Development was at the forefront of municipal elections across the Valley on Tuesday and early results suggest voters are largely satisfied with the incumbents.
In Mesa, where campaign talk often involved the City Council’s recent decision to spend more than $60 million to bring Arizona State University downtown, incumbents who voted for the plan were leading in their re-election bids.
In Surprise, the primary election holds the possibility of shaking up the council majority, led by Mayor Sharon Wolcott, and its efforts to create a downtown from largely raw desert. Three incumbents were leading and two were losing in early returns.
Both Mesa and Surprise had an unusually high number of council seats up for grabs — four of six in Mesa and five of six in Surprise. The busy ballot stemmed from some turnover between elections.
Here’s a closer look at early results in the two cities, and others around the Valley.
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Early results show Mesa Vice Mayor David Luna with a commanding lead over challenger, Verl Farnsworth, who criticized the ASU spending.
Mesa Councilman Francisco Heredia, appointed last year in District 3, led his race in early results, but may still face a runoff against challenger Mark Yarbrough.
District 4 was wide open as Chris Glover was term-limited. Candidate Jen Duff was leading in the early tally, but may face a runoff against Jake Brown.
More on Surprise
Surprise incumbents Patrick Duffy, Skip Hall and Nancy Hayden, all led their races, according to early results. However, incumbents Todd Tande and Roland Winters fell behind their challengers, as Chris Judd and Jim Cunningham held leads. A few of the races were close, with Winters and Cunningham headed to a runoff if the results hold.
Mayor Sharon Wolcott endorsed Duffy, Hayden and Tande, who she says she knows will support her views on the development of downtown Surprise.
Some Arizonans faced long lines as they headed to the polls to vote in primaries on election day.
In Gilbert, incumbents Brigette Peterson, Jordan Ray and Eddie Cook as well as newcomer Aimee Rigler took the lead in early results.
As the town barrels toward build-out, development has been a hotly contested issue. Candidates varied wildly in their answers in azcentral’s Politics 2018 Voter Guide on whether they supported incentives to bring development to the town.
Glendale voters appeared to have given three council incumbents, Jamie Aldama, Bart Turner and Lauren Tolmachoff, another four years.
Peoria five-term Councilman Carlo “Rocky” Leone led challengers Denette Dunn and Randal “RJ” Rains, according to early results. Dunn was endorsed by council members, and Mayor Cathy Carlat made robocalls for her leading up to the election.
Longtime Peoria Councilwoman Vicki Hunt led her challengers in early tallies.
And in Chandler, Vice Mayor Rene Lopez, Councilman Terry Roe and former Councilman Matt Orlando were leading in the race to fill three council seats, according to early results.
Republic reporter Laura Gómez and Jerod MacDonald-Evoy contributed to this report.
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