Photo by JC Amberlyn.
KINGMAN – The blurry chaos of Tuesday’s primary election came into sharper focus Wednesday morning as most votes have been counted by the Mohave County Elections Department and the Arizona Secretary of State office. Republican Sen. John McCain lost to Kelli Ward in Mohave County (7,863-12,674), but beat her by 60,450 votes statewide, giving him another chance to run against Democrat Ann Kirkpatrick in November’s general election.
The race for mayor is tight. Current Mayor Richard Anderson (1,409 votes) will face former mayor Monica Gates (1,565 votes) in the general election. Kingman will welcome one new city council member – Travis Lingenfelter. Larry Carver, Gary Rucker, Jamie Scott Stehly and David Wayt will continue the fight through to November for the two remaining council seats.
Supervisors Hildy Angius, Jean Bishop, Buster Johnson and Steve Moss will be keeping their chairs at the county administration building. District 1 Supervisor Gary Watson won against Republican challenger Jeffery Jolly, but will challenge either Democrat Denise Bensusan or Janice Palmer in November. Bensusan and Palmer are in a close race (373-379) with late early and provisional ballots still being counted. Watson led both by about 1,800 votes.
Kristi Blair will take over as county recorder and Jeanne Kentch as assessor. New county officials will be sworn in early January. Doug Schuster will be the next county sheriff, defeating current Chief Deputy Rodney Head’s attempt to secure the position.
“I don’t believe I could’ve done this without the people of Mohave County behind me,” Schuster said. “It’s been a long campaign.”
He felt that his challengers were professional and courteous and all agreed the issue of compression was at the forefront of the campaign. He said the uneven pay scale between younger and seasoned deputies has withered morale in the sheriff’s department.
“I plan to take this on from day one,” he said. “I want to make this a sheriff’s department we can all be proud of.”
“I’m looking forward to working hand in hand with the board of supervisors,” he said. “I believe they’re ready to take action when a feasible plan is presented.”
Republican Sonny Borrelli edged out Ron Gould by 1,190 votes for the for the State Senate Dist. 5 seat.
U.S. Representative in Congress, District 4 incumbent Paul Gosar will challenge Democrat Mikel Weisser in November.
Paul Mosely earned more than 500 votes for the District 5 State Representative seat than incumbent Gina Cobb. Cobb came in second and will join Mosely in the general election against Democrat Beth Weisser and Green Party candidate Leo Biasiucci. The two top vote-getters will win the election as their are two available seats.
All five Republican Arizona Corporation Commissioners will keep their jobs for now.
The ages of candidates ranged from 80-year-old United States Senator John McCain – serving his 30th year in that office, to 31-year-old Kingman city council candidate David Wayt, running for his first public office.
The 2016 primary election brought out 28, 255 of 109,616 eligible voters in Mohave County for a 25.8 percent turnout. Mohave County Deputy Elections Director Betty Vernon said polling site ballots have been counted. Late early ballots received at the polls and ballots received by mail are still being tallied. Voter registration still has to verify signatures and address of the 1,287 provisional ballots received.
“It’s hard to tell at this point how much those will count,” Vernon said.
Past election results dating back to 2004 are posted on the Mohave County Elections Department. The last primary election before a presidential race (in 2012) brought out 28,197 of 111,973 registered voters, roughly 25 percent. The largest primary turnout was 2004, with 23,784 of 86,794 registered voters – 27 percent. The lowest in primary turnout was 2008, with 17,987 of 99,670 eligible voters – around 18 percent.
Results can be viewed through the county elections department website at https://www.mohavecounty.us/ContentPage.aspx?id=118&cid=137
The general election is Nov. 8 and will include votes for U.S. President and numerous ballot initiatives.