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Thu, March 21

Second update: Wilson appears to be winner

Jack Wilson reacts to a joke before reading the results in the City of Prescott mayoral election on Tuesday night.

Jack Wilson reacts to a joke before reading the results in the City of Prescott mayoral election on Tuesday night.

As of Wednesday afternoon, sources at the City of Prescott have told the Courier that Wilson appears to have won the mayoral election, as the remaining amount of uncounted votes are not enough to give Simmons the lead. Stay tuned to for the full story later today. As of Wednesday morning, challenger Jack Wilson had 6,512 votes, compared to incumbent Mayor Rowle Simmons' 6,371.Elections officials expect a final total this evening, possibly by 5 p.m.PRESCOTT - With nearly 800 ballots still uncounted Tuesday night, not much was final as the candidates headed home from the Prescott City Council primary.What was certain at the end of the night was that the hotly contested mayor's race was within reach for either of the candidates, and that at least two of the council seats also could be in play.City Clerk Elizabeth Burke cautioned the more than 75 people who gathered at Prescott City Hall to hear the primary results Tuesday night that 779 uncounted ballots still remained."It could change the results," Burke said of the ballots that came in too late to get into the initial count. The Yavapai County Recorder's office will continue the count today, she said, with unofficial results likely ready by later in the day.The mayor's race, especially, was uncertain. With just 80 votes separating the two candidates, the uncounted ballots took on added significance.Challenger and first-time candidate Jack Wilson ended the evening in the lead, with 6,231 votes, while three-term incumbent Rowle Simmons had 6,151 votes."I've been feeling along the way that it was going to be a tight race," Simmons said after Burke announced the results at city hall. "I didn't expect it to be this tight, though."Wilson, from his after-primary gathering at the Raven Café on Cortez Street, expressed no surprise that he ended the evening in the lead. "We worked very hard," he said, noting that he had about 100 volunteers who helped with marketing and with canvassing neighborhoods.While Simmons said he was uncertain about what may have contributed to the tight race, Wilson maintained that many voters voiced a common concern to him."I ran on issues, and I think a deciding issue was what was done right behind Lowe's," Wilson said, referring to the controversial hillside cut and construction site on Highway 69. "Both people who were born here, as well as newcomers, were mad about that."In the race for three council seats, the incumbents fared better than in the mayor's race. All three current council members ended the evening on top in total votes.Just as she did when she ran in 2003, Mary Ann Suttles was the top vote-getter, which likely will be enough to win her a new term. (Candidates who receive a majority of the ballots cast in the primary win a seat outright in the primary and do not have to advance to the general election).With 6,842 votes, Suttles easily had a majority of the 12,562 counted ballots. And even after adding in the 779 uncounted ballots, her majority would hold.Suttles attributes her strong showing to her ability to maintain a "balance" in her decisions, along with "some of the good things we've done as a council."Incumbent Jim Lamerson, the second-highest vote-getter, ended the evening with 6,333 votes, which could be enough to win him a seat outright in the primary as well. While he had more than 50 percent of counted ballots, the uncounted ballots could throw his results into question.Noting that he was "humbled" by the primary results, Lamerson said his showing "gives me confidence to think I'm not that far off base and that my core values are similar to a lot of people who live here."Incumbent Steve Blair and challenger Lora Lopas - the third- and fourth-place finishers, respectively - appear to be the most likely candidates for a run-off race in the November general election. Blair finished the initial count with 5,823 votes, while Lopas had 5,602.Blair called the council incumbents' strong finish a sign that "people feel the council has done a good job."Lopas, on the other hand, said she has heard from many voters about the need for change on the council. "I repeatedly hear that everyone wants a change," she said Tuesday night via telephone from Phoenix, where she is attending a governor's forum on affordable housing.Challengers Alan Dubiel and Paul Katan finished fifth and sixth, with 4,987 votes, and 4,965, respectively.With 50.9 percent of Prescott's 24,664 voters casting ballots, this year's primary turn-out falls short of both the 2005 and the 2003 primaries. In 2005, nearly 55 percent of the registered voters cast ballots, while about 56 percent voted in 2003.Contact the reporter at

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