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GOP will pick a new senator

Cottonwood Journal Extra of Cottonwood, Arizona

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After some early confusion, state officials have determined how the death of Arizona State Sen. Chester Crandell [R-District 6] will be handled in the primary and general elections.

Crandell, who was running for reelection, died Aug. 4 from injuries suffered when he was thrown from a horse while riding near his home in Heber, according to the Navajo County Sheriff's Office. An autopsy ruled out any medical issues that may have caused him to fall, such as a heart attack. He was 68.

Arizona Secretary of State Ken Bennett, in an Aug. 5 letter to election officials in Coconino, Gila, Navajo and Yavapai counties, cleared up confusion over-whether write-in candidates would be acceptable in the Tuesday, Aug. 26, primary.

Crandell was unopposed in the Republican primary for Legislative District 6.

Bennett noted that early voting began July 31 and the ballots have been printed with Crandell as the only candidate.

State law holds that "a vacancy due to the death of the candidate 'shall not be filled,"' Bennett wrote. "Therefore, write-in candidates are not authorized and the primary election will move forward with only Senator Crandell's name on the ballot.

Our office will notify the appropriate county board of supervisors to post a notice of Sen. Crandell's death and that votes cast for him will be tabulated."

After the primary, party committeemen will decide on a candidate to run in the Tuesday, Nov. 4, general election. He or she will face Tom O'Halleran, who is running as an independent.

There are four counties within LD6: Coconino, Gila, Navajo and Yavapai. The Republican chairman of Coconino County will call the meeting since it is the county with the largest geographical area in the district, according to Bennett. All precinct committeemen from the district may participate to nominate a candidate of the party's choice and that candidate will file a nomination paper and affidavit to comply with the filing requirements. The candidate will face any other candidates eligible to appear on the general election ballot.

The deadline for filing write-in candidate nomination papers is Thursday, Sept. 25, according to Kim Crawford, communications specialist for the Secretary of State.

In a separate issue, the Navajo County Board of Supervisors will appoint someone to fill the remainder of Crandell's term of office. The board will choose from three candidates nominted by the county's precinct committeemen.

Crandell was found dead on a ranch near his home by family members who went searching for him after he failed to return from a ride on a young colt he was training.

He is survived by his wife, Alice, 9 children and 36 grandchildren.

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Original Publication Date: August 13, 2014

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