Originally Published: November 6, 2012 10:51 p.m.
Arizona Senate President Steve Pierce handily won a third term Tuesday.
At press time the Prescott rancher had 71 percent of the votes compared to 29 percent for Independent Tom Rawles of Carefree. Rawles did slightly better in Maricopa County.
"It's a great evening so far," Pierce said Tuesday as he celebrated his victory at the Yavapai County Republicans' party at the Prescott Resort.
Republicans dominate the new Legislative District 1 with nearly half of the registered voters, so Rawles would have needed all the Democrats and Independents to win.
"Realistically, I'm pleased," said Rawles, an attorney and former Maricopa County supervisor who was a Republican for most of his adult life. "It appears like people got the message that there was a qualified and competent alternative."
Pierce raised about $205,000 while Rawles raised about $21,000. The Independents also had a low voter turnout, observed Yavapai County Republican Chair Mal Barrett, Jr.
LD1 House members Andy Tobin, the House speaker from Paulden, and Karen Fann of Prescott, both won their seats in the primary by beating fellow Republican Lori Klein of Anthem, a state senator. Pierce didn't have any primary competition.
Pierce said his next goal is to win re-election as Senate president, alongside Tobin as speaker.
"People liked what the leadership accomplished in the last session," Pierce said.
Health care issues could dominate the 2013 session, Pierce said. He hopes the Legislature can work with health care providers to lower the costs.
"It's a good thing we have a (financial) cushion from the last session," Pierce said.
The Legislature also needs to do something about rising Child Protective Services costs, he said.
While the Republicans might have lost their supermajority in the Legislature, it won't change the way the Republican majority does business, Pierce said.
"If it's a good idea, we'll work it," he said.
Like his fellow Republicans at the Prescott Resort, Pierce was glad when a big screen showed the proposed permanent statewide sales tax (Proposition 204) on the losing side.
"204 is going down big time!" Barrett announced to the crowd. "Let's give it a high-five!"