Sears, Ellingson, O’Reilly appear to be MPS board victors The Mesa Tribune | The Hometown Newspaper for the city of Mesa, AZ

Sears, Ellingson, O’Reilly appear to be MPS board victors

November 4th, 2020 Mesa Tribune Staff
Sears, Ellingson, O’Reilly appear to be MPS board victors

Tribune Executive Editor

Incumbent Kiana Marie Sears on Friday retained her lead and Lara Salmon Ellingson held onto second place while Joe O’Reilly appears to have captured the third seat in the Mesa Public Schools Governing Board election, according to the latest election results. The race for the third spot had been a nailbiter between O’Reilly and Cara Mae Schnepf Steiner because both had 17 percent of the vote. But over the last two days, O’Reilly widened his margin over Steiner from about 300 to 1,169 votes.
Further behind were Rich Crandal and Vikki Johnson, who both had 14 percent of the vote and appeared out of the running from the time polls closed.
About 61 percent of the vote had been counte in the Mesa board race and the County Recorder is not expected to update tallies until 7 p.m. tonight, Nov. 4.
In the only local bond issue on the ballot, Mesa voters were giving overwhelming approval to the city’s request to borrow $100 million for street infrastructure repairs, many in southeast Mesa. Question 1 was leading 70-30 percent.
In county races, Democrats appeared to be losing a chance to control the Board of Supervisors as incumbent Republican Bill Gates took the lead over his challenger. But Democrats do appear likely to pick up a second seat on the board as Jevin Hodge continues to maintain a 51-59 percent lead over former Chandler Council member Jack Sellers, who had been trying to win a full term to an office he gained by appointment in January 2019. Democrats also held the lead in other county office races except for County Assessor, where former Gilbert Council member Eddie Cooke held a 51-49 percent margin over his Democratic challenger, and County Attorney.
Both propositions – one legalizing recreational marijuana and another imposing an income tax surcharge on wealthy wage earners to fund public education – have passed voter approval, with legal weed getting a whopping 2-1 margin of yes votes and the tax on wealth winning by a 52-48 percent margin.
Meanwhile, Republican incumbents appeared to be winning the legislative races in districts representing most of Mesa – as expected. Republican incumbents appeared heading to victory in LD25 and LD16 while Democrats appeared to be sweeping LD 18 and LD26.
For a while, there appeared to be a decent chance that Democrats would take control of the state Senate and possibly create a 30-30 tie in the state House. That would make it the first time since the 1964 election that Republicans were not in sole control of that chamber.

However, by early Wednesday, it became more likely that the state Legislature will remain in Republican hands. Results so far show that Democrats picked up one seat in the Senate as Christine Marsh ousted incumbent Kate Brophy McGee. But that still leaves the chamber with a 16-14 edge. Indeed, Rep. Rusty Bowers of Mesa on Thursday was reelected by his colleagues as House Speaker.

Across the courtyard, Democrat Judy Schwiebert managed to outpoll both Republican incumbents to grab one of the two seats in LD 20. But Democrat Gerae Peten was running third in her bid to keep one of the two seats in LD 4. So if that holds, the margin remains 31-29. The next step is the jockeying that will take place for leadership slots in both parties. 

(Howard Fischer of Capitol Media Services contributed to this report)

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