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Wed, Jan. 29

Harper wins LD 4 Senate primary

PRESCOTT VALLEY ­ Incumbent Republican Jack Harper will face Prescott doctor Ed Gogek in the Legislative District Four Senate race Nov. 7.

Preliminary results for Tuesday's primary race show Harper with a 3-1 lead over his challenger, retired police officer Willard "Bill" Whalen Jr.

With 99.0 percent of Yavapai County's precincts reporting, Harper had 1,375 votes compared to 454 for Whalen. In the district, which includes part of Maricopa County, Harper had 76.2 percent of the votes and Whalen received 23.8 percent.

Rather than celebrate, Harper said he is preparing for his Nov. 7 General Election bid against Gogek.

"I told Ed (Gogek) right from the beginning that our race in the General Election would be closer than the primary," he said Tuesday night after numbers showed him with an insurmountable lead over Whalen. "I stand by that."

Whalen, who won the support of several Valley mayors and appeared to flourish alongside Republican criticism of Harper's last term, said he has no regrets.

"Nothing ventured, nothing gained. Instead of sitting back and being apathetic, I tried to do something," he said, noting that he doubts he will seek political office again.

Gogek, also a stranger to public office, has less than a month before his first election. He said Harper's campaign could be telling.

"It's such an overwhelmingly Republican district that if he doesn't ignore me that says he's worried about his position," Gogek said. "It's been a difficult year for Republicans. This year there actually is a chance of me winning."

According to the Arizona Secretary of State's Office, District Four has more than twice as many registered Republicans as it does registered Democrats.

In the House race, preliminary numbers show a razor-thin victory for incumbent Republican Tom Boone over incumbent Republican Judy Burges. However, with two open seats, both candidates will be on the ballot Nov. 7.

Because Democratic challenger Sue Dolphin was a write-in candidate, her poll numbers will not be available for several days. Both her and Democrat Debra Boehlke will face Boone and Burges in the General Election.

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