Election night results from Gila Valley Central

Brooke Curley Photo/Gila Valley Central: Republicans look at Graham County's election results at Drew John's election night party at the Manor House.


GRAHAM COUNTY – Voting in a very contentious election has come to a close and here are the results.

Graham County Elections Director Judy Dickerson said the polling locations were busy all day but no problems were reported.

“It was busy, but everything went pretty well,” Dickerson said. So, we’re happy about that. It was definitely a good turnout.”

Graham County listed at about 70.4 percent voter turnout with 12,535 ballots cast out of 17,806 registered voters. Statewide, voter turnout was almost 57 percent.


While votes are still being counted in multiple states, Gila Valley Central projects Donald Trump will reach the necessary amount to carry the Electoral College. Early Wednesday morning, Hillary Clinton conceded the election and Trump gave a victory speech.

Trump thanked Clinton for her hard-fought campaign and encouraged the country to rally together to move forward.

“Hillary has worked very long and very hard over a long period of time, and we owe her a major debt of gratitude for service to the country,” Trump said. “I mean that very sincerely.”

“Now it’s time for America to bind the wounds of division,” he said. “To all Republicans and Democrats and independents across this nation, I say it is time for us to come together as one united people. It’s time. I pledge to every citizen of our land that I will be president for all Americans.”

Donald Trump won Graham County by more than a 2-1 advantage.

Local Races

Here are the results for Graham County’s locally contested races.

Graham County Board of Supervisors District 1

Gila Valley Central has called the election for Paul David (D) over Jarom Lunt (R) for the supervisor position by a final vote tally of 1,945 to 1,858.

Lunt wrote a post on his election Facebook page in which he thanked his supporters and congratulated David.

“First of all, I would like to thank all of the many people who have helped and supported me throughout the campaign,” Lunt wrote. “We did well and did it with courtesy and dignity.”

“I would like to congratulate Paul Roger David for running a good and successful campaign,” Lunt continued. “The county, and most importantly, the people are fortunate to have a good, honest person representing them.”

Lunt told Gila Valley Central that he remain active in the community but isn’t sure about his next step as far as a political future.

“I’m not going to quit being involved in the community, but as whether we make another run at supervisor or not is yet to be determined,” Lunt said.

He added that he had hoped on forging an impactful duo with his father, Richard Lunt, was elected to the Greenlee County Board of Supervisors. While the election was extremely close, an unprecedented voter turnout on the San Carlos Apache Reservation was likely the difference.

“It didn’t go our way, (but) Paul is a good man and he’ll represent the county well,” Jarom Lunt said. “We’re going to hold our head up high and continue to be involved in the community.”


Mary Bingham (R) handily defeated Debbie Burnett. Bingham gathered 60 percent of the vote to just 40 percent for Burnett.

Safford Mayor

Jason Kouts (1,654 votes) is the new Safford mayor, defeating incumbent Chris Gibbs, who received 1,495 votes.

Jon Johnson Photo/Gila Valley Central: Jason Kouts, shown here with his wife, Maria, at the Graham County Fair Parade, is Safford's newly elected mayor.

Jon Johnson Photo/Gila Valley Central: Jason Kouts, shown here with his wife, Maria, at the Graham County Fair Parade, is Safford’s newly elected mayor.

Kouts thanked his family and supporters for assisting his victory. Gibbs, who was first elected in 2010, previously beat Kouts in 2014 by 16 percentage points.

“I’m excited,” Kouts said. “I guess second time is the charm . . . First of all, I want to thank my family for sticking by me, and I want to thank the great citizens of Safford for coming out and supporting me throughout this election. I just want to also say I really do appreciate my church support. I’m blessed.”

Gibbs said he will still heavily be involved in the community despite not retaining his seat.

“I don’t understand it, but that’s the way it is,” Gibbs said. “What I hope is that those things that we started as far as good will and cooperation will continue, I hope. I don’t think you’re going to see as much involvement in the community, by far, from a mayoral standpoint.”

Eastern Arizona College Governing Board

Brad Montierth has defeated Nicholas Tellez.

Thatcher School Board

In a five-way race for three open positions, Todd Haynie, Preston Alder and Rex Bryce have won. 

Pima School Board

There were seven candidates vying for three available seats on the Pima School District Governing Board. The winners are Melisssa Batty, J.J. Alder and Clint Colvin. 

Fort Thomas School Board

Pat McEuen is in with 485 votes followed by Myron Moses (269) and Vernon Poncho (265 votes), who just edged Chris Duncan (262 votes) for the last spot by three votes.

San Carlos School Board

There were two open seats in a four-way race for the San Carlos School District Governing Board. Sherrie Harris finished first with 230 votes, followed byJoAnn Thompson, whose 131 votes topped Tara Kitcheyan for the second available seat by just two votes.

Safford School District Bond Approval

The $4.9 million bond request to enhance school safety easily passed. The bond will install security fencing, gates and security cameras as well as fund the construction of two classrooms, changing rooms and other improvements to the David M. Player Safford Center for the Arts. The bond xxxxx fund the purchase of 12 new buses and new instructional technology.

The average annual bond tax rate of .57 cents per $100 of assessed property valuation over the bond’s 10-year lifespan. That means the yearly cost of a $200,000 home, assessed at 10 percent of its value, would be $114. 

Town of Pima Expenditure Limit Increase

Proposition 401 in Pima to increase its permanent expenditure limitation by slightly more than $5 million easily passed with more than 80 percent of the vote.

The proposition will not increase taxes, but by raising its limitation from the state-mandated $1.4 million to $6.5 million will allow room for the town to have small, yearly increases its budget for years into the future, according to Mayor Tom Claridge.

Greenlee County

Greenlee County Board of Supervisors District 1

David Gomez (D) has beaten Shane Dunagan (R).

Greenlee County Board of Supervisors District 3

Gila Valley Central has called the race for Richard Lunt (I) over Robert Corbell (I).


Tim Sumner (R) has defeated incumbent Larry Avila (D).

County Assessor 

Linda Durr (D) has won over Douglas Reed (R).

State Races

Here are the results for the state races and propositions that effect Graham County.

State Senator District 14

Gila Valley Central has projected Gail Griffin (R) will retain her seat over challenger Jaime Alvarez (D). 

State Representatives District 14

Gila Valley Central has called the race for Drew John (R) and Becky Nutt (R) to become our next state representatives, replacing Republicans David Gowan and David Stevens, who reached their term limits. The district includes all of Cochise and Greenlee counties and all of Graham County except the San Carlos Apache Reservation. It also encompasses an eastern swath of Pima County, including the Vail and Rita Ranch areas.

The representatives will leave the stronghold of the bigger urban areas of Sierra Vista or the outskirts of Tucson as John is from the Safford area of Graham County and Nutt lives in Greenlee County.

Brooke Curley Photo/Gila Valley Central: Drew John and his wife, Debbie John, celebrate his win.

Brooke Curley Photo/Gila Valley Central: Drew John and his wife, Debbie John, celebrate his win.

“It’s humbling to have the support and be able to represent southern Arizona,” John said. “It’s a privilege for me and an honor because I was born and raised in LD-14, so now I get to go represent the people and families that I was raised with.  The people I grew up with; my school teachers, my friends, my church friends and my family. I think that’s a big honor, and I think I’m lucky to be in a position to be able to do that, so I’m excited about that.”

John said he already has worked with a number of people in the state through his time as Graham County Supervisor and that he is looking toward attempting to get on essential committees. He told Gila Valley Central that he has spoken to the Speaker of the House and has requested to be put on the education, government and transportation committees.

“As a freshman (representative), I might not have a lot of say in it, but I’ve asked him as a representative to get on those committees because I think they’re important for rural Arizona,” John said. A lot of the time things work really well for Maricopa over there, but they forget about rural Arizona. My job is that I wake them up and say, ‘Hey, Arizona is great because of rural Arizona.’ And they need to not forget about that. And my job is that when there’s funding going on that they remember the funding goes to rural Arizona too. That’s my biggest goal.”

Corporation Commissioner

Robert Burns, Andy Tobin and Boyd Dunn, all Republicans, appear to have been elected.

Proposition 205 Recreational Marijuana

Proposition 205 would regulate marijuana like alcohol and allow adults 21 years old to possess up to one ounce of marijuana and grow up to six plants in their home. It appears likely that the proposition will fail by roughly 4 percentage points. 

There were still nearly 630,000 votes statewide to be counted as of Wednesday, but the measure is roughly 80,000 votes down, and if the trend continues it will not pass.

Propositions to legalize recreational marijuana did pass in California, Nevada, Maine and Massachusetts.

Medical Marijuana was legalized in Florida, North Dakota and Arkansas.

Proposition 206 Minimum Wage Increase

Proposition 206 will increase the state’s minimum wage from $8.05 per hour to $10 in 2017, $10.50 in 2018, $11 in 2019 and $12 in 2020. Starting in 2021, the measure would increase the minimum wage with the cost of living. The measure retains Arizona’s law regarding tipped employees, which permits employers to pay employees who receive tips up to $3 less than the minimum wage.

Gila Valley Central has called the proposition as passing.

Federal Races

Here are the federal races that effect Graham County.


Senator John McCain (R) retains his seat by defeating challenger Ann Kirkpatrick (D).

McCain has already made his victory speech and alluded that this six-year term might be his last. McCain is 80 years old.  

“I’m ready to get back to work for you,” McCain said.

U.S. Representative Congressional District 1

Tom O’Halleran (D) is in the lead to be the next U.S. Representative for CD-1. The seat was up for grabs after current U.S. Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick (D) announced her intention to run for the senate. O’Halleran leads Paul Babeu (R) by roughly 7 percentage points.

CD-1 is the largest congressional district in Arizona and encompasses all of Coconino, Navajo, Apache, Graham and Greenlee counties, most of Pinal County, half of Gila County and parts of Yavapai and Pima counties. 

Brooke Curley contributed to this report.