Raúl Grijalva (Democrat) and Gabriela Saucedo Mercer (Republican)

Photos courtesy of the candidates

The Congressional District 3 Republican primary race was jumbled this week as one candidate dropped out and another jumped in.

Political newcomer Damien Kennedy didn’t collect enough signatures to qualify for the ballot by Wednesday’s filing deadline.

He said he had relied on some volunteers who said they’d collect signatures but didn’t.

He congratulated Gabriela Saucedo Mercer for getting on the Republican primary ballot.

Saucedo Mercer won the Republican primary in 2012 but lost to Democratic incumbent U.S. Rep. Raúl Grijalva. But she hasn’t been able to raise much money for a rematch .

Miguel Olivas earlier announced he would run as a Republican, but he turned in nominating petitions Wednesday to run as a Libertarian.

Olivas has been registered as a Democrat and as a Republican in the past. His switch to the Libertarian party was so recent that his voter registration record hasn’t been updated yet.

Olivas said he doesn’t entirely agree with any party’s platform .

He said voters want an independent voice; however, it could be a tough run. When Blanca Guerra ran against Grijalva as a Libertarian in 2012, she received only 4 percent of the votes cast.

Hearing that Saucedo Mercer would be alone on the Republican primary ballot in August, Mike Polak decided to join the race as a write-in candidate.

Polak, fresh off a loss in the Sunnyside school board recall election, said, “People deserve a choice.”

Polak is a lifelong Republican who served in the Marines and worked in the aerospace industry and as a small-business owner.