(KYMA, KECY, CNN)- The leader of Democrats in the Arizona House of Representatives is stepping aside amid criticism within her own caucus and a challenge in leadership elections planned for this week.
Minority Leader Charlene Fernandez was facing a challenge for her leadership post in this coming Tuesday’s caucus elections from Rep. Diego Espinoza. She announced Saturday on Twitter that she would not seek the leadership role. She instead threw her support to Rep. Reginald Bolding.
Democrats were hoping to win a majority of the 60-member House in last week’s election for the first time since the mid-1960s but apparently failed to do so despite millions in spending targeting Republicans. With vote counts ongoing and the outcome of some races still uncertain, it appears likely House Republicans will retain their 31-29 majority.
Democrats appear to have gained one seat in the west Phoenix suburbs but also lost one seat to Republicans in Fernandez’s own district, which runs from the southwest Phoenix suburbs to Yuma.
Senate Democrats are also holding their caucus elections this week. They will choose a replacement for Sen. David Bradley, who chose not to seek reelection to another term in the Senate.
Senate Republicans reelected Sen. Karen Fann for another term as their leader last week. She will remain president if current vote totals hold. The Senate was split 17-13 for Republicans before the election and if vote count totals hold will maintain their majority.
House Republicans reelected Rep. Rusty Bowers for another term as speaker last week.