Primary will be key in race for open 21st District seat

The Aug. 5 primary will be key to the final outcome of the race to replace retiring Democratic 21st District State Rep. Mary Helen Roberts.

Democrats Justin McMahon, Dick McManus, Strom Peterson and Scott Whelpley, and Republican Allen McPheeters are running in the primary, with the top two vote getters, regardless of party, qualifying for the November general-election ballot.

McPheeters faces long odds in the traditionally Democratic district, but probably will qualify for the November ballot. That’s because, in recent primary elections, Republicans have taken 33 to 46 percent of the vote. That would leave no more than 67 percent of the primary vote to be divided among four Democrats.

McMahon, Peterson and Whelpley all have enough support to defeat Republican McPheeters in November; so the primary could well determine the winner.

The primary ballot will list the candidates in this order: Whelpley, McMahon, McManus, McPheeters, Peterson. I listed them in the wrong order in a July 7 post.

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