Antenori lost to Democrat David Bradley 37,157-31,919.

Melvin said Antenori’s district was purposely drawn to have more Democrats than Republicans, giving an unfair advantage to Bradley.

Now that Melvin has been elected to a new two-year term, the senator said he plans to continue looking at education, jobs and recruiting more businesses to come to Arizona.

Melvin said he hopes to continue as chairman of the state’s Commerce and Energy Committee, which is tasked with creating more jobs in Arizona.

In looking at the economy, Melvin said he is going to push for the opening of the controversial Rosemont Copper Mine in the Santa Rita Mountains.

Melvin said he’d like the state to create two legislative caucuses; having one focus on mining, and the other on tourism.

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