The Veridus Weekly 11-16-18


The Veridus Weekly


In Focus

What a difference 10 days (and 500,000+ votes) make . . .
In the immediate aftermath of the Nov. 6 election, it appeared Arizona Republicans may have successfully dodged the Blue Wave. But with many races too close to call – and 500,000 votes uncounted in Maricopa County alone – we braced for shake-ups. And shake-ups there were.
Most notably: the historic U.S. Senate race to replace outgoing Sen. Jeff Flake. After initially holding a razor-thin edge against Congresswoman Kyrsten Sinema, GOP Congresswoman Martha McSally quickly lost ground as votes from Maricopa and Pima counties continued to roll in. By Sunday evening, Sinema led McSally by roughly 33,000 votes. Realizing a comeback would be virtually impossible, Congresswoman McSally conceded to her opponent Monday night. Sinema will be the first woman ever to represent Arizona in the U.S. Senate, and the first Democrat in 30 years.
That’s not all. In addition to the Senate victory, Democrats appear poised to win three additional statewide seats: Secretary of State; Superintendent of Public Instruction and Arizona Corporation Commission. Details of these and other races are below.
Superintendent of Public Instruction: After narrowly trailing her opponent on Election Night, Democrat Kathy Hoffman has upset Republican Frank Riggs to win the seat with a nearly 63k vote advantage.
Secretary of State: The Associated Press called the race for GOP candidate Steve Gaynor on Election Night, but it appears the voters had other plans. Democrat Katie Hobbs now leads her opponent by more than 13,000 votes and will likely win the seat.
Corporation Commission: Democrat Sandra Kennedy surpassed Republicans Rodney Glassman and Justin Olson and likely will claim the first open seat on the Arizona Corporation Commission. Olson, the incumbent, leads Glassman by just over 4,000 votes in a race that is still too-close-to-call.
  • Democrats are now in the driver’s seat in LD 17 as Jennifer Pawlik (D-Chandler) is now the top vote-getter in the House race leading Jeff Weninger (R-Chandler) by just over 100. 
  • In LD 28, Democrat Aaron Lieberman (D-Phoenix) widened his lead over Representative Maria Syms (R-Paradise Valley) to more than 2,000 votes, eliminating dual-party representation for the district in the House.
  • Senator Brophy McGee (R-Paradise Valley) continues to hold a narrow lead in her race, and thus a 17-13 Republican majority in the Senate. Brophy McGee currently leads by 380 votes over Christine Marsh (D-Phoenix).
  • While the Democrats unsuccessfully challenged Senator Sylvia Allen (R-Snowflake) for the LD 6 Senate seat, Democrat Felicia French (D-Pine) has slowly gained ground on Republican Bob Thorpe (R-Flagstaff) in his bid for reelection. French now trails Thorpe by fewer than 600 votes.
The counting continues with outstanding ballots estimated at 92,000 – nearly all of which are in Maricopa County.

Despite slight drop, Arizona still leads nation in women officeholders
Arizona Capitol Times

Despite a record number of women running for office this year, Arizona will actually lose one female elected official when congressional and legislative delegations take office in January.

But experts say the one-seat drop is nothing to worry about in a state that has regularly elected women to office, and other states are only now starting to catch up.

[...] Arizona had one of the nation’s highest percentages of women on the ballot this year, according to a Cronkite News review of ballots across the country.

And the state elected its first female U.S. senator as U.S. Rep. Martha McSally, a Republican, conceded defeat on November 12, to U.S. Rep. Kyrsten Sinema, a Democrat, to fill the seat being vacated by Republican Sen. Jeff Flake.

And while Sinema will take Flake’s seat, her seat in the U.S. House will be taken by former Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton, taking Arizona’s U.S. House delegation from six men and three women to seven men and two women. And unofficial election returns indicate that women will lose one seat in the Arizona Legislature, falling from 36 members today to 35 in 2019.

The state is still a leader in electing women, however, according to data from the National Conference of State Legislatures. While votes from the November 6 election are still being counted, the Women’s Legislative Network of NCSL shows Arizona tied with Vermont for the highest percentage of women in the Legislature in 2018, with 40 percent each.

The data shows a pretty consistent increase in women in legislative and congressional seats over the years in Arizona.

[...] Read more HERE.
Arizona Democrats turned the state more purple in 2018. Will it last?
Arizona Republic

Two years of seething over 2016 and a late surge of voters seem to have helped Arizona Democrats narrowly break the state's recent Republican red domination.

But can they keep it?

U.S. Sen.-elect Kyrsten Sinema's slim victory snaps a string of nine Senate losses in a row for Democrats in Arizona.

Democrats are also leading in the statewide races for secretary of state and schools superintendent, as well as a seat on the Corporation Commission.

At the congressional level, Democrats won five of nine seats in the U.S. House of Representatives for the first time in six years and won the statewide vote count in those races for the first time in recent history.

At the Legislature, Democrats came within two seats of the GOP in the House of Representatives. It was their best showing there since 1966.

[...] Read more HERE.

Kyrsten Sinema Declared Winner in Arizona Senate Race
New York Times

PHOENIX — Representative Kyrsten Sinema, a Democrat and former social worker, scored a groundbreaking victory in the race for a Senate seat in Arizona, defeating her Republican opponent after waging a campaign in which she embraced solidly centrist positions.

Ms. Sinema’s victory over Martha McSally, a Republican congresswoman and former Air Force pilot, marks the first Democratic triumph since 1976 in a battle for an open Senate seat in Arizona. Ms. Sinema takes the seat being vacated by Jeff Flake, a Republican who is leaving the Senate after repeated clashes with President Trump.

Ms. Sinema’s victory guarantees the Democrats at least 47 Senate seats. Republicans control 51, with two still undecided: Florida, where there is a recount, and Mississippi, where there is a runoff.

The outcome in Arizona had been too close to call for nearly a week, as large numbers of early and mailed ballots were counted. Ms. Sinema had trailed slightly in initial tallies on Election Day, but later counting put her ahead by a growing margin. On Monday, The Associated Press called the race and Ms. McSally conceded.

In a statement on Facebook Monday night, Ms. Sinema pointedly struck a nonpartisan note as she pledged to continue working in government to “find common ground.”

[...] Read more HERE.
Veridus clients in the news

Why Walmart wants to transform acres of store parking lots into bustling town centers
Phoenix Business Journal

The nation’s largest retailer wants to redevelop some of its sprawling parking lots into bustling town centers.

Walmart Inc. (NYSE: WMT) is evaluating whether to transform underused land at its stores across the U.S. into new offerings such as restaurants, shops, food halls, parks, entertainment venues and more, said a top executive with Walmart during an Oct. 23 retail conference in Atlanta.

It’s a new concept called the “Walmart Town Center,” said LB Johnson, vice president of U.S. Realty Operations for Walmart, the keynote speaker at the 2018 International Council of Shopping Centers Southeast Conference & Deal Making.

Walmart has created a website highlighting multiple plans for so-called reimagined centers, with the closest such concept slated for Loveland, Colorado. Renderings of the reimagined center depict walking paths, family-friendly gathering places and water interplay, along with reinvigorated entertainment and dining options.

[...] Delia Garcia, Walmart senior director of communications, said that interested developers — in Phoenix or elsewhere — can contact Walmart’s real estate division at

[...] Consider the amount of real estate that could be involved.

Across the U.S., Walmart has 5,358 stores, including 3,561 Supercenters and 597 Sam’s Clubs, according to a March 30 filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

Arizona is home to 127 Walmart-owned stores, mostly its Supercenters in suburban parts of the state's largest metro areas in Phoenix and Tucson.

Walmart has 50 stores in the Phoenix area across the Valley, according to the company. It is the Valley's third-largest employer with more than 34,000 workers, according to PBJ research.

[...] Walmart plans to break ground in late 2019 on one of its Town Center projects, reimagining a Supercenter in Loveland, Colorado There, the retailer owns 12 acres of vacant land next to the store and 6 to 8 acres of parking field — typical for a Supercenter, Johnson said.

[...] Read more HERE.

Trump throws support behind criminal justice bill
The Hill

President Trump threw his support behind long-stalled bipartisan criminal justice reform legislation on Wednesday, kicking off a legislative sprint on Capitol Hill, where obstacles remain to getting the bill to his desk by the end of the year.

Trump formally backed the legislation during a White House event while surrounded by GOP lawmakers, outside groups and son-in-law and adviser Jared Kushner. The president said lawmakers had “poured their time” and “heart” into getting an agreement.

[...] Advocates of the bill are in a lobbying frenzy on Capitol Hill to lock down undecided votes. A group of senators led by Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) are expected to quickly introduce legislation and Senate GOP leadership has pledged to measure support for the bill.

If Congress can pass criminal justice reform legislation it would mark a significant victory for Grassley and Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), who have been negotiating for years. Trump announced support for the bill a week after the midterm elections, where Democrats won back enough seats to take control of the House next year.

The Senate deal links the House’s prison reform bill with four sentencing provisions, according to draft legislation and bill summaries viewed by The Hill.

The sentencing provisions include reducing lifetime mandatory minimum sentences after two prior felony drug convictions to at least 25 years; reducing minimum sentences after one prior conviction from 20 to 15 years; and making the Fair Sentencing Act retroactive.

It also would expand an existing safety valve for mandatory minimum sentencing that would not apply retroactively.

[...] The president announcing his support is also a crucial step for the criminal justice reform legislation having any chance of passing Congress this year.

Holly Harris, the head of Justice Action Network, said lawmakers in both parties have been “holding their cards very close until the president endorses the package,” but now that he’s backing the legislation “the dominos fall.”

[...] Read more HERE.

Arizona among top states for tribal gaming, study says
Phoenix Business Journal

Arizona's tribal gaming business is among the strongest nationwide, accounting for roughly $4.75 billion in annual economic output and producing thousands of jobs in the state, according to a new study by the American Gaming Association.

The study, prepared by California-based Meister Economic Consulting, found Arizona tribes' economic impact from 25 casinos was only topped in annual impact by four other states: California, Florida, Oklahoma and Washington. The study examined output, measured by sales, jobs produced and wages and taxes paid.

Arizona tribal casinos also generated 38,069 jobs and were responsible for nearly $2 billion in wages. They also contributed $691 million in tax revenue to the state.

The overall study showed Native American gaming represented half of all gaming economic output in the U.S. and produced a portrait of the industry as one that provided jobs and tax revenue to states, said Sara Slane, senior vice president of public affairs for the American Gaming Association, in a statement.

Overall, the industry produced a roughly $105 billion output with more than 676,000 jobs through 500 casinos.

California was the top state for Indian gaming impact, accounting for nearly one-fifth of the total U.S. output.

Arizona casinos saw gaming revenue decline during 2016, the most recent year for which information is available, but casinos were able to increase non-gaming revenue to offset that decrease.

Read HERE.
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