Contested Races For Gila County Supervisor Could Shift Balance Of Power To The North

Several vigorous primary battles to determine lineup for November general election

Ronnie McDaniel

Ronnie McDaniel Photo by Andy Towle. |

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All three seats on the Gila County Board of Supervisors are open targets this election season, however, two of the three incumbents are seeking re-election. The season has two parts – the primary race to be decided Aug. 28 and the general race, to be decided Nov. 6.

For the primary season, Rim Country voters will have two supervisor races to navigate – the two-man Republican toss-up for the District Two nomination and the three-man tussle among Democrats for District Three.

The Republican primary in the Globe-based District, which includes a slice of Northern Gila County, features David Cook and Tim Humphrey. The winner will face incumbent Democrat Mike Pastor in November. Pastor faces no opposition in the Democratic primary.

The District Three seat turned into a free-for-all when Supervisor Shirley Dawson decided not to seek reelection. No Republicans threw their hats into the ring, but three Democrats want the seat - John D. Marcanti, Ronnie O. McDaniel and Marvin Mull Jr.

The boundaries of the revised districts make District 3 a swing district, almost equally balanced between north and south.

The outcome of that race could well shift the balance of power on the three-member board of supervisors from south county to north county, reflecting the shift in county population centers in the past decade.

The race for Gila County District 1 Supervisor won’t come before voters until the November election. That seat includes most of North County. Incumbent Tommie Cline Martin, a Republican, has no opposition in the Aug. 28 primary. Challenger Hallie Overman-Jackman is an Independent, so has no primary.

District 2 Republican primary only

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David Cook

David Cook

“I am running for Gila County Supervisor in District 2 because I love our county and the people in it. I have worked for five years for this. I am the best man for the job,” Cook said.

He said he believes the county must have elected leaders that have a vision for the community and the ability to propose and implement workable solutions with citizens, organizations, and other governments. 

“I have a long record of successful problem solving with the federal government and will significantly improve the county’s operation,” Cook said. 

Among his priorities is the economy. “With Southern Gila County’s mines expected to be depleted in five years, we need to start the county moving in a direction that will not only maintain, but also grow our economy in the future.  I have an economic development plan that would bring in an estimated $500,000 a year for infrastructure and development. I have another plan to build a racetrack and create a structure of governance for that track.  Neither of these plans would cost the taxpayers a dime.  No past or current supervisor has proposed a similar plan.”  

Cook said he has advanced concrete proposals on some of the biggest issues recently faced in Gila County.  

“I presented to the Board of Supervisors a solution that met all redistricting legal requirements that had the smallest impact to the residents of Gila County.  The supervisors rejected my plan and instead approved one that has left citizens unsure of voting areas, district lines and more.”

Cook has concerns about more recent actions taken by the supervisors.

• The supervisors recently selected an out-of-county supplier of fuel that cost taxpayers a minimum of $125,000 more than the cost of the existing in-county supplier who would’ve completely met the county’s needs, he said.  He added he will make sure county dollars stay within the county whenever possible to protect our jobs. 

• “As supervisor, I would put a stop to the current practice of allowing county staff to present supervisors with a budget at 8 a.m. for formal approval at 10 a.m. that included an estimated $1.25 million in pay raises and expenses for a proposed study of job classifications.”

Cook said he wants to bring his abilities and contacts to work for the residents of the county. 

He has been a Republican all his voting life. He and his wife Diana own and operate DC Cattle Company, are local ranchers and have two children.

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Tim Humphrey

Tim Humphrey

Tim Humphrey has been a resident of Gila County most of his life and was a county employee for a number of years. He worked in the road department, for the fair grounds and as a rabies control officer.

Humphrey listed the reasons he’s running for office.

• He is concerned county government is not opening entry-level positions that could provide employment for the area’s young people. Instead, most of the entry-level work is being done by the county’s prisoners, he said.

• None of the county’s departments seem to be working together. “Our roads are not being taken care of, but office after office keeps springing up. Where is the constituent service with more buildings?”

• Too many contracts are leaving Gila County when they should be kept in Gila County as much as possible, so the profits can be spent in Gila County.

• As a supervisor, he said he would live in the district he represents and said all county workers should also live in the county.

While working for the county, he started Dream Pole Construction, which he has owned and operated for 14 years. He now has a construction yard in downtown Globe with several trucks and employees.

“From this I have built my business and my reputation by helping and taking care of my customers and employees. My customers are happy or I don’t get a check.”

He said he will carry this attitude of satisfactory service to the constituents of Gila County when elected Gila County Supervisor District 2. He said his success in business is a clear demonstration of his skills.

“My leadership ability and communication skills would directly benefit the residents of Gila County. I care about Gila County. I have been at most functions and fund raisers for the community. I show my support as an individual and as a business person.”

Humphrey said he supports both ranchers and the mining industry; he also supports job growth and giving the youth of the community a hand up for they are the future.

“I think Gila County needs a supervisor with hands-on experience and proven business experience. I would like to see the county run more like a business.”

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John Marcanti

John D. Marcanti

Marcanti is a lifetime resident of Gila County and seeks to bring his years of business experience to the residents of Gila County. His business, Marcanti Electric, has been a successful family operated company since 1960.

“I feel with my years of business experience, my honesty, integrity and sincerity to help people makes me the best candidate for the office of District 3 Supervisor,” Marcanti said when asked why he is the best man for the job.

Marcanti said the top issues residents of his district are facing include the unemployment rate, public safety and economic hardship.

“After meeting and talking with people in District 3, I have found that their biggest concern is the unemployment rate. People need jobs and I want to actively persuade new industry and economic development for new jobs and work to support our mining industry.

“Another concern brought up to me is a concern for public safety and the prosecution of criminals in Gila County. I plan to work to do whatever it takes to assist the Gila County Sheriff and county attorney’s office to protect the residents of Gila County.”

Marcanti added cities and towns in Gila County have been facing hardship during this recession.

“The state has been cutting funding to many programs due to budget shortfalls, funding that has been cut to cities, towns and school districts has put a large burden on tax rates with some of the largest in Arizona. I intend to work with the cities and towns helping them with any assistance that can be done through intergovernmental agreements, we will all have to work together through these tough times.”

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Ronnie McDaniel

Ronnie O. McDaniel

When asked why he wants to serve as District 3 Supervisor, McDaniel said he wants to work for the residents of Gila County and ensure they receive the best return on their tax dollar investment. McDaniel added he wants to try and bring together the county. “I will be fair to every community in the district and represent the whole county. I can do a good job,” he said.

He will promote business, economic development and resource industries (mining, ranching and timber) to secure jobs throughout the county and seek quality education opportunities at all levels.

He believes some of his greatest strengths are his ability to communicate, listen and he believes his constituents deserve this service. Because of his varied background his allegiance is to all the people of Gila County.

He said while his two opponents are good men, he believes he is the better-qualified candidate.

“I will have an open door policy. I believe in communication. I’ll be fair,” McDaniel said.

McDaniel has resided in Gila County all of his life.

Beginning at age 13, when not in school, he worked for the ranchers in Gisela during spring roundup and would then progress to the hay fields in Tonto Basin for the summer. Later, he worked for Owens Brothers Lumber in Payson. Right out of high school, he joined the Laborer’s Union and for the next eight years worked all types of construction.

In 1965 he began his life’s work in public service when he joined the Gila County Sheriff’s Office as a deputy under Sheriff Elton Jones and then worked for the next three elected sheriffs (Lewis, Peace and Rodriquez), leaving GCSO in 1986 with the rank of major and area commander.

During this time, McDaniel ran for his first public office and was elected to the Payson School Board for two terms.

After he retired from the GCSO, McDaniel ran for the Northern Gila County Justice of the Peace position in 1986, which he won, and re-won, serving until 2004 when he retired as both JP and Town of Payson Magistrate. During his time as Payson JP, McDaniel was selected by the Arizona Supreme Court to serve as a Mentor Judge for other justices of the peace.

His next calling came as the first Mayor of Star Valley, followed by serving a judge pro tem for both the Globe and Payson JP Courts and then as Chief Tribal Judge for the Tonto Apache Tribe.

No photo available for Marvin Mull Jr.

Marvin Mull Jr.

Mull also wants Shirley Dawson’s seat on the Gila County Board of Supervisors. Attempts to contact him for this publication were unsuccessful.

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