Ignoring the Forecast: Eleven Candidates to Beat the Red District Blues

The following post was written by Marcy, Matt, and Anna.

Past election patterns and current forecasts can give pundits and the public a good idea of what to expect on Election Day, but they guarantee nothing. A new, unique, or charismatic candidate can inspire an unexpected voter turnout and make predictions less reliable — while low-turnout elections, on the other hand, commonly favor the status quo and conservative candidates. That’s why we’re spotlighting candidates whose qualities are outstanding — but whose districts haven’t always favored candidates like them. Extraordinary odds call for extraordinary candidates to overcome them, and we think these are the candidates for the job.

Let’s meet some of our endorsed candidates — all Democrats — who are currently campaigning in districts with Republican advantages.

LDs 16 20 21 22 25

Legislative districts 16, 20, 21, 22, and 25 on a map

Continue reading

Meet Our Candidates: Sheila Ogea for State Representative, LD 25

The Arizona general election will be held on November 4, 2014, and early voting is already underway! Reproductive health care access has been under attack, both nationally and statewide, but Planned Parenthood Advocates of Arizona has endorsed candidates who have shown strong commitment to reproductive justice. To acquaint you with our endorsed candidates, we are running a series called “Meet Our Candidates.” Make your voice heard in 2014!

Sheila Ogea scaledLegislative District 25 is located in Maricopa County, covering much of Mesa. Planned Parenthood Advocates of Arizona has endorsed two candidates in the House race: Sheila Ogea and David Butler.

In stark contrast to their Republican opponents, our endorsed House candidates in LD 25 are strong supporters of reproductive health and justice. As Ms. Ogea told AZCentral.com, “We need to make sure abortion is safe and accessible and work together to decrease unwanted pregnancies by making birth control and sex education available.” We asked her to talk to us in more depth about her views on reproductive-rights issues in Arizona.

Ms. Ogea was kind enough to share her thoughts with us on October 17, 2014.


“I strongly trust in a woman’s right to make her own decision about her body.”


Tell us a little about your background.

I am one of six children raised by a single mother. We lived in Arizona and California when I was growing up.

I have been married to my husband, Robert, for 47 years. We have two daughters. We lived in Michigan for about 30 years. I was a housewife, working part time occasionally as a waitress and volunteering at the school. When my daughters were old enough, I started going back to school, taking word-processing and accounting classes. I starting working through temp agencies to try and get some experience, and eventually I got a job with Wayne County Health Department.

I joined the National Organization for Women (Downriver Chapter in Michigan) in 1989 right after attending a huge rally for abortion rights in Washington, D.C. Our chapter used to volunteer to escort patients at a local abortion clinic. Continue reading

Meet Our Candidates: David Butler for State Representative, LD 25

The Arizona general election will be held on November 4, 2014, and early voting is already underway! Reproductive health care access has been under attack, both nationally and statewide, but Planned Parenthood Advocates of Arizona has endorsed candidates who have shown strong commitment to reproductive justice. To acquaint you with our endorsed candidates, we are running a series called “Meet Our Candidates.” Make your voice heard in 2014!

David Butler 2014In the House race for Legislative District 25, Planned Parenthood Advocates of Arizona has endorsed two candidates: David Butler and Sheila Ogea. LD 25 covers much of Mesa, where earlier this year high school yearbooks drew attention to Arizona’s high teen pregnancy rate by featuring a two-page spread that spotlighted the high school’s teen parents. Ranked against other states, Arizona’s teen pregnancy rate has been among the highest in the nation for many years.

David Butler is running for one of the House seats in LD 25 because he would like to see education improved in Arizona — and that includes sex education. His position on that and other reproductive justice issues earned Butler an endorsement from Planned Parenthood Advocates of Arizona when he ran in 2012 — and again this year, as he makes another run for the Arizona Legislature.

Butler faces two opponents in the race, Republicans Russell Bowers and incumbent Justin Olson, both of whom hold positions that would be detrimental to reproductive justice if given legislative traction. Bowers, who has a zero percent rating from the Stonewall Democrats of America, opposes access to abortion and does not support medically accurate sex education. Olson, too, wants to restrict abortion access and sponsored a bill to defund Planned Parenthood.

Butler generously took the time on October 18, 2014, to tell us why he is optimistic about this year’s election and to elaborate on the positive changes he’d like to see in Arizona’s health care policy.


“Caring for patients should be in the hands of the doctors and not the politicians.”


It’s great to talk to you again! How has your commitment to serving Arizona grown over the past two years? On the policy level, what has happened during that time to give you hope, and what has happened to strengthen your convictions?

My commitment and desire to serve the citizens of Arizona continued to grow over the past two years. Where policy is concerned, our state is still stuck with its head in the desert sand. My hopes and convictions are focused on the 2014 midterm elections. I feel strongly that our Democratic ticket of candidates is very strong from top to bottom. I’m amazed at the excitement and hope that so many volunteers are showing.

Earlier this year, the state legislature passed HB 2284, which permits the health department to inspect abortion clinics without a warrant. What do you think about this new law?

I am against HB 2284 because in my opinion it is anti-woman and anti-health care. Also, in some negative way it is tied to Planned Parenthood, since Planned Parenthood is one of the providers it targets. Continue reading

Meet Our Candidates: Greg Gadek for State Senate, LD 25

The Arizona general election will be held on November 6, 2012, and early voting is underway. After the many recent legislative challenges to reproductive health care access, both nationally and statewide, the importance of voting in November can’t be overstated. To help voters, Planned Parenthood Advocates of Arizona has endorsed candidates who have shown strong commitment to reproductive health and freedom. Along with those endorsements, we are spotlighting our endorsed candidates in a series called “Meet Our Candidates.” Make your voice heard in 2012!

Mesa’s legislative district hasn’t had a candidate like Greg Gadek in several years. In the last two election cycles, the Republican candidate in Legislative District 25 has run unopposed, even though in Mesa, Democrats and independents together outnumber Republicans — a majority that Gadek believes isn’t being represented by the far-right conservatism that’s become so entrenched in the legislature.


“The deeply personal issues of reproductive choice and whom to choose as a domestic partner or spouse should be considered fundamental freedoms and protected by Arizona law.”


Running as an alternative to what he has called “a good old boy network” and “business as usual,” Gadek has received Planned Parenthood Advocates of Arizona’s endorsement for his commitment to reproductive freedom and access to reproductive health care. He also noted in his interview with PPAA that he is the first person to run for office in Mesa who supports marriage equality.

Located in Maricopa County, the newly redistricted LD 25 comprises approximately half of Mesa, including Dana Park, The Groves, Hohokam Park, Red Mountain Ranch, Riverview, Las Sendas, and Superstition Springs. Gadek generously took time for an interview with PPAA on October 16, 2012, to talk about his candidacy.

Please tell us a little about your background.

My name is Greg Gadek and I am the Democratic candidate for state Senate in Mesa’s newly redistricted LD 25. I have been a resident of our Mesa district for over 25 years and, with my wife Jennifer, have raised our family here. I have been a registered independent for most of my life but my views have always been closely aligned with the Democratic Party.

Arizona Republicans have merged to the extreme far right and I believe that it is time to stand up and take our state back to the middle. Regardless of your party affiliation, if you are frustrated and angry with Mesa’s “politics as usual,” our campaign gives you a real choice. I hope to have the opportunity to meet you in person over the coming weeks and months. And I hope that you will join me. Continue reading

Meet Our Candidates: David Butler for State Representative, LD 25

The Arizona general election will be held on November 6, 2012, with early voting starting on October 11. After the many recent legislative challenges to reproductive health care access, both nationally and statewide, the importance of voting in November can’t be overstated. To help voters, Planned Parenthood Advocates of Arizona has endorsed candidates who have shown strong commitment to reproductive health and freedom. Along with those endorsements, we are spotlighting our endorsed candidates in a series called “Meet Our Candidates.” To vote in the general election, you must register to vote by October 9 — and can even register online. Make your voice heard in 2012!

Born in Cleveland, Ohio, David Butler came to Arizona in 1993 with a degree in political science from Ohio State University and an interest in politics that has spurred his involvement in many campaigns. Earlier this year Butler launched his own campaign, seeking to represent Legislative District 25 in the House of Representatives. Located in Maricopa County, LD 25 includes much of Mesa, where Butler lives with his wife Vivian.


“A woman, not politicians, should make the informed decisions when it comes to her own reproductive rights.”


Because of his positions on women’s health and choice issues, Butler has received an endorsement from Planned Parenthood Advocates of Arizona. He generously took the time for an interview with PPAA on September 26, 2012.

Please tell us a little about yourself.

I was born in Cleveland, Ohio into a typical middle class family. I graduated from the Ohio State University with a B.A. degree. I majored in political science. I moved to Arizona in 1993. I met Vivian and we were married in 2000. Between us we have four grown children and nine grandchildren. I am a self-employed wholesale distributor and sell products to local grocery chains.

You’re running against Rep. Justin Olson, who sponsored HB2800, which Planned Parenthood called a bill that “attempts to prevent Planned Parenthood from providing services to AHCCCS and Title X patients and prohibits any governmental entity from entering into a contract with or making a grant for family planning to any organization that performs abortions.” How would you respond to Olson’s involvement with this bill?

I would respond to Rep. Olson’s involvement in HB2800 by stating that the bill is an invasion of women’s reproductive rights. I believe that it is wrong to prevent Medicaid-eligible women from seeking routine preventive services, even from providers that also offer abortions. A woman, not politicians, should make the informed decisions when it comes to her own reproductive rights. Continue reading