September 9, 2004
Scottsdale-area Republican voters in District 8 could have a case of "political schizophrenia" after bucking a statewide trend Tuesday by selecting a pair of moderate candidates, while also narrowly choosing a socially conservative candidate, some observers said.
Other pundits said Wednesday it’s not surprising that candidates on both sides of the political fence advanced, attributing it to low voter turnout and a diverse voting population in Scottsdale.
Voters in District 8 — covering most of Scottsdale, Fountain Hills and Rio Verde — showed they didn’t follow Tuesday’s trend of electing conservative candidates.
Scottsdale voters cast the most votes for Sen. Carolyn Allen, R-Scottsdale, and Rep. Michele Reagan, R-Scottsdale, considered to be socially moderate GOP Senate and House members, respectively.
Voters also narrowly chose socially conservative Rep. Colette Rosati, R-Scottsdale, over political newcomer Royce Flora in the state House race.
It’s not surprising that Rosati won, because voter turnout was below 20 percent, said Bruce Merrill, a professor of political polling at Arizona State University.
"The ideologically committed voters in the Republican Party tend to be religious right and the far right," Merrill said. "They are bright, wellorganized, they raise money and most of all, they vote."
Scottsdale political consultant Jason Rose said of Rosati’s victory: "It’s an anomaly, a tribute and a testament that she was able to maintain her base through what was rapidly becoming a political ‘perfect storm’ against her."
That storm was partially created by an e-mail Rosati sent to supporters questioning the family status and marital status of Reagan and Flora. She then referred to the gay community as "the dark side."
Allen’s and Reagan’s victories could be attributed to Scottsdale as a Republican stronghold, but not necessarily a socially conservative one, Merrill and others said.
"You have a lot of people from outside of Arizona who moved into District 8 and they really are concerned about the issues," such as education, jobs and health insurance, said Nancy Buel, a Democratic challenger in District 8. "They are not interested in the social issues."
Reagan said Republicans may have a difficult time winning both House seats.
"We have a very diverse district" that votes on qualityof-life issues, Reagan said. "I guess what it says about the district is that it doesn’t just vote conservative party line."
Rosati could not be reached.