Ahwatukee is assured of seeing a new senator represent it in the Arizona Senate next January after incumbent Republican Jeff Dial was ousted in Tuesday’s primary election by challenger Frank Schmuck.
Schmuck, a decorated Gulf War veteran and commercial airline pilot, defeated Dial with nearly 53 percent of the vote to Dial’s 47, according to unofficial results.
Schmuck will now take on Sean Bowie, a political newcomer who works for the Office of University Provost at Arizona State University.
Dial was seeking his second term as senator and had served one term as a Legislative District 18 state representative from 2010-12.
This is Schmuck’s second entry into politics. He unsuccessfully ran for the State House in 2008.
Though both Republican candidates ran on platforms stressing their conservative values, Schmuck took to the attack early and continued questioning Dial’s military record, his college background and even some of the businesses he claimed he had been involved in.
Schmuck also played strongly on his own military record, appealing to veterans with his history of involvement on their behalf.
Dial congratulated Schmuck, telling the Ahwatukee Foothills News today that "he ran a good race."
He said he would stay involved in public policy despite his defeat, though he added, "Right now I'm going to concentrate on making money. I spent a little too much time on public policy."
A graduate of the U.S. Air Force Academy, Schmuck was a pilot during the Persian Gulf War of 1991. His website records how he was in Saudi Arabia when a SCUD missile attack killed 27 fellow American military personnel. He said he airlifted wounded from the battlefield and earned the Air Force’s Air Medal.
A Tempe resident, he retired and joined the Air Force Reserves in 1993, trained pilots to fly the Boeing 737 and is currently a pilot for Southwest Airlines.
Bowie, an Ahwatukee resident and a former student in the Kyrene School District, works for ASU as a senior planning analyst in the provost’s office.
There was no contest in the primary election for the state House in LD 18 for either party.
That means that this fall, incumbent Republican state representatives Jill Norgaard and Bob Robson will be running against Democrat Denise “Mitzi” Epstein and Green Party hopeful Linda Macias.
LD 18 also includes parts of Chandler, Tempe and Mesa.