Sen. Frank Antenori, a Tucson Republican, held off a challenge from Marian McClure in the primary race for the Senate in Legislative District 30.
“I just outmaneuvered her, out-campaigned her,” Antenori said, adding he was confident he would win even before the Aug. 24 primary election results started trickling in.
Antenori locked up 66 percent of some 30,000 votes counted so far, according to the latest unofficial tally by the Secretary of State’s Office.
McClure, a former House member, got 9,700 votes, but Antenori received double that figure with 19,000 votes.
The Republican winner will face Democrat Todd Camenisch in the general election.
LD30 is a Republican stronghold – about 41 percent of some 141,000 voters in the district are Republicans.
Democrats make up 29 percent of the electorate.
But independents comprise 30 percent of the vote, and could swing the election in either direction.
McClure, who served eight years in the House, has highlighted her political experience over that of Antenori, who was appointed to replace Jonathan Paton in the Senate early this year.
“You need people who know the ins and outs and the only way you get that is multiple years of service,” McClure earlier said, adding she started the fight against payday lending.
But Antenori, who served in the U.S. Special Forces, countered that he has demonstrated that he could make the tough decisions in tough times while McClure hasn’t.
Antenori had said McClure voted for the 2004 budget, which he said is the largest spending increase in state history and started the appetite for spending that led to the financial mess the state is in.
“It’s time for new life, new blood and a fighter in the Senate,” he had said. “The old-school Republican Party is capitulating to the left.”