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3:01 AM Wed, Nov. 21st

Voters back Burges after mail campaign

PRESCOTT – Judy Burges handed incumbent Carole Hubbs a resounding defeat during Tuesday night's District 4 representative primary race to become the first Yavapai County resident to hold the seat.

Burges

Burges, a Skull Valley resident, said she won one of the two District 4 seats because she made people learn her name.

"When we had redistricting two years ago, no one knew who I was," she said. "This time the Republican precinct committeeman knew who I was, we had a grassroots campaign, and it worked very well."

Burges received 3,400 more votes than Hubbs Tuesday night. Incumbent Tom Boone received the most votes out of the three candidates. He and Burges will run uncontested for the two District 4 seats in November's general election.

Burges attributes her success to the people who helped her campaign, but the real secret to victory lies in the mail.

"I had some pretty hard-hitting mailers that came out and I think they were pretty effective," she said. Burges' mail campaign attacked Hubbs' voting record.

"For the most part, I do not like dirty campaigning and negative ads, and that sort of thing; and that is what was presented this time," Hubbs said in reference to Burges' mail campaign. "I do not like playing in the mud. If that is what happens, that is what happens."

One of the ads noted that Hubbs voted to lower minimum sentences for robbery, kidnapping and sexual abuse, Burges said. Her other mailers focused on Hubbs' support of spending issues.

"Carole was a big spender in 2003 and 2004," she said in reference to Hubbs' vote for Gov. Janet Napolitano's budget. Burges did not target incumbent Tom Boone because she supported Boone's voting record.

"Tom is more fiscally conservative," Burges said before joking that "it would not have been a good tactic to take on both of them."

Burges also attributed part of her success to going door-to-door throughout many District 4 neighborhoods and talking about sentencing reform, illegal immigration, and tax reform. She said these issues are more popular with seniors and noted that many elderly people populate the district.

Boone said his campaign featured 80,000 mailers, phone volunteers, and a lot of work at the polls themselves. He noted that he received more questionnaires from groups looking to endorse candidates this year and therefore received more endorsements.

"I think a lot of people this time, took the time to study the candidates in District 4," Boone said. "The vote you ended up getting reflects a pretty conservative district, in terms of values. I think that is a reflection of the Senate and the House."

He said Hubbs suffered from her vote in favor of Napolitano's budget.

"Judy capitalized on that issue," Boone said. "She pointed that out as a real difference. I think a few issues like that rode throughout the district."

Boone said he received more clean elections money than usual because outside groups were able to place ads on the behalf of candidates. Several groups placed ads for Hubbs and caused Boone and Burges to receive more money.

"When that was done, they gave matching money to Judy and me," Boone said. "There was a lot of money spent before that was not spent in the past."

Contact the reporter at jkamin@prescottaz.com