Oct. 24, 2004
Tribune Election 2004 Special Section
The District 17 House race is among the most competitive in the state this year as two incumbents fight off challenges from a popular former state lawmaker and a political newcomer running his first campaign.
And Republican challenger Jesse Hernandez has a tough fight ahead as he seeks to upset Sen. Harry Mitchell, D-Tempe, for the district’s Senate seat.
Mitchell, long a fixture of East Valley politics, has defended himself against accusations from Hernandez that he knowingly allowed the discrimination of city employees while mayor of Tempe from 1978 to 1994.
In the House race, Rep. Meg Burton-Cahill and Edward Ableser, both Democrats, are battling Rep. Mark Thompson and a former state legislator for the district’s two seats.
Burton-Cahill was elected to the state House in 2000 and is the ranking Democrat on the Appropriations Committee.
Ableser graduated from Arizona State University in 2000 and is running in his first statewide race.
Thompson, who was elected in 2002, has touted a legislative record that includes sponsoring a bill that brought in hundreds of millions of dollars to ASU for research.
Laura Knaperek served in the state House from 1995 to 2002 until term limits forced her out. All four House candidates are publicly funded.