Super Sized

The Primary Looms For The County Board.

ALTHOUGH ALL FIVE members of the Pima County Board of Supervisors are up for re-election this year, there's a good chance the faces aren't going to change much when the new board is sworn in.

Two supervisors, District 2's Dan Eckstrom and District 4's Ray Carroll, won't face a serious challenge on the November 7 ballot. Two others, Sharon Bronson and Raúl Grijalva, are the favorites to win both next week's primary and the general election.

But there will be at least one new face, since District 1 Supervisor Mike Boyd is stepping down after two terms. A relatively affluent area that includes north-central Tucson, the Catalina Foothills and Oro Valley, District 1 has tended to lean toward moderate Republican representation.

The moderate Republican this year is state Sen. Ann Day, who is seeking the board seat primarily because she's reached her term limit in the Arizona Legislature and says she's not ready to retire. Day has been planning her campaign for some time, and leads all the county board candidates in fundraising, having accumulated more than $75,000 as of August 23.

Day is facing Rep. Dan Schottel in the GOP primary. Like Day, Schottel has reached his term limit representing District 12 in the legislature. Although he toyed with the idea of seeking Day's state Senate seat, he eventually decided to challenge day for the county post. But he got a late start in the campaign, and some of his supporters bailed on him for fear of upsetting Day, who was easily leading early polls this year. Schottel had raised only about $9,525 as of August 23.

Day is likely to face a tougher challenge in the general election. The favorite in the Democratic primary is Byron Howard, a political consultant who has experience on the county staff and in the homebuilding industry. Howard has aggressively tapped his old contacts while raising a respectable $55,271 as of August 23.

Howard is facing teacher John Crouch in the Democratic primary. Like Schottel, Crouch got his campaign off to a late start. He raised only $2,715 as of August 23, making him the poorest candidate in this year's supestakes.

Crouch has something else in common with Schottel: He appeals to the fringe of his party. In fact, he's only been a Democrat for a few years, arguing that political parties tend to follow behind the curve of social change. Crouch has run on a hard platform of making growth pay for itself through steep impact fees and is the only candidate in District 1 to support the Citizens Growth Management Initiative, the ballot prop that would create growth boundaries around urban areas.

In District 5, Supervisor Raúl Grijalva is seeking his fourth term. In his 12 years on the board, Grijalva has pushed environmental policies; in recent years, with the addition of Sharon Bronson and Ray Carroll on the board, the county has embarked on an ambitious Sonoran Desert Conservation Plan to promote conservation and direct development away from sensitive areas.

Grijalva is facing a primary challenge from Dan Medina, a player with the Jim Click Automotive Team. Click's connections have helped raise $19,813 for Medina. Medina has found a great deal of support among car dealers. Besides Click employees, who kicked in a total of $1,480, Medina has also received checks from Stephen Cristy of Galloway Motors ($320), Karl Watson of Watson Chevrolet ($320), Thomas Quebedeau ($100) and Dan Breck of Bill Breck Dodge ($320).

Legendary land speculator Don Diamond and employees of Diamond Ventures have kicked in $1,290. Other notable contributors include Mel Zuckerman and his wife Enid, who founded Canyon Ranch ($320 each), billboard baron Karl Eller ($320) and UA President Peter Likins ($100).

It's little surprise that the development community is backing Medina, who sharply splits from Grijalva on environmental issues. He's against downzoning property without compensating property owners and opposes the Citizens Growth Management Initiative.

The winner of the Democratic primary will face Republican Rosalie López, who will face long odds in upsetting Grijalva in a district where nearly three of every five voters are Democrats. (About one of every five identifies as Republican.)

López, who was elected to a four-year term on the Tucson Unified School District just two years ago (she plans to serve on both boards if she can win the election), has raised $36,570 for her campaign and spent $26,895, leaving her with $9,674.

The challenge has Grijalva aggressively raising funds for re-election. As of August 23, he'd raised $71,815 and still had $21,654 in the bank.

In District 3, Sharon Bronson is virtually unopposed in the primary. Her opponent, former lawmaker Dick Pacheco, came out of retirement long enough to put his name on the ballot, but he's dodged numerous media interviews since then. As he put it in a letter to KUAT's Peggy Johnson, "I've decided it's in my best interest to avoid the media at this time."

Pacheco has raised $6,405, including $5,160 that he loaned his own campaign.

Bronson will face a more serious challenge in the general election from Barney Brenner, an auto-parts store owner who is largely self-financing his campaign, having lent it $12,500 of the $24,826 that he had raised as of August 23.

Brenner, a property-rights advocate who has been critical of the county's finances, gripes about Bronson's support of the Citizens Growth Management Initiative. He's a staunch supporter of Prop 100, the Growing Smarter referendum placed on the ballot by the legislature and opposed by Bronson and more than 70 environmental organizations statewide.