A Democratic Arizona legislator is leaving voters with only one option in November’s election.
Four-term state Rep. Diego Espinoza announced his resignation on Friday, according to Fox News. Espinoza just won the Democratic primary for a state Senate seat last month. Now, he won’t be on the November ballot.
Without a Republican nominee for state senator in the southwest Phoenix district in question — District 22, which was drawn heavily Democratic by the state’s redistricting commission — voters will only be able to write in a state Senate candidate.
Espinoza said he’s taking a government relations job with the Salt River Project, one of the biggest electric utilities in the state.
The sitting legislator whom Espinoza defeated in the August primary is slamming his rival for the apparent bait-and-switch move.
“He wasn’t true to the voters, knowing that he was going to do this,” state Rep. Richard Andrade said, according to Fox.
Andrade said he had heard that Espinoza was considering ditching his seat during the primary.
“It shows this isn’t the type of leadership we need, where you deceived the voters into thinking you’re working for your community when, in reality, you’re working for your self-interest,” he said.
The two Democratic members of the Arizona House faced off in the Senate primary because they were both facing term limits.
Andrade is considering his options in light of the surprise resignation. He hasn’t decided if he’ll launch a write-in campaign for the Arizona Senate.
Meanwhile, the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors will appoint an interim representative to complete the remainder of Espinoza’s state House term, which ends in January.
Under state law, the replacement must be a Democrat, Fox reported.
Democrats have made consistent gains in Arizona elections in recent years, turning what was once a solidly red state into a purple battleground.
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