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McLain loses bid to switch chambers to newcomer Kelli Ward

Nancy McLain

It’s all over for Rep. Nancy McLain.

The Bullhead City Republican hoped to switch over to the state Senate but instead landed third in the GOP primary for the Senate in a western Arizona district.

Kelli Ward, an osteopathic doctor, has captured 42 percent of some 20,000 votes tallied so far. Ward ran as a conservative alternative to McLain, who drew the ire of outside groups for her work to establish a state-run insurance exchange to comply with the federal health care overhaul.

Ward’s lead is too big for McLain to catch up.

It also appears insurmountable for Salvatore Scarmardo, who owns a gun range in Lake Havasu City.

McLain received 25 percent of the votes. Scarmardo has 33 percent.

The race in Legislative District 5 became a high-dollar affair, with Ward and Scarmardo collectively pumping in nearly $80,000 of their own money since June to bolster their attempts to win the race. The district stretches from northwestern Arizona almost to Yuma in the south.

Ward loaned her campaign $25,000, while Scarmardo lent his campaign roughly $54,000, the most recent campaign finance reports show.

Each also raised about $10,000 from other sources during the reporting period, which ran from June 1 through Aug. 16.

McLain raised a modest $12,550 during the same time period.

But while McLain lagged in overall funding, the roughly $13,000 she had on hand at the end of the reporting period was more than either of her opponents.

All told, Scarmardo has raised nearly $86,000 in this race so far.

Ward, meanwhile, has taken in more than $128,000 — including $72,000 from her pocket — in this election cycle, easily dwarfing McLain’s total of $36,000.

Outside groups have also spent more than $35,000 in the race. Roughly two-thirds of that money has come from a group funded by the insurance industry to aid McLain, who chaired the House Banking and Insurance Committee.

The district includes all of La Paz County and most of Mohave County. It leans heavily Republican, which means whoever wins the primary will likely win the general election.

 

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