- Associated Press - Wednesday, August 27, 2014

PHOENIX (AP) - Tom Forese and Doug Little were winners Tuesday night in the Republican primary in a heated four-way race for two open seats on the Arizona Corporation Commission.

Little and Forese beat out former state Rep. Lucy Mason and ex-Paradise Valley Mayor Vernon Parker, who also ran as a team although voters didn’t have to pick any particular pair.

The Democratic candidates in the November general election for two-year commission terms are Jim Holway and Sandra Kennedy, who ran unopposed.

The five-member commission, considered a separate branch of state government, sets rates for regulated utilities such as water and power providers. It also handles corporate registrations and is responsible for ensuring safety of railroads and pipelines.

The race was deluged in recent months with more than $2 million in so-called “dark money” - political spending for which the donors do not have to be disclosed.

Parker and Mason were supported by the rooftop solar industry.

Little and Forese reportedly benefited from more than $1 million in spending by groups that appear to have ties to Arizona Public Service Co. and the Home Builders Association of Central Arizona.

Forese is a two-term state lawmaker representing the Gilbert and Chandler area while Little is a political newcomer with a background in computer software.

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