With final results in, the Sedona City Council will have two new faces come November.

For the three four-year council seats, Vice Mayor John Martinez retained his seat while challengers Joe Vernier and John Currivan won the second and third seats, ahead of incumbent Councilwoman Jessica Williamson, who was not reelected. The race was a statistical dead heat, as only a few percentage points separated the top and bottom vote-getters.

We thank Williamson for her service and know she will continue to work hard for Sedona until she leaves office. She greatly enjoyed helping her neighbors as a councilwoman. She always spoke her mind on local issues and we could always rely on her for good quotes in our news stories that often summed up public opinion with the healthy mix of cynicism and optimism that defines our city.

Incumbent Councilman Tom Lamkin defeated challenger Gerhard Mayer for the two-year seat vacated in January by former Councilwoman Angela LeFevre.
Unchallenged, incumbent Mayor Sandy Moriarty won reelection.

Former Cottonwood City Councilman Randy Garrison handily defeated by almost 2-to-1 current Cottonwood Mayor Diane Joens for the Yavapai County District 3 seat being vacated by longtime Supervisor Chip Davis.

Both candidates ran solid campaigns and either would have made an excellent advocate for the Verde Valley at the county level. We thank Joens for her attempt and congratulate Garrison on his win.

We look forward to Garrison and Yavapai County District 2 Supervisor Tom Thurman fighting against the Prescott-centered balance of power and getting more from the county to help all the Verde Valley.

For his part, Davis was running for Arizona House District 1 — the Verde Valley is entirely in District 6 — but took third place for the two open seats, behind frontrunner Noel Campbell and about 750 votes behind David Stringer.

Incumbent U.S. Sen. John McCain faced one of his toughest Republican challengers to date, former Arizona State Sen. Kelli Ward, defeating her 51.23 percent to 39.86 percent. If re-elected in November against challenger U.S. Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick [D-District 1], McCain will outpace Barry M. Goldwater to become Arizona’s second-longest serving senator behind Carl Hayden.
The senate is the senior house of Congress, but the Founding Fathers never intended “senator” to become a full-time career.

Both Goldwater and Hayden were focused on Arizona’s residents while it seems McCain is mainly concerned with a legacy aimed at foreign policy and military affairs while largely ignoring the concerns of our state. Despite owning a ranch in Cornville, his conspicuous absence from local businesses, festivals and even public election debates to which he is invited tells voters his connection to the Verde Valley is pure politics at its worst. Like a campaign cicada, he only makes a handful of staged local appearances once every six years when — unsurprisingly — he faces strong opponents for reelection.

He has no problem inviting world leaders to speak as his closed-door “Sedona Forum” but his staff explicitly and repeatedly refuses to grant invitations to the local press.

We were able to attend Vice President Joe Biden’s visit in 2013, but the invitation was not from McCain. When a vice president from Delaware has better local connections than a senator who lives 20 minutes away, is this someone who really deserves your vote?

The biggest problem with the municipal election being paired with the August primary election rather than the November general election is the low turnout for a vital local election.

The Sedona City Council election was a small one in that of seven candidates, five would be elected to council. Voters are better if candidates outnumber seats at least 2-to-1. These council races were determined less by strong support for candidates’ policies and more on voter turnout. When only 30 percent of voters cast ballots, it’s not a great litmus fo r any legislative body.

It would make more sense to hold nonpartisan municipal elections totally separate or move them all to November, when voter turnout, especially among independents, would be much higher and more representative of our community as a whole.