Incumbents win local elections; Cook, Marshall advance in state primary

David Sowders/Arizona Silver Belt Gila County Supervisor Steve Christensen, Globe City Councilmember Mariano Gonzalez

Appointed to their seats last year in the wake of a resignation and a tragic death, two incumbent candidates for local office faced the voters in Tuesday’s primary elections – and, according to unofficial results from Gila County, both won the voters’ approval.

In southern Gila County’s only contested municipal race, for the Globe City Council’s District 5 seat, Councilmember Mariano Gonzalez received 107 votes to challenger Matthew Storms’ 93. Gonzalez has represented District 5 since May 2021. He was appointed to complete the term of Councilmember Charlene Giles, who resigned in April 2021. Gonzalez will rejoin fellow council members Jesse Leetham, Fernando Shipley and Vice Mayor Mike Stapleton (representing Districts 3, 6 and 4 respectively), who all ran unopposed this year.

Gila County Supervisor Steve Christensen enjoyed a larger lead in the race to represent District 1 on the Board of Supervisors. Christensen was appointed in January 2021 to succeed the late Tommie Cline Martin, who passed away in December 2020 not long after her re-election. Currently the board’s vice chairman, he was one of three candidates  in Tuesday’s Republican primary, all from Payson. On Thursday night, Christensen held  an 807-vote advantage over his closest challenger, Hallie Overman-Jackman (2,308 to 1,501). Running third was Sherra Kissee with 1,380 votes. There were no candidates in the Democratic primary.

In Miami, four Town Council members were unopposed and will return to office; Vice Mayor Dan Moat, Jose “Angel” Medina, Don Reiman and Michael Sosh. There were also no primary opponents for Gila County Superior Court Judge Timothy M. Wright, Clerk of the Superior Court Anita Escobedo, Globe Justice of the Peace Jordan Reardon and Globe Constable Ruben Mancha. Wright ran as a Republican, the latter three as Democrats.

In the Republican primary for the two seats in Arizona Legislative District 7, Gila County voters went with current District 8 Representative David Cook, a Globe resident, and David Marshall, Sr., of Snowflake. Cook, a House member since 2017 whose term in District 8 ends on Jan. 9, 2023, received 5,551 votes in Gila County. Marshall had 4,952. Cook and Marshall were also the top Republican vote earners statewide; Cook with 16,551 and Marshall with 13,812. A third candidate, John Fillmore, had 4,679 votes in the county and 13,041 statewide.

Among U.S. Congressional candidates, Republicans Jim Lamon (Senate) and Walt Blackman (House - District 2) came out on top in Gila County, with 4,078 and 4,445 votes respectively. However, both finished second in the primary; Lamon to Blake Masters and Blackman to Eli Crane. Masters will take on Democratic Senator Mark Kelly in the Nov. 8 general election, and Crane will face Democratic Representative Tom O’Halleran. Kelly and O’Halleran were unopposed on Tuesday.

In the Republican primary for governor, local voters decisively favored Kari Lake, who earned 5,914 votes. Lake also won statewide, defeating Karrin Taylor Robson by almost 20,000 votes. She will face current Arizona Secretary of State Katie Hobbs, who easily won the Democratic primary, in November.

Gila County reported voter turnout of 47%, with 12,734 early ballots and 2,806 election day ballots cast.

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