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Tue, Oct. 15

Fann to seek Pierce's Senate seat

Rep. Karen Fann, R-Prescott

Rep. Karen Fann, R-Prescott

Arizona Rep. Karen Fann of Prescott will seek this region's Senate seat in next year's election.

Sen. Steve Pierce of Prescott cannot seek a fifth consecutive term because voters approved term limits in 1992. A person can hold a House or Senate seat for a maximum of four consecutive terms. They can still move to the other house, or wait two years and run again.

"It's time for me to move over to the Senate," said Fann, who is now serving her third consecutive term in the House of Representatives after being re-elected in November 2014. She also owns a highway sign and guardrail installation company.

Fann said she spoke with former Arizona House Speaker Andy Tobin of Paulden and former Secretary of State and Arizona senator Ken Bennett of Prescott to make sure they weren't planning to run for the Senate seat.

She is the only person who has formed a 2016 campaign committee for the Legislative District 1 Senate seat as of Thursday, and she has started circulating nomination petitions. Voters can now sign nomination petitions electronically via the Secretary of State's website at azsos.gov.

"I love my job," Fann said. "I hate the process sometimes. I keep trying to run good, sensible legislation that's good for rural Arizona and business," as well as education.

Pierce said he hasn't decided what he will do after his fourth term ends at the end of 2016. A rancher and Arizona native, Pierce has served as Senate president and majority whip.

"I want to do something to try to help the state," he said, but he probably won't run for one of the two LD1 House seats.

People have asked him to run for everything from Congress to the Arizona Corporation Commission, but "At the moment none of it sounds good," he said. Right now the late March death of his son in a Phoenix car accident is heavy on his mind.

Freshman Rep. Noel Campbell of Prescott holds the other LD1 House seat. He said it's kind of early to decide whether he will run for a second term, but he's leaning heavily toward it because Fann is planning to leave the House.

"I'd be leaving the district in a lurch if I didn't run, because we'd have two freshmen (in the House) and they'd eat 'em alive," he said. "I'm pretty sure I will (run), though if you would have asked me the day after the (legislative) session I would have said no way in hell."

He also wants to continue to seek legislation to require state licensing of group homes for people in drug recovery. He has criticized a lack of oversight of group homes in downtown Prescott where he operates a bed and breakfast.

Campbell is the only candidate who has created a 2016 campaign committee for the LD1 House so far.

Shortly after losing his bid last November for one of the two LD1 House seats, Sean Englund of Cave Creek said he planned to try a second time in 2016.

"Well the jury is out," Englund said Thursday. "It was quite financial hit to me last time and I'm still trying to recover from it."

Former Arizona senator Linda Gray of Prescott and Prescott teacher Frank Cuccia, the only Democratic candidate for the LD1 House and Senate seats, also ran for the House in LD1 last year.

Follow Joanna Dodder on Twitter @joannadodder

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