Many Pinal County voters get early ballots, and those have been mailed for the Aug. 4 primary election. Some no doubt have been returned already, but those not voting yet should remember to get them back well before election day, and that the primary is important because some offices will have no contest in November. We make the following recommendations, knowing that voters must make up their own minds.
For U.S. senator, we have endorsed incumbent Martha McSally in the primary over Daniel McCarthy because of her record and greater ability to win in November. Joe Biden already is speaking about killing the filibuster rule if his party gains a Senate majority. (Casa Grande Dispatch editorial appeared June 30 and is available at PinalCentral.com.) Mark Kelly is unopposed on the Democratic side.
In the 1st Congressional District, we have endorsed incumbent Tom O’Halleran in the Democratic primary over progressive Eva Putzova. There are two good Republican candidates, Tiffany Shedd of Eloy and Nolan Reidhead of Oro Valley. In the 4th District, which includes Florence and northern Pinal, we have endorsed Republican incumbent Paul Gosar of Prescott, who is challenged by Anne Marie Ward of Prescott. The Democrats are Delina DiSanto of Cave Creek and Stuart Starky of Phoenix. (Editorial June 30)
In Legislative District 8, which covers much of Pinal County and part of Gila, taking in most of Casa Grande, part of Eloy, Coolidge, Florence and much of San Tan Valley, Republican Rep. T.J. Shope, R-Coolidge, is term limited in the House and seeking to move to the Senate. On the Democratic side is Barbara McGuire of Kearny, who lost the seat in 2016. Both are unopposed in the Aug. 4 primary.
For the two House seats, Democrat Sharon Girard of Eloy, a retired physician assistant who ran unsuccessfully for the Senate previously, is unopposed in the primary. On the Republican side, there are three candidates: incumbent Rep. David Cook of Globe, now-Sen. Frank Pratt of Casa Grande and attorney Neal Carter of San Tan Valley. We have endorsed Pratt, a longtime legislator and Casa Grande businessman, and Carter, who has attracted a strong following with his conservative values regarding taxes, education and transportation. Cook, a rancher, has become an expert on water issues and has provided some good representation but now is under an ethics cloud regarding his alleged relationship with a lobbyist.
In District 11, which includes Maricopa, Arizona City and the western edge of Casa Grande, Republican Sen. Vince Leach of Saddlebrooke is unopposed for the nomination. The Democrats are JoAnna Mendoza of Red Rock and Linda Patterson of Oro Valley, a retired teacher and principal. We have endorsed for the nomination Mendoza, an Eloy native who had a career in the Navy and Marine Corps with tours of duty in Afghanistan and Iraq. She served on the Red Rock Elementary School board.
For the House, Republican incumbent Reps. Bret Roberts of Maricopa and Mark Finchem of Oro Valley are unopposed in the primary, as is Democrat Felipe Perez of Oro Valley. (Editorial July 2)
For three seats on the Arizona Corporation Commission, the Republican candidates are incumbent Lea Marquez Peterson and Eric Sloan. Incumbent Boyd Dunn failed to get enough valid signatures, but Jim O’Connor is seeking to get enough write-in votes to qualify for the November ballot. The three Democrats are Bill Mundell, Shea Stanfield and Anna Tovar.
For Pinal County assessor in the Republican primary, we have endorsed Mike Cruz, who is running against incumbent Douglas Wolf, because of his ideas about fairness to agriculture and business. The incumbent has used a consultant to help with raising assessments. The county has lost major lawsuits and had to pay attorney fees to property owners that went to the trouble and expense to challenge the assessment methods. Most offices are not contested in the primary or general election. We endorsed incumbent Supervisor Pete Rios in District 1, which includes much of eastern and central Pinal County. His challenger in the Democratic primary is Ruben Leos. (Editorial on July 7)
For City Council in Casa Grande, Mayor Craig McFarland, Councilwomen Lisa Navarro Fitzgibbons and Donna McBride and newcomer Jeff Lavender are unopposed. However, other cities have contests for mayor or council. Extensive news coverage has been provided on PinalCentral.com.