Hartke, Orlando, Poston, Encinas keep early leads - SanTan Sun News SanTan Sun News
Hartke, Orlando, Poston, Encinas keep early leads

Hartke, Orlando, Poston, Encinas keep early leads

August 3rd, 2022

By Ken Sain

Arizonan Managing Editor

 It appears Chandler voters are sending Mayor Kevin Hartke and Councilman Matt Orlando back for another term as they continued holding today the seemingly insurmountable leads they established in Tuesday night’s election results.

Hartke held a 77% lead over challenger Ruth Jones’-23% while Orlando topped a field of five candidates for three Chandler City Council races with 27% of the vote. He was followed by Jane Poston with 21% and Angel Encinas with 20% while Darla Gonzalez garnered 18% and Farhana Shifa captured14%.

However, it may be days before voters know if the leaders in the council races will avoid a run-off in the Nov. 8 General Election.

“I feel honored that our Chandler voters have trusted me with another term,” Hartke said. “Chandler is the best run city in Arizona, I got great name recognition, and a great track record.”

Hartke said his priorities in a second term would be transportation and completion of a multi-state water agreement.

Hartke served as a council member from 2011 to 2019 before running unopposed for mayor. Before becoming mayor he was the lead pastor at Trinity Christian Fellowship Church in Chandler.

There are three open Council seats in this year’s election, and Orlando is the only incumbent running. The other two council members whose terms expire at the end of the year could not run again because of term limits.

 Poston, Encinas and Orlando had campaigned together, earning the endorsements of the Chandler Chamber of Commerce and the police and fire employee associations.

 It won’t be until all the official write-in votes for Cody Hannah have been counted before it can be determined if two or more candidates will have to advance to the general election in November.

If Orlando holds on to clinch a seat, it will be his  sixth term as a member of the Chandler City Council. He previously served from 1990-1998 and 2004-2013. He began serving his first term during this tenure in 2019.

“I’m excited, I’m humbled and quite frankly I’m honored,” Orlando said. “I’m thrilled to have been reelected and can’t wait to get back to work for the City of Chandler. I’ve always had faith in Chandler voters to have the pulse of what’s happening in the city.”

Orlando said he left campaign materials on the doors of 55,000 Chandler homes, working just as hard for his sixth term as he did for his first. He was a colonel in the U.S. Air Force before going to work in the corporate world.

   Chandler voters also appeared to approve Proposition 470, also known as the Home Rule vote. By approving it the City Council will not have to make drastic cuts to its budget. It’s the 11th time that Chandler voters have allowed the Council to set its own budget instead of following a formula in the state Constitution that was approved in 1980.

  The vote to approve Prop. 470 was by an 86% in favor and 14% against. 

 The two members of the Chandler City Council who could not run again because of term limits were seeking higher office in the election. Councilmember Rene Lopez appeared to have lost a bid to capture the District 4 Republican nomination for Congress. Kelly Cooper garnered nearly 30% of the vote in that five-way contest while Lopez came in fourth with 14%. 

 Vice Mayor Terry Roe and Chandler businessman Jim Chaston didn’t have to worry about last night’s results since they are the only two Republicans seeking the nomination for the two House seats in LD 12, which includes northern Chandler.

   In the primary contests for the two legislative districts that include Chandler, unofficial results in the LD 13 Democratic Senate race, Cynthia Hans garnered 65% of the early votes, beating Michael Morris’ 35% for the Democratic nomination. Hans will go on to face incumbent Republican Sen. J.D. Mesnard, who was unopposed Tuesday, in November.

 For the five GOP candidates running for the two House seats, Liz Harris was ahead with 31%; Julie Willoughby, 23%; Ron Hardin, 17%; Don Maes, 14% and Josh Askey, 14%.

Harris and Willoughby will face Democrat Rep. Jennifer Pawlik in November. Pawlik was unopposed in the primary.

In LD 12, , the two Ahwatukee women running in a five-way race for two Democratic nominations for the state House held their leads. In the all-Ahwatukee LD 12 GOP primary for state Senate, political newcomer David Richardson appeared to have beaten Realtor Suzanne Sharer.

 Early unofficial returns in the Democratic primary race for the two LD 12 House seats today showed Patty Contreras, a retired City of Phoenix program manager, and scientist Stacey Travers got 28% and 27% of the vote, respectively – besting Ahwatukee attorney Paul Weich (21%) and Chandler candidates Ajlan AJ Kurdoglu (14%)  and Sam Huang (8%).

 In the Republican primary contest for the Senate nomination, David Richardson kept his 52%-48% lead over Suzanne Sharer, who lost the 2020 Senate race to state Sen. Sean Bowie, who decided not to seek a third term. 

 There are no contests in the two other LD 12 elections.

 Rep. Mitzi Epstein had no opposition in her bid for the Democratic nomination for the LD Senate seat as she makes aims to succeed Bowie.