Originally Published: August 29, 2012 12:23 a.m.
PRESCOTT - Incumbent Tom Thurman and newcomers Craig Brown and Jack Smith won their primary races for seats on the Yavapai County Board of Supervisors Tuesday night, but the fight for the District 1 seat remained too close to call at press time.
Brown, who won District 4 in an all-Republican race, will appear on the general election ballot in November, but has effectively won the seat already, since the only challengers would be write-in candidates.
Brown's fundraising far outpaced his rivals, with a reported $19,756 in his coffers. His nearest opponent, Lynn Duke, raised just over $7,000. The vote tallies had Brown winning with 1,741 votes to Duke's second-place finish with 1,226, with 21 of 21 precincts reporting.
"Those folks (in District 4) are going to get representation like they've never had before," Brown said. He called the other five candidates "really swell people," but said, "The voters realized they needed someone who knew what they were doing."
Smith broke into a broad smile as he saw the numbers for the District 5 race. He beat Republican Harold Wise 2,097 to 1,441 with all precincts reporting.
Again, Smith far outspent Wise: Smith raised $8,172; Wise filed a statement with the County Election Office indicating that he would not raise or spend more than $500 total.
Smith, who faces Democrat Bill Williams in November, said he would take a week off, and then get back to campaigning.
With 15 of 17 precincts reporting, incumbent Thurman was ahead of his closest competitor, John McReynolds, 2,546 to 1,456. Martin Pangburn was a distant third with just 548 votes.
Thurman, who now faces off against independent Alan "Buck" Buchanan and unaffiliated Scott "Wild Wes" Lance, said he's already been accused of favoring the Verde Valley over the Prescott side of the mountain.
"I represent the people who vote me into office," he said. "I'm going to make the decision that I think is the right one, not specific to one side of the mountain or the other."
As the night wore on, the GOP's party at the Palace Saloon began to thin out. The District 1 candidates stared at the big-screen display of the results, but it stubbornly stayed at 28 of 34 precincts reporting results for the better part of an hour.
At press time, it had advanced to 30 of 34, with Rowle Simmons holding a lead over John Hanna, 1,925 to 1,732.
Simmons, who boasted the second-largest bankroll in the race ($17,805), refused to claim victory.
"I have no idea where the precincts that are still out are (located), and I have no idea how many votes there are, so it's up in the air."
The winner of the District 1 race will also win the seat because, although he did not get 51 percent, he needed only to win a plurality of the votes cast.
Eleven candidates for county offices, from assessor to sheriff to judges, ran unopposed in this primary. That included incumbent Yavapai County Supervisor Chip Davis, who ran unopposed in District 3.