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Updated Jun 10, 2014 - 9:31 pm

Arizona Sen. Don Shooter questions opponent's signatures

PHOENIX -- Republican state Sen. Don Shooter of Yuma on Tuesday filed a lawsuit challenging the legality of signatures his opponent filed to qualify for the August primary, one of several challenges of candidates set to appear on the ballot.

Lawyers for Shooter allege in the Maricopa County Superior Court lawsuit that Toby Farmer signed petitions that contained multiple forged signatures. The suit seeks a court finding that Farmer committed petition forgery and is therefore ineligible for the ballot.

Shooter's campaign consultant, Constantin Querard, said multiple voters signed sworn affidavits saying they never signed Farmer's petition. Querard said the campaign also plans to turn the evidence it has gathered over to a law enforcement agency.

Farmer said in an emailed statement that he did not forge campaign signatures.

``I have retained counsel to fight these false allegations and I am confident I will be cleared in Monday's trial,'' Farmer wrote. ``I look forward to continuing my campaign.''

Shooter represents District 13 and chairs the Senate Appropriations Committee.

Another legal challenge filed Tuesday targets Republican Rep. Ethan Orr of Tucson. Pima County Democratic Party spokesman Jason Ground said almost half of Orr's signatures should be disqualified, enough for the Legislative District 9 representative not to make the ballot.

Orr said that's unlikely and he plans to remained focused on the campaign.

``I just want to focus on talking about the issues and the election and let's let the voters decide,'' Orr said. ``We have some very serious issues in this state - let's talk about those.''

Other challenges to candidates' qualifying signatures have resulted in mixed results. A challenge to Randy Camacho's bid to appear on the Congressional District 7 Democratic primary ballot was dismissed and Camacho remains on the ballot. Democratic Congressional District 7 candidate Johnnie Robinson withdrew after a challenge threatened, as did CD3 candidate Miguel Olivas.

Challenges remain against Legislative District 3 Republican candidate Patricia Flores, 5th Congressional District independent candidate Tyler Bowyer and Democratic 7th Congressional District candidate Cesar Chavez.

Other challenges could emerge before Wednesday's cutoff for questioning the validity of petitions qualifying candidates for the ballot.

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