Democrats re-elected to Tucson Council, county bonds fail
The Democratic incumbents on the Tucson City Council easily swept their Republican challengers, while the Pima County bond questions lost by large margins.
A proposition to ban red-light and speed enforcement cameras in Tucson passed easily, as did propositions to change the City Charter.
About 20,000 ballots remained to be counted across Pima County on Wednesday — possibly enough to affect some of the closer races. Check back for updates.
Mayor Jonathan Rothschild, cruising to re-election without a Republican opponent, declared victory as he spoke to about 200 people at a Democratic Party gathering at the Doubletree Hotel early Tuesday evening.
"Over the past last four years, we have moved Tucson forward," said Rothschild. "We can make Tucson work ... look at what we've done Downtown."
Referring to dark-money funded billboards placed by the independent campaign Revitalize Tucson, Rothschild said, "somehow, some people must have missed all the work the City Council has done for the last four years."
The "community will reaffirm" the Democratic slate, he said, declaring victory with a grin.
As early results were released, the Democratic incumbents were at one point leading by nearly 20 points over their challengers. In updated results released in the middle of the night, Councilwoman Regina Romero led Bill Hunt 57-43 percent in Ward 1, while Councilman Paul Cunningham also had a 57-43 margin over Kelly Lawton. Councilwoman Shirley Scott was moving toward a sixth term on the Council, with a 55-45 lead over Margaret Burkholder.
Romero, up in the count but reluctant to claim a win, thanked her parents.
"They taught me what we're supposed to do — which is service to others," she told the crowd of Democrats.
But the councilwoman did discuss the tactics of her opponents.
"Voters saw through the mud-slinging," Romero said. "They've seen the tangible results of what we've done as a team."
"We don't count a win until the last vote is counted," she cautioned a room full of Democrats eager to hear their candidates declare victory.
Cunningham said he'd also wait to announce a win, but that he'd "talk more forcefully about the tactics of our opponents" when he does.
Scott, also leading handily, said the Democrats brought "verifiable facts" to their campaigns, while the campaign against the incumbents used, "I wouldn't want to say 'bald-faced lies.'"
One of the organizers of the effort to ban Tucson's red-light cameras cheered the vote results Wednesday morning.
"The 2 to 1 result is what was predicted by our own voter sampling of early voters," said Mark Spear in an email. "Tucson Traffic Justice is not a group of 'scofflaws' looking to violate the law with impunity. We are very interested in traffic safety, and will be offering multiple suggestions to promote safety greater than that claimed by the Tucson police from the cameras."
Bill Beard, the chair of the Pima County Republican Party, said he was "cautiously optimistic" as he waited to learn the fate of his candidates early Tuesday evening.
"I think our guys had the better arguments," he said around 7:30 p.m. Tuesday. The question is, "has that permeated with the voters?," he said at a GOP gathering at Sushi Garden.
"I ran a hard race, did my best and the voters chose the incumbent," Burkholder said on Facebook on Wednesday morning. "I am humbled by all the outpouring of support from friends and family. Thank you! Now I get my life back and as I always say, all's well that ends!"
Also on Wednesday, GOP City Council hopeful Kelly Lawton posted on Facebook, "The voters have spoken and my bid to represent you has fallen short. I greatly value and appreciate all the volunteers and supporters who embraced my candidacy for Tucson City Council. Without you this effort would not have been possible."
"I want to wait until we see more of the ballots come in," Beard said later Tuesday night, as his candidates failed to catch up as a second vote tally was released after 9 p.m. "A lot more people showed up at the polls today and that final surge should help out candidates."
"We have to remember that in Pima County, it's not over until it's over. We won't see full results until Thursday or Friday, so we really have to wait and see," he said.
Beard said he was "beyond happy with the three candidates that ran" in this campaign.
One of those candidates, Lawton, said he woke up at 4 a.m. Tuesday to place campaign signs outside polling places.
"I was born and raised in Tucson, and year after year I’ve sat back and watched the city struggle," Lawton said. "And, I believe that I have the leadership to do something about it and really help the city move forward."
"I've worked as hard as I could," he said of his run against Cunningham.
Not willing to concede a loss Tuesday night, the Republicans candidates left their gathering around 10:40 p.m. The Democrats broke up their event about the same time, with a mix of smiles about their Council wins and downcast gazes from those who'd worked to pass the county bonds.
Updated Nov. 30 7:44:45 am
Pima County: 38.51%
|ROTHSCHILD, JONATHAN (D)||51,138||8,784||1,436||61,358||93.41%|
Tucson City Council WARD 1
|HUNT, BILL (R)||25,932||6,567||642||33,141||42.07%|
|ROMERO, REGINA (D)||38,052||6,149||1,166||45,367||57.59%|
Tucson City Council WARD 2
|CUNNINGHAM, PAUL (D)||37,970||6,178||1,148||45,296||57.50%|
|LAWTON, KELLY (R)||26,042||6,527||662||33,231||42.19%|
Tucson City Council WARD 4
|BURKHOLDER, MARGARET (R)||27,031||6,897||683||34,611||43.99%|
|SCOTT, SHIRLEY C (D)||36,936||5,772||1,116||43,824||55.70%|
Tucson Prop. 201: Red Light Cameras
Tucson Prop. 403: Mayoral Parity
Tucson Prop. 404: Civil Service/Dep't Heads
Tucson Prop. 405: Mayor & Council Salaries
Oro Valley MAYORAL RECALL
|STRANEY, PATRICK "PAT"||5,271||969||110||6,350||42.82%|
Oro Valley COUNCIL MEMBER RECALL
Oro Valley COUNCIL MEMBER RECALL
Oro Valley COUNCIL MEMBER RECALL
Pima County propositions
Prop. 425: Road and Highway Improvements
Prop. 426: Economic Development, Libraries and Workforce Training
Prop. 427: Facilities Promoting Tourism
Prop. 428: Parks and Recreational Facilities
Prop. 429: Public Health, Welfare, Safety, Neighborhoods and Housing
Prop. 430: Natural Area Conservation and Historic Preservation
Prop. 431: Flood Control and Drainage
Prop. 432: Catalina Foothills School District Bonds
Prop. 433: Catalina Foothills School District Override
Prop. 434: Continental School District Override
Prop. 435: Flowing Wells School District Override
Prop. 436: Sahuarita School District Bond
Prop. 437: Sunnyside School District Override
Prop. 438: Sahuarita General Plan