Republican leaders from Legislative District 6 and GOP officials have settled on a candidate to replace the late Sen. Chester Crandell as the party’s Senate nominee – former legislator and current Navajo County supervisor Sylvia Allen.
She is expected to formally be named to the ballot after the Aug. 26 primary election.
Allen today announced her intention to seek the seat, a move that party leaders said they support. Allen was appointed to replace Jake Flake in the Senate in 2008, when the iconic rancher-legislator died after also falling from a horse. She was uncontested in that year’s election and won reelection four years ago. In 2012, she was elected county supervisor, the seat she currently occupies.
“Senator Crandell was a dear friend of mine. His loss is a tragedy for the residents of northern Arizona, who had grown to appreciate his folksy humor and principled policymaking,” Allen said. “While no one will ever replace him, I am determined to fight for the same issues he stood for: limited government, personal property rights, and a return to the values and principles upon which our great nation was founded.”
Navajo County GOP chairwoman Dara Vanesian told the Arizona Capitol Times this morning that she and her counterparts in the Coconino and Gila counties have all decided to back Allen’s bid to get on the November ballot.
State law requires the district’s precinct committeemen to pick Crandell’s replacement on the general election ballot. Vanesian said a notice will be sent to elected PCs from LD6 alerting them to a meeting on August 30 in Flagstaff to decide who will represent the party in November.
“I feel that Chester would be comfortable with Sylvia finishing his work,” Vanesian said.
She added that the district party needs a candidate with a solid name identification who can raise money quickly and run a solid campaign.
“We need somebody that can get up to speed quickly. There’s no time to teach somebody how to do this between now and November,” Vanesian said.
Allen has already rounded up the endorsement of Arizona Republican Party chairman Robert Graham and Senate President Andy Biggs.
“No other potential candidate for Senator Crandell’s seat has fought as long or as hard for rural Arizona than Sylvia Allen,” Allen’s campaign quoted Biggs as saying.
If Allen is picked by the district’s elected Republican precinct committeemen on August 30, she will face former Republican lawmaker Tom O’Halleran, who is running as independent in this year’s election.