Comerford, Kai win in council primary - The Explorer: Pima Pinal

Comerford, Kai win in council primary

Single vote separated 2 of 5 remaining candidates

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Posted: Tuesday, March 17, 2009 11:00 pm | Updated: 1:28 pm, Mon Apr 18, 2011.

Election results show Marana Town Council incumbents Herb Kai and Patti Comerford holding onto their seats, according to an official canvass of votes in last week’s primary.

A question remains about who among the five remaining candidates moves on to the May 19 general election to compete for the two remaining seats.

Larry Steckler has a one-vote lead over Bret Summers for a fourth and final spot on the May general election ballot.

“Anytime someone tells you their vote doesn’t count, kick them in the pants,” Steckler said.

Due to the closeness of the vote in the March 10 primary, the Marana Town Council was set to vote Tuesday night whether to seek a recount.

Kai and Comerford commended their supporters for their high numbers of votes, which county elections officials verified about 1 p.m. Monday.

“I think my wife and all the volunteers really helped,” Kai said. “I thought we had a good web site that folks could get into, but all the volunteers really helped, too.”

 “A lot of people came out to help me that I’ve known over the years, back as far as Little League, which was 10 years ago,” Comerford said.

Of Marana’s 17,807 registered voters, 3,214 (18 percent) cast ballots in the primary, according to elections officials. A total of 10,622 votes were cast.

Kai received votes on 2,058 ballots; Comerford received 1,666 votes.

Candidates appearing on a majority of primary ballots automatically win election. Town voters could choose among seven candidates — four incumbents, three challengers — to fill four council seats.

Vote totals for the five remaining candidates are challenger Kelle Maslyn (1,578 votes), incumbents Carol McGorray (1,562) and Jon Post (1,373), and challengers Steckler (1,186) and Summers (1,185).

If either of the two candidates who received the lowest number of votes decided to withdraw, the remaining four candidates would move on to the general election to contend for two seats, Marana Town Clerk Jocelyn Bronson said.

Only two candidates can compete for each open seat.

Last week, Summers said he had looked into withdrawing from the election to save Marana possible expense of conducting a recount and to save himself from campaigning only to get knocked off the ballot in the recount.

“A recount is not something I asked for, nor would I ask for,” Summers said. “I don’t want to be pushing the town to spend money to do a recount.”

As of The Explorer’s Tuesday press deadline, he had not withdrawn.

Incumbents said the election results — citing Maslyn’s third-highest vote total overall — didn’t reflect discontent among town residents.

“The people I talked to occasionally had a minor complaint, maybe something down at the park, or traffic, but for the most part, people don’t have a lot of complaints or huge issues with the town,” Post said. “They’re pretty happy. I think that’s one of the reasons the election was so quiet. Everything really was going that well. There were a few questions. The town had some issues with personnel, but I think most people have assumed those have been handled, which they have.”

Candidates poised to go on to the May election indicated they would go full force campaigning.

“I was 30 votes short of being directly elected in the primary,” Maslyn said. “I always think, ‘If I had just done this one thing.’”

“I’m going to go full board ahead,” McGorray said. “I really didn’t in this campaign. I would like to have my mailings and calls out prior to the citizens receiving their early ballots. And I plan to knock on a lot of doors.”

“I miscalculated how big a part the early ballots play in the election,” Post said. “They were huge. And then I just figured I don’t want to spend $20,000 in the first go-around and then have to do it again. It’s very expensive.”

“My campaign will continue,” Steckler said. “There are a couple of groups that want to talk with me. I would love to have an opportunity to talk to people in Sunflower and will find ways to do that. I will do some calling and mailings, and signs will go up all over town.”

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