ARIZONA — A Maricopa Superior Court judge last week threw out a challenge to State Sen. Sylvia Allen’s nominating petition signatures, assuring her of a place on the August Republican primary ballot.
“I am excited to get back to campaigning for reelection to the state Senate,” said Allen in a prepared statement. “This type of desperate behavior from my opponent early on will be indicative of the campaign. Wendy Rogers, who lives in Tempe, is known for dirty campaigning and is still facing a defamation lawsuit from her last election.”
The Rogers campaign did not return comments requested by email.
William Chachkes, a Yavapai County gun rights activist and former teacher, asked a Maricopa County Superior Court judge to throw out about half of Allen’s 900 signatures, claiming various inconsistencies in the names, addresses and signatures.
However, the judge ruled Allen had more than the 484 signatures she needed to make it onto the August primary ballot in her quest for re-election.
Retired Lt. Col. Wendy Rogers is seeking to wrest the nomination away from Allen.
Allen has served in the legislature since 2008, with a stint on the Navajo County Board of Supervisors she hit her term limit. After sitting out a term, she returned to the legislature.
Rogers, who operates a business in Tempe, won the Republican nomination to run against Democrat Tom O’Halleran in the 1st Congressional District in 2018. She won in a crowded Republican field, marked by controversy. Republican candidate Steve Smith called on her to apologize and drop out of the race when she suggested in ads and on a website that he worked with a modeling agency linked to sex trafficking. Rogers refused and attacked Smith for insufficient loyalty to President Donald Trump.
Although Trump received more votes in CD1 than Democrat Hillary Clinton, O’Halleran not only won the seat in that election but defeated Rogers in the general election in 2018.
Rogers filed to run against Allen for the District 6 state senate seat, which stretches from Flagstaff through Rim County and the White Mountains all the way to the New Mexico Border.
Democrat Felica French, a retired Army colonel who lives in Pine, is running unopposed for the Democratic nomination. French served 32 years in the military. She flew MedEvac helicopters during the cold War in Germany, served as an Army nurse on humanitarian missions in Honduras and the Dominican Republic and as a senior medical advisor in Afghanistan. She has campaigned for more support for the state’s public schools, investment in public health and more sustainable environmental policies. She has a graduate degree in sustainability from the University of Arizona. French took time off from campaigning to hike the 800-mile Arizona trail. She ran for the House seat in District 6, but lost narrowly to Rep. Bob Thorpe (R-Flagstaff).
Rogers’ campaign has savaged Democrats generally, but barely mentioned either Allen or French. Her most recent release said she had raised $425,000, including 1,661 donations of less than $100 and 933 donations from Arizona residents. She’s a fifth-generation military officer and one of the first 100 women pilots in the Air Force. In her 20-year military career, she flew C-21 Learjets as well as C-141 transport jets.
“I am so very thankful for the small-dollar donors who are passionate about my campaign. They understand they are getting a conservative fighter who cannot be bought by lobbyists and PACs…I believe in limited government, individual liberty, securing our border, protecting our rights and protecting life.”
Most of her releases have blasted “the socialist democrats who can’t overcome their hatred of President Trump and do not want America to succeed, even in a crisis that requires us to unite.”
She said Democrats are more interested in funding sex change operations and abortions than in enacting relief measures in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic. This is an apparent reference to disputes about whether abortions and sex change operations would be considered elective surgery suspended to keep hospital beds free for COVID-19 patients.
“The Democrats right now hate America,” she wrote in a fundraising letter.
Sen. Allen heads the state senate education committee and has a voting record as one of the most conservative lawmakers. The Snowflake Republican has staunchly advocated school choice, including vouchers for private and religious schools. She has also supported state control of federal lands, broad elements of the sagebrush rebellion against federal authority over public lands in the west, the expansion and public funding of charter schools, gun rights and a host of other traditionally conservative issues – making her a tough target for an attack from the right.
Allen has rarely personalized her differences with political opponents, running almost exclusively issues-based campaigns, but she criticized Rogers attacks – and the filing of the lawsuit challenging her signatures. Ironically, a supporter of Sen. Allen in 2018 knocked then Rep. Brenda Barton off the ballot due to problems with her nomination petition signatures.
However, in the wake of the unsuccessful lawsuit Sen. Allen criticized Rogers’ “dirty campaigning” and attempt to claim residence in the district. Allen is the descendent of a pioneering, Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints ranching family, with a host of grandchildren living in the district.
“I am grateful to all the residents of legislative district 6 who took the time to sign my petition. The support you’ve shown over the years is the reason why I love being your Senator,” said Allen. “This campaign will be about the unique issues in rural Arizona. I will continue to champion important rural issues like protecting our water, forest health, agriculture, and rural jobs. My commitment to rural Arizona and the people of legislative district 6 will never waiver.”