More than half the State’s voters cast ballots, but Pinal County still lags at 41.8%
By Bill Van Nimwegen
UPDATE: 11/12/18, 4:52 p.m. - Over the weekend, as ballots continue to be counted, Kyrsten Sinema (D) took a 1.64% lead over Martha McSally for the office of U.S. Senator. Most sources are calling this race done. With a difference of only 4,029 votes (0.2%), Steve Gaynor (R) slipped behind Katie Hobbs (D) for the office of Secretary of State. Kathy Hoffman (D), leading by 51,744 votes (2.4%), appears to have secured the office of Superintendent of Public Instruction, besting Frank Riggs (R). And, in the race for Corporation Commissioner, Sandra Kennedy (D) pulled into first place with 983,911 votes (25.57%). Incumbent Justin Olson (R) is running second with 974,639 votes (25.33%), and Rodney Glassman (R) is lagging behind with 970,400 votes (25.22%). The top two candidates will serve.
Possibly the biggest surprise of the 2018 General Election in Apache Junction, Pinal County and statewide was the exceptional turnout of the electorate.
Voters were unusually energized by the mid-term races, taking the opportunity to vote early by mail or show up at polling places in numbers that compared to a Presidential election.
The Arizona Secretary of State’s Office reported that more than half of registered voters (51.6%) participated, and Pinal County’s 41.8% turnout was significantly higher than the 29.3% turnout for the primary election last August.
In reliably red Pinal County—where Republicans outnumber Democrats 2-1—the unofficial results show that all of the Republican candidates won their races. With the exception of the U.S. Senate race between Kyrsten Sinema and Martha McSally, which was undecided at the time of this writing, District 4 reelected Paul Gosar to the U.S. House of Representatives; District 16 reelected David Farnsworth to the State Senate and Kelly Townsend and John Fillmore were reelected as State Representatives.
Other unofficial results in statewide partisan races also show Republicans taking the wins. Governor Doug Ducey was reelected and Attorney General Mark Brnovich will also hold on to his seat. At press time, Steve Gaynor was clinging to a diminishing lead over Katie Hobbs for Secretary of State. Kimberly Yee took the State Treasurer win and in the Superintendent of Public Instruction race, Democrat Kathy Hoffman currently leads Republican Frank Riggs. Republican Joe Hart won the State Mine Inspector race.
The still undecided Corporation Commission race has Republicans Rodney Glassman and Justin Olson in the lead but Sandra Kennedy is within .2%.
Three races that were decided after the primary election in Pinal County went to Republicans Doug Coleman for Justice of the Peace and Ted Gremmel for Constable in District 6. Amanda Stanford was reelected as Clerk of the Pinal County Superior Court.
In local, non-partisan races held for special districts, Todd House was reelected and Kathleen Ann Chamberlain will join the Superstition Fire & Medical Board; Dena Kimble was reelected and Chelsea Connolly will join the Apache Junction Unified School District Governing Board; and former AJ Chamber of Commerce CEO Larry Johnson was elected to the East Valley Institute of Technology Board.
Proposition 127, a Constitutional Amendment to replace Arizona’s current plan for increasing renewable energy use by 50% by 2030 was voted down by 70%. Receiving similar opposition (65% No votes) was Proposition 305, legislation to expand eligibility for education empowerment scholarship accounts (ESSA). Proposition 125, a measure that will allow the state to adjust how pensions are dispersed for retired correctional officers and elected officials, was approved by 70%. A ballot measure that prohibits the legislature from taxing business services, Proposition 126, was approved; and Proposition 306 was also approved, making publicly funded candidates not eligible to buy services from a political party or partisan organization.