Originally Published: March 10, 2009 11:51 p.m.
Chino Valley voters Tuesday elected Councilman Jim Bunker to succeed Karen Fann as mayor, and by an overwhelming 80.74 percent to 19.26 percent vote renewed Prop. 400, the "home rule" option.
They also elected Carl Tenney to one of the three council seats up for grabs in Tuesday's election with 1,640 votes.
Bunker and Tenney both received more than 50 percent of the 2,456 votes cast, which is required to win outright.
Dean Echols with 1,051 votes, Dorothy Schmidt (1,033), Linda Hatch (903) and Robert Justice (800) will vie for the other two council seats in the May 19 general election.
The mayor's race was almost a one-man race as Bunker's 1,378 votes were more than the other four candidates received combined. Gary Robinson got 275 votes, while Guy Bailey got 263, Andy Shelton (218) and Matt Mintzmyer (171).
Chino Valley Town Clerk Jami Lewis said Tuesday night the county still has to count 64 ballots. "There are not enough votes left to be counted to change any of the races," she said.
A total of 2,456 voters or 42.8 percent of the town's 5,736 registered voters voted in Tuesday's election. "This is nearly a record turnout," she said, "as the top turnout in the past was 43 percent."
Fann said, "I'm very happy Jim (Bunker) was elected. I have served with him on the council for the last 6-1/2 years. As a team we've worked hard on water and road issues. Many are so close to being completed. He has worked on them and knows how to close them out."
She added, "To all the candidates, I really appreciated all of them stepping up and running. Win, lose or draw, I commend them for stepping up to lead the community."
Bunker said Tuesday's vote results were good news. "I'm pleased by the turnout. Chino Valley is a wonderful place to live. I look forward to serving its residents and appreciate Mayor Fann's hard work and leadership."
He also was pleased with the voter turnout.
Tenney said, "I am thrilled with the support shown by the people. I look forward to working with Jim (Bunker). I pledge to go forward and do my best on the council."
Looking forward to the May 19 election, Hatch said, "I think I have a very good candidacy. All of us are going to be working hard for the betterment of the community."
Farber, who was eliminated Tuesday in her race for a council seat, said she will throw her support to Hatch.
"While I wasn't able to attend the candidates forum, I watched it and liked what she said. She stands for what I do," Farber said.
Justice said the vote didn't surprise him. "I knew someone would be in a runoff. I plan to go out and meet more people."
Chino Valley Town Manager Jerry Stricklin said the "home rule" vote is "a very positive statement on the current level of service the town staff is providing."
With the approval of the "home rule" option the Town Council, not the state, will set the limits on town expenditures.
"The town staff will do everything possible to show we deserved their vote," he said.
Lewis said Tuesday's vote is the largest support people have given "home rule." She attributed that to the talks she, council members, members of the Senior Advisory Board gave, and the door-to-door campaign by members of the police association.