Rep. Colette Rosati landed the first punch, saying her opponent was too closely aligned with the Democratic governor.
Sen. Carolyn Allen quickly returned fire and defended her record, launching a war of words Tuesday night between the rivals battling for the District 8 Arizona Senate Republican nomination to represent most of Scottsdale and Fountain Hills.
The exchange occurred at the Citizens Clean Elections Commission debate at the Kerr Cultural Center in Scottsdale.
“I gave up a safe seat in the House of Representatives to provide voters a real choice between a very liberal senator and a fiscal conservative,” said Rosati, R-Scottsdale.
Rosati, who was elected to the House four years ago, closed by saying, “Remember, this a Republican primary.”
Incumbent Allen, R-Scottsdale, said that despite accusations of being a taxand-spend liberal, she is a moderate Republican. Allen went on to name her supporters, including Sens. John McCain and Jon Kyl, both R-Ariz., former GOP Gov. Fife Symington, Rep. J.D. Hayworth, R-Ariz., and House Speaker Jim Weiers, R-Phoenix.
“I resent you portraying me in a way that’s not true,” Allen said.
Rosati and Allen were joined on stage by the five District 8 Republican House candidates — Rep. Michele Reagan, seeking her third term, former Scottsdale City Councilman James Burke, Travis Junion, former Fountain Hills Councilman John Kavanagh and Carolyn Schoenrock. Those candidates did not take shots at one another during the debate.
There was unanimous support among candidates that illegal immigration needs to be addressed, that the state should not raise the minimum wage and that the education system needs to be improved. Other topics discussed included health care, land preservation, air quality, and the candidates’ styles and ability to work with groups.
Schoenrock was the only House candidate to say she was anti-abortion and pro-family, but after some short answers said a couple of times that she was “new to this.”
The Allen-Rosati Senate primary winner will take on Democrat Dan Oseran in the November general election, while the top two Republican vote getters in the House primary will face Democrats Stephanie Rimmer and Bill Sandberg.