Dem Council candidates file petitions, GOP gathering sigs
The three Democratic City Council candidates facing reelection filed their nominating petitions this week, while the three Republican challengers are working to secure their places on the ballot. There remains, as yet, no announced GOP candidate to challenge Mayor Jonathan Rothschild.
The GOP is still working to recruit a mayoral candidate, Pima County Republican Party Chairman Bill Beard said Thursday.
The three incumbent Democrats filed their petitions Monday, while Rothschild filed his the week before.
The Democratic mayor turned in the maximum number of signatures allowed in his race — 4,092 — and his party colleagues all easily topped their signature requirements.
Ward 1 Councilwoman Regina Romero filed petitions with the signatures of 671 West Side voters. She needed at least 350, with a maximum of 698.
Ward 2 Councilman Paul Cunningham filed 781; he needed between 436 and 871.
Ward 4 Councilwoman Shirley Scott filed 393, needing 288-574.
The three declared Republicans have working to gather the necessary signatures, Beard said.
Because signature requirements are based on per-party voter turnout in the preceding election, a potential GOP mayoral candidate must collect only 1,306 signatures, with a maximum of 2,611.
In the East Side wards, higher Republican turnout means those candidates must have more voters sign petitions than the Democrats.
In Ward 2, Kelly Lawton needs between 470 and 938 to qualify to appear on the ballot, while in Ward 4, Margaret Burkholder needs 351-700.
In heavily Democratic Ward 1, Bill Hunt needs just 98 signatures to make the ballot, with a maximum of 195.
The GOP has been vocal in calls for volunteers to help gather signatures for Burkholder and Lawton, while quiet when it comes to Hunt.
Beard said that the West Side candidate is "well on target," calling the public focus on the East Side "a matter of the sheer numbers" of voters needed to sign petitions.
A potential monkeywrench for the Republicans is the need for them to run at least three candidates in order for the party to be able to fund "slate" advertising.
With a slate of three of more candidates, parties are allowed to run combined political advertisements that are outside the per-candidate limits on campaign spending.
The deadline for filing nominating petitions is May 27.