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Trusted local news leader for Kingman, Arizona & Mohave County
11:56 PM Thu, Oct. 18th

Primary will narrow field of candidates

It's been an active campaign season since the 12 candidates first started gathering petition signatures in November. Residents have had two and a half months to hear them speak, debate and answer questions about Kingman's future. Every week since the New Year there were opportunities to attend the forums, hear the speeches and answer knocks on the front door from candidates trying to garner support.

And now it's voting time.

The primary election polls open at 6 a.m. and close at 7 p.m. Tuesday, giving Kingman voters 13 hours to cast ballots for their favorite of the three mayoral candidates and for their top three of the nine total City Council candidates.

While primaries generally narrow the number of candidates, the last mayoral race nearly ended without having to go on to a general election. Les Byram, one of three candidates, nearly grabbed the victory in the 2006 primary when he secured 49.1 percent of the votes; more than 50 percent would have given him the win outright.

This year there are also three candidates for mayor - Monica Gates, Bill Nugent and John Salem - and if any one receives half of the votes, there will be no need for a general election runoff in May between the top two finishers in the primary.

That scenario is less likely on the Council side of this election, where nine Kingman residents are in a race for only three seats.

It was unprecedented, especially considering that none of the three Council incumbents sought re-election, that nine candidates took a run at Council, but it has given voters a large pool of quite diverse citizens to choose from.

One is a school teacher, another a Realtor, one a former member of Residents Against Irresponsible Development, several are developers, a few are retired, many own or have owned businesses, and all bring to the table their own interests, goals and hopes for Kingman's future.

And while it may be difficult to choose between the nine, those heading to the voting booth Tuesday are allowed to pick only three.

In the mayoral race voters have only one pick.

Candidates have urged the public to get to the polls and help in determining Kingman's future leaders.

In the 2006 primary, officials counted 3,564 votes cast out of 13,795 registered voters within city limits - a 25.8 percent turnout.

In the November 2007 city bond election, county elections department officials tallied a 27.86 percent turnout, with 4,178 ballots cast out of 14,996 registered voters.

Primary election polls will be open from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesday. If voters are unsure of their polling place, they can call the Voter Registration office at 753-0767.