City, state primary races head toward the finish line - SanTan Sun News SanTan Sun News

City, state primary races head toward the finish line

August 21st, 2018 development
City, state primary races head toward the finish line

By PAUL MARYNIAK, Executive Editor

Depending on the results of a mathematical formula, Chandler voters in 10 days may or may not pick the last three members of the City Council that will govern them in 2019 and 2020.

They’ll also settle a three-way Republican fight for two state House nominations and will decide whether to extend for another four years the city’s ability to set its own budget rather than rely on a state law that ignores individual municipalities’ unique spending needs.

With a ballot that is far shorter than what voters can expect in the Nov. 6 general election, the Aug. 28 primary election in Chandler provides some suspense even though the putative top of the ticket was decided when Councilman Kevin Hartke was the only candidate who filed for mayor.

Hartke, a 33-year Chandler resident and pastor who was first elected to City Council in 2010, is replacing Mayor Jay Tibshraeny, who has been termed out of office.

The electoral suspense will involve who is selected to fill three other seats on Council as voters decide among two incumbents and four challengers.

The candidates are:

  • William Crawford, a 24-year employee of the Maricopa Community College District and former vice president of Chandler-Gilbert Community College. Serves on Chandler police and fire pension boards. Website:
  • Matt Eberle, a Chandler resident since 2008 with deep business background. Endorsed by four current Council members. Member of Chandler’s Architecture Review Committee. Also ran for council in 2016. Website:
  • Aaron Harris Sr., professional educator. “I will encourage the best possible business climate for economic development and the creation of good jobs and work to streamline the burdensome, antiquated permitting processes that stifles smart growth.” Also ran in 2016. Website:
  • Rene Lopez, incumbent, served on Chandler Parks and Recreation board before joining council in 2014. Favors further city tax reductions while enhancing public safety and recreational opportunities. Website:
  • Matt Orlando, seeking a return to Council after serving 1990-98 and 2004-13, is retired after a long career in the defense industry. “During my time as a Council member I supported and led many activities that benefitted and laid the foundation for our community and our quality of life that we enjoy today.” Website:
  • Terry Roe, another incumbent, stresses economic development, public safety and fiscal frugality on his website. A long list of endorsements includes other current and former City Council members and U.S. Rep. Andy Biggs, R-Ariz. Website:

One or more seats could be decided Aug. 28 – or the field could also be winnowed down a bit for a final resolution on the Nov. 6 ballot.

Outright winners are determined by a three-step formula and if one or more of the top three candidates fail to hit that number, then one or more seats goes on a ballot that will be laden with choices for state and local candidates and yes-no votes on a number of referendum questions. Also, a new U.S. Senator from Arizona will be chosen as well.

Voters also will be asked to vote on Proposition 408, which renews for another four years the City Council’s authority in determining the city’s budget rather than using a state-mandated formula developed in 1980, which is based upon inflation and a community’s population.

The State Constitution allows voters in a municipality to approve a local alternative expenditure limitation, or “home rule” option, which allows a budget based on local needs, service levels and available resources.

The home rule option is not an increase or decrease in tax rates. Funding estimates are based on existing income sources that Chandler already receives.

A “yes” vote on home rule will allow Chandler to continue to set its own spending limits. A “no” vote would limit expenditures to the state-imposed formula limit, resulting in what city officials say would be a 21 percent reduction – or $120 million – in spending for city services, even though the revenue still will be received.

Voters also will be resolving the only legislative contest this month.

That contest involves former Chandler Vice Mayor Nora Ellen and two Republican counterparts, incumbent state Rep. Jeff Weninger and Julie Willoughby. Only two can go forward to November.

One seat opened this year because House Speaker J.D. Mesnard is termed out. He’s uncontested in the primary and will duke it out with Democrat Steve Weichert in the fall to succeed Sen. Steve Yarbrough, who has retired.

Ellen is Mesnard’s mother. She had to resign from the Council because she’s seeking the state post but would have been unable to run again for that seat since


she would have been termed out in 2020.

There is no Democratic primary for the state House in LD 17 because Jennifer Pawlik is the only Democrat in the race.

Polling places will be open from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. Aug. 28. The last day to request a mail ballot was Friday, Aug. 17.

To vote at the polls, people must bring your voter ID or one form of photo identification from the following list: valid Arizona driver’s license, valid Arizona non-operating identification license, tribal enrollment card or other form of tribal identification.

If the address on the ID does not match the address in the signature roster, the voter must vote a regular provisional ballot and does not have to return. Information:

Early ballots must be received no later than 7 p.m. on Election Day. Voters who place their voted ballot in the mail should allow for delivery time for the ballot to arrive by the deadline. The U.S. Postal Service advises to allow five days for delivery of first-class mail.

Voters with an early ballot also have the option to drop it off at any polling place or at the Chandler City Clerk office at Chandler City Hall, 175 S. Arizona Ave.