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Jeff Weninger launches bid to return to AZ House in ‘highly competitive’ district

By: - August 1, 2023 11:06 am

Jeff Weninger in June 2022. Photo by Gage Skidmore (modified) | Flickr/CC BY-SA 2.0

Former state lawmaker Jeff Weninger announced Monday that he is seeking a return to the Capitol in 2024 in what is expected to be one of the most hotly contested races that could determine which party controls the Arizona House of Representatives. 

Facing term limits after eight years in the state House, Weninger ran for state treasurer in 2022, but lost in the Republican primary after incumbent Kimberly Yee abandoned her bid for governor and instead sought re-election. 

Weninger was replaced in the House by Liz Harris, who was expelled from the legislature for inviting a woman who made unfounded criminal allegations against lawmakers at a February hearing, then lying about it to the Ethics Committee. Harris was replaced by Julie Willoughby


Weninger, a former Chandler vice-mayor, touted his experience at the Capitol.

“I think my district knows that I’m effective,” Weninger said, adding that he has a “very conservative voting record.” 

In an interview with the Mirror, Weninger touted his time in the legislature passing reforms such as legislation aimed at developers forcing condominium owners to sell and adding additional protections for pregnant women from being discriminated against by their employers

“Those are bills that are not right or left, it is just common sense stuff we need here in Arizona,” Weninger said.

Legislative District 13 is considered “highly competitive,” and is currently represented by Willoughby, a Republican, and Jennifer Pawlik, a Democrat. Pawlik has announced she won’t seek re-election; Weninger, Willoughby and Democrats Brandy Reese and Shante Saulsberry have filed paperwork declaring their intent to run for the two seats. Republicans currently hold a 31-29 majority in the House, making District 13 one of several 2024 races that could determine which party controls the chamber.

Weninger, who said he has traveled more during his time off from the Capitol “than in the last 16 years combined,” said he believes he can handle the new legislature that currently inhabits the Capitol. 

“I think I’d be ready for anything,” Weninger said, adding he hopes that sessions don’t last as long as this one.

***UPDATE: This story has been updated to include Brandy Reese among the declared candidates for District 13.


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Jerod MacDonald-Evoy
Jerod MacDonald-Evoy

Reporter Jerod MacDonald-Evoy joined the Arizona Mirror from the Arizona Republic, where he spent 4 years covering everything from dark money in politics to Catholic priest sexual abuse scandals. He brings strong watchdog sensibilities and creative storytelling skills to the Arizona Mirror.