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Republicans Burns, Pierce sweep Corp. Comm. seats

The Republican dominance of statewide contests appeared to include two seats on the Arizona Corporation Commission.

Republicans Brenda Burns and Gary Pierce held comfortable leads over two Democrats, two Green Party candidates and a Libertarian.

Burns, 59, the Scottsdale Republican and former longtime state legislator, ran on her private-sector experience as a small-business owner, as well as her and GOP running mate Gary Pierce of Mesa’s being named as “Friends of the Taxpayer” by limited-government advocates.

Pierce, 58, served three terms in the state House of Representatives before joining the commission four years ago. One of his campaign promises was to oppose federal officials’ efforts to add surcharges to power companies, among what are often referred to as the “cap and trade” proposals.

The two Republicans defeated Democrat David Bradley 57, of Tucson, chief executive officer of La Paloma Family Services since 1993.

In conceding defeat Tuesday night, Bradley said he ascribed his loss to the national and statewide dominance of Republicans this year.

“If you look at the run, every Democrat got whipped, every Democrat on the board got hammered,” said Bradley, who said another factor in the defeat was neither he nor fellow Democratic hopeful Jorge Luis Garcia qualified for Clean Elections funding while Burns and Pierce did.

Bradley became the lone Democrat on Tuesday’s ballot on Oct. 15, Garcia died in his home city of Tucson. Garcia, 57, a state senator from Tucson, was his party’s assistant leader in the 2010 legislative session.

Garcia’s death came too close to the election to have his name removed from the ballot. As of 10 p.m. he had received about 15 percent of the vote, according to the Secretary of State’s Office.

Bradley said it was possible that if Garcia’s name were not on the ballot, voters inclined to support a Democrat might have cast more ballots for him. But he said that wasn’t much of a factor. Instead, he said, this year’s election saw voters stop filling in ballots after casting ballots for the major races.

“We had a 20 percent drop-off after governor down to mine inspector,” he said. “It’s amazing how people vanish.”

Bradley’s campaign signs featured a couple of unusual characteristics. A computer code was emblazoned in the center accompanied by not a promise or an exhortation to vote for him but simply the words, “Scan this sign!” 

Voters who did would hear the candidate’s voice, “saying that if you’re listening to this, you think technology is important, and if you agree with me, then vote for me,” Bradley said.

Libertarian candidate Rick Fowlkes and Green Party hopefuls Theodore Gomez and Benjamin Pearcy each garnered single-digit percentages of the vote.

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