There are contested races for all five seats on the Pima County Board of Supervisors this year, including a four-way GOP contest for the District 1 seat now held by the retiring Republican Ally Miller and a Democratic primary battle for the District 5 seat previously held by the late Richard Elías.
But candidates may face legal challenges to their nominating petitions if their opponents can find deficiencies among their signatures, which were due Monday, April 6.
In District 1, where Miller is stepping down after two contentious terms on the Board of Supervisor, the GOP candidates include Oro Valley Town Council member Rhonda Pina; Bill Beard, a former Pima County Republican Party chair; former state lawmaker Vic Williams; and Steve Spain, a political newcomer who has already won Miller’s endorsement.
District 1, which includes Oro Valley, Marana, Casas Adobes and the Catalina Foothills areas, leans Republican. But an underdog status hasn’t prevented two Democrats from climbing into the Democratic primary ring: retired school administrator Rex Scott, who has campaign experience on both sides of the aisle, and Brian Radford, a political newcomer who previously worked in corrections. But Radford only filed 224 signatures on his petitions, just three over the necessary 221 valid signatures to appear on the ballot, leaving him vulnerable to a legal challenge.
In District 4, Supervisor Steve Christy faces a Republican primary challenge from John Backer as he seeks a second term in the largely rural district that includes eastern Pima County and Green Valley. Backer is a political ally of the departing Miller, who has frequently clashed with Christy and briefly employed Backer as an aide.
In heavily Democratic District 5, where Elías had planned to run for reelection before he unexpectedly died of a heart attack on Saturday, March 28, three Democrats were able to get enough signatures to file to run this week. TUSD School Board member Adelita Grijalva, the daughter of Congressman Raul Grijalva; Sunnyside School District member Consuela Hernandez, whose brother Daniel and sister Alma both serve in the Arizona House of Representatives; and political newcomer Trista Tramposch di Genova-Chang.
The winner of the Democratic primary will face Fernando Gonzales, the owner of Jan-Co janitorial services, who ran for the Board of Supervisors previously in 2012 in this central-southside district.
In heavily Democratic District 2, Supervisor Ramon Valadez is facing a challenge in the Democratic primary from two candidates: Matt Heinz, a former state lawmaker and emergency room doctor who has made three unsuccessful runs for Congress in 2012, 2016 and 2018, and Richard Hernandez, a political gadfly who regularly criticizes the Democratic supervisors and Pima County Administrator Chuck Huckelberry during the Call to the Audience segment at board meetings. The winner of the Democratic primary is set to face Republican Anthony Sizer, who has previously run unsuccessfully for the Arizona Legislature.
As Supervisor Sharon Bronson seeks a seventh term in westside District 3, she faces a challenge in the Democratic primary from political newcomer Juan Padres, an entrepreneur who runs a courier service between Tucson and Mexico and imports Mexican craft beer. The winner of that primary will face Republican Gabby Mercer, a GOP activist who has previously run unsuccessfully for Congress against Democrat Raul Grijalva.