Early election results show the county maintaining a strict division between north and south.
While Republican candidate Adam Shepherd carried most of the northern precincts for sheriff, Democrat Craig Jones had the south. The men tied on the reservation and Shepherd lead overall in votes and will likely take the position over from outgoing Sheriff John Armer.
The county was also visibly split on the presidential race. Romney got most of the votes in the north while Obama carried the southern end of the county. Romney, however, got the most votes overall in Gila County.
For assessor, the division between northern and southern voters held.
Incumbent Dale Hom (D) had the southern precincts while Deborah Hughes (R) carried the north. Overall, Hughes had 57 percent of the votes with 36 of 39 precincts reporting.
Hom admits the economy has changed everything. For 25 years, he ran the assessor’s office with no one challenging him for the job.
This year, however, Northern Gila County realtor Hughes decided to shake things up.
She says that the information on properties is unreliable.
On top of that, residents are in an uproar about property taxes.
In the treasure’s race, things are neck and neck between Debora Savage (D) and Don Ascoli (R) and too close to call. Savage, the incumbent, carries a slight lead over Ascoli of 155 votes.
Savage has run the treasurer’s office since 2007. She says she has received few complaints about her service.
Ascoli says a stable record is simply not enough.
Ascoli said he decided to run to improve customer service. He would like to add a Northern Gila County treasurer’s office, increase the return on county investments and digitize property tax bills.
In the recorder’s race, incumbent Sadie Jo Tomerlin has a strong lead over Mickie Nye.
For the Payson Unified School District board, votes were tight. With a record number of candidates vying for three open seats it came down to the wire.
As of Tuesday night, the candidates that have likely secured seats on the board include incumbent Barbara Underwood, James Quinlan and Shirley Dye.
Former Payson teacher Ron Silverman, Jim Muhr and Carmelita Locke got a number of votes as well, but could not pull out wins.
Dye, who ran for one of three seats on the Northern Gila County Sanitary Board, said she was surprised to see Tuesday night that she had one a seat on that board as well.
With all nine precincts reporting, Dye got 18.6 percent of votes, the most out of the seven candidates.
It appears incumbents Patrick Underwood and LaRon Garrett will retain their positions on the board.
The results on one race were clear – voters overwhelmingly supported giving the school board the option of selling or leasing Frontier Elementary School.
Hellsgate Fire District Board
Early results indicate Fred Horton, Larry Cory and Gary Norem will serve on Hellsgate’s fire board. Garrah Monnich garnered the fewest votes.