Former Apache Junction Mayor Doug Coleman and Tea Party candidate Kelly Townsend of Mesa were top vote getters in a four-way Republican primary in House Legislative District 16.
Townsend finished with a commanding 31 percent of the vote with all precincts reporting. Coleman has 26.5 percent of the vote to 23.6 for Jeff Davis, a Mesa teacher.
Davis got 51 more votes in Maricopa County precincts than Coleman, but the former mayor built a 689-vote cushion on Davis in Pinal County.
The crowded race featured all newcomers or relative newcomers to legislative politics.
Townsend earlier this year failed in a lawsuit to have Coleman removed from the ballot by challenging signatures on his nominating petitions. Townsend, who finished fourth in a six-way primary in former Legislative District 22 in 2010, attributed her success this time to hard work and several key endorsements, especially from Rep. Eddie Farnsworth and Sen. Andy Biggs.
The district covers eastern Maricopa County and northwestern Pinal County and includes portions of two former districts that had overwhelming numbers of Republican voters. The third had more Democrats, but was represented by three Republicans in the last Legislature.
Democrat Matthew Cerra will challenge for a seat in the Nov. 6 general election, but he will have to overcome an electorate that is 39 percent Republican and 22.6 percent Democratic.