A third challenger has entered the race for the state Senate in Gilbert - a candidate who says he will be more fiscally conservative than the other two legislators vying for the District 22 seat.
Gilbert resident Joe Bedgood filed campaign finance paperwork last week to run for the Senate in the largest legislative district in the town.
Already planning to run is Senate Majority Leader Thayer Verschoor, R-Gilbert, and Rep. Eddie Farnsworth, R-Gilbert, who is being forced from his House seat by term limits.
Bedgood ran against Verschoor two years ago and lost.
At the time, Republicans were divided between factions: legislators who supported a law requiring that the town provide fire coverage to county islands, and local politicians who said that covering island emergencies would financially hurt town residents.
Relations have remained strained between many of the District 22 Republican precinct committee members and town leaders.
Bedgood, who has also worked with the town and Mayor Steve Berman on planning events in town, including the mayor's New Year's Eve Party, wouldn't comment directly about his decision to run.
But in a statement, he said he is running because "our supposedly conservative representation ... has increased state spending by over 40 percent in less than three years, continues to drain our rainy-day account, and now has turned a one billion (dollar) surplus into a one billion dollar shortfall this year, and much more next year."
Verschoor could not be reached for comment.
But Farnsworth said he has been opposing what he calls irresponsible spending at the state level.
"I think I'm certainly one of the leading voices in advancing conservative principles," Farnsworth said. "I'm going to stand up for those core principles of property rights and smaller government and lower taxation."