Arizona GOP names House, Senate leadership

November 10, 2016 GMT

PHOENIX — House and Senate Republicans selected their leadership for the next two years even as it remains unclear how many of their own they will have to lead.

In the Senate, Republicans chose Steve Yarbrough to be speaker. The Chandler lawmaker replaces Andy Biggs who was elected to Congress.

Kimberly Yee of Phoenix will be majority leader and Gail Griffin of Hereford remains as majority whip.

The Republican majority, at 18-12 after Democrat Carlyle Begay switched parties after the last election, shrinks back to 17-13 as he was replaced by Democratic Rep. Jamescita Peshlakai.

Democrats did gain a seat in Chandler with Sean Bowie defeating Republican Frank Schmuck for the seat which had been held by Republican Jeff Dial. But incumbent Democrat Barbara McGuire of Kearny was knocked off by Casa Grande Republican Rep. Frank Pratt.

Other changes remain possible with nearly 630,000 ballots uncounted as of Wednesday afternoon.

Republican Kate Brophy McGee was leading Democrat Eric Meyer by fewer than 1,000 votes for a seat opened up when Republican Adam Driggs chose to retire. And Sen. Sylvia Allen, R-Snowflake, was hanging on to her seat by fewer than 2,000 votes.

In the House, Democrats appear to have picked up one seat. But that still leaves Republicans with a 35-25 edge.

First-term incumbent Republican Chris Ackerley of Sahuarita was turned out of office. So was veteran Republican Bob Robson of Chandler.

But results Wednesday showed Tucson Democrat Stefanie Mach trailing.

House Republicans elected J.D. Mesnard of Chandler as speaker, John Allen of Scottsdale as majority leader and Kelly Townsend of Mesa as majority whip.