Less than 300 votes separate the frontrunning two Gila County District 3 supervisor candidates, and with some votes still uncounted, both are confident of a win.
In District 1, incumbent and Republican Tommie Martin led challenger and independent Dan Haapala by 538 votes Thursday, which both candidates said essentially guaranteed Martin’s victory.
Also as of Thursday, District 3 incumbent and Democrat Shirley Dawson led Republican David Cook by 266 votes. However approximately 1,050 ballots remain uncounted, according to the elections office. Updated results will be available Monday.
Tuesday night’s results fluctuated wildly, with Cook’s 10 p.m., 36-vote lead evaporating as San Carlos voted heavily in Dawson’s favor, several sources said. Results posted shortly after 11 p.m. showed Dawson leading by 265 votes.
Dawson, reached by telephone Thursday, was confident. “There are absentee ballots out there,” she acknowledged. But she felt comfortable that her lead would remain.
“I’m thankful it’s over with,” Dawson said.
Cook, however, also felt confident. “I still think I’m going to win it,” he said. “There are too many good people that have done too many good things.”
By Thursday morning, another 13 votes had been counted — seven of them for Dawson and six for Cook. Her lead crept up to 266 votes.
The third candidate in the District 3 race, non-partisan Ted Thayer had won 351 votes as of Thursday, putting him nearly 2,000 votes behind Cook. Thayer conceded his loss, but added that the race is not over.
“We don’t know that Shirley is going to be the Supervisor yet.”
In Zen-like reflection, Thayer said he had no expectations either way. “It appears to me that a majority of the electorate had different ideas than me,” he said. “I want to congratulate both of the other candidates for the rambunctious campaign.”
In District 1, Haapala congratulated Martin. “Perhaps if I had done more, the outcome would have been different,” Haapala wrote in statement. He added that although the race was never personal, “nearly half of the constituents of this district want more responsive government, want our property taxes lowered and want our everyday needs addressed.”
By telephone, Haapala reflected, “You give something your all, you go there with high expectations…the hurting is not just personal but you get the feeling that you’ve let them down.”
Martin said, “It was close, close enough.” Her priorities during this next term include keeping the state from taking Gila County’s money to balance the state budget and transportation issues like paving Control Road and improving other roads.
“I am thinking about the things that I really do want to do the next four years and now I can. An election really put me on hold,” she added.
Martin celebrated Thursday at her first post-election supervisors’ meeting with chocolate cake.
Although she is a Republican, Martin said, “it’s not a Republican thing…It’s a Tommie thing.”