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O’Connor wins enough write-in votes for GOP Corp Comm nomination

The Republican Party will have three candidates for the Corporation Commission after Jim O'Connor earned enough write-in votes to qualify for the November ballot.

O'Connor had 20,452 write-in votes in Maricopa County alone after county election officials tallied the 700,000 or so early ballots they received. O'Connor needed only 6,663 write-in votes to win the Republican nomination and get his name on the ballot in the general election. Nick Myers, a former candidate who has been assisting O'Connor's campaign, posed on Facebook that he has about 28,000 votes statewide.

Election officials estimated that it could take several days or even a week to determine whether O'Connor got enough write-in votes, but the issue was settled early because of the massive volume of votes he earned from early ballots.

"I'm really pleased with the result. I'm really pleased with the Republicans that went to work for me," O'Connor told the Arizona Mirror.

O'Connor credited about a hundred GOP volunteers who assisted him throughout the state, as well as Myers, who helped with his campaign, with helping him get enough write-in votes. He said the Arizona Republican Party also helped raise awareness and support for his campaign.

Three Republican candidates were disqualified from the primary election ballot due to legal challenges to their nominating petitions, leaving the GOP with only two candidates — incumbent Lea Marquez Peterson and Eric Sloan — for the Corporation Commission seats that are for election this year.

Commissioner Justin Olson and Myers, one of the candidates who was kicked off the ballot, recruited O'Connor, who ran and lost for a commission seat in 2018.

"So excited for Jim O'Connor! It's an extremely difficult task to qualify for a statewide office through a write-in campaign and he got it done!" Olson wrote on Facebook. "We now have a full slate of quality candidates representing the party in the general election."

O'Connor has qualified for Clean Elections funding. He'll receive about $174,000 in public funding for the general election.

Marquez Peterson, O'Connor and Sloan will face Democrats Bill Mundell, Shea Stanfield and Anna Tovar in the general election. Republicans hold four of the five seats on the commission, which is primarily responsible for regulating public utilities.

This report was first published by the Arizona Mirror.

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