Monday, September 08, 2008
Christopher Clark Deschene ('05) - District 2 Winner
Chabin retains House seat for Flag
J. FERGUSON Sun Staff Reporter Wednesday, September 03, 2008
Flagstaff will keep one local representative in the gerrymandered Legislative District 2, and it will be the incumbent, state Rep. Tom Chabin, D-Flagstaff. Chabin finished second in a three-person primary race to select two House members from LD2, which includes the city of the Flagstaff and the much larger Navajo Nation. The leading vote-getter was Christopher Clark Deschene, a Window Rock attorney. Finishing third and out of the running was Flagstaff contractor Mark Haughwout. Because there are no Republicans on the November ballot, Chabin and Deschene are virtually assured of election.
In the Senate Republican primary in Legislative District 1, another gerrymandered district that includes the unincorporated communities around Flagstaff but is centered in Yavapai County, veteran lawmaker Tom O'Halleran lost his seat to Prescott rancher Steve Pierce. Because there are no Democrats on the November ballot, Pierce has the seat virtually locked up.
BUDGET THE TOP CONCERN Speaking from his home on the Rez with his wife an infant son watching the polls over the Internet, Deschene said he was thrilled with the results."We are very excited here, there is a lot of energy here," Deschene said, He said concerns on how to balance the budget on during an economic downturn without cutting vital services would be his primary concern when taking office in January. "The budget is my number one concern," he said. "Once we get a handle on that we can focus on a number of issues important to northern Arizona. "Deschene said he hoped to focus on water and environmental issues during his first year in office.
Chabin said he was appreciative that the voters would send him back to the Legislature."I'm very grateful. I've enjoyed working in the Legislature for about a year and serving as a member of the House," Chabin said. "Winning the election in my own right makes me very, very grateful."Top priorities next session: Education, health care and funding mental health services. He said funding would be the biggest hurdle."For the state of Arizona to step up to the challenges of adequately funding education," Chabin said.Chabin proposes taking funding question to the voters.He said with the loss of O'Halleran he will need to work harder in finding allies in the Republican Party for legislation."We're going to have to work harder to seek moderation and reaching across the isle. This is certainly true if Sen. O'Halleran does not win his election" he said.
LABELED AN OUTSIDER Haughwout was labeled an outsider in the Democratic Party, dropped from campaign literature and not invited to some party functions after launching a legal challenge against both Deschene and state Rep. Albert Tom. At issue were the addresses used on nominating petition signatures for the candidates, and the challenge eventually led to Tom dropping out of the race when he conceded he did not have enough valid signatures. Deschene survived the legal challenge. Haughwout's challenge to signatures mostly gathered on the Rez seemingly backfired as Haughwout's campaign got less than 15 percent of the votes on the Rez.
NO NEW LAWS In Senate District 1, O'Halleran became a target of some Republicans who question his loyalty to the party and asked Pierce to run against the former Chicago police officer. Pierce outspent O'Halleran by a wide margin, $226,145 compared to $68,240.Pierce said during the campaign he had no intention of writing any new laws."I'm for less government," Pierce said in an August interview.He said the Legislature writes too many bills and he would avoid introducing new legislation if possible.Pierce was not available for comment Tuesday night.