Payson council candidates Chris Higgins and Bob Lockhart appear headed for a runoff election in November, according to the count of 2,800 mail-in ballots released Friday afternoon by the Gila County Elections Department.
None of the other races appear affected by the late count of the nearly 30 percent of the ballots cast in Tuesday’s election. Only 600 votes remain uncounted countywide, all of them provisional ballots cast at the polls on Tuesday. Those ballots appear unlikely to have any affect on the outcome of any of the races.
Payson Mayor Kenny Evans increased his lead over challenger Randy Roberson slightly, assuring his victory. Evans collected 55 percent of the votes cast to 45 percent for Roberson.
Payson council incumbents Fred Carpenter and Su Connell both amassed enough votes to avoid a November runoff.
Candidates needed at least 1,900 votes to win outright without a runoff. Carpenter had 2,036 and O’Connell had 2,009.
Higgins had 1,834 and Lockhart 1,708. Ironically, the Scoops Ice Cream & Espresso owner and KRIM radio manager Higgins and former Payson fire marshal Lockhart ran on a ticket together — only to find themselves now pitted against one another in November.
Payson incumbent Ed Blair picked up enough votes to edge past challenger Charlene Creach Brown, but not enough to force his way into the runoff.
In Star Valley, the added ballots had no effect on the outcome.
Challenger Bob O’Connor’s 313 votes made him the top vote-getter, with 24 percent of the votes cast. Next came incumbent Paty Henderson with 274 votes or 21 percent. Challenger Andy McKinney will fill the third slot, with 251 votes or 19 percent of the vote. He needed at least 220 votes to avoid a runoff.
Incumbent Vern Leis still fell just short of enough votes to either retain his seat or force McKinney into a runoff.
Incumbent Del Newland wound up with 138 votes, or 10 percent of the votes cast. Jeff Provencher received 137 votes, which also works out to 20 percent.
None of the other local races were affected by the tally of the 2,800 late-filed mail-in ballots.
Payson Town Attorney Tim Wright ended up with 59 percent of the vote — 3,341 of the 5,623 votes cast. Payson attorney Chuck Walker (24 percent) and Globe attorney Steven Burk (17 percent) lagged far behind.
The updated vote tallies on the Payson Town Council race included:
Fred Carpenter: 2,098 (17.85 percent)
Su Connell: 2,009 (17.10 percent)
Chris Higgins: 1,834 (15.6 percent)
Robert Lockhart: 1,708 (14.5 percent)
Ed Blair: 1,652 (14.06 percent)
Charlene Creach Brown: 1,640 (13.96 percent)
Lew Levenson: 800 (6.81 percent)