Devilish Details

Score One For Ken Marcus In The District 4 Supervisor's Race.

By Chris Limberis

DETAILS SCARE MOST politicians--the type of detail that jumped into the faces of Ray Carroll and Brenda Even when they learned last week the nominating petitions they and their supporters had circulated for months were no good.

That's because they had failed to include the expiration date--December 31, 2000--of the term they're seeking.

Suddenly, they found they were engaged in a new, high-pressure countdown: 48 hours to collect 266 signatures to qualify for the ballot of the special Republican primary on September 8. That vote will decide whether Carroll can retain the District 4 Board of Supervisors seat he was appointed to last year when Even's husband, John, died.

Last week challenger Ken Marcus sat smugly with his petitions done and in the proper form as supporters for Carroll and Even responded, racing to collect signatures on new petitions that included the term's expiration date.

Random verification is underway and it appears both Carroll and Even will have sufficient signatures to get on the ballot.

It could have been different. Before both Carroll and Even were to file their petitions with the Division of Elections on June 23, an operative from Marcus' camp asked Elections Director Mitch Etter if Even's signatures would be accepted if they were not on forms that included the term's expiration.

Etter checked with Dan Jurkowitz, a deputy county attorney for elections issues. He told Etter to accept petitions, which then would be subject to challenge and a judge's interpretation. Using substantial compliance as a guide, it's likely that a judge would have allowed Carroll's and Even's signatures on the old petition forms.

But the luster was off Carroll at a forum the night he got the news. The normally telegenic charmer was ashen. He fumbled easy questions and rambled pointlessly until quizzed about the potentially fatal petitions:

"I called my 40 or 50 supporters. We all met at my house at 5 p.m. I had 50 brand-new petitions with Mitch Etter's okay on them, and they're out there right now. And we're going to be in Green Valley tomorrow getting them during the daylight hours. And I have no fear that I'm going to get 236 and way more," Carroll said. "It's kind of fun. Because, you know, it kind of reminds me of the deadlines in college I used to face. But my friends will be working hard into the night and we'll be counting them up...I'll be on the ballot. I promise you that."

Carroll vowed that he would not challenge Even's or Marcus' signatures, and then took off to get his tickets for the next morning's flight to Washington, D.C., where he made his pitch for the Smithsonian museum at Canoa Ranch near Green Valley.

Even appeared stunned at questions about the petitions, although she had been notified of the problem hours before.

"That's certainly a startling development," Even said. "Like I said, I've been involved in the (Tucson Unified School District Board) meeting. So I have not had time to take it all in. But I will be on the ballot.

Marcus had no sympathy.

"Well I'm an accountant," he said. "I looked into the law before I started. And (the expiration dates) were on my petitions from the very beginning."

Even filed her new petitions two days later, after Carroll's friends submitted his.

Even had her friends, too. Gloria Copeland, her ally on the school board, hung around, as did a campaign mastermind and stabilizer Emmett "Bucky" McLoughlin, a former Tucson city councilman.

While Even huddled with Copeland, McLoughlin did the talking with a reporter. He did what Even should have done--expressed thanks to volunteers and supporters and explained how the mini-crisis galvanized the campaign and turned out to be "gratifying."

Asked about Carroll's pledge to not challenge signatures, Even looked puzzled. Asked if she would challenge her opponents' petitions, she finally snapped: "Why would I?" TW

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