Election Tallies Change; Results Remain The Same

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The recount goes on in Florida, and it's anybody's guess when the nation's next president will be announced, but in Gila County, the votes are finally in.

Election workers finished counting the remaining votes a stack of 2,065 absentee, early voter and questioned ballots that weren't counted on election night late Tuesday.

"The only thing left is certification by the county board of supervisors on Tuesday, Nov. 21," Gila County Elections Director Dixie Mundy said, "and that's pretty much a formality."

When the last of the votes was tallied, nothing changed. The outcome of every county race remained the same as it was election night.

That means Jim Hazel is now officially the new county attorney, with a final margin of 1,600 votes over incumbent Jerry DeRose. "I'm very glad it's all over," Hazel said. "The count was supposed to be done at 2 p.m., but they didn't get finished until 9:30."

Now that the results are final, Hazel is eager to assume his new duties.

"We're ready to get started," he said. "We're looking forward to working hard and getting it done."

Local races that finished close include the Pine-Strawberry Fire District board contest where James Swinghammer was the odd man out by just seven votes. New board members are Jerry Eisele, Ross Gooder and Donald Smith.

In the Whispering Pines Fire District, Rex Donley and Jerry Mabry tallied 46 and 44 votes respectively, narrowly outpointing Joe Soldevere, who had 42 votes. The recall race in Whispering Pines was taken by incumbent Harold Coleman by eight votes over James Karch.

The final margin of victory in the Rim Trail Water District was just 10 votes, with incumbent Marty Martinez edging out Steve Emerson in a hotly contested race that was decided by 18 late votes from Maricopa County.

The last batch of ballots also tightened the margin on Proposition 301, the initiative to raise the state sales tax by six-tenths of 1 percent to fund education. In the end, Gila County voters defeated the initiative, which was approved statewide, by just 136 votes.

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