Tea party favorite Chester Crandell will have a challenger after all.

But it won’t be a Democrat.

Instead, the Republican senator from Heber, whose district includes Flagstaff, will be facing off against Tom O’Halleran of Sedona, who is running as an independent. O’Halleran is a former four-term, moderate Republican state senator who lost his seat in the 2008 primary when his party took a hard right turn. He is president of Keep Sedona Beautiful and a champion of forestry, water resources and education issues.

He said he filed more than 3,000 signatures Tuesday, one day before the filing deadline. He is listed on the Secretary of State’s web site as an official candidate in Legislative District 6 in the Nov. 4 general election. The deadline for challenging petition signatures is June 11.

Not listed as having filed petitions was Doug Ballard, the Flagstaff Democrat who is considering a race for Senate. Ballard, who ran for the House in 2012, was expected to seek a Senate seat this year. But with O’Halleran having a proven track record of garnering Democratic as well as Republican votes, party strategists might have seen Ballard as a spoiler in a three-person race. O’Halleran endorsed Ballard in 2012, along with the two other Democratic candidates in LD 6.

Ballard did not return phone calls Wednesday evening seeking comment.

In the race for two House seats from LD 6, incumbent tea party Republicans Brenda Barton of Payson and Bob Thorpe of Flagstaff will be on the ballot, along with Flagstaff Democrat Lanny Morrison. Each advances automatically from the Aug. 26 primary unless there are write-in candidates.

Other state and federal races, however, will see crowded primary contests, starting with the race for governor. Republican candidates are state Sen. Al Melvin of Tucson, state treasurer Doug Ducey, former Congressman Frank Riggs, former Mesa Mayor Scott Smith, Secretary of State Ken Bennett, former Go Daddy executive Christine Jones and former Maricopa County Attorney Andrew Thomas.

Fred Duval is the only candidate in the Democratic primary for governor.

In the race for Congress in the First District, which includes Flagstaff, U.S. Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick of Flagstaff is the only Democrat to file papers by yesterday’s deadline.

But three Republicans are listed as primary candidates: Gary Kiehne of Eagar, Adam Kwasman of Oro Valley, and Andy Tobin, the speaker of the state House of Representatives, of Paulden.

For secretary of state, Terry Goddard is the lone Democrat, while three Republicans will face off in the primary: Wil Cardon, Justin Pierce and Michele Reagan

For Attorney General, Felecia Rotellini is the only Democrats, while incumbent Republican Tom Horne will face a primary challenger in Mark Brnovich on Aug. 26.

In Coconino County, there won’t be many contested primaries for partisan offices.

Two Democrats, Evalina “Pat” Nebitsi and Val Wyant, are facing off for clerk of the Superior Court.

For Flagstaff Justice Court, incumbent Democrat Howard Grodman has a party challenger in Warren Sanford in the Aug. 26 primary.

Candidates for nonpartisan office such city council and school board have an extra month in which to file petitions for the Aug. 26 primary.

Editor's note: This story was corrected from its original version.


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