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What’s the most competitive legislative district in Arizona?

Republicans have an advantage of just over 51,000 voters compared to the 40,000 voters registered as Democrats. But 52,000 have no party affiliation.

CHANDLER, Ariz. – A 12News analysis of recent election and voter registration records shows the 13th Legislative District in the Southeast Valley may be the most competitive district between Democrats and Republicans.

The district includes parts of Chandler and Gilbert. It extends to Loop 101 to the west, Lindsay Road to the east, Highway 60 to the north and Hunt Highway to the south.

Republicans have an advantage of just over 51,000 voters compared to the 40,000 voters registered as Democrats. The district has 52,000 nonpartisan registered voters. Voters in the district slightly favor Doug Ducey for governor in 2018 and Katie Hobbs for governor in 2022.

The district sent two Republicans to the state Legislature (Sen. J.D. Mesnard and ousted Rep. Liz Harris) and one Democrat (Rep. Jennifer Parikh).

“These races could actually be a turning point in the state Senate and the state House, where Democrats are running one-vote deficits in both states,” said DJ Quinlan, a Democratic political consultant. “You’ve seen this in this space over the past few decades. “The growth of Intel, the microchip industry, the influx of new voters who are more educated and less partisan, we’re seeing a very close election.”

Quinlan said the Arizona Independent Redistricting Commission intentionally designed four uniquely competitive districts, including LD13.

LD13 was also a source of drama during last year’s legislative session, reflecting the influence of conspiracy thinking among many far-right voters.

House Republicans and Democrats voted in April to expel Rep. Harris. Republican leaders concluded that Harris deceived leadership by presenting a witness at a formal hearing who laid out a ridiculous criminal conspiracy involving drug cartels, elected leaders of both parties and even the Mormon Church.

RELATED: Now-former state Rep. Liz Harris ousted from Arizona House

It remains to be seen how the election-denier camp within the Republican Party will affect the next election.

“This reflects a distrust of institutions that’s not going away,” said Stan Barnes, a Republican political consultant. “A lot of people have lost interest in this movement because of Trump, and he just can’t get over his A prank. But the movement is real. And it’s bigger than people.”

Asked whether he thought the MAGA wing of the party would help or hurt swing constituencies like LD13 next year, Barnes said he was unsure “how the ball is going to bounce”.

“The Trump movement, the MAGA movement, has 35 to 40 percent loyal followers. The left has 35 to 40 percent. And then there’s the people in the middle who are just trying to figure out what’s in their best interest,” said Barnes.

A recent Pew Research Center survey showed voters’ top three concerns are inflation, health care costs and dysfunction in Washington, D.C.

Quinlan said he expects Democrats to emphasize a pro-democracy platform next year.

“I think voters are concerned about more of the traditional pocketbook issues every day. However, as we get closer to the election, I think more of the stakes of the election will come into play, especially the fundamental issues of democracy,” Quinlan said .

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