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Ballot petition cases heard in Arizona

Two-term Rep. Deb Gullett, a prominent moderate Republican from Phoenix, withdrew from her race for re-election Tuesday rather than face a court challenge to her nominating petitions.

A judge also threw Republican candidate for Corporation Commission Tim Sifert off the ballot Tuesday because of a technicality with his petitions. Sifert said he will immediately appeal the ruling to the state Supreme Court.

Rep. John Allen, one of Gullett's three GOP primary opponents, had accused her of signing off as a witness to several petitions that she did not personally collect. Gullett admitted Tuesday that she solicited some of her signatures by mail and that she made an "unintentional mistake" by signing as a witness to the signatures after they were mailed back. Had the challenged petitions been thrown out, Gullett said, she would have still had more than enough signatures to qualify. But she said she feared Allen would continue to question the legitimacy of her candidacy in a race that had already turned negative. ...

Opponent Carl Seel alleged all of Sifert's 6,540 petitions should be thrown out because he did not specify which commission seat he was running for. Sifert and Seel are taking on Kris Mayes, who was appointed to replace Jim Irvin after he resigned last year. That term expires in 2007, while the other contested seats expire in 2009. -- Gullett withdraws from House race (ArizonaRepublic)