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Kozachik keeps Ward 6 Dem nod, Dahl choice in Ward 3 Tucson Council primary

Incumbent Tucson Councilman Steve Kozachik fended off two challengers in Tucson's Ward 6 Council primary, with Kevin Dahl prevailing as the choice of Democrats for the open seat in Ward 3.

Kozachik garnered 57% of the vote in the three-way Democratic race in Ward 6, with Andres Portela getting 15% of the vote, and Miranda Schubert pulling in 27%.

Dahl beat out Juan Francisco Padres, 60-40% as the choice of Ward 3 Democrats.

In Ward 3, Republican candidate Alan Harwell earned his way on to the November general election ballot by pulling in 389 write-in votes. He needed at least 134. GOP voters filled in another 303 ballots in the ward with other write-in names, and 195 Republican voters in the ward cast blank ballots.

Dahl said he was "completely stunned" by the results.

The Ward 3 Democrat said that he was going hiking Wednesday after spending what felt like four days on the phone leading up to the election.

"What we did in one ward, we have to do in five wards" in the general election, he said.

"We'll go out, and talk to people," he said, using a protocol developed when he worked for the Biden-Harris presidential campaign last year.

He said that most voters wanted their roads fixed.

"The crumbling condition of the road in front of their house, even in rich and poor neighborhoods, demonstrates that Tucson and the last RTA should have included maintenance," he said. "We have to take care of the roads we have, rather than just build or expand new ones. "

He said that he wanted to focus on two things. "Climate change is my foremost issue; push Tucson to be the best Tucson it can."

"We need to manage the release of fossil fuels, and help people adapt to, and mitigate climate changes. And, we have to understand that the most vulnerable amongst us are the ones who will die, they're the ones who need the most help."

He said after 38 years in the ward, he seen a cycle of new things like 5G, but perennial problems like a lack of housing still remain.

"We need to deal with these issues that affect people," Dahl said. "My career has been in building coalitions, and that's what I want to do as city councilman."

Kozachik sounded a confident note about his race.

"I have a great staff and our team has established some solid relationships through constituent work," Kozachik said. "We'll just keep on keeping on through November and beyond."

Primary election results

Voter turnout: 22%

Ward 3 Democratic primary

  • Kevin Dahl 3,746
  • Juan Padrés 2,493

Ward 3 Republican primary

  • Alan Harwell (write-in) 389

Ward 5 Democratic primary

  • Richard Fimbres 3,549

Ward 6 Democratic primary

  • Steve Kozachik 5,398
  • Andres Portela 1,438
  • Miranda Schubert 2,512

More than half of the early ballots in each ward were cast by people aged 65 or older, according to a breakdown of the ballot returns. In each ward, voters aged 55-64 accounted for nearly another 20 percent of the ballots returned in the early vote, before Tuesday.

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There are three City Council seats to be determined this year; only two of those wards have contested races, and with no Republicans filing nomination papers, there were none listed on any primary ballots. Only voters in Wards 3, 5 and 6 were able participate in the primary.

In Ward 6, in Midtown, incumbent Councilman Steve Kozachik faced two challengers in the Democratic primary: Andres Portela and Miranda Schubert. Kozachik will go on to compete with independent candidate Val Romero in the November election.

In Ward 3, Kevin Dahl and Juan Francisco Padrés were on the Democratic primary ballot. Alan Harwell Jr. was attempting to qualify for the November ballot by garnering enough write-in votes from Republicans in the Northwest Side ward. At least 134 Republican ballots in the ward must have been filled out with his name for him to run in the general election. Independent Lucy LiBosha will also be listed on the November ballot with Dahl and Harwell as voters fill an open seat in the ward.

In Ward 5 on the South Side, Democratic Councilman Richard Fimbres has not drawn any opponent as he seeks reelection.

Members of Tucson's City Council are nominated by the voters in the separate wards in the primary, and then voted on city-wide in the general election on Nov. 2.

Voters who are registered with the Republican or Libertarian parties were also be able to vote in the primary, but only the single GOP candidate filed as an official write-in whose votes will be tallied. Independent voters could pick which party's ballot they wished to cast.

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Paul Ingram/TucsonSentinel.com

Ward 3 Democrat Kevin Dahl on election night.