2 Council challengers file nominating petitions
Two Republican candidates for City Council filed nominating papers on Tuesday. Both repeat candidate Ben Buehler-Garcia and newcomer Mike Polak turned in the maximum number of signatures to earn a place on the ballot. No GOP candidate has filed to contest the seat of Councilman Steve Kozachik.
Buehler-Garcia, making a second run at unseating Ward 3 Councilwoman Karin Uhlich, filed 245 signatures on petitions; he needs 123 to be declared valid to appear on the ballot.
Uhlich, who won a narrow race four years ago, filed 554 signatures on April 29 — the maximum. Based on the formula that calls for the number of valid signatures to be between 5 and 10 percent of the votes cast for mayor in the last election, broken down by party and ward, the Democratic councilwoman needed 278 to be valid.
Polak, the owner of Desert Armory Gun Parts and Accessories, is making his first run for office. He needed just 69 signatures to qualify for the ballot, and turned in 131. He will face South Side Councilman Richard Fimbres in the Ward 5 race. Fimbres has yet to file nominating petitions; he needs 242 to qualify for the ballot. Party insiders said the Democrat has already collected more than the maximum number of signatures.
No other candidates have filed to challenge Steve Kozachik in Ward 6. The Midtown councilman recently changed parties, switching his registration to Democrat after having been elected as a Republican four years ago.
Despite an furor among the right wing, no candidate has attempted to collect the 183 signatures required to run for that seat on the GOP ticket. Kozachik turned in 787 signatures last month, on the first day signatures were accepted, well exceeding the 425 required.
Although members of the City Council are nominated by ward, they are elected on a city-wide basis — a system that the state Legislature has moved to alter.
If no other candidates file before the May 29 deadline, anyone else wishing to run in the August primary would have to register by July 18 become a write-in candidate.