No campaign got more politically charged in the primary than the county attorney’s race.
For three terms, Republican incumbent Daisy Flores ran unopposed.
But this year, Globe attorney and schoolteacher Bradley Beauchamp entered the race, saying Flores in the past decade has failed to prosecute cases.
No one ran in the Democratic primary, which means Beauchamp effectively won the seat in the primary.
Beauchamp gained the fierce support in Globe of a number of vocal proponents. Attack letters ran there in the newspaper and on the radio.
North County actually has a slim majority of the population countywide, but generally turnout in Globe is two or three times greater than turnout in North County.
Flores finally publicly addressed many of her critics’ claims just days before the primary. Many say it was too little too late, as more than half of the voters had mailed in their ballots during the previous several weeks.
Nonetheless, Beauchamp carried votes cast at the polls as well.
Most of Flores’ critics focused on her handling of cases. In a political ad, Beauchamp said one of the main reasons he ran was Flores’ mishandling of the alleged murder of Scott Johnson in Globe.
Flores’ office ruled that Johnson had been killed in self-defense. Flores wrote that three eyewitnesses and 22 other factors supported that decision. In addition, three experienced prosecutors in her office along with the Pinal County attorney all reviewed the case and agreed it was self-defense.
Flores maintained that Johnson had effectively forced his way into the home of another Globe resident, demanded to see a woman who was there, then assaulted the much smaller man — who stabbed him with a knife in self-defense.
Other cases brought up in campaign ads involved the mysterious death of a man Flores’ office classified as a suicide and the death of an infant decades ago the county attorney’s office had ruled accidental or of natural causes.
The Roundup e-mailed Beauchamp for comment, but he did not respond. Beauchamp has not responded to any requests for comment from the Roundup and refused to fill out a candidate questionnaire on the issues.
When the Roundup spoke with Beauchamp, he said he was leery of talking to reporters because one had burned him when he ran for the U.S. House of Representatives in 2010. Beauchamp lost that bid.
Flores wrote that Beauchamp was not qualified for the office because “he has never prosecuted a murderer, let alone a criminal speeding violation.”
Only time will tell how Beauchamp will run the office. Voters widely supported Beauchamp, especially in Southern Gila County.
In Globe-Miami and Claypool, he carried more than two-thirds of the votes. In the North County, Flores carried almost every precinct — but with much smaller margins than Beauchamp racked up in South County. While in Payson/Star Valley, Flores had more than 50 percent of votes.
Flores and her supporters, however, were out sparred — largely ignoring the fierce attacks circulating in Globe until it was too late to sway voters.