From Pima County Recorder’s Office: http://www.recorder.pima.gov/public/voterttlsdist.aspx
Registered voters in City of Tucson (as of April, 2011)
Total registered voters right now in City of Tucson are 228,836 (all six wards)
which gives the Democrats almost a 2:1 edge over the Republicans, but there are almost 70,000 Independent voters who could vote either way in the primary.
But according to Pima County Recorder F. Ann Rodriguez and UA Asst. Prof. of Communications Kate Kenski, Independents have a low voter turnout, probably because they don’t choose to vote at all or belong to an organized party.
Back in the last City of Tucson election of 2009, with Wards 3, 5 and 6 up for election, 33.5% of the total registered voters (221,316) voted. So 74,168 votes were cast city wide.
Karin Uhlilch (D) received 33,782 votes, Richard Fimbres (D) 37,749 votes and Steve Kozachik (R) 36,451 votes to prevail over their opponents. Uhlich won by only 175 votes over Republican Ben Bueller-Garcia, although the Green Party candidate Mary DeCamp received 4429 votes, which may have taken votes from the Democrat. In 2005 Uhlich had defeated Republican one term Ward 3 incumbent Kathleen Dunbar, in an upset.
Fimbres won by 4573 votes over Shaun McClusky (now running for Mayor) and Kozachik won in an upset by 1756 votes (defeating one term Democratic incumbent Nina Trasoff). Trasoff herself had upset 2 term Ward 6 incumbent Republican Fred Ronstadt in 2005.
How did Steve Kozachik, a Republican win in a predominantly Democratic city?
And with the Democratic voter edge in this city, how did Republican Robert Walkup win 3 terms? He defeated 1) two term Councilwoman Democrat Molly McKasson, then 2) former Democratic Mayor/Councilman Tom Volgy, and lastly 3) Green Party candidate Dave Croteau (no Democrat even ran for Mayor in 2007). See my previous blog “Will Mayor Walkup run again? (click here).
The Mayor’s seat is up for election this year, with Republican Bob Walkup not running for his 4th term. 6 men are currently seeking that position (3 Democrats, 2 Republicans, 1 Green), with nomination petitions/signatures due on June 1st. None of the candidates have served on the City Council, the usual testing ground for qualification to be a Mayor.
Council Wards 1, 2 and 4 are also up for election this year.
Ward 1 Councilwoman Regina Romero (D) has a Democratic opponent (Joe Flores), and almost had a Republican challenger (political newcomer Janet Gallup who filed last week but told me via email that she is withdrawing this week “for several personal reasons that were unforeseen”).
Regina has served for one term and is the incumbent. (In 2007 she defeated Democrat Ken Green in the Primary, then Green Party candidate Beryl Baker in the General.)
Appointed (May, 2010) Ward 2 Councilman Paul Cunningham (D) has a Republican opponent (political newcomer Jennifer Rawson). 4 term Ward 4 Councilwoman Shirley Scott (D) is being challenged by political newcomer Republican Tyler Vogt. Can either Rawson or Vogt upset the incumbent Councilmembers– like Kozachik did in 2009?
It seems that both Republicans and Democrats have served in Wards 3 and 6, with predominantly only Democratic Councilmembers in Ward 1, 2, 4, and 5 (except for one Democrat who turned into an Independent in Ward 2). And Tucson has had long term serving Republican Mayors (Lew Murphy and Bob Walkup).
So maybe it’s personality over partisan party affiliation that determines the winners in the City elections. What do you readers think?
The AZ Court of Appeals ruled recently for the City of Tucson in a challenge to a recent state law that would have mandated Ward only, nonpartisan elections instead of the current partisan, city-wide elections (though the Councilmembers have to live in the Ward they run from). This decision may be appealed to the AZ Supreme Court.
5/13/11 UPDATE: 6 men still running for Mayor (2 Democrats, as 1 dropped out last week, 2 Republicans, 1 Green (one dropped out, replaced by another Green), and an Independent).
Here’s the current list: Jonathan Rothschild (D), Marshall Home (D), Shaun McClusky (R), Ron Asta (R), Dave Croteau (G), Pat Darcy (I). But the list keeps changing…