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Shooter political comeback falls short

Don Shooter testifies during a hearing, June 14, 2018, in Judge Rosa Mroz’s Maricopa County Superior Courtroom, Phoenix.

Don Shooter testifies during a hearing, June 14, 2018, in Judge Rosa Mroz’s Maricopa County Superior Courtroom, Phoenix.

Ousted lawmaker Don Shooter’s political comeback attempt fell well short.

Shooter sought a swift return to the Capitol since he was voted out of the Legislature in February after a House investigation found he serially sexually harassed colleagues and lobbyists.

But the Yuma Republican quickly fell back on election night, and wound up a distant third, more than 5,000 votes behind incumbent Sen. Sine Kerr, a Buckeye dairy farmer in her first race for the Legislative District 13 Senate seat. Kerr has represented the district since January, when she was appointed to the Senate to fill a vacancy.

Shooter also trails Brent Backus, a Waddell Republican, in the primary election.

The election-night loss is a rebuke of Shooter, who sought to rally support for his campaign by leaning heavily into the accusations against him.

Shooter, who represented LD13 in the Senate from 2011 to 2016, touted a poll he said was conducted while he was deciding whether or not to run again, in which he asked prospective voters whether they would be more or less likely to vote for a lawmaker they knew was thrown out of office for sexual harassment. He boasted that the voters responded that they would be more likely to vote for such a lawmaker. And a billboard west of Yuma urged voters to elect Shooter to “make a liberals head explode.”

Kerr has an easy path to winning the general election. Republicans hold a nearly two-to-one advantage among registered voters in the district, which stretches from northern Yuma County to northwestern Maricopa County.

Michelle Harris, an Air Force veteran, is running unopposed for the Democratic nomination.

LD13 Senate by the numbers

Yuma County: 100 percent of precincts reporting

Maricopa County: 58 percent of precincts reporting

Republican

Brent Backus 30 percent

Sine Kerr 49 percent

Don Shooter 21 percent

Democrat

Michelle Harris 100 percent

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