This afternoon, after Democrats Shirley Scott, Paul Cunningham and Regina Romero were sworn in for new four-year terms on the Tucson City Council, Pima County Superior Court Judge Gus Aragon ruled that he would not order a new election or declare two of three Republican candidates to be the real winners of the election.
Aragon's basic reasoning: It was too late the challenge the election.
As the Weekly
reported last week, GOP candidates Kelly Lawton and Margaret Burkholder had sought to have the election results tossed out because a Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruling had declared the city's system unconstitutional one week after the election was held and they had won their wards, even though they lost citywide. You can see the details here.
But Aragon said that the challenge to the election should have come before ballots were cast, saying that the court found that "plaintiffs' delay in filing this action after the general election was unreasonable. This delay in light of plaintiffs' knowledge of the existing system is unfair and prejudicial to defendants Cunningham, Scott and the City of Tucson."
City Attorney Mike Rankin said via email that the city "is pleased with the decision by Judge Aragon to dismiss the election contest. With respect to the Ninth Circuit decision that was the basis for this election contest, the City will be filing its Petition for En Banc Rehearing by the end of the week.
The GOP candidates could appeal today's decision.
Here's the complete ruling in case you want to run it by your attorneys.