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    Judge rejects effort to knock Justine Wadsack from ballot | Government & Politics

    Justine Wadsack will be a GOP candidate for state Senate after all, a judge ruled Monday night.

    Pima County Superior Court Judge Richard Gordon ruled that supporters of Sen. Vince Leach failed to prove that Wadsack was not living in Legislative District 17 when she ran in the primary election.

    Wadsack beat Leach in the LD 17 GOP primary Aug. 2. She took 41 percent of the vote to Leach’s 35 percent and Robert Barr’s 24 percent.

    Supporters of Leach, Edward and Onita Davis, filed suit Aug. 17 arguing that Wadsack did not really live in the district and therefore was ineligible. As a result, they argued, Leach should be declared the victor.

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    In court, Wadsack testified Monday that she moved into a room in the East Side home of a supporter, Rosa Alfonso, in February because she had separated from her husband. The reason for the separation, she testified, was that her husband had given her an ultimatum after they suffered attacks by political opponents at their home on East Sixth Street in midtown Tucson. 

    The home where Wadsack is renting a room on East Oakbrook Drive is in Legislative District 17, but her East Sixth Street home, which she owns in a trust with her husband, is not. 

    Under tough questioning by attorney Tim La Sota and Judge Gordon, Wadsack acknowledged that after the time she claims to have moved, she continued to sign signature petitions that she had collected by putting her current addres as the East Sixth Street home. She gave a series of explanations, saying that she did not want to change the address she signed until after her new driver’s license was issued, and that she did so because of “muscle memory.”

    In court, Gordon suggested he was not convinced by her explanations, but that Leach’s supporters had not provided sufficient proof to clear the hurdle of “clear and convincing evidence” that Wadsack did not reside at the Oakbrook home when the primary election took place, on Aug. 2. 

    “Is it suspicious? Absolutely,” Judge Gordon said from the bench. “But you need proof this is all made up.”

    Wadsack will face Democrat Mike Nickerson in the Nov. 8 general election.

    Contact columnist Tim Steller at or ​520-807-7789. On Twitter: @senyorreporter



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