A hard-fought race between two longtime friends turned political adversaries came down to a few hundred votes in the Gilbert-based District 22 Republican Senate primary.
Sen. Thayer Verschoor held off Rep. Eddie Farnsworth by about 500 votes Tuesday, which virtually assures he will retain his Senate seat in the Republican-dominated district. Currently, there are no announced candidates ready to take on Verschoor in the November general election.
Although the vote totals could change as provisional ballots continue to be counted, Farnsworth conceded late Tuesday, saying he had "no regrets."
Verschoor, who is one of the highest ranking members in the Senate, said he was pleased the campaign did not descend into a mudslinging contest and thanked his volunteers.
Joe Bedgood, who ran unsuccessfully two years ago for the office, finished a distant third, according to the Arizona Secretary Of State.
Other legislative races in the East Valley remain undecided because of the close margins in balloting Tuesday. There are about 43,000 ballots yet to be counted in Maricopa County, according to Yvonne Reed, spokeswoman for the county recorder's office. There is no breakdown available as to how many uncounted ballots remain in each legislative district.
New tallies should be posted beginning about 5 p.m. today.
In legislative races, final results that put two candidates within 50 votes of each other would trigger an automatic recount.
The unresolved East Valley races are:
District 18 House
In Mesa's District 18 House race, Steve Court holds a 72-vote lead over Ron Middlebrook in the battle for one of two Republican slots on the November ballot.
Cecil Ash held a comfortable lead in the race and will advance to the general election.
In balloting Tuesday, Ash got 5,344 votes. Court garnered 3,459 votes and Middlebrook 3,387.
The top two vote-getters in the Republican primary will face off with Democrat Tammie Pursley in the Nov. 4 general election. Two House members are elected from each district.
District 20 House
In the Republican House race for District 20, which encompasses west Chandler, Ahwatukee Foothills and south Tempe, Chandler resident Jeff Dial locked up one of the party's two places on the November ballot.
The second seat remained undecided as two-term incumbent Rep. John McComish of Ahwatukee Foothills trailed Tempe resident Frank Schmuck by 65 votes as of late Wednesday.
McComish faced a similar race in 2004, when he was elected in a recount.
In the race four years ago, McComish finished four votes behind Anton Orlich in the initial tally from the primary, but pulled ahead by 13 votes after the recount.
McComish said he will accept a recount if his vote tally falls within the parameters set by statute, but will not seek one even if he is a few votes shy of an automatic recount.
Stefanie Beeth, a Team Schmuck spokeswoman, said it is premature to comment because many votes still need to be counted.