Armer Wins, Opponent Will Appeal Election

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Darrell Stubbs, who lost in Tuesday's primary to incumbent Sheriff John Armer by 468 votes, said Wednesday he plans to appeal the election.

Stubbs, who used to work for Armer as a deputy, alleges that independent voters in San Carlos were prevented from voting until election officials intervened.

"I don't know how many people weren't allowed to vote," Stubbs said. "The Independents could have swung it my way." Stubbs also cited the low voter turnout -- 25.2 percent -- as a factor in his defeat.

Tuesday's election decided the sheriff's race, and also the Gila County District 2 Supervisor race, which Globe Democrat Mike Pastor won. Those two seats have no general election challengers.

Races for the remaining two supervisor seats, along with the county Superintendent of Schools, were uncontested in the primary and will be decided in the general election.

Sheriff victor and incumbent Armer said a voter alerted him to alleged disenfranchisement early in the evening. Armer said he called the elections office, which sent officials to San Carlos to remedy the alleged situation.

"I think that might have affected less than half a dozen votes -- less than six votes -- because it was fairly early and turnout was light," Armer said.

"I carried Payson heavily. I deeply appreciate that," Armer added.

"I think the Payson voters responded to the record that the Gila County Sheriff's office has of delivering services in Payson...We take a great deal of pride in the fact that we are responsive, we are sensitive, we are professional, and we made a difference."

Dixie Mundy, the county's election director, confirmed that Stubbs arrived at the courthouse this week, to ask questions and look at documents. Mundy declined to comment on whether any irregularities occurred during Tuesday's primary.

"We are looking at what could have happened," she said.

Stubbs said although he has no specific demands should the allegations prove true, he would like to see the issue addressed. He suggested his name could be placed on the general election ballot.

"If Democrats and Republicans (voted), then I believe I could have won," Stubbs said. Both Armer and Stubbs ran on ideas of reducing crime and they agreed that the county jail facilities need expansion.

At a recent candidate forum, the two candidates debated crime statistics, with Armer saying that instances of major crime dropped by nearly half from 2002 to 2007. Stubbs said the county's violent crime rates are still above the national average.

No Republicans are challenging Armer in the general election.

District 2 Supervisor

In the race for Gila County Supervisor District 2, Democrat Mike Pastor won with nearly 50 percent, or 915 votes. Danny Michels received just over 38 percent, or 703 votes, and Bill Backes drew roughly 12 percent, or 216 votes. Both Michels and Backes are Democrats.

"I'm disappointed," Backes said Thursday.

"I was hopeful. I knew my weak spot was the Miami/Globe area." Backes, a Payson investment advisor, was the only candidate from the north. Pastor, who works with a mining company, lives in Globe, and Michels, who manages a convenience/liquor store, lives in Miami.

"One of the biggest difficulties is the cost of getting your name and your views out," Backes said, noting the high expense of paying for radio and newspaper advertising.

"My point was someone from the north side, a business owner, needed to run. I made my point in that regard."

Backes said he's not sure if he'll run for office again -- this attempt was his first.

"Now that everybody knows my politics, it feels kind of good to be out of the closet," Backes said. "I'm still the most powerful thing on the block and that's a citizen who votes."

Michels partially attributed his loss to a shortage of campaigning. "I guess I didn't tell them what they wanted to hear," he said, adding that his political career his over.

Pastor did not return calls for comment before press time.

Uncontested Primary races

Incumbent District 3 Gila County Supervisor Shirley Dawson received 97 percent of the 1,534 votes cast. The remaining 43 votes were cast for write-in candidates not listed on the election results.

Republican challenger for the District 3 supervisor seat David Cook, won nearly 99 percent of the 533 votes cast. Six voters wrote in other candidates.

The third challenger for the District 3 seat, non-partisan Ted Thayer, did not appear on the primary ballot.

District 1 Supervisor Tommie Martin received 94 percent of the 1,166 votes cast. The remainder voted for other write-in candidates. Martin's challenger, Independent Dan Haapala, did not appear on the primary ballot.

In the race for county Superintendent of Schools, Democrat Debra-Tapia Blair won just over 99 percent of the 3,638 votes cast. Incumbent Republican Linda O'Dell won just under 99 percent of the 2,256 votes cast. The two will face off in November's general election.

County Attorney Daisy Flores ran unopposed, and won 99 percent of the 2,278 votes cast. She has no general election challenger.

Of the 30,197 registered voters in Gila County, 7,611 cast ballots. Voter turn-out was down slightly from the 2006 primary, when 30.58 percent voted, although 1,150 fewer voters were registered in 2006.

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