Originally Published: May 19, 2009 10:36 p.m.
Two incumbents retained their seats on the Dewey-Humboldt Town Council after Tuesday's general election runoff, based on unofficial results from the Yavapai County Elections Department.
Councilwoman Nancy Wright, a moderate, and Denise Rogers, a strong advocate for the municipality's rural atmosphere, held off a pair of pro-growth challengers in Walt Statler, a Dewey-Humboldt insurance agent, and Planning and Zoning Commissioner Mike Generalli.
Rogers led all vote-getters with 558 votes, or 29.6 percent of the 1,885 cast, while Wright finished not far behind with 555 votes, or 29.4 percent of the total.
"I'm thankful folks thought well enough of me and the job I did to re-elect me. I appreciate their confidence," Wright said. "We have a good team now going forward, working together to keep Dewey-Humboldt rural, as I think people want. And, hopefully, then we'll get some small businesses here in the commercial areas and we'll continue to grow in that way."
Rogers, who stressed water, roads and fiscal responsibility during her campaign, said in March that she would hit the pavement harder to maintain her spot on the council.
Two years ago, she filled a vacancy on the council left behind by former Councilman Al Kuhns, who resigned. She was appointed to the council after defeating Generalli in a coin flip, which broke a 3-3 tie between the two.
"You never know when you're appointed whether you'll be approved of by a majority of people, who you are working for," Rogers said. "The stance that Nancy and I have of reasonable, within-established-limits growth of the town resonated with the community."
On Tuesday, Generalli received 381 votes, or 20.2 percent, and Statler got a comparable 380 votes.
Generalli said he was upset about some of Rogers' campaign signs across town that read, "Re-Elect Denise Rogers," when in fact the voters did not elect her.
"I'm basically done with politics," he said. "Those signs were very deceptive. I'm not saying that won or lost the election, but it's just a shame that people do that."
Rogers countered, saying she did not mean to mislead the voters.
"It's more like a generic phrase, and it didn't occur to me that it would be a problem," she said. "When it became known to me, anything that was done after that was changed just to say 'Elect.' I made a number of phone calls and made sure that's what I said. It was a simple thing to change."
In his campaign, Statler stressed the town's need to grow its sales tax base by encouraging new businesses to open. Through this, Statler said the town could provide better roads and police protection.
"Basically, I don't have a comment about the results," Statler said. "People are going to get what they want, I guess. I left it alone as much as I could to let the people decide."
Councilman Len Marinaccio, who like Rogers is a staunch defender of Dewey-Humboldt's rural lifestyle, will become mayor in June. He, too, defeated a pro-growth candidate in Bob Greene, the town's former mayor, after incumbent Earl Goodwin opted not to run for a second term in March's primary.
In the coming weeks, before the new council is seated, the current council will vote for Marinaccio's replacement.
At the same time, Planning and Zoning Commission Chairman Terry Nolan, who won a seat in March, will claim the spot Vice Mayor Warren Rushton vacated when he chose not to stay on the council.
Pro-growth advocate Nolan garnered 564 votes, or 18.7 percent of the 1,078 tallies cast, in March, helping to pave the way for the runoff.
"This council is a no-growth council," Generalli said. "They're making it absolutely tougher for anyone to approach the council. My main thing was to listen to people to see how they could help the community and put a little bit of money into town so we could get nice parks and other things."