PRESCOTT - The relatively small number of candidates on Prescott's 2015 ballot has not deterred voters from participating in the city primary that will wrap up this week.
With just days to go before the Tuesday, Aug. 25 deadline, more than 42 percent of registered Prescott voters had already cast their ballots.
Chief Deputy Yavapai County Recorder Karen McCracken reported Friday, Aug. 21, that the county had so far received 11,153 ballots - accounting for 42.3 percent of the city's 26,352 registered voters.
The ballots, which were mailed out in early August, include just three candidates for three council seats, (the race also includes write-in candidate Alan Dubiel, who is not listed on the ballot) and two candidates for the mayor's post - the fewest candidates on a Prescott city primary ballot since at least the 1990s.
Still, plenty of voter interest has focused on the primary - especially the mayor's race, which has retired Army Colonel and National Guard Brigadier General Harry Oberg running against long-time fire official and former Prescott Fire Chief Dan Fraijo.
Over the past several months of campaigning, the candidates have answered questions about their views, revealing a number of differences.
For instance, Fraijo has expressed support for all three of the sales tax-increase issues listed on the primary ballot, while Oberg supports only the 0.25-percent increase in the street-improvement tax (replacing the 0.75-percent, effective Jan. 1, 2016, with a full 1-percent tax).
Their priorities also indicate differences. Oberg has stressed the importance of economic development at the airport, while Fraijo has focused on improving community involvement and regional relationships on topics such as economic development and public transit.
Further, the candidates have referred to differences in the way they would lead.
"It's styles - style is what separates us," Fraijo said of the differences between him and Oberg.
Fraijo said his campaign has focused on people and "getting much more involved with the community, and transparency." In addition, he referred to fostering "better relationships as far as our planning goes, and having good relationships with our neighbors."
Fraijo also announced an "efficiency and innovation initiative" in mid-July, which involves cutting as much as $7 million from the city budget. He calls that "a goal," which amounts to about 5 percent of the city's budget.
Oberg describes himself as "kind of down to earth and very business-like." He added: "I think it's important to get good input, but at some point, we have to make the decisions that are important for Prescott. We need to have some clarity on where you're going and how you're going to get there."
He speaks of setting up "transition teams" to help achieve his initiatives on building a new airport terminal and attracting more industry to the airport area.
For those who have yet to vote, the deadline is 7 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 25. The mail-in option is no longer available. Rather, Yavapai County Reorder Leslie Hoffman says voters should drop off their ballots either at the Yavapai County Administration Building, 1015 Fair St., or put them in the county's 24-hour drive-through drop box" at the same location, until 7 p.m., Aug. 25. Voters may also drop ballots off at the Prescott City Hall, 201 S. Cortez St., during business hours, and also until 7 p.m. Aug. 25.
Follow Cindy Barks on Twitter @Cindy_Barks. Reach her at 928-642-0951.