November 5, 2019 / Modified nov 7, 2019 9:16 a.m.

Regina Romero next mayor of Tucson

Also, results for the City Council and a "no" vote to salary raises for council members.

2019 Tucson City Council election The three Democrats running for Tucson City Council took the lead early in the election night vote tally. From left, council candidates Nikki Lee, Paul Cunningham and Lane Santa Cruz, along with mayor-elect Regina Romero, accept the applause of the crowd at Democratic headquarters Nov. 5, 2019.
Steve Jess/AZPM

Tucson MayorUpdated Nov 12, 2019   2:51 P.M.

Candidate % Votes
Ed AckerleyEd Ackerley IND 39.40% 39,233
Mike CeaseMike Cease GRN 3.97% 3,953
Regina RomeroRegina Romero DEM 55.90% 55,654

Democrat Regina Romero will be the next mayor of Tucson, based on preliminary results of Tuesday's election.

Early results that included most of the ballots cast for this election showed Romero with more than half of the votes in the three-way race to lead the city. The other candidates were independent Ed Ackerley and Green Mike Cease.

Romero, Tucson's first Latina mayor, takes office next month, replacing two term mayor Jonathan Rothschild, who did not seek re-election. She campaigned on a platform of pushing climate-responsive policies and continuing economic development work to continue the city's post-recession economic development efforts.

Romero said she would immediately focus on ways the city can respond to climate change.

"If we want to move our economy into a progressive place, if we want to continue investing in our infrastructure, if we want to continue creating high-wage, long-term jobs we have to tackle climate resilience in our city."

While Romero opposed the sanctuary city initiative that voters defeated Tuesday, she pledged to work for the repeal of SB 1070, the controversial state law that requires police to determine the immigration status of anyone they stop or arrest. It was one of the issues that spurred the sanctuary city movement.

"The root of the problem is SB 1070, and we've got to demand in a unified front with a unified voice that Governor [Doug] Ducey and the state Legislature repeal SB 1070," Romero said.

The results show the council is likely to remain all Democrats, as the majority of the votes cast in the election were expected to be counted in the first round of results Tuesday night. With mail-in elections, the bulk of the votes are typically counted on election night.

Turnout in the election was at 33% as of Tuesday night. The number could increase as ballots that were dropped off at poling places on Election Day are counted later in the week. During city elections in 2015 and 2017, voter turnout was 36%.

Independent Ed Ackerley campaigned on a moderate platform of economic development, infrastructure improvement and boosting Tucson's reputation. Cease campaigned on a local version of the Green New Deal to respond to climate change, and was the only mayoral candidate to support the sanctuary initiative on Tuesday's ballot.

Democrat Jonathan Rothschild did not seek re-election and his second term will end in December. In Tucson, the mayor does not carry more power than the City Council members.

City Council

Ward 1Updated Nov 12, 2019   2:51 P.M.

Candidate % Votes
Sam NagySam Nagy REP 37.24% 36,836
Lane Santa CruzLane Santa Cruz DEM 57.76% 57,124
Matthew SmithMatthew Smith GRN 4.87% 4,819

In Ward 1 candidates competed for the open seat vacated by Romero's mayoral campaign. The seat has long been held by Democrats, and Lane Santa Cruz will continue that tradition by replacing Romero, according to initial vote tallies released Tuesday. Republican Sam Nagy and Green Matthew Smith also competed in the west-side ward on the City Council.

In Wards 2 and 4, there's a greater percentage of registered Republican voters than in other wards, but voters throughout the city weigh in on who should represent those east-side wards.

Ward 2Updated Nov 12, 2019   2:51 P.M.

Candidate % Votes
Paul CunninghamPaul Cunningham DEM 59.98% 59,513
   William PetersonWilliam Peterson GRN 5.38% 5,337
Ewart Williams Jr.Ewart Williams Jr. REP 34.52% 34,251

In Ward 2, incumbent Democrat Paul Cunningham is headed for another term, having been in office since he was appointed in 2010. Green William Peterson and Republican Ewart Williams ran against him.

Ward 4Updated Nov 12, 2019   2:51 P.M.

Candidate % Votes
Cara BissellCara Bissell GRN 4.83% 4,790
Michael HicksMichael Hicks REP 37.57% 37,254
Nikki LeeNikki Lee DEM 57.50% 57,013

In Ward 4, Democrat Shirley Scott did not seek re-election, leaving an open seat after six terms in office. Democrat Nikki Lee took an early lead against Green Cara Bissell, Republican Michael Hicks.

Council Pay Raises

Tucson voters also clearly stated they're not inclined to pay the elected officials in the city a higher wage.

Prop 409 - Mayor and City Council salary increase Updated Nov 12, 2019   2:51 P.M.

Response % Votes
YesYes 41.22% 39,563
NoNo 58.78% 56,425

The proposal would have increased the mayor's salary from $42,000 a year to $63,000. Council members would have seen their salaries nearly double from $24,000 to $42,000 a year.

Voters last approved raises for the city's elected officials in 1999.

By posting comments, you agree to our
AZPM encourages comments, but comments that contain profanity, unrelated information, threats, libel, defamatory statements, obscenities, pornography or that violate the law are not allowed. Comments that promote commercial products or services are not allowed. Comments in violation of this policy will be removed. Continued posting of comments that violate this policy will result in the commenter being banned from the site.

By submitting your comments, you hereby give AZPM the right to post your comments and potentially use them in any other form of media operated by this institution.
Arizona Public Media is a service of the University of Arizona and our broadcast stations are licensed to the Arizona Board of Regents who hold the trademarks for Arizona Public Media and AZPM. We respectfully acknowledge the University of Arizona is on the land and territories of Indigenous peoples.
The University of Arizona