Ernie Bunch winning close mayoral race.
Ernie Bunch is defeating Eileen Wright, by a close margin, in his fight to retain his role as Cave Creek mayor. As of August 9, Bunch was winning 1,103 to 1,068.
“While the county has yet to release a final tally, I feel fairly confident that I will be serving two more years as your mayor,” Bunch said. “Thank you for the continued support as Cave Creek moves onward and upward.”
In a questionnaire before the election, Bunch said one of his three goals for the town is to improve communication between it and its residents.
“We have made great strides in communication, but many have not availed themselves of the opportunity,” he wrote. “Typically, the most timely information comes from our website, but you must make the effort to check in occasionally.”
He also would like to see residents help control fine fuels like stinknet and red brome.
“The road crew did a pretty good job of clearing these from our rights of way, and I am not currently aware of any fires that started there. Since January, there have been at least nine articles or notifications warning of the fire dangers, and one workshop in town hall. Still, some don’t begin clearing weeds until they see smoke on the horizon.”
The final of his three goals is better speed enforcement on Cave Creek Road by Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office deputies.
The six Cave Creek Town Council members will be Bob Morris (1,377), Tom McGuire (1,289), David Smith (1,253), Kathryn Royer (1,251), Ron Sova (1,206) and Paul Diefenderfer (1,085). The total votes are 8,617.
Cave Creek Proposition 433 (Home Rule) won 1,305 to 744, with 2,049 votes cast.
All results are preliminary, and the winners won’t formally be announced until the county finalizes the election.
In Carefree, Les Peterson tallied 1,270 votes unopposed. His town council will be comprised of John Crane (1,065), Cheryl Kroyer (1,006), Tony Geiger (926), Stephen Hatcher (903), Vince D’Aliesio (891) and Michael Krahe (836).
In Peoria, Bill Patena (Ironwood District), Jon Edwards (Willow District) and Bridget Binsbacher (Mesquite District) received more than 99% of the vote, renewing their terms for another four years.
Patena and Edwards, both incumbents, ran unchallenged in their respective districts. Binsbacher faced write-in challenger John Griffin in the Mesquite District.
Unofficial counts show Patena received 6,026 votes, Binsbacher with 8,266 and Edwards garnering 6,246.
“I would like to thank all the Ironwood residents who voted for me,” Patena said.
“I am very grateful to continue to serve you to the best of my ability. Representing all of you is a very humbling experience, and I will continue to be available to all of you.”
Patena has served on the Peoria City Council since 2012 and previously worked for the city as the neighborhood services manager. A Peoria resident for more than 20 years, he is spending his third term on the council.
Binsbacher said she is honored to be elected for another term.
“It is truly a privilege to be elected for another term to the Peoria City Council,” she said. “I’m grateful to the Mesquite District voters for their trust and their votes. I will continue to focus on fiscal accountability, public safety, responsible growth, accessible services and amenities for all. I’m very proud that Peoria voters turned out to vote, during very challenging times, to keep our dedicated and collaborative council together.”
The city’s vice mayor, Binsbacher has been a council member since 2015 and was reelected to serve a second term. She is an active member of the Peoria Chamber of Commerce and other charitable organizations.
Edwards’ team congratulated him on social media.
“Congratulations Mayor Pro Tem Jon Edwards on your reelection as councilmember of the Willow District,” the post reads. “A special thank you to all the members of Team Edwards, our supporters and the voters of the Willow District. Jon will continue to advocate for the sustainable growth of our city with a focus on public safety and services, the development of our youth and the building of strong neighborhoods. We are grateful for his service and look forward to the next four years!”
Edwards has lived in Peoria since 2001 and has served on various committees in the Peoria local government throughout his career. He has three children who attended local district schools.
Write-in candidate John Griffin said the election was a learning experience.
“One thing for certain: A write-in campaign was a big mistake, especially with the COVID-19 crisis,” he said. “It has been difficult to bring my message to constituents. I will run for office in the future, I believe I have a lot of experience that will benefit my fellow Arizonans.”
The general election is Tuesday, November 3. Peoria will have three city charter amendments and the 2040 general plan on the ballot for residents to consider. For more information, visit peoriaaz.gov/election.