The Arizona Senate has struck down a measure that sought to make it harder for voters to recall unpopular incumbents.

A handful of Republicans sided with Democrats in the 18-10 vote Thursday.

House Bill 2282 sought to add a primary election to all voter-initiated recall elections. It would have taken effect retroactively to January.

That was designed to make the bill apply to an ongoing effort by opponents of Republican Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio to force a recall election. It also would affect efforts to recall Democratic House Minority Leader Chad Campbell.

Majority Republicans had argued the legislation was needed to protect elected officials who are targeted only because of their party affiliation.

The House passed the measure in a 36-23 vote in March with Democrats opposed to the measure.

Former Senate President Russell Pearce became the first Arizona legislator recalled in 2011. He said at the time that had there been a GOP primary, he would have prevailed.

Pearce ran in a GOP primary the next year trying to regain the seat, but he lost to Bob Worsley, who was elected to the state Senate in the November general election.