Battle Royale: Controversial Mary Rose Wilcox Is in the Political Fight of Her Life

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The August 26 primary race is far different. It's gotten ugly as Wilcox and Gallego have exposed each other's imperfect and messy political pasts, with each trying to cast the other as untrustworthy. It's a battle between Latino royalty in Phoenix: Wilcox (who uses the last name of her husband, Earl) and Gallego, a politically savvy, Harvard-educated, two-term state lawmaker.

But the war of words pales, Wilcox maintains, when she remembers that somebody once tried to murder her.

Wilcox recalls that in 1997 a man stood out in the auditorium where the supervisors convene. He appeared to be extremely uneasy. When the meeting adjourned, she recalls, he walked toward her. She hurried her steps but froze when she felt a gun at the middle of her back. Or was it pointed at her head? She can't remember.

A blood-curdling scream escaped from her lips, jolting a security guard and a fellow supervisor to tackle the gunman, later identified as Larry Naman. But not before he'd fired his weapon.

"It felt like a hot bolt of oil going through my leg. I just felt it explode inside me," she says. "I remember everything swirling around me."

Wilcox says she later told Earl in the emergency room: "I don't want this job anymore. You take it."

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Monica Alonzo
Contact: Monica Alonzo