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Grinnell wins ballot spot with write-ins; Romero cruises to win

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Tucson city elections

Grinnell wins ballot spot with write-ins; Romero cruises to win

Higher turnout despite lack of contested races

  • Grinnell receives congratulations from GOP supporters.
    Will Seberger/TucsonSentinel.cmoGrinnell receives congratulations from GOP supporters.
  • Democratic mayoral candidate Jonathan Rothschild.
    Kevin Asher/TucsonSentinel.comDemocratic mayoral candidate Jonathan Rothschild.
  • Councilwoman Regina Romero celebrates her primary win.
    Kevin Asher/TucsonSentinel.comCouncilwoman Regina Romero celebrates her primary win.
  • The Republicans gathered at McMahon's to await election results.
    Will Seberger/TucsonSentinel.comThe Republicans gathered at McMahon's to await election results.
  • Campaign signs at the Democratic Party gathering at the Riverpark Inn downtown
    Kevin Asher/TucsonSentinel.comCampaign signs at the Democratic Party gathering at the Riverpark Inn downtown

Businessman/lobbyist Rick Grinnell qualified for November's general election after enough GOP voters wrote his name in, while West Side Democratic incumbent Regina Romero easily survived a primary challenge.

Grinnell needed at least 1,060 write-in votes on Republican ballots in Tuesday's primary election to appear on the GOP mayoral line in the general. He garnered 5,773.

Grinnell said he was confident throughout the day that he'd earn a ballot spot, and that he was prepared "to run a hard race."

Romero, the only council member to face a primary opponent on the ballot, easily moved past Joe Flores with 3,990 votes.

Mary DeCamp will represent the Green Party in November's mayoral race, moving past Dave Croteau after a friendly contest.

Tucson's mayor and council primary election was more noteworthy for what didn't happen than what did.

The Republicans failed to field a candidate who could get on the ballot. Both Shaun McClusky and Ron Asta were disqualified because they failed to gather enough valid nomination signatures.

Despite a wide-open field with the retirement of three-term Mayor Bob Walkup, only one serious Democratic contender jumped into the race. Jonathan Rothschild forestalled potential primary competitors by signing up hundreds of early supporters.

Rothschild said he thinks the numbers favor him, as a Democrat, but he thinks it will be tough nonetheless. It will depend on turnout in November, he said.

"This is nowhere close to being in the bag. I  think it's going to be tougher than some people thought," he said after learning the results Tuesday night.

There were only two contested races in the primary: the good-natured mayoral faceoff between former nominee Dave Croteau and Mark DeCamp in the Green Party race, and a challenge to Councilwoman Regina Romero by businessman Joe Flores in the Democratic primary in West Side Ward 1.

Voters have seen Romero's work during her three and a half years on the council, the incumbent told Democrats gathered at the downtown Riverpark Inn on Tuesday night.

"I think they like what they see. Do you think so?" she asked to a round of loud applause.

Romero said she looks forward to working with the other Democrats on the ballot.

"You're going to see us fighting for working families. You're going to see us fighting for public safety and investing in our infrastructure," she said.

But the big question of the night was whether businessman and lobbyist Rick Grinnell would receive write-ins from at least 1,060 people on Republican ballots. He did so, and then some, with more than 5,700 votes.

Despite predictions that turnout could top 25 percent, about 14 percent of registered voters turned in ballots before Tuesday. Mayoral primaries normally see about 12.5 percent turnout.

The election was the first test of the city's all-mail elections. 166,000 ballots were sent out, and more than 45,000 had been returned by Monday.

Ballots turned in or cast Tuesday will be counted later in the week, city officials said.

Primary election returns

100% precincts reporting


  • Jonathan Rothschild (D): 24134
  • David Karr (D write-in: 24
  • Joseph Maher (D write-in): 45
  • Rick Grinnell (R write-in): 5,773
  • Daryl Peterson (R write-in): 48
  • Dave Croteau (G): 109
  • Mary DeCamp (G): 312

Ward 1

  • Joe Flores (D): 1234
  • Regina Romero (D): 3990
  • Beryl Baker (G write-in): 10

Ward 2

  • Paul Cunningham (D): 5079
  • Jennifer Rawson (R): 4403

Ward 4

  • Shirley Scott (D): 3751
  • Tyler Vogt (R): 3392

Reporter Brad Poole contributed to this story.

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