TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) - If Democrat Regina Romero wins, she will be Tucson’s first female mayor and the first Hispanic since 1875.
If Independent Ed Ackerley wins, he’ll be the first Independent Mayor.
He says there have been a few “no party affiliations” in the past but not elected as an Independent.
The primary election was also historical because of the turnout. More voters cast ballots for a primary than ever before.
That’s good news for groups like Mi Familia Vota, which has been working for a decade to increase Hispanic turnout.
It was formed after Arizona passed SB 1070, the anti immigration law passed by the legislature and signed by then Governor Republican Jan Brewer.
Much of the law was overturned by the United States Supreme Court.
Hispanic turnout has been an issue in Arizona for decades. They make up about a third of the population but vote in the high teens.
But Mi Familia Vota feels the primary is an indication it may have turned a corner.
“We know that we need to get some wins to insure that we can keep adding Latinos and people of color into the turnout in every single election,” said Eduardo Sainz, the state director.
Sainz points to the overwhelming victory of Mayoral candidate Romero over two others in the Democratic primary as an important win.
Romero, besides being the first woman mayor, has been paving the way to Latina women for years.
A first generation American, she was the first in her family to vote, to go to college and the first Latina female elected to the Tucson City Council 12 years ago.
“There never has been a female mayor of Tucson,” she said. “Think about that for a minute.”
Tucson recently celebrated its 244th birthday.
“There’s still a lot of firsts going on,” she said. “But there’s going to be a time hopefully where we don’t have to say the first woman mayor of Tucson.”
Her primary election will change that if she prevails over Ackerley in November.
Watching all of this is 21 year old Arizona State University journalism student Stephanie Rodriguez.
“We did something amazing in the city of Tucson,” she said. “I’m inspired.”
For the next generation of Hispanics, Sainz and Romero are opening doors which had been shut in the past.
“We’ve reached it,” Rodriguez said. “We’ve broken that glass ceiling.”
She says she not afraid to speak up and knows her voice will be heard.
“I know the generation after me will just blow right through this, she said. “They won’t even think ‘what’s the glass ceiling?”
She believes their question will be “what is that.”