16 in ‘16: Races to Watch
Alaska House District 21
The GOP has a 23-16 majority (one Independent) in the Alaska House.
A veteran of the U.S. Army, Marilyn Stewart first moved to Alaska in 1981 when she was stationed at Fort
Richardson, AK. In the 36 years since, Stewart has made Alaska her home, worked on several campaigns,
served in the administration of Anchorage Mayor Dan Sullivan and become a well-known community
leader. In 2012, she was awarded the Freedom’s Sister Award by Ford Motor Company for her commitment
to strengthening the Alaska community and inspiring and empowering others. She joined notables such
as Myrlie Evers-Williams, Barbara Jordan and Rosa Parks in receiving this award. As state representative,
Stewart will work tirelessly to foster a strong economic future for families, a friendlier business climate for
entrepreneurs and business owners, and a top-of-the-line education system for all Alaskan students.
Republicans came within 100 votes of winning this district in 2014.
Ling Ling Chang
California Senate District 29
Republicans ended the Democrat Senate supermajority in 2014.
Ling Ling Chang has represented the 55th Assembly District since 2014 –
serving as Vice Chair of the Rules Committee, and as a member of the Appropriations Committee and Privacy
& Consumer Protection Committee. Chang previously served on the Diamond Bar City Council, including as
Mayor from 2011-2012, and as a board member and president of the Walnut Valley Water District. Chang was
most recently President & CEO of the Youth Science Center, a non-profit science (STEM) education organization.
Her legislative work includes proposing the State Seal of STEM for high schoolers and designating Women
and Girls in STEM Week every April. In 2014, Chang was named California’s inaugural STEMx Policy Fellow.
She has also been recognized as one of two “Tech Champions” in the legislature by the Computing Technology
Industry Association. Promoting technology in the economy has been a priority for her as demonstrated by
her legislative efforts to grow the sharing economy. She proudly serves as one of the founding members of the
bipartisan California Technology and Innovation Caucus as well as Co-Chairing the California Future Caucus,
aimed at generating bi-partisan policies and solutions impacting younger generations.
In her 2014 Assembly run, Chang got 67 percent of the vote in a district Romney and Obama ran competitively
in and was named to the RSLC’s “14 in ’14: Races to Watch” list.
Colorado House District 3
The GOP needs a net gain of two seats to flip the chamber, last under
Republican control in 2012.
A graduate of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Katy Brown has led a long, rewarding career
in web development. Within four years of graduating from her Masters program, Brown moved to Colorado
and started her own software company. It was through her first client – the Colorado Tourism Office – that
she developed a deep appreciation for her adopted home. Brown was exposed to every corner of the state
and developed a rich understanding of its people and economy. In addition to running her business, Brown
is also a dedicated public servant who has served in a variety of roles in municipal government. In 2012,
she joined the Cherry Hills Village City Council and continues to represent her community on a variety of
committees with the aim of making her hometown a better, safer place to live for all. In those roles, Brown
has learned the important distinction between personal beliefs and public policy, and the power of people
in representative government. Brown brings to the state legislature a unique perspective on the intersection
between STEM and Colorado politics, as well as a deep commitment to the betterment of her state and a
proven passion for service.
Democrat incumbent Daniel Kagan, who is not seeking reelection, won by less than one point in 2014.
Florida House District 112
Republicans are defending a supermajority in the Florida House.
Born and raised in District 112, Rosy Palomino is a local leader, business
owner and public servant seeking to give a voice to her community. In addition to operating a New Yorkbased
medical-retail franchise, she serves as president of Tropical Nostalgia Inc., Palomino is also a veteran
educator of 18 years in Little Havana and a contributing producer for the radio program “Miami Dark” which
serves as a platform to discuss current events, politics, and urban living. As a community leader, she currently
serves as president of the Douglas Park Neighborhood Association and leads efforts to expand park access.
The daughter of Cuban exiles, Palomino is an avid supporter of limited government and individual liberty
and will fight to uphold these principles in the Florida legislature.
District 112 is an open seat that the incumbent Democrat won by only two points in 2014.
Hawaii House District 34
All 7 members of the Hawaii House Republicans Caucus were
elected in Obama-blue districts.
Jaci Agustin comes from humble beginnings. Raised by a single mother who
struggled to make ends meet, Agustin and her family spent several months in her formative years facing
homelessness living out of a van on the beach. The hurdles she faced at a young age inspired her to lead a
life of service. Agustin spent seven years working at the YMCA of Honolulu where she was able to serve over
6,000 underprivileged children weekly. During that time, Agustin became incredibly familiar with the issues
plaguing her community. After winning the Mrs. Hawaii pageant in 2013, Agustin used her platform and her
year of service to promote nutritional education and healthy eating, particularly for low-income populations.
Agustin is also a regular volunteer with several local organizations and goes out into her community twice a
month to provide assistance and relief to the local homeless population. Jaci is a first generation descendant
of the Salish Native American tribe. At the State Capitol, Agustin will continue to fight poverty and raise
Hawaii’s standard of living, using her diverse experiences and insight into the needs of her community to
guide her along the way.
This is Agustin’s second run for House District 34. She is challenging Democrat incumbent Gregg Takayama.
Iowa Senate District 30
Republicans need a net gain of three seats to flip the Senate, which
would give the GOP control of both chambers and the governorship.
A healthcare professional of over 25 years, Bonnie Sadler is running for state
Senate because Iowans deserve to have well-informed professionals crafting the policies that affect their
lives on a daily basis. As both a shareholder and the Vice President of Business Development of a chain
of pharmacies and home medical supply company, Sadler brings valuable perspective on the hurdles and
regulations faced by small businesses, inadvertently driving up costs and driving down quality. A lifelong
resident of Black Hawk County, she is committed to bettering her community in every way – whether in
terms of healthcare accessibility, education standards, or overall tax burdens. Sadler is also a well-known
leader in her community through her service with the Greater Cedar Valley Alliance & Chamber and the Big
Brothers Big Sisters of Northeast Iowa. As state Senator, Bonnie Sadler will work to make sure that future
generations have a stronger, brighter, more vibrant Iowa to look forward to.
Sadler is challenging incumbent Jeff Danielson, who won reelection with a slim two points in 2014.
Kentucky House District 99
The Kentucky state House is the last Democrat controlled chamber in
As a small business owner running a local healthcare facility, Wendy Fletcher understands the hard work
that goes into creating jobs and navigating the tricky channels of state healthcare laws. She is an Advanced
Practice Registered Nurse (APRN) and has run in numerous statewide elections in the Kentucky Coalition of
Nurse Practitioners and Nurse Midwives, where she has served over 2,000 APRNs as a member at large,
secretary, and is currently in her second term as president. As a healthcare provider, she has seen firsthand
how politics impacts patients, their families, employers and communities. As such, she has advocated for
numerous healthcare bills and regulation reforms in Frankfort over the last 17 years and aims to continue
her work in the state House. In the legislature, Fletcher will fight to increase transparency in all governmentrelated
matters, particularly pertaining to state legislative pensions. She will also focus on protecting
personal freedom, recruiting new business, assuring access to affordable healthcare and building a stronger
Fletcher is challenging incumbent Democrat Rocky Adkins, who was first elected to the legislature in 1986.
Michigan House District 106
Republicans retained their Michigan House majority in 2012 despite
the state voting to re-elect President Obama at the same time.
A small business owner, registered nurse and county commissioner Sue Allor comes prepared with an
impressive resume and unique perspective on matters ranging from the economy to healthcare. Now in her
third term on the Cheboygan County Board of Commissioners, she serves as the commission’s vice-chair
and works tirelessly to make life better for Michigan’s seniors and hardworking families. Despite her busy
schedule, Allor’s service to her community extends well beyond her duties on the commission. She has been
an active volunteer at her children’s schools in numerous capacities, whether as a coach, mentor or active
member of booster groups and steering committees. As a small business owner, Allor and her family have
also been able to create jobs and contribute to Michigan’s growing economy. As a parent, homeowner,
taxpayer and community leader, Allor understands the many challenges Michigan’s families face today,
and she will put that knowledge to use in the state legislature.
Allor is running in one of 26 open seats Republicans are defending in Michigan this year.
Minnesota House 42B
Republicans control the state House with a 73-61 majority.
A Minnesota native, Tracy Nelson has lived in Little Canada for over
a decade. Over the past 30 years, Nelson has built a successful career in the real estate and hospitality
industries. In 2008, she started her own real estate brokerage, Real Estate Parkway. Her experiences as a
small business owner have helped her craft her legislative priorities. If elected, Nelson will stand up for free
enterprise while fighting cumbersome regulations, which she sees as an instrumental part of fostering growth
and progress in any community. Nelson is also an active community builder and volunteer with a passion for
giving back. She previously served as president of the St. Paul East Side Lions Club and sits on the board
of the East Side Neighborhood Development Company. Nelson chose to run because the district had been
under DFL control for far too long. As a pro-business conservative who believes in individual liberty and the
U.S. Constitution, Nelson will fight to reduce the size of government in our everyday lives.
This is an open seat following the decision by incumbent Democrat Jason Isaacson to not run for re-election.
Nevada Assembly District 25
Nevada is one of the 23 Republican trifectas in the country where the
GOP holds the governor’s office and both legislative chambers.
Jill Tolles has lived, learned and worked in Nevada for over 20 years. She earned both her Bachelor’s and
Master’s degrees at the University of Nevada, Reno, where she currently teaches Communications Studies.
In 2013, she joined the faculty of the National Judicial College, which inspired her to open a small business
training and consulting with companies and individuals on effective communication strategies. As an educator,
Tolles knows firsthand that a high quality education system is vital in ensuring a sound economic future in
Nevada. Her advocacy is evidenced by her work with the Nevada Task Force for Child Sexual Abuse Prevention,
the St. Albert’s School Board, and various organizations aimed at improving public education. Tolles has
taken her activism to the capitol before, advocating as a citizen for high quality education at the legislature
since 2011. In the 2015 legislative session, she developed and advocated successfully for the passage of a law
establishing statewide curriculum standards to teach personal safety to children. As a legislator, Tolles
will have a hand in crafting policies that will set Nevada’s students up for a better, brighter future.
This is an open Republican seat, as incumbent Dominic Brunetti opted against running for re-election.
New Mexico House District 43
The GOP flipped the state House in 2014 for the first time since 1952.
A native of the Pojoaque Valley, Sharon Stover’s career of public service dates
back to 1979 when she began working at the County of Los Alamos. Stover earned distinguished record of
service in her 15 years as a county employee, including an “Employee of the Year” award. After taking time
off to raise a family, she returned to public service as an appointed member of the Los Alamos County Council
in 1996. She was elected to a full four-year term in 1998 and again in 2008. Stover was elected to her current
position as Los Alamos County Clerk in 2012. Throughout her public service, Stover has been a vocal advocate
for youth and served on numerous volunteer boards and committees. She also was a strong, reliable leader,
guiding her community through the crisis management and recovery from two catastrophic forest fire disasters
in 2000 and 2011. In 2009, Stover joined the board of the New Mexico Association of Counties (NMAC) and
recently completed a term as the NMAC President. Sharon is the first NMAC President to have formally met
with all 33 County Commissions in New Mexico, learning firsthand about the issues shared across the state.
New Mexico Governor Susana Martinez, an honorary co-chair of the RSLC’s Future Majority Project, is
supporting Stover’s candidacy and recently campaigned with her in the district.
Oklahoma House District 39
The GOP has held a supermajority in the Oklahoma House since 2012.
Ryan Martinez has spent most of his years in Oklahoma fighting for better,
more efficient government. A first-generation college graduate, Martinez worked two jobs to put himself
through college debt free, and embodies the principles of personal responsibility that make our country
thrive. A student of political science and economics, Martinez served as an aide to U.S. Senator Jim Inhofe,
working to cut red tape and deliver results for Oklahomans. He also worked in Oklahoma state government,
where he served as executive director of the Oklahoma Republican House Committee under then-Speaker
T.W. Shannon, who currently serves as chair of the RSLC’s Future Majority Project. In that role, Martinez helped
elect conservatives and advocate for conservative policies. He also served as the director of leadership for
Shannon and as a field representative for the Oklahoma Republican Party. Martinez is a vocal advocate for
education reform, and will continue to fight for school choice, meritorious pay increases for teachers and
overall higher standards for Oklahoma schools.
Martinez faces no major party opposition in the general election campaign.
Oregon House District 22
Republicans need to flip five seats to have split control of the House.
Patti Milne has a long, proven record of public service in her home state of
Oregon. From 1993-1998, Milne served in the Oregon State Legislature before
taking office as Marion County Commissioner in 1999 – a role she served in until 2014. Milne also worked to
better Oregon’s public school system, serving on the Woodburn School District Board of Directors – an elected
position – from 1988-1992. She continues that work today as a member of the Blanchet Catholic School
President’s Advisory board, which she joined following 14 years of service with the Blanchet School Board
of Directors and its executive committee. Milne is also known for giving back to her community through her
membership in the Woodburn Rotary Club, where she is a past president, and the Oregon Garden Foundation
Board, where she has served as both chair and vice-chair. As an advocate for free enterprise, Milne is also a
member of the Woodburn and Salem Chambers of Commerce. Milne has been recognized for her leadership
on numerous occasions, including as Woodburn Senior First Citizen 2013 and Distinguished Rotarian of the
Year in 2015.
This became an open seat after incumbent Democrat Betty Komp opted against running for re-election.
Texas House District 118
With a 99-50 majority in the Texas House, Republicans only need a net
gain of one seat to establish a supermajority.
State Representative John Lujan has always had a heart for community and
service. A Sunday school teacher, retired firefighter, and well-respected local leader, his passion for giving
back is evident in the activities he devotes his time to. Professionally, Lujan is a small businessman who has
grown his IT consulting firm to an impressive 400 employees, while also running a second IT technology
company on the side. He is often featured as a speaker at local schools, where he happily shares his passion
for computer science with students interested in pursuing careers in STEM fields. Lujan became the first
Republican ever elected to this seat when he won a special election in January, and since then has been an
advocate for education and school board issues. Lujan and his wife Freda are the proud parents of five sons,
three of whom came to them through adoption. He is a strong advocate for reform in the state foster care
system, offering common-sense solutions and policy recommendations.
In his first general election for this seat, he will face the same opponent from his special election.
Washington House District 45A
After making gains in the state House the past five consecutive election
years, Republicans only need a net gain of one seat to tie the chamber.
A graduate of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point with a Masters Degree from George Washington
University, Ramiro Valderrama today serves as Deputy Mayor in the city of Sammamish. Valderrama was first
elected to the City Council in 2011 and has since been a vocal advocate for fiscal responsibility, promoting
sustainable approaches to development, environmental protection, and increasing citizen participation
in city matters. He is also active in his community as chair of the International Services Committee for the
Sammamish Rotary, and founder of Citizens for Sammamish. He has over 25 years of international and
domestic experience working with government and Fortune 100 technology and management consulting
firms. Valderrama’s candidacy has been endorsed by nearly 40 current and former local officials as well as
several non-partisan organization endorsements, such as the Fire Commissioners, the National Federation of
Independent Business, the Mental Health PAC, and more. Valderrama was given a rating of “outstanding” by
the non-partisan Municipal League and is the highest rated legislative candidate.
Valderrama was reelected to the city council in November with 83 percent of the vote. He has also received
the endorsement of New Mexico Governor and FMP Honorary Co-Chair Susana Martinez.
Wisconsin Assembly District 94
Republicans enjoy a 63-36 majority in the Wisconsin Assembly, their
largest in the chamber since the Eisenhower administration.
Julian Bradley is a young rising star in the Wisconsin GOP. Growing up in a liberal household, Bradley
realized he was a Republican while actively debating politics with his mother. A former Democrat and
aspiring wrestler, his widespread success as a conservative grassroots leader comes as a surprise to many.
This inspired Bradley to launch his “Shattering Stereotypes” campaign, touring the state to share his story
as a black Republican. Since then, Bradley has become a well-known figure in state politics as chair of the
La Crosse County GOP, vice-chair of the 3rd District GOP, and a member of the Wisconsin GOP executive
committee. He was also awarded the Charlie Sykes’ Right Wisconsin Grassroots Activist of the Year Award in
2013. As Assemblyman, Bradley will reach across the aisle to make attracting jobs, fixing roads and increasing
funding for K-12 education a priority in the legislature.
In 2014, Bradley ran as the Republican nominee for secretary of state, challenging a seven-term
incumbent and falling short by less than four points.
The Republican State Leadership Committee’s (RSLC) The Future Majority Project (FMP) seeks
to identify, recruit, train and support candidates who better reflect the full diversity of our
nation. Launched in 2011, FMP supports men and women from diverse communities as they
run to grow the economy, support job creators and focus on ways to keep more money in
the pockets of working families. The efforts are helping to build a strong bench of current
and future Republican leaders. In the 2013-2014 cycle, FMP recruited 244 new candidates
of all diverse backgrounds and successfully helped elect 43 to office in states nationwide,
with an investment totaling more than $6 million – in partnership with Right Women, Right
Now. In 2015-2016, FMP aims to spend at least $7 million – in partnership with Right Women,
Right Now – to recruit 250 new diverse candidates and see 50 of those appointed or elected
to state-level office. FMP plans to see 10 diverse elected officials enter leadership and
expand the initiative’s “Diversity in Business” roundtable program. FMP is chaired by former
Oklahoma Speaker of the House T.W. Shannon, with Governors Susana Martinez (R-NM) and
Brian Sandoval (R-NV) serving as Honorary Co-Chairs.
The Republican State Leadership Committee’s (RSLC) Right Women, Right Now (RWRN)
initiative serves to identify, recruit and support women candidates nationwide in order to
help elect more Republican leaders who better embody the electorate of our country, where
women are 53 percent of the voters. RWRN offers candidate trainings, mentorship matchings
and digital organizing tools for our candidates’ campaigns for state-level office. Since its
founding in 2012, RWRN has recruited hundreds of women candidates, elected 229 new
women to office and continues working to grow the largest caucus of Republican elected
women in the country. RWRN is co-chaired by Tennessee Speaker of the House Beth Harwell,
Arizona Secretary of State Michele Reagan and Iowa Lieutenant Governor Kim Reynolds. In
the 2015-2016 election cycle, RWRN aims to recruit 500 new women candidates to run for
state-level office, see 150 of the candidates appointed or elected, and see 15 women elected
officials enter state-level leadership - spending at least $7 million, in partnership with FMP. So
far in the 2015-2016 cycle, RWRN has helped elect new women candidates in eight states.