A known name and a flush war chest proved to be an unbeatable combination in the Senate primary race in a West Valley District.
Sen. John Nelson, a veteran politician, has captured 56 percent of the votes in Legislative District 12, according to the latest unofficial tally by the Secretary of State.
Nelson has so far received 9,876 votes, which was double the figure that his closest challenger, Clark Silver, got.
Eve Nunez, another Republican in the three-way primary race, received 3,048 votes out of more than 17,000 votes counted so far.
Nelson’s lead appears insurmountable at press time.
He will face Libertarian Michael White and Democrat Tyler Kissell in the general election.
Nelson has raised more than $70,000, a big amount in a legislative primary race.
Nelson was also aided by more than $10,000 in independent spending.
Silver and Nunez both, who both ran as a Clean Elections candidates, each received more than $14,000 in public financing.
Nelson’s financial edge was apparent – he spent about $36,000 according to his latest report. In contrast, his primary opponents only had $16,000 to spend.
Candidates who benefit from independent expenditure have an added advantage this year – their opponents, assuming they’re running as Clean Elections candidate, aren’t getting any matching funds.
In previous elections, a Clean Elections candidate received a dollar-for-dollar match if a privately funded candidate spent more than the initial disbursement given to the Clean Elections candidate.
This also applied if an outside group spent money opposing the publicly funded candidate or supporting his opponent.
But the U.S. Supreme Court had blocked the distribution of matching funds in June.
Nelson is a veteran politician who spent 16 years on the Phoenix City Council and eight years in the House. He joined the Senate two years ago.
The Litchfield legislator is regarded as a pragmatic, middle-of-the-road Republican.
Nelson is regarded as a pragmatic, middle-of-the-road Republican. He often meets with agency heads to learn about the potential and actual effects of budget decisions made by lawmakers, and he often questions his colleagues about the long-term impact of policy changes that they are considering.