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.

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

Continue reading

Hit Me With Your Best Shot: Single-Shot Voting in Arizona on November 4

What is single-shot voting?

The Arizona governor’s race is straight-forward: There is one seat open, and you can only vote for one candidate to fill that seat. Some races have more than one seat open and there are multiple candidates running to fill multiple seats. In the district races for Arizona House of Representative seats, there are two seats to fill and often more than two candidates are running.


In House races in which we only endorse one candidate, you can maximize your vote’s impact with a single-shot vote.


What happens if a voter looks at their options for those races and sees only one candidate who aligns with their values and goals for the state? Easy. You vote for only that candidate. When a voter casts their ballot for only one candidate instead of two, that vote automatically receives a greater percentage of all ballots cast. Your candidate now has a better chance at winning the election. That is single-shot voting.

Each of the following four PPAA-endorsed candidates are the only advocates for reproductive justice and LGBTQ rights running in their districts. You can help these individuals by voting only for them.

Carmen Casillas is the only Democratic candidate for Arizona House of Representatives in Legislative District 8. The other two options in this race are Frank Pratt and T.J. Shope — both incumbents, Republicans, and proactive in ensuring that an Arizona woman’s reproductive rights remain extremely limited. Casillas’ previous political experience ranges from vice mayor and councilwoman for the city of Globe. She also believes all people should be treated equally and with respect: “it doesn’t matter — color, race, creed religion, sexuality.” Casillas has made it clear that working to increase the equality and respect of Arizona women is a priority: “I’m going to aggressively fight for women to have the right to choose their own health care.” Continue reading

Meet Our Candidates: Carmen Casillas for State Representative, LD 8

The Arizona general election will be held on November 4, 2014. 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.” In order to vote in the general election, you must register to vote by October 6 — and can even register online. Make your voice heard in 2014!

Legislative District 8 is geographically expansive, ranging from just north of Maricopa northeast past Globe and south as far as San Manuel. It includes all of Globe, Florence, and Coolidge, parts of Casa Grande, and many smaller communities. By making education, jobs and the economy, public safety, and comprehensive immigration reform cornerstones of her campaign — and by knocking on plenty of doors — Carmen Casillas seeks to represent this district in the Arizona House of Representatives.

She took time out from canvassing on September 19 to participate in the telephone interview transcribed below.


“Everyone, it doesn’t matter — color, race, creed, religion, sexuality — everyone should be treated equally and with respect.”


Tell us a little about your background.

I am a mother of three — I just lost my son, 36 years old, on August 2 — a grandmother of nine, and a great-grandmother of one. And I’m very proud of all of them. I am born and raised here in Globe, Arizona, and I’ve tried to improve the quality of life here. Hopefully, I did.

I was a past vice mayor for two years and past councilwoman for four years with the city of Globe. I am the founder and CEO of the DVVA Response Team, an acronym that stands for the Domestic Violence Victims’ Advocate Response Team. This program was started from scratch and ran for a period of 10 years. I am co-founder of the Boys and Girls Club here in Globe. I am co-founder of Gila House; that is a program for families who have been burnt out or are in the process of a foreclosure that is not due to their own making. And now we are moving into helping members of the homeless population who have passed drug tests and background screenings. I am a strong leader in my community. Continue reading

Meet Our Candidates: Karyn Lathan for State Representative, LD 17

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 midnight tonight (October 9) — and can even register online. Make your voice heard in 2012!

Karyn Lathan, an Arizona native from Chandler, is running in Legislative District 17 for a seat in the Arizona House of Representatives, an area that includes Chandler, Sun Lakes, and part of Gilbert. She has had a career in law enforcement and corrections, and ended her 25-year career as the restorative justice coordinator for the Arizona Department of Corrections. Lathan is currently finishing her degree in business administration at the University of Phoenix.


“We have rolled women’s rights back to the 1950s.”


Lathan is the sole pro-women’s health candidate running for the House in Legislative District 17, facing off against Republican opponents Tom Forese and J.D. Mesnard. Because of the views of the other candidates in the LD 17 House election, Planned Parenthood Advocates of Arizona is recommending a “single-shot vote” for Karyn Lathan. Lathan generously took the time for an interview with us on October 5, 2012.

Tell us about your background and how it will serve your constituents.

I spent my career in law enforcement, first in the U.S. Air Force, then in corrections. I was a correctional officer, correctional programs officer, and probation and parole officer. I ended my career in corrections when I returned to Arizona and started the first restorative justice program for the Arizona Department of Corrections. Currently I am a commissioner with the Chandler Domestic Violence Commission and work with several victim services agencies. I am a consultant for Coalition to End Arizona’s Sexual Exploitation (CEASE). My passion lies with women’s issues and anti-violence issues.

My whole career has been about community and how to have a safe, productive community. I will continue to fight for the quality of life that we all deserve and that emphasizes respect and progress. A chain is only as strong as its weakest link — so is a community. Continue reading

Meet Our Candidates: Emily Verdugo for State Representative, LD 8

The Arizona primary election will be held on August 28, 2012. With so many recent legislative challenges to reproductive health care access, both nationally and statewide, the importance of this election year 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 running a series called “Meet Our Candidates,” spotlighting each Planned Parenthood Advocates of Arizona-endorsed candidate. To vote in the primaries, you must register to vote by July 30 — and can even register online. Make your voice heard in 2012!

Emily Verdugo is a candidate running for a seat in the Arizona House of Representatives, where she hopes to represent Legislative District 8 in the Pinal County area. Planned Parenthood Advocates of Arizona is not endorsing any other state representative candidates in the LD 8 primary. Though voters have the option of selecting two candidates, doing so may disadvantage Verdugo’s chances in her tight race. We recommend a single-shot* vote for Emily Verdugo in the House race.


“No one knows what is best for you and your family but you!”


What follows is an exclusive interview with Verdugo, who shared her views about access to reproductive health care and comprehensive sex education in Arizona. This interview took place on July 12, 2012.

Tell us a little about your background.

I am a native Arizonan, grew up in small, rural mining communities to Mexican parents. I moved to Pinal County when I was a teenager and have made my home here. I attended Arizona State University, where I earned concurrent degrees in history and political science. I also attended Northern Arizona University, where I completed my graduate studies in public management. I am a single mother of two young sons, and I work for a nonprofit grantee of the Workforce Investment Act program that provides job and skills training to farm workers. I am committed to ensuring that education and health care are at the forefront of my large rural district, and this includes accessible reproductive health and services. Continue reading