Election Challenge Dismissed

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A court challenge to the primary election results in Gila County's District One supervisor race is being dismissed.

Dan Haapala, who lost his bid for the Republican nomination for supervisor, challenged the results that gave Tommie Cline Martin the nomination.

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Dan Haapala

Maricopa County Superior Court Judge Pendleton Gaines directed Martin's attorney, David Kennedy, to prepare the draft for dismissal, according to Deputy Gila County Attorney Bryan Chambers.

"Haapala's attorney, Ellen VanRiper, conceded the case should be dismissed," Chambers said.

Haapala's complaint challenged Martin's residency and eligibility to run for the supervisor's seat; claimed several voters in District One did not receive correct early voting ballots, resulting in an erroneous count; and claimed that outgoing District One Supervisor Ron Christensen used county resources to influence the outcome of the election.

The matter had been scheduled for a hearing at 10 a.m. Tuesday, Oct. 5. Chambers said the attorneys were negotiating for dismissal with the hopes of avoiding the scheduled hearing. He said no actual hearing was held, but the judge must sign the papers dismissing the case officially to conclude the matter.

Last week, Gila County Attorney Daisy Flores said she believed Haapala did not file his complaint in a timely manner to challenge the primary election results, so she asked the court to dismiss the case.

Flores filed a motion to dismiss the challenge on Sept. 29. She answered Haapala's complaint that same day.

Haapala was unavailable for comment.

Flores said the complaint was filed a day after the statute of limitations expired. State law requires challenges to elections be filed within five days of the election canvass and approval.

The Gila County Board of Supervisors did the election canvass and approved the results Tuesday, Sept. 14. Haapala's attorney filed the complaint in Maricopa Superior Court Sept. 21.

Haapala asked the court to declare Martin an ineligible candidate, declare him the candidate, remove her name from the general election ballot, and include his name instead. Haapala also asked for either a recount of the ballots or for a new election.

"... There could have been as many as three voters of District One who did not receive the correct early voting ballot," Flores said, "... but (we) do not know whether they were Republican voters."

Martin said she could not make a comment about the complaint. However, she said she had documentation establishing her residency and would share that with the Roundup after she learns the outcome of the matter.

Christensen said he would not comment on the complaint until after a ruling by the judge.

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