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Ed Pastor
Rep. Ed Pastor.jpg
Member of the
U.S. House of Representatives
from Arizona
In office
October 3, 1991 – January 3, 2015
Preceded by Mo Udall
Succeeded by Ruben Gallego
Constituency C (1991–2003)
C (2003–2013)
C (2013-2015)
Personal details
Born (1943-06-28)June 28, 1943
Claypool, Arizona, U.S.
Died November 27, 2018(2018-11-27) (aged 75)
Phoenix, Arizona, U.S.
Political party Democratic
Verma Mendez
(m. 1965)
Education Arizona State University, Tempe (BA, JD)

Edward Lopez Pastor (/pæˈstɔːr/; June 28, 1943 – November 27, 2018) was an American politician who served as a member of the United States House of Representatives from Arizona from 1991 to 2015. A member of the Democratic Party, he represented Arizona's 2nd congressional district from 1991 to 2003, its 4th district from 2003 to 2013, and its 7th district from 2013 to 2015, all of which were anchored in downtown Phoenix.

Early life

Pastor was born in Claypool, Arizona, as the oldest of three children. After high school, he earned his Bachelor of Arts degree in chemistry from Arizona State University (ASU). He became a chemistry teacher at North High School in Phoenix and later went on to work as deputy director of the community service group Guadalupe Organization Inc.

After returning to ASU to earn a J.D. degree, he became an assistant to Arizona Governor Raúl Héctor Castro. In 1976, Pastor was elected to the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors, and he served three terms in that role as a county executive.

U.S. House of Representatives


In 1991, Pastor entered a special election to succeed retiring 28-year incumbent Democrat Mo Udall in the 2nd District, which then comprised the southwestern part of Arizona, including half of Tucson and portions of southern Phoenix. Pastor won a narrow victory in the four-way Democratic primary, defeating his closest challenger, Tucson mayor Tom Volgy, by 1,800 votes. He was the only major candidate from the Phoenix share of the district.

He then won the special election a month later with 55 percent of the vote to become the first Latino to represent Arizona in Congress. He was reelected four times without substantive Republican opposition, never dropping below 60% of the vote.

Pastor's former territory was renumbered as the 7th District following the 2000 census, but his home in Phoenix was drawn into the newly created 4th District. Rather than move to the Phoenix portion of the reconfigured 7th, he opted to run in the 4th. The newly created district was heavily Democratic and majority-Latino, with Democrats having a nearly 2-to-1 advantage in registration, similar to his old district. He was reelected six times against nominal Republican opposition.


Ed Pastor by Gage Skidmore
Ed Pastor introducing President Bill Clinton in Phoenix in March 2016.

Pastor was one of the nine Chief Deputy Whips for the Democratic Caucus. Following in Udall's footsteps, his voting record was decidedly liberal; for most of his tenure, he was the most liberal member of the Arizona congressional delegation. He was well-respected by members of both parties, and had a reputation for bipartisanship.

He was a founding member of the Congressional Progressive Caucus. He voted against the 2002 Iraq Resolution that started the Iraq War.

In 2011, Pastor voted against the National Right to Carry Reciprocity Act of 2011. He also voted against several bills that would encourage trade between countries such as Panama. Furthermore, he voted to encourage the display of "In God We Trust" in public buildings and schools.

In 2009-2010, Pastor was backed by the National Farmers Union. However, he was not supported by the National Council of Agricultural Employers.

Pastor was supported by the Defenders of Wildlife Action Fund, which works to protect native wildlife and wild areas.

Around the mid-1990s, Pastor was backed by the Americans for the Arts Action Fund. However, since then, their support has dwindled somewhat.

Pastor had a strong stance on civil rights regarding sexual orientation and race. For example, in 2007, he voted to prohibit job discrimination based on sexual orientation and, in 2006, he voted against defining marriage as one man-one woman. Finally, in 2004, he voted against a constitutional amendment that would ban same-sex marriage. In 2002, the ACLU rated Pastor at 93% for a pro-civil rights voting record.

In February 2014, Pastor announced that he would not seek reelection and would instead retire upon the completion of his term.

Committee assignments

  • Committee on Appropriations
    • Subcommittee of Energy and Water Development
    • Subcommittee on Financial Services and General Government
    • Subcommittee on Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies (Ranking Member)
  • Source:



Phoenix-Cemetery-St. Francis Catholic Cemetery-1897-Ed Pastor
Crypt of Ed Pastor

Multiple schools, parks and other institutions including the Ed Pastor Center for Politics and Public Service have been established in his honor. A section of Loop 202 in the Phoenix area was named in his honor.

Pastor has been credited with inspiring multiple generations of people dedicated to public service including Arizona State House Democratic Leader Charlene Fernandez.

Personal life

Pastor was married to Verma Mendez for 53 years and had two daughters, Yvonne and Laura. He died on November 27, 2018 following a heart attack in Phoenix at the age of 75.

Electoral history

Arizona's 2nd congressional district: Results 1991–2000
Year Democratic Votes Pct Republican Votes Pct 3rd Party Party Votes Pct 3rd Party Party Votes Pct
1991 Ed Pastor 32,289 55.54% Pat Conner 25,814 44.40% Bruce A. Friedemann Independent 33 0.06%
1992 Ed Pastor* 90,693 66.02% Don Shooter 41,257 30.03% Dan Detaranto Libertarian 5,423 3.95%
1994 Ed Pastor* 62,589 62.31% Robert MacDonald 32,797 32.65% James Bertrand Libertarian 5,060 5.04%
1996 Ed Pastor 81,982 65.01% Jim Buster 38,786 30.76% Alice Bangle Libertarian 5,333 4.23%
1998 Ed Pastor* 57,178 67.78% Ed Barron 23,628 28.01% Rick Duncan Libertarian 2,646 3.14% Gregory R. Schultz Reform 911 1.08%
2000 Ed Pastor* 84,034 68.54% Bill Barenholtz 32,990 26.91% Geoffrey Weber Libertarian 3,169 2.59% Barbara Shelor Natural Law 2,412 1.97%
  • Write-in and minor candidate notes: In 1990, write-ins received 44 votes. In 1992, write-ins received 5 votes.
Arizona's 4th congressional district: Results 2002–2010
Year Democratic Votes Pct Republican Votes Pct 3rd Party Party Votes Pct 3rd Party Party Votes Pct
2002 Ed Pastor 44,517 67.38% Jonathan Barnert 18,381 27.82% Amy Gibbons Libertarian 3,167 4.79%
2004 Ed Pastor* 77,150 70.12% Don Karg 28,238 25.67% Gary Fallon Libertarian 4,639 4.22%
2006 Ed Pastor* 56,464 72.86% Don Karg 18,627 23.57% Ronald Harders Libertarian 2,770 3.57%
2008 Ed Pastor* 89,721 72.11% Don Karg 26,435 21.25% Joe Cobb Libertarian 3,807 3.06% Rebecca DeWitt Green 4,644 3.59%
2010 Ed Pastor* 61,524 66.94% Janet Contreras 25,300 27.53% Joe Cobb Libertarian 2,718 2.96% Rebecca DeWitt Green 2,365 2.57%
Arizona's 7th congressional district: Results 2012
Year Democratic Votes Pct Republican Votes Pct 3rd Party Party Votes Pct
2012 Ed Pastor 104,489 81.74% Joe Cobb Libertarian 23,338 18.25%

See also

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