The presidential race turned out to be a cliffhanger, but Jim Hazel and John Armer had little trouble defeating their opponents in Gila County's two contested races.
Hazel downed incumbent Jerry DeRose in the county attorney contest by racking up big numbers in the Rim country. Running for public office for the first time, the challenger from Pine piled up a 3,000-vote plurality in northern Gila County and easily outpointed DeRose by some 1,500 votes.
The winner expressed his appreciation to all Gila County voters, and pledged to provide the leadership the county needs. "The voters have spoken and indicated their desire for a change," Hazel said, "and we're going to carry forward with that mandate."
DeRose also expressed appreciation for the support he received throughout the county. "I've enjoyed my seven years, and look forward to starting a new adventure in my career," he added.
Meanwhile Armer, who lives in Globe, hung close to Star Valley challenger Art Stone in the Rim country, but won by a wide margin in Globe and coasted to an easy win in the race for Gila County sheriff.
The winner expressed appreciation for the faith voters demonstrated in him, and pledged to work hard to live up to his promises.
"I encourage all of you to become involved in helping me find solutions to make Gila County a safer and more secure place to live," Armer said.
Stone simply said, "The citizens of Gila County have spoken, and the best job will be done for them."
In other races of interest, the fact that District 4 incumbents Jake Flake and Debra Brimhall are the only two state legislators who have not canceled their orders for alternative-fuel vehicles had little effect on voters. The two were returned to office by fairly comfortable margins over challengers Claudia Maestas and Phil Martin.
Gila County results are unofficial pending the counting of absentee ballots and a small number of early voter ballots. Those votes could change the results in some of the county's closer school, fire and water board elections.