PHOENIX — The death of state Sen. Chester Crandell throws this year's race for the seat he held into turmoil.
State election officials said Tuesday Arizona law bars anyone else from trying to get the Republican nomination as a write-in.
"The ballots will not be changed,'' said Secretary of State Ken Bennett. He said that means voters in Legislative District 6, which encompasses parts of Yavapai, Coconino, Navajo and Gila counties, can still vote for him.
"Any votes for Sen. Crandell will be tabulated,'' Bennett explained. "And since he is the only person on the ballot in the Republican primary for that Senate seat, it's expected that he would win the primary.''
At that point, Bennett said, it will be up to GOP precinct committeemen from within the legislative district to vote on whose name should appear on the general election ballot as the Republican nominee.
Whoever party workers choose to replace Crandell will face Tom O'Halleran of Sedona, who used to be a Republican legislator but has qualified to run in November as an independent.
But Bennett said it could get even more complex than that because party workers could nominate one of the district's two Republican state representatives who are seeking re-election.
If that happens, Bennett said the precinct committeemen then would have to name someone as a ballot replacement for what would become the vacant GOP slot for the House race.
And, there is enough time before the Nov. 4 general election for someone to file to run as a write-in for that race, Bennett said.
On Monday the secretary of state's office erroneously said any Republican could run as a write-in candidate for the GOP nomination.
Crandell's death could be a boost for O'Halleran, a former Chicago police detective, who served six years in the state House and two in the Senate before that 2008 GOP primary loss.
He was considered one of the more moderate Republicans at the Capitol, often breaking with party leaders over issues. He and a few other Republicans sided with Democrats on some key issues, including more funds for education.