The race for state Senate in the new District 9 features a three-term state representative versus a political up-and-comer in one of the state's most competitive districts.

Rep. Steve Farley, 49, is an artist and small-business owner who has lived in Tucson since 1995.

He's running for state Senate because it's time to move up, he said, and because he'd like to help turn the Senate more moderate.

It's Tyler Mott's first time running for office, but he's not a political newcomer. He helped Randy Graf's 2004 and 2006 campaigns, and he's chairman of the Pima County Young Republicans.

He decided to run for state Senate shortly before the filing deadline when he realized no one was going to challenge Farley, he said.

Mott, 34, grew up in Tucson and is a graduate of Mountain View High School and the University of Arizona. He is a sergeant in the Army Reserve.

The two differ on how to solve state budget woes and better fund education.


Mott said the state constitution and common sense require a balanced budget, and cuts in recent years were the responsible thing to do.

"We were able to close our $3 billion budget deficit, and we have a $500 million budget surplus," he said.

He said lawmakers did well by adding $200 million back to the education budget this year.

Mott said next the state should look for wasteful spending and simplify the tax code.

The state should focus on increasing revenue by eliminating outdated tax incentives, Farley said.

He points to a tax deduction for pipes that's been on the books since the 1960s and which saved Southwest Gas $17 million last year.

"There are hundreds of loopholes like that that lobbyists have gotten in place specifically for their special-interest client," he said, to the tune of $10 billion.

Last year Farley backed a bill to put a five-year sunset on every tax incentive, requiring the Legislature to revisit them regularly, but it didn't get a hearing.


Both candidates agree education is a top priority and both support restoring funding for vocational education programs.

Farley supports Proposition 204, a sales tax to help fund education, while Mott opposes it.