Farnsworth, Fillmore and Townsend nominated as next LD16 state senator

Ben Giles//September 7, 2013

Farnsworth, Fillmore and Townsend nominated as next LD16 state senator

Ben Giles//September 7, 2013

gop-elephantGOP leaders in Maricopa County selected Republicans Dave Farnsworth, John Fillmore and Rep. Kelly Townsend as nominees to serve as the next state senator in Legislative District 16.

The slate of nominees will be forwarded to the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors, which will select one of three to replace former Sen. Rich Crandall.

Deference is typically given to the supervisor representing the district where the former lawmaker resided, leaving District 2 Supervisor Steve Chucri to decide which nominee will serve the remainder of Crandall’s term.

Crandall’s seat was declared vacant by Senate President Andy Biggs, R-Gilbert, on Aug. 22 after the former senator repeatedly pushed back the date of his resignation following his move to Wyoming, where he now serves as the director of that state’s Department of Education.

Farnsworth and Fillmore, both of whom have served as Arizona lawmakers in the past, were nominated on the first round of voting at a meeting of the LD16 precinct committeemen.

Farnsworth received the most votes, 58, while Fillmore received 51.

Candidates needed to receive 42 votes to earn the nomination. The first three candidates to earn enough votes on a single ballot were declared the nominees.

It took two more rounds of voting before Townsend, R-Mesa, earned the third and final nomination over LD16 GOP Chairman Jerry Clingman – the two earned a tie vote with 40 each on the second ballot before Townsend received the necessary 42 votes on the final ballot.

Mara Benson, the district’s vice chair, was eliminated from the voting process in the first round after receiving only 14 votes.

Candidates and officials said they were thrilled at the chance to replace Crandall, who was disliked by many of the LD16 Republican leaders because they considered him to be too liberal. Fillmore said the appointment is a unique opportunity to place a true conservative into the Senate.

“Our district would be better if any of the people in this room represented LD16,” Fillmore said.

Townsend said she hopes the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors will select “the most qualified” nominee, while Farnsworth said he hopes supervisors will look to his previous years of legislative service and his hallmark as the leading vote getter among the precinct committeemen.

But as to who the supervisors, namely Chucri, will pick, “that’s a mystery,” Farnsworth said.