Mayoral elections held across Arizona - East Valley Tribune: Arizona

Mayoral elections held across Arizona

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Posted: Wednesday, March 12, 2008 8:29 am | Updated: 9:08 pm, Fri Oct 7, 2011.

MESA - Former City Councilman Rex Griswold and political newcomer Scott Smith appeared headed to a Mesa mayoral runoff election on May 20.

Griswold and Smith had the most votes Tuesday among three candidates in a tight primary race to lead Arizona's third-largest city.

The other candidate in the field was Vice Mayor Claudia Walters.

After serving two four-year terms, current Mayor Keno Hawker was ineligible to run again because of terms limits. During his eight-year tenure, Hawker has had to tackle the city's budget and the need for more police on the streets as the city's population continued to grow.

Smith, a former homebuilder, attorney and accountant, used his lack of political experience to bill himself as an outsider who could enact change. Smith had said he would restore residents' confidence in government and try to solve the city's budget deficit with more development and aggressive selling of excess land. His critics argued Smith's campaigning consisted of doling out criticisms rather than solutions.

Griswold, a restaurant consultant, stepped down from the City Council after a five-year run to campaign for mayor. He has supported local police checking immigration status as well as a guest-worker program. But Griswold has also developed a reputation for coming up with solutions that lose steam, such as raising salaries for the mayor and City Council and eliminating bus service for the disabled.

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FLAGSTAFF - Incumbent Joseph Donaldson and political newcomer Sara Presler-Hoefle appeared to have advanced to the May 20 general election.

Donaldson and Presler-Hoefle were virtually tied for the top two spots in Tuesday's mayoral primary.

The other three candidates were writer David Schlosser, retired school teacher Stephen Knutson and businessman Rick Klug.

Donaldson was first elected in 2004. A former Safeway manager and board member in the Flagstaff Unified School District, Donaldson has said he would like to help with the city's affordable housing crisis. He also said he would revise the redistricting process and develop more work force training.

Presler-Hoefle, a legal aid counsel at Northern Arizona University, said her background as a public defender makes her an advocate for those with no voice, such as children and the elderly. Presler-Hoefle has said the city needs to draw more businesses, promote sustainable growth and somehow incorporate the community more in decision-making.

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KINGMAN - Businessman John Salem appeared to be headed to victory in Tuesday's mayoral race for Kingman.

With nearly 61 percent of the vote Tuesday, Salem had more than 50 percent of the votes needed to win outright, said city clerk Debbie Francis.

Francis said the results will become official after a vote canvass during the next City Council meeting.

The other mayoral candidates were ex-Kingman Mayor Monica Gates and developer Bill Nugent.

Salem said he would be a better liaison between city officials and citizens. He said he would also concentrate on stabilizing downtown and attracting more businesses.

Gates served as mayor from 2004 until 2006. She spent the past two years managing her husband's construction company.

Nugent said Kingman's spending needed to be scaled back. He would also channel local sales tax toward expanding the community and annex the local airport, allowing the city to collect permit fees and taxes on land sales, if elected.

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DOUGLAS - Unofficial results indicate dentist Michael Gomez will be the next mayor of Douglas.

Gomez won 53 percent of the vote in Tuesday's election and will be the first new mayor in Douglas in more than a decade if the tallies hold up. A member of the local school board, a councilman and a member of the Arizona-Mexico Commission, results show he had 872 votes.

The second-place finisher was apparently write-in candidate Natalio Sabal, a juvenile probation officer for Cochise County. Write-in candidates collected 393 votes, or 24 percent, and those are expected to be for Sabal. His resume lists extensive involvement with Cochise College, including a stint as president, as well as city committees including the zoning board. Sabal has said he would focus on Douglas' economy and expand the role of the port of entry.

Also running for mayor was Cruz Silva, 28, a member of the Arizona National Guard who now runs his own communications retail store. Silva received 191 votes, or 12 percent. Behind him was Michael "Smokey" Molina, who had 169, or 10 percent of the vote.

In his campaign, Gomez said he would facilitate more input from the public in city meetings and decisions.

The next mayor will succeed incumbent Ray Borane, who has been in office since 1996 but opted not to run again. He is currently serving his third four-year term. As the mayor of a border city, Borane was a critic of attempts by the Legislature to try to fix Arizona's vast immigration woes and opposed attempts to build more fences along the U.S.-Mexico border.

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