FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. - In the hotly contested race for Rick Renzi's Congressional District 1 seat, Democrat and former state legislator Ann Kirkpatrick and Republican Sydney Hay will face off in November after winning their respective primaries last Tuesday. Kirkpatrick got nearly 52 percent of the vote in her primary with her nearest rival Mary Kim Titla trailing at about 32 percent. Hay netted nearly 34 percent of the vote in her primary with her closest challenger Sandra Livingstone taking in about 29 percent.
Hay, a mining-industry lobbyist, is an advocate for natural resources issues with a 20-year record of successfully enacting conservative government reforms. She has received endorsements from Senator John Kyl and Congressman John Shadegg.
Kirkpatrick also topped Democratic environmental attorney Howard Shanker who came in with approximately 14 percent of total votes. Shanker is well-known for representing a number of tribal groups in their lawsuit against the U.S. Forest Service and Arizona Snowbowl to thwart efforts to use reclaimed wastewater to make artificial snow for skiing on the San Francisco Peaks.
Arizona's Congres-sional District 1 is among the largest and the poorest in the U.S. It encompasses eight counties and is anchored by Flagstaff, Prescott and Sedona in the north and by Florence and Casa Grande in the south. Native Americans make up approximately one-fourth of the district.
In perhaps the closest race in Coconino County, Democrat Lena Fowler held a mere four vote lead (31.02 percent as of press time) over fellow Democrat Jamescita Peshlakai (30.20 percent) for the Coconino County District 5 Supervisor seat presently held by Louise Yellowman, who announced earlier this year that she would be retiring after an unprecedented 28 years as District 5 supervisor.
A recount of this seat, which largely represents the western Navajo Nation, is not expected, but provisional ballots are still coming in and need to be verified, according to Coconino County Recorder Candy Owens. The county is set to finalize election results on Friday, Sept. 12. The eventual winner of this race will go on to face Republican Faron Morgan in November.
District 5 includes Bitter Springs, Gap, Tuba City, Cameron and Gray Mountain, as well as the city of Page.
Fowler and Peshlakai are both Diné. Neither has held public office before, although Fowler has held positions on a number of boards and committees, including the Navajo Nation Water Rights Commission, Tuba City Regional Health Care Corporation board and the Navajo United Way. She has also worked for senator and Republican presidential hopeful John McCain and also served as campaign manager for current Navajo Nation president Joe Shirley Jr.
In District 1, current Board Supervisor Carl Taylor swept the primaries with 81 percent of the vote and will run uncontested in the November general election while in District 4, Democrat Mandy Metzger and Republican Barry Guillet will face off in November for the seat vacated by current District 4 Supervisor Deb Hill, who is retiring at the end of her term.
Democratic turnout was more than double that for the Republican primary with 8,918 votes being cast for Democrats and 3,989 for Republicans.