As a newcomer, Justin Olson could have been happy with simply joining state House Speaker Kirk Adams as the Republican nominees in District 19.
In Tuesday’s primary election, Olson nearly got more votes than Adams.
With all 65 precincts reporting, Adams and Olson were tied with 35.58 percent of the vote. Adams edged Olson in total votes -- 6,274 tro 6,154. Scott Perkinson was third at 28.6 percent of the vote.
“I’m very pleased,” said Olson, who monitored returns while mingling with supporters at a Native New Yorker restaurant in Mesa. “It’s been a long campaign, and we worked very hard to be successful. We’re not going to assume anything until all the votes are counted, but it’s looking good.”
Olson has been endorsed by such conservative heavyweights as Maricopa County sheriff Joe Arpaio and state Sen. Russell Pearce. Perkinson is backed by Adams.
“When you get those kind of (endorsements), it brings votes, no doubt,” Olson said. “But we had a broad base of support. I think that folks saw that I’m someone that shares their values, and that’s the biggest factor.”
Each House district has two representatives.
In other local state Legislature races:
• Rich Crandall, who vacated the second District 19 House seat to run for Senate in the district, defeated James Molina, 60.2 percent to 39.6 percent, in the GOP primary with all 65 precincts reporting.
• In a crowded Republican primary in House District 22 (where two of six candidates were chosen), incumbent Lauren Hendrix (19.2 percent) was third, behind former lawmaker Eddie Farnsworth (34.1 percent) and former Gilbert councilman Steve Urie (20.8 percent) with all 62 precincts reporting.
Farnsworth, president and executive director of Benjamin Frankin Charter Schools, served in the state House from 2001-08 and was the majority leader in 2003-04.
“When you’re in a campaign of six people vying for two seats, you never know,” Farnsworth said. “It can be unpredictable in many ways. No matter how many times I’ve been through this, it’s always humbling to know that people are trusting me to represent them in the government. I think it’s looking like I’ll have a job to do.”
• In an all-newcomer GOP House primary in District 21, where two candidates are chosen, Tom Forese (35.5 percent) and J.D. Mesnard (34.8) both pevailed. Higley Unified School district board member Venessa Whitener (29.5 percent) was third. All 79 precincts had reported.
• The Democratic primary for the District 18 Senate seat went down to the wire, as professional dog trainer Andrew Sherwood edged small business owner Robert McDonald, 49.9 percent to 48.3 percent, with all 51 precincts reporting. In the general election, Sherwood faces long odds against GOP incumbent Pearce, co-author of Senate Bill 1070.