Sat, July 20

Senate-hopeful Nikki Check Bagley delivers underdog surprise

Nikki Check Bagley

Nikki Check Bagley

VERDE VALLEY – Election results for District 6 State Senate candidate Democrat Nikki Check Bagley showed her within 100 votes of incumbent Republican Senator Sylvia Tenney Allen in Yavapai County voting- - but shy the 2,816 statewide votes needed to claim the seat from her, according to the Yavapai County Recorder’s Office.

As of 10:50 a.m. Nov. 9, the Yavapai County Recorder’s Office showed Bagley gained 11,920 votes and Allen 12,020 votes countywide, with statewide totals showing Bagley at 38,023 votes and Allen at 40,838 votes.

“No matter what, I am glad that I ran. I had a wonderful experience. I learned a lot and met a lot of wonderful voters,” said Bagley, who was inspired to run for Senate after tiring of legislative cuts to education and infrastructure.

Bagley is no stranger to public service. She served as Councilmember and Mayor with the Town of Jerome and is a graduate of the Flinn-Brown Civic Leadership Academy. She is perhaps best known for her work as Director of Viticulture at Yavapai College, with a farming background that includes two degrees in Agriculture.

A youthful 32 years of age, Bagley’s campaign brought with it fresh concepts such as supporting rural broadband infrastructure and emerging industries. Describing herself as a “conservative Democrat,” Allen remembers a time when Arizona farmers and ranchers (such as her family) were Democratic-leaning.

“Then Ronald Reagan arrived in the 1980’s offering to fix some things and we lost them,” she said.

Traditionally a Republican-voting area, Yavapai County has seen its share of “Democrats in Republican clothing,” hoping to skate on a straight-ticket vote despite contradictions in viewpoints. On the other hand, Bagley maintained her integrity by sticking-by the Democrat party platform of funding education, protecting natural resources and encouraging public projects.

But Bagley is no “party zombie.” She was quoted in this publication’s Q&A as saying, “I am not enthusiastic about any of the 2016 candidates for President.” Her campaign literature depicts her toting a firearm and she is pro small-business and cost-efficient higher education.

“We crossover in many issues. I’ve had Republicans tell me I’m the first Democrat they’ve ever voted for,” said Bagley.

Although Bagley may have missed her chance to change the legislative system from within, she has not given up hope.

“Running for office with a full-time job and raising a toddler was one of the hardest things I have ever done,” she said. “But I love my state. When the time is right, I would be willing to run again.”