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Upcoming elections could see substantial changes in representation

The April 1 deadline to declare for political office has passed and now the calendar turns to the primaries in an election that will tell a lot about the future of Arizona.

From the election that will likely decide the razor-thin margin of the U.S. Senate, to the City of Globe Council race that has already been decided, this election is filled with races that have the potential to cause ripples in leadership throughout the state and local communities.

Voter turnout for the upcoming election is expected to be high, given the stakes in the national races. According to the Pew Research Center, 2018, 2020 and 2022 were three of the highest turnout elections in decades. 

The report from July 2023 stated that “about two-thirds (66%) of the voting-eligible population turned out for the 2020 presidential election—the highest rate for any national election since 1900. The 2018 election (49% turnout) had the highest rate for a midterm since 1914. Even the 2022 election’s turnout, with a slightly lower rate of 46%, exceeded that of all midterm elections since 1970.”

Participation bodes well for the November General Election, but the primaries might not garner nearly as much interest from the voting public, given a lack of candidates in many races and obscure ballot measures and Propositions.

Of the 23,920 registered voters in Gila County, only 1,191, 46.79% turned out in the March Presidential Preference Election. Statewide, out of 2,636,948 registered voters, only 1,048,241 voted, a turnout of only 39.75% according to the Secretary of State’s office.

Globe City Council

The Globe City Council race has already been decided, as there were no challengers to incumbents Mayor Al Gameros, Freddy Rios (District 1) and Mike Pastor (District 2).

Since no one filed by the April 1 deadline, there will be no primary for Council, but the General Election in November will have the question of “Home Rule” on the ballot.

Home Rule, or Alternative Expenditure Limitation, will appear as Proposition No. 412 and gives the City control over its own budget, rather than be subjected to state-imposed spending limits.

Under the Arizona State Constitution, this proposal establishes an alternative expenditure limitation for the City for the next four years. 

The state-imposed expenditure limitation would hinder the City’s ability to set its budget based on revenues and expenditures. Historically, Home Rule has been approved by the voters of Globe. A “yes” vote allows the City to continue to control its own finances, while a “no” vote requires the City to adopt the state-imposed expenditure limit.

Gila County

Gila County 2nd District Supervisor Tim Humphrey is seeking his third term as the Globe-Miami region’s county representative. Archive photo

Gila County will have several offices up for grabs, including all three Supervisorial seats as well as the County Recorder, School Superintendent and Sheriff.

Incumbents County Assessor Sherra Kissee (R), County Attorney Bradley Beauchamp (R), County Treasurer Monica Wolforth (R) and Superior Court Judge Bryan B. Chambers (R) are all unopposed and will continue to serve in their respective offices.

District I Supervisor Stephen Christensen (R) will face off against write-in candidate Dave Golembewski (R), and District III Supervisor Woody Cline (R) goes against Kelly Parks (R). In the local District II seat, Tim Humphrey (R) will face off against Randy Roberson (R), a local media personality and member of the Gila County Planning & Zoning Commission.

Gila County Recorder Sadie Jo Bingham (R) will face off against Bonnie Wolff (R), while long-serving Gila County School Superintendent Roy Sandoval (R), who has served in that position since 2016, will face Jack Duffy (R), a social studies teacher at Globe High School.

The Gila County Sheriff’s race will see incumbent John Shepherd (R) going up against Tom Morrisey (R) and write-in candidate Leonard Kerszykowski (R). Morrisey, a former Chairman of the Arizona Republican Party and two-term mayor in Payson running as an “original Constitutionalist” and “tried & true patriot,” successfully challenged the residency requirements for Globe Police Chief Dale Walters, knocking the popular Police Chief off the ballot.

Globe Police Chief Walters will continue to lead the Globe Police Department. Courtesy Photo

State and Federal Races

The state primary races closest to the Copper Corridor involve District 7, where six Republicans and two Democrats vie for a slot on the November ballot.

The District 7 U.S. Senatorial race is going to be between either Democrat Haley Creighton or Miami native Roberto Reveles and the winner of a Republican slugfest between Wendy Rogers and local State Rep David Cook.

Cook has already survived an attempt by election-denier Rogers to have him thrown off the primary ballot and appears to be ready for the fight.

On April 24, Rogers’ attempt to disqualify Cook with a lawsuit challenging the signatures collected to get on the ballot was thrown out of court. On May 10, the Arizona Supreme Court threw out hundreds of signatures, although Cook still had a sufficient number to reach the 595 needed to qualify.

The ruling ensures what is expected to be a heated primary between the more moderate Cook and far-right Rogers in Legislative District 7 which includes part of Coconino, Gila, Navajo and Pinal counties.

In the District 2 State Representative race, incumbent Eli Crane goes against fellow Republican Jack Smith for a spot in November against Democrat Jonathan Nez.

U.S. Senate

The Senate seat currently held by now-Independent Kyrsten Sinema will change hands this November to either Democrat Ruben Gallego or election-denying Republican Kari Lake, although in the primary, Lake must face off against fellow Republicans Mark Lamb and Elizabeth Jean Reye. Lamb is Pinal County Sheriff and Reye identifies herself as a “Reagan Republican.”

According to a report by The Hill, Gallego has a 4.1 point lead over Lake—his most likely competitor—in 22 national polls as of May 13, but there is still a long way to go before November.

Sinema pulled out of the race on March 5 after a rocky four years spent alienating her base.

Miami Town Council sees competitive race

The Town of Miami will get at least one new councilmember in 2025, as three seats are in play during the 2024 election cycle.

The seats of longtime councilmen Mike Black, Sammy Gonzalez and Robert Licano will be up for grabs and while Black and Gonzalez have thrown their hats in the ring, Licano did not file for re-election by the April 1 deadline.

There are seven candidates for the seats in what is the most contested Miami election in several years.

The Miami election statute states that the top-three vote-getters in the primary will win the seats without the need to face competition in November.

Once the primary election is decided, the only issue in the General will be Miami’s Home Rule Proposition.

The Primary Election takes place on Tuesday, July 30. The voter registration deadline is July 1.

This article has been updated to reflect that the Miami Town Council seat up for re-election is that of Robert Licano and not Don Reiman.

About David Abbott

Journalist, writer and editor who has worked for community newspapers for more than 15 years. After four years at Davis-Monthan AFB and a few years living in Tucson, moved to California to find his fortune. He is happy to be back in Arizona, in the mountains he loves.

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