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Verde Valley helps push assessor out of office<BR>69 corridor helps oust supervisor

PRESCOTT – Not surprisingly, a Yavapai County primary election precinct report released this week showed that Verde Valley voters – especially in the Sedona area – were among the strongest opponents of county Assessor Tony Martinez.

"With all the lying going on, it doesn't surprise me in the least," Martinez said.

Verde voters also strongly influenced the outcome of the sheriff's race.

Sedona appeared to be a hotbed of discontent with Martinez' valuation methods, and was the site of a community meeting about the subject during early voting in the primary.

And the supervisor of Martinez' Cottonwood office, Kathie Glenn, submitted written complaints against Martinez to the state government while other Cottonwood office employees helped her conduct a fund-raiser for Martinez' primary election opponent Victor Hambrick.

County officials informed Glenn Friday that she can return to work Monday, after the county completed an outside investigation because of accusations Martinez made against her.

Deputy County Attorney Randy Schurr recommended a verbal report from the investigator, which means that the public won't be able to view the Glenn report. Schurr said only that the verbal report was less costly. Next week, the shorter end results of the investigation will be in writing, Human Resources Director Julie Ayers said.

Hambrick, a former chief deputy assessor under former assessor Lorna Street, won this year's Republican primary by an almost 20-percent margin, after losing to Martinez by 10 votes four years ago.

Martinez also failed to get elected as a precinct committee person Sept. 7, with six others coming out ahead of him for the six precinct seats.

Martinez took 12 of the 104 precincts and did especially well in Seligman, Bagdad and Crown King, where he said he campaigned and Hambrick said he didn't.

Hambrick said his extra time to campaign helped him win this time around.

"I had four months longer to campaign," Hambrick said. "I firmly believe if I had had another two months last time, I would have won the election."

Hambrick faces Democrat Vic McKerlie in the general election.

In the other county race in which voters unseated an incumbent, Board of Supervisors District 2, incumbent Lorna Street did well in the rural southern area where she lives while challenger Tom Thurman did well along the more populated Highway 69 corridor where he lives.

The only strong exception to Street's good numbers in the southern part of the county was in Crown King. She said she didn't have any idea why 86 percent of the 22 Crown King voters opposed her, and Thurman didn't either.

"We spent a ton of money on that road (to Crown King), trying to get it passable and keep it passable," Street said. The winding, steep dirt road to Crown King makes it the most inaccessible community in the county and one of the most remote towns in the country as well.

"Sometimes it's a thankless job because you can't make everybody happy all the time," observed Thurman, a Mayer resident who also has served on the county planning commission.

Street lives in Yava, a tiny community between Bagdad and Kirkland.

Thurman said he did a lot of campaigning along the Highway 69 corridor.

"We hit this area hard because I live here and people didn't feel like they were getting a fair shake on this side of the Bradshaws," Thurman said. "I heard that a lot."

Thurman took 22 of the 33 precincts to get 54 percent of the vote. He will become a county supervisor Jan. 1 since no Democrats or Libertarians ran.

Contact the reporter at jdodder@prescottaz.com.

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