David Burnell Smith, ousted in 2006 from his House seat for violating Clean Elections laws, has won the GOP’s crowded Legislative District 7 primary.
Smith ran a privately funded campaign this time, and he finished with 6,566 votes, while Heather Carter got 5,217 votes.
Smith said the win was long overdue and his past problems with Clean Elections were not paramount to voters.
“The voted for me because of my policies, my beliefs and what I want to do for the state,” Smith said.
Kristen Burroughs and Craig Barton are within striking distance with 4,279 and 3,816 respectively.
Smith became the first elected official to be removed from office for violating laws pertaining to publicly funded campaigns.
Smith was elected to the House in LD 7 in 2004, but The Clean Elections Commission found he overspent his campaign and removed him from office.
Smith, who contended he simply made an accounting error and didn’t deserve removal, appealed the decision, but courts found that he had not appealed in time. His case took nine months to resolve and he served most of his term.
Smith ran again in 2006, except without public funding, and finished third in the primary.
Smith said recently he has always been opposed in principle to public funding for candidates and he will never use them again.
Smith and Carter, who beat four other candidates, will go up against Democrats Don Chilton and Peter Royers. The general elections have historically ended in landslides for GOP candidates in the Republican dominated district, which encompasses Phoenix, north of Thunderbird between 16th Street and Pima Road and includes Cave Creek and Carefree.