The District 8 House of Representatives incumbent and a former Fountain Hills Town Council member were the top two vote-getters Tuesday in the district’s Republican primary, according to unofficial preliminary results.
Rep. Michele Reagan, who is seeking her third House term, and John Kavanagh will advance to face Democrats Stephanie Rimmer and William Sandberg in the Nov. 7 general election.
Former Scottsdale City Councilman Jim Burke, Travis Junion and Carolyn Schoenrock rounded out the field finishing third through fifth, respectively. Final results are expected Friday.
The top vote-getter was Reagan, who emphasizes her support of small businesses. Reagan said she received positive feedback from a number of voters at the polls Tuesday.
“A lot of people said they’ve followed the work I’ve done and thought I was very effective,” Reagan said. “That was good to hear.”
Kavanagh was the more conservative choice between himself and Burke, his nearest competitor.
“My message resonated with the voters, my strong stand on illegal immigration. I also believed my extensive political experience helped me,” Kavanagh said.
Early on, the candidates had a hard time distinguishing themselves from one another, agreeing more or less on a number of key issues such as securing the border and school vouchers.
Some separation began to emerge when Burke, Scottsdale Healthcare’s senior vice president and chief medical officer, said in certain circumstances he would support a city condemning property for another private use. In addition, he supported exploring a governmentsponsored universal health care proposal.
Kavanagh, a Scottsdale Community College professor and retired Port Authority of New York and New Jersey detective sergeant, jumped on those positions and sent a phone message and mailer specifically criticizing Burke for his views. Burke also had more moderate social views than Kavanagh, who is anti-abortion and against gay marriage.
District 8 includes most of Scottsdale, Fountain Hills and Rio Verde.
- Tribune writer Mike Branom contributed to this report.